Common Questions

How far and how long can I go on one battery charge?

 This depends on several factors, such as the user's weight, terrain you are riding on, and how much you use your legs vs. just using the throttle. It also depends on the battery voltage and amp hours of the battery. Most will run about 2 hours, or around 30 miles between charges. Almost all have battery meters indicating how much charge is remaining. 

How long does a battery charge take?

Most chargers offer a charging current of 2A, so a 10 Ah battery will take 4-5 hours.

How long will a battery last?

It depends on the battery chemistry. Lithium batteries will generally last about 500-750 charges before their capacity begins to drop. Lead acid batteries can be ruined after just about 100-200 charges. It depends how often you use it, and charge the battery. Generally, figure about three years for a Lithium battery or under a year for a Lead Aci one.

How big does a motor need to be?

 At least 200 watts. It is worth mentioning that all motors have 2 ratings, continuous and peak. Some manufacturers take advantage of this overstating the power of their motors by using their peak ratings in the descriptions. This way a 200W motor suddenly becomes a 400W powerhouse. Both ratings are important and will ensure that you're comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges.

By law, motors are restricted to 750 watts maximum (continuous). Depending on the current limit setting on the motor controller, most motors can generate about 450 watts of peak power. This will get you up some pretty steep hills.

It's also worth noting that not all motors are created equal. A hub motor may feel underpowered with up until about 500W. A mid-drive motor, on the other hand, can provide a lot of torque and power with just 250W because its power gets multiplied as its transferred through the crank. Considering that the peak power of the mid drive can also reach 400-500W, even before being multiplied by the transmission, the end result is a hill climbing machine that uses very little power. 

How fast can an electric bike go?

Most state laws restrict electric bikes to cut off power at 20 mph. Of course, using pedaling power and downhill, you can go faster. The difference is most noticeable going up-hill where your speed can double or triple that of a non-motorized bike.

Why are electric bikes so heavy?

 The motor, controller and battery weigh 15-20 pounds. There is additional tubing to support the battery and most electric bikes have rear cargo carriers, chain guards, and fenders which add more weight, so electric bikes often weigh 60 pounds. Beware of super lightweight electric bikes. It is usually an indication of a very small battery being used. The end result are cost savings for the manufacturer (not the consumer), reduced power and reduced range. Also pay special attention to battery protection and a frame to support the additional weight.

How many gears should I have on an electric bike?

Though this is a personal preference, anything more than 7 or 8 is a bit excessive. In fact, most people use only the top gears most of the time as the throttle can help you start, even if in top gear.

What is "pedal assist," and "power on demand?"

Electric bikes sold in Europe must be pedal assist, which means the motor will not engage unless the pedals are moving. Most bikes sold for the USA market have a twist or thumb throttle, which is "power on demand."

Why do most electric bikes have fenders, chain guards, and rear carriers?

Many electric bikes are used by commuters, students, and people on errands wanting to save money and our environment by using an electric bike. These features allow you to carry groceries, books, computer equipment, or other personal items while wearing regular clothing.