E-bikes use rechargeable batteries, electric motors and some form of control. Battery systems in use include sealed lead-acid (SLA), nickel-cadmium (NiCad), nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) or lithium-ion polymer (Li-ion). Batteries vary according to the voltage, total charge capacity (amp hours), weight, the number of charging cycles before performance degrades, and ability to handle over-voltage charging conditions. The energy costs of operating e-bikes are small, but there can be considerable battery replacement costs. The lifespan of a battery pack varies depending on the type of usage. Shallow discharge/recharge cycles will help extend the overall battery life.
If you’re looking for an electric bike with a sporty assist that is effective above a "pootling" speed, this is your bike. The only downsides to all that connectivity? We experienced some random light flashing and occasional beeping on the stationary bike, as well as confusion with the bike not switching on occasionally. In some ways the connectivity is just a little too clever (read complicated) for its own good.
Should an e-bike actually look like an e-bike? Vanmoof think so. With a design and engineering sensibility that’s more Silicon Valley startup than heritage bike brand, Vanmoof is probably the most WIRED of the bikes on test. And the Electrified S has a host of features to prove it. The Bluetooth/proximity activated e-lock (with tamper sensor) that’s built into the frame is a clever innovation, although we're not sure this would be enough theft protection for inner city areas, (where the Vanmoof’s striking design stands out like a jewel on the bike rack). However, for €7 a month, if your bike is stolen, Vanmoof will track down your bike – or replace your bike with a model of the same age if they can’t retrieve it.
“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.”
The Netherlands has a fleet of 18 million bicycles. E-bikes have reached a market share of 10% by 2009, as e-bikes sales quadrupled from 40,000 units to 153,000 between 2006 and 2009, and the electric-powered models represented 25% of the total bicycle sales revenue in that year. By early 2010 one in every eight bicycles sold in the country is electric-powered despite the fact that on average an e-bike is three times more expensive than a regular bicycle.
Though aside from the extra battery and abundance of included accessories, Riese and Muller’s use of a Gate’s belt drive means no shifting of gears, no greasy maintenance, and much higher durability. If you have the money to spend, Riese and Muller’s Delite nuvinci is one of the best on the market and an ebike we just couldn’t get enough of during our own tests.
The Dash is an excellent, low-cost option for those looking for an intro to e-bikes kind of ride. The TranzX motor will take you up to 28mph for about 16-35 miles per charge–more if you’re conservative with the assist. The components aren’t too shabby either. Shimano M365 hydraulic disc brakes keep you safe, the Shimano Deore SGS drivetrain, and RockShox Paragon fork with 65mm of travel make it a great entry level option.
Having never ridden one before, I took a few electric bikes out to review in Central London and was an instant convert. For a commuter, they're ideal. While you still feel you've done exercise, the assistance means you won't arrive at work in a hot and sweaty state. The power boost whenever you start from a standing position is ideal for a speedy getaway at a traffic light with buses and lorries right behind you. And you'll get a nice ego boost every time you effortlessly ride past a struggling regular cyclist.
The time or distance an electric bike battery will run between chargings is impossible to judge with much accuracy. There are too many variables: terrain, speed, rider weight, bike load (shopping, kids, luggage), and more. However, we can make a few generalizations about an e-bike’s recharge time and overall working life. These generalizations should be used for comparison purposes only.
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.
Because e-bikes are capable of greater speeds for longer periods of time than standard bikes, you want extra control. Wider tires provide traction and some bump absorption with little penalty. You also want strong brakes to slow you (and all that extra weight) easily. It's worth looking at the quality of the brakes and investing in bikes with better ones if you can.