There remains an element of myth around them, however. For some, it's cheating; for others, it's like riding a motorbike. Neither is true. Electric bikes offer battery-powered assistance, which means the engine gives you a power boost when you pedal. While this jacks up the price, they're a simple, quick and fun way of commuting, exploring the countryside, or even going off-road.
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It’s impressive just how traditional a finish they’ve achieved for a pedal-assist bike, especially considering the motor uses Kinetic Energy Recovery to charge itself (like F1 Cars). Firing up the motor is achieved by back-pedaling three times (while travelling over 8mph). It’s a neat idea, and a clever way of doing away with those cables and switches, but in reality it’s fiddly. Riding in the city we occasionally felt ridiculous on a busy street pedaling backward rather than forward to kick off the assist. It’s also a chore getting the bike to speed and going through the motion to activate in tight spaces such as underground garages or on an incline.
A representative for Ancheer, a California-based e-bike company that sells some of the most affordable e-bikes in the US, expressed dismay over the tariffs in an interview with Electrek. Ancheer will regrettably be raising prices on their electric bicycles, but intends to try to absorb some of the cost to avoid passing on the entire 25% tariff to their customers.
Because they’re electrically powered, e-bikes sit in a bit of a gray area between bicycles and motorcycles. While some states have enacted specific legislation to state where electric bikes can and can’t be ridden, in other states outdated laws mean they’re regulated as a moped or motor vehicle which can cause confusion over registration requirements, access to cycling infrastructure and how old you have to be before you can ride one.
Designed for urban or suburban commutes, the A2B Octave (right picture) offers lightweight aluminum construction with full suspension. Add in its comfortable,oversized seat and you have a powerful ride that's easy to handle. When you don't feel like pedaling, the A2B offers unassisted power on demand for up to 20 miles at a cruising speed of 20mph. Plus, the A2B can be easily upgraded to double its range to 40 miles with the addition of a secondary battery pack and increase its carrying capacity with the addition of baskets and rear carrier bags.
E-bikes mostly use motors and battery options from a few major suppliers: Bosch, Yamaha, Shimano, and Brose. A few other brands exist, but are less reliable or powerful. Some, like the Yamaha system, have more torque and others are quieter. But generally all four make good options. Look for motor output (in watts) which will give you an idea of total power. But watt hours (Wh) is perhaps a better figure to use—it takes into account battery output and life to give a truer reflection of power.