Although ebikes are easier to use in some instances, such as climbing hills, there are safety concerns. Because the bikes are heavier than traditional bikes, balance can be a problem. And, of course, ebikes allow people to cycle at higher speeds than usual. “A normal rider will average between 12 to 15 mph, where an ebike rider will average between 15 to 20 mph,” Abadie says. An increase in the number of deaths of elderly male ebike riders in the Netherlands has been attributed to their overconfidence in being able to ride at high speeds and to mount and dismount the bikes.
The Super Commuter is very aptly named. The 350w Bosch motor will help you sustain speeds of up to 28mph, and the burly, 2.4-inch wide, Schwalbe Super Moto-X 650b tires will keep you secure on even the roughest city streets, and Shimano Deore hydraulic brakes provide ample stopping power. Fenders provide welcome protection from road spray so you arrive at your destination fresh, integrated lights are critical for post-sunset riding, and a side-view mirror hanging on the left side of the handlebar gives a great view of traffic around you. After all, you can ride at the speed of urban traffic on the Super Commuter.
You should also think about how much gear you are going to need to carry. The reason this will affect your decision is because some electric bikes don’t have the capability to mount a front rack while others do. Plan on doing a 3-day trip? You could probably get away with just a rear rack. My advice though would to be to purchase an electric bike with the capability to mount a front rack as well. This way, if you decide to plan a longer trip in the future, you can simply buy a rack and be on your way instead of potentially having to buy a new bike.
"Bargain Buys" Most electric bikes priced less than $600 at big box retailers and on-line are aimed at the kid/teen/toy market. They generally lack the performance and durability that people want and expect. Also, parts and service can be problematic with both big box retailers and on-line vendors. We urge you to invest in a quality e-bike, preferably from a local dealer, that will serve you (and others) for many years. Remember, if it's poorly constructed and you can't get repair parts, it will likely become land-fill material. Save, beg, or borrow the money to get a quality bike or kit.
This article first appeared in Electric Bike Report in June of 2013. Since then, we’ve made some changes to our motor selection - our Direct-Drive motors are now all High-Torque 6x9 wound, so they run slower (approximately 15mph at 36v or 20mph at 48v), and our Geared Motors have been replaced by a 500w version, (approximately 20mph at 36v or 28mph at 48v). The Direct-Drive is now our Heavy-Duty motor and the...
Others questioned the weight. The Indiegogo campaign claims the steel-framed e-bike weighs just 45 pounds complete, but that’s highly unlikely, says Court Rye, owner of the Electric Bike Review website. He’s posted an 18-minute YouTube video of his thoughts about the Storm eBike that he says tries to strike a balance of appreciation for the low price point and realistic expectations.
China has experienced an explosive growth of sales of non-assisted e-bikes including scooter type, with annual sales jumping from 56,000 units in 1998 to over 21 million in 2008, and reaching an estimated fleet of 120 million e-bikes in early 2010. This boom was triggered by Chinese local governments' efforts to restrict motorcycles in city centers to avoid traffic disruption and accidents. By late 2009 motorcycles are banned or restricted in over ninety major Chinese cities. Users began replacing traditional bicycles and motorcycles and e-bike became an alternative to commuting by car. Nevertheless, road safety concerns continue as around 2,500 e-bike related deaths were registered in 2007. By late 2009 ten cities had also banned or imposed restrictions on e-bikes on the same grounds as motorcycles. Among these cities were Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Changsha, Foshan, Changzhou, and Dongguang.
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).