The increasing concern for the environment, for energy saving and alternative sources of energy, have led many people to look with increasing interest to modern green transportation means.In recent years, there has been a significant comeback to the bicycle and its evolution, the electric bike (also called assisted pedal bike).
Electric bikes are the perfect solution for those who love cycling, that may need an extra push to tackle the climbs without being too hot and sweaty, as they live in areas that aren’t always flat.
Thanks to a motor, especially a battery, pedal assisted bikes, apparently look very similar to classic bikes.
They can be considered as a real modern means of transport, that may reach, depending on the model, up to 25 km/h without any effort.
Depending on the type of batteries, the charge may last between 4 and 8 hours.
Contrary to what you may be thinking, the battery doesn’t recharge with movement, i.e. it does not recharge while pedaling, but only via a cable that must be plugged into the socket.
How to choose an electric bike.
The purchase of an electric bike, as for a classic bike, should be made only after a test ride.
Height, comfort and handling must be chosen by trying different models. In addition, you should also take into consideration, the kind of route you usually take with your bike, whether it’s a flat path or hilly, of course, always considering the distances you would be covering.
These last two parameters are fundamental, not only to define the bike comfort, but also and above all, to carefully choose the type of battery, and therefore the self-sufficiency of the bike itself.
It must be said, that the motor and battery are the two basic elements that characterize a pedal assisted bike.
Therefore, it is important to carefully choose an e-bike, according to your needs and usage.
You should also keep in your mind that the motor and battery, along with the size and characteristics of the frame, will define the price of the e-bike.
It is important to highlight that there aren’t only city e-bikes, but mountain e-bikes, for which there is a wide range of choice, as they are more and more in demand.
Motor and battery of an electric bike
Due to law restrictions, the motor of an electric bike can have a maximum power of 250 W, that should be working only when you start pedaling.
It should be turning off when the pedals are no longer moving.
It should cut off when the maximum allowed speed of 25 km/h has been reached.
If a bike does not comply with these parameters and has a greater motor power that doesn’t switch off when the pedaling stops, this cannot be defined as an electric bike and is subject to registration and license plate.
The motor power allows a very easy ride and to tackle effortlessly climbs with 3-4% gradients.
If from the point of view of the “ease” of pedaling, the choice of the motor is fundamental, the choice of the battery life depending on your needs, is even of greater importance.
The batteries used for electric bikes are of two different types, lithium or Li-Ion (i.e. lithium ion).
The first normally have a voltage of 36 V and the power varies, depending on the models, but usually between 8 and 15 A until today.
They weight about 2 kilos and the recharge takes around 4 to 6 hours, depending on the models.
The Li-Ion batteries have similar characteristics to the previous ones, but a much longer life, being able to withstand between 800 and 1,200 recharge cycles depending on the type.
With a charged battery, different e-bikes may last from 40 to 90 km.
It also depends on the type of route, if there are any hills or not, the number of stops and the presence of particular options on the bike, such as whether the bikes allow or not the “eco” mode, a mode that optimizes assisted pedaling by limiting the drain on the battery.
It must also be emphasized that, the characteristics of the cyclist contribute to the consumption of the battery: weight, pedaling mode and position on the saddle can influence the energy expenditure of the battery.
The evolution of the electric bike
Electric bikes are not a recent invention: in fact, the first bicycle equipped with a battery and a motor dates back to 1895.
The first models were only for personal usage and often remained only projects and have never been implemented. Other times, they became reality.
As you can imagine, the first models were very heavy, either due to a frame that didn’t have the characteristics of today’s e-bikes, or due to motor and battery which were bigger and heavier compared to today’s.
Nowadays, the frame, the motor and the battery allow electric bikes to be comfortable and practical, and different e-bikes manufactures started to focus more on the aesthetic side, components and accessories.
Today’s electric bikes can be customized by the owners, who have a wide choice of possibilities to modify the appearance of their electric bike, adding technological components and accessories according to their style and taste.