“Yamaha’s power assist motors provide the purest, most natural assist feel thanks in part to Yamaha’s Triple Sensor System that has been exclusively optimized for Yamaha’s U.S. power assist bikes. Through the Triple Sensor System, thousands of times per second, frictionless sensors measure the rider’s pedal-torque, bicycle speed, and crank arm cadence with tremendous precision.”
Rachel L. Davis is an avid bicyclist. But as a working mother of two, with a third child on the way, she doesn’t have time for long bike rides. “In my world, getting my exercise has to be part of my daily life,” says Davis, 36, who owns a marketing strategy company based in Washington. “I live in a hilly part of D.C., and as I’ve become more pregnant, more tired with more children, I don’t have as much energy to be biking 40 miles or biking to Alexandria.”
Range is a key consideration with e-bikes, and is affected by factors such as motor efficiency, battery capacity, efficiency of the driving electronics, aerodynamics, hills and weight of the bike and rider.[36][37] Some manufacturers, such as the Canadian BionX or American Vintage Electric Bikes,[38] have the option of using regenerative braking, the motor acts as a generator to slow the bike down prior to the brake pads engaging.[39] This is useful for extending the range and the life of brake pads and wheel rims. There are also experiments using fuel cells. e.g. the PHB. Some experiments have also been undertaken with super capacitors to supplement or replace batteries for cars and some SUVS. E-bikes developed in Switzerland in the late 1980s for the Tour de Sol solar vehicle race came with solar charging stations but these were later fixed on roofs and connected so as to feed into the electric mains.[40] The bicycles were then charged from the mains, as is common today. While ebike batteries were produced mainly by bigger companies in past, many small to medium companies have started using innovative new methods for creating more durable batteries. State of the art, custom built automated precision CNC spot welding machines[41] created 18650 battery packs[42] are commonly used among Do-it-yourself ebike makers.
So instead of giving US companies breathing room to manufacture their own e-bikes, the tariffs are largely just hurting the US electric bicycle industry by preventing it from importing and selling affordable e-bikes, without solving the underlying reasons causing US e-bike companies to choose not to manufacture their e-bikes in the US in the first place.
After you decide which style of e-bike you want, consider the class. In the US, there are three classes defined by the type of assist and how fast the motor will propel you. Most electric bikes sold are class 1 or 3. Class 1 bikes have a motor (max 750w) that assists while you're pedaling, up to 20 mph. Class 3, also known as “speed pedelec” can also have up to a 750w motor, but it can assist you up to 28mph. Both of those are allowed in most states and cities without license. Class 2 have throttles that don't require you to pedal to get a boost. They're allowed on most streets, bike lanes, and paths, but less popular than the other classes and not covered much here (because we still love to pedal and the greater distances pedal assist bikes can cover).
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