You know the saying, “What you see is what you get?” That’s pretty much the case here: An e-bike or "pedal-assist" bike is a pedal bike with an integrated electric motor that adds power when you pedal. It's not like a motorcycle, moped, or motorbike, because it doesn't have a throttle or engine. Think of it like when you get the rocket boost in Mario Kart (except it lasts for more than three seconds).
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Visually, the Pedego City Commuter Classic Electric Bike is stunning – a smart blend of yesteryear's style and today's technology. Pleasantly high handlebars, a sprung seat, and lovely Schwalbe Fat Frank tires make it very comfortable. Stopping is taken care of by powerful disk brakes, front and rear. Lights are included, as is a useful cargo rack. From an e-bike standpoint, the Pedego Classic City Commuter sports a reliable, hub-mounted motor driven by a 36-volt, 10-amp battery. There's a digital display with a trip computer, odometer, speedometer, pedal assist level, and battery charge information.
E-bikes are one of the latest ways technology is infiltrating the fitness market. Although they may seem techy and confusing at first, they really are just regular bicycles with a little extra boost. To test one, ask your local bike shop to demo a model they have available (pro tip: If a bike shop won't let you demo, don't shop there). Just getting on one will definitely help you understand how an e-bike works and how one might work for your lifestyle and goals.
“Our first-generation bike used the same type of 36-volt, 10-amp-hour battery,” he says. “It got between 20 and 30 miles of range, and that’s riding with pedal assist. Using just the throttle you might get 20, less if you’re running on sand or up hills. The charge time is also problematic; with that kind of battery you’re looking at four to six hours, not 90 minutes.”
Electric trikes have also been produced that conform to the e-bike legislation. These have the benefit of additional low speed stability and are often favored by people with disabilities. Cargo carrying tricycles are also gaining acceptance, with a small but growing number of couriers using them for package deliveries in city centres. Latest designs of these trikes resemble a cross-between a pedal cycle and a small van.
Riese & Müller have built their bikes to be masters of bike touring. They are some of the only electric bikes that offer a dual battery setup. This means that you are going to be able to go double the distance without recharging. This capability is truly invaluable during a bike tour. On Bosch motors, this takes you from 500 watt hours to 1000 watt hours. There are not any motors offering that type of battery range.
If you want it to, an e-bike can replace a car, which is better for good ol' Mother Earth. Weinart says many young professionals are now seeking a "car-free" or "car-lite" lifestyle. In fact, 65 percent of people said replacing car trips was the main reason for getting an e-bike, according to a recent report. Accessories, such as racks, baskets, fenders, and even cargo e-bikes (for toting groceries or kiddos) are all available to make commuting by bike easier and more comfortable.
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.
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.