E-bikes use rechargeable batteries and the lighter ones can travel up to 25 to 32 km/h (16 to 20 mph), depending on local laws, while the more high-powered varieties can often do in excess of 45 km/h (28 mph). In some markets, such as Germany as of 2013, they are gaining in popularity and taking some market share away from conventional bicycles, while in others, such as China as of 2010, they are replacing fossil fuel-powered mopeds and small motorcycles.
In the 1890s, electric bicycles were documented within various U.S. patents. For example, on 31 December 1895, Ogden Bolton Jr. was granted U.S. Patent 552,271 for a battery-powered bicycle with "6-pole brush-and-commutator direct current (DC) hub motor mounted in the rear wheel". There were no gears and the motor could draw up to 100 amperes (A) from a 10-volt battery.
One of the biggest misconceptions about e-bikes is that you're not actually doing any work when you ride one. Not true. Thanks to that battery-powered motor, E-bikes are heavy! So if you turn the assist mode to low or off, you're still putting in plenty of effort. Many commuters have found that traveling home from work with assist off (when they're not in as big of a rush and don't mind getting sweaty) is a great way to fit exercise into a busy schedule.
Over the years our lineup has grown, and as a result, the offering has become more complicated than it needs to be. Specifically, this year we introduced a 500w geared motor option to the lineup and that has created some redundancy. Before outlining changes, we would like to ensure everyone that we will be stocking enough inventory of previously sold parts for a long enough time to ensure all warranties...
It really is a simple e-bike, and while I could go on about the frame (aluminium), and the weight (very light), the experience of using this bike for a few days is more interesting. While it feels like a less high-tech product than others in this list (no gears; a shorter battery life of 30 miles; two modes not three), it basically retails at half the price as those competitors – and I certainly didn't find it to be half as good.
The F1-trained engineers at William Advanced Engineering assisted with the electrical parts and the result is a 250W motor that provides pedal assistance via the front hub – which is a highly unusual approach – drawing power from a 300Wh battery pack that sits in a bag and goes on the front where the Brompton luggage rack would normally sit. You can also opt for a larger bag that holds both the battery and your spare suit or laptop or whatever.
Featuring Bosch’s newest CX Drive motor, the Trekking has enormous torque (that equals acceleration) compared with the rest of the bikes on test. From a standing start the Haibike reaches the 15.5mph European speed limit in seconds. Pair this with mid-sized 27.5in wheels and laid-back mountain-bike geometry, and you have a grin-inducing almost motorbike-like riding experience. This is accentuated off-road, where a rider’s lower average speed is under the motor cut-off point for more of the time, so suddenly the hefty Trekking makes complete sense.
“Built to be portable and highly customizable, the Stark Drive Mini e-bike will provide you with everything that you desire for your commute and everyday use. The Stark Drive Mini can easily be folded after you’ve arrived at your destination and conveniently carried into the office or classroom. The Stark Drive is also compact enough to be taken on a plane (adhering to FAA & TSA guidelines), giving you increased mobility wherever your travels take you.”
Another great thing about this particular electric bike is that it comes with a Nuvinci shifter and belt drive system. This replaces a traditional derailleur, chain, and cassette. This means there is no need to tune your drivetrain or fix a broken chain. Nuvinci systems are virtually maintenance free, which is great for beginning bike tourists who don’t want to spend half a day figuring out what went wrong with their drivetrain.
A representative for another large international bicycle company informed me that his company is now shifting its production of their 2019 electric bicycle models to two other Southeast Asian countries to avoid the import tariffs on Chinese e-bikes. The source spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
Twice the speed - with half the effort, Optibike has the power. On a test ride in Boulder Colorado, a fit road cyclist was able to climb the notorious Old Stage Road at 10 MPH sitting down with an easy spin on the Optibike. On his ultra light road bike, he had to stand and grind all the way to go 5 mph!!! Twice the speed - half the effort, Optibike has the power.
James LaLonde, senior brand manager for Cannondale, agrees. He says their entry-level (read: good for beginners and more affordable) e-bike—the Quick Neo—has a battery life that lasts up to 70 miles. “If you ride for a full day, you may want to recharge it before you go to bed. But if you’re just commuting [a few miles], you could use it for a full week before you need to plug in. Then it’s a four-hour recharge when it’s completely dead.” (Of course, you don’t have to wait for it to get to zero if you want a shorter charge time.)
"Electric bikes are great for giving you an extra boost and a bit more zip for when you're a bit low on energy," says two-time Olympic gold winner Victorian Pendleton. "E-bikes are also a fantastic route into cycling for beginners, or for those returning to cycling, as they provide a helping hand when it comes to conquering physical fitness challenges."