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While electric bikes have been around for quite a while, the recent pandemic has seen them come to the forefront due to the ease and comfort they provide in a low-cost investment. Commonly referred to as ‘e-bikes,’ these are available in various designs and types. For someone looking to buy this energy-efficient mode of transportation, things can become quite confusing. Understanding that, we have drafted this article to ease your confusion and help you reach a cost-effective decision.
Pedal Assist vs. Throttle
This is the most common type of electric bike available in the market. The rider pedals the bike with the assistance of a motor. The presence of a motor increases the power being transmitted to the rear wheel, so that pedaling requires less effort, even in high gears. These are considered class 1 bikes since they can be used anywhere a standard bicycle is allowed, without the additional requirement of a license. In addition, the settings on pedal-assist bikes help the rider control the level of assistance they require. Hence they are popular.
· Speed Pedelec
Like a pedelec but providing a higher top speed, this class of e-bikes (class 3) is often considered a motor vehicle and requires additional licensing.
Throttles don’t require any additional pedaling by the rider and are propelled forward by the force of motor-generated power, more like a scooter. Due to the laws implied by many countries, they are far less common than pedal-assist e-bikes. However, they can be controlled by providing a variable amount of energy directly proportional to the force with which the throttle is pushed.
Hub Motors vs. Mid-Drive
The motor location of an e-bike determines how it operates and what it is capable of. Based on the site of these motors, the following are the classes in which e-bikes are divided:
· Front Hub Motor
With the most straightforward e-bike design to offer, front hub motors are limited in their capabilities. They are primarily used with throttle bikes, except for a few exceptions like the Brompton folding e-bike.
Front hub bikes can also have problems with traction due to the unequal weight distribution. Also, cornering while accelerating is tricky in front hub motorbikes. Given all these limitations, this is the least common e-bike system.
· Rear Hub Motor
Accommodating both throttle and pedelec bikes, a rear hub motor system is the most popular electronic conversion. It can also be fitted to non-folding bike frames. Inexpensive and easy on the pocket, they often go unnoticed since they appear like an oversized traditional hub. The only disadvantage they offer is the uneven distribution of weight, making them more challenging to handle than front hub motors.
· Mid-Drive Motor
Placed at the center of the ebike, these motors are activated by pedaling only. Hence, a central drive motor system can only be installed in a pedelec. Offering many benefits over front or rear hub motors, this is the most commonly used system. It delivers more torque and is ideally placed to provide equal distribution of weight all over. Since it is attached to the cranks, it also gives better control over the gear system. The motor creates a smooth experience for the rider by offering a range of assistance.
Rack Mount Vs. Down Tube Battery
Every electric bike needs an efficient source of power for a fluid run. Rechargeable batteries provide this energy. With advancements in recent years, e-bike batteries are usually composed of multiple smaller battery cells linked inside a large case. Modern e-bike batteries are also Lithium-ion.
As the industry has developed by leaps and bounds, these batteries have become smaller and lighter but more powerful in function. Since they carry a significant weight despite their development, so it is essential to place them strategically. An ideal battery provides the maximum distance on a single charge so that inconvenience can be avoided.
Following battery configurations of an e-bike are the most common ones found in the market today:
· Down Tube Battery
Placing the batteries on the down tube is the most common mounting location strategy. The reason being, this puts the weight low on the bike and improves efficient handling. It also makes wiring of the system more accessible than other locations since the motor is located directly behind the battery this way.
A down tube is the frame tube placed from the front of the bike and goes down to the crank area.
· Rack Mount Battery
An electric bike’s battery can be mounted to the rear-end of a bike. The racks at the back are designed like the conventional cargo carriers and carry the battery, providing more storage than average by doubling as a place for panniers. However, it is difficult to move the bike by hand and control it during cornering due to battery placement. The placement of the battery is slightly above the rear wheel, so the weight is placed off the ground. However, despite so many disadvantages, this mounting system is versatile and can be used on almost every frame design.
Mountain E-Bikes vs. Electric Hybrid Bikes vs. Commute Bikes
· Mountain Electric Bikes
Taking the cycling markets by storm, these e-bikes provide the most fun ride. With the addition of a high-performing electric motor to a regular mountain bike, these e-bikes make mountain trails look more effortless than ever before. Providing a fast run and less energy consumption, you can easily ride double the distance you are used to before feeling worn out. Electric mountain bikes are available as hardtails, affordable, and more well-suited to lighter trails, or complete suspension, offering versatility and ease even on trickier tracks. Like regular bikes, E-MTBs also offer different wheel sizes, etc., to make off-road e-bike riding easier as well; hence it is trendy amongst adventure enthusiasts.
· Electric Hybrid Bikes
Although cycling is a great and affordable way of commuting more healthily, some people find it very hard to cycle, especially on steeper or longer routes. Hybrid bikes are the best mode of transportation for such people, offering an easy and comfortable ride on the road and coping effectively with off-road use. Coming in various models, some offering more features than others, this bike is mainly used by the elderly or people who are new to bike riding and want to enjoy some leisure time on a ride.
· Commute Bikes
Traveling to work every day can be expensive. While bikes are sometimes used, they leave one sweaty and, of course, not in the best appearance for office. With an e-bike, the commute to the office is not only cost-effective, but it is also quicker and relatively more refreshing. For added convenience, you can choose from several models and features available in the market.
Now that you know all about e-bikes. Scroll through this beautiful variety of options and find out which one is best suited for you and your everyday life.