Electric Bikes 101

Posted by Kenneth Poon on

They are simple, they are cheap, and they are economical. For sure, bicycles are one of the world’s most favourite forms of transportation. However, bicycles are not for everyone. Some find it hard to pedal up and down the hill. For some, if they are carrying heavy loads or for the elderly or disabled people, it can be almost impossible to manage and use a bicycle.

Over the past few years, the new generation of bicycle is introduced. The electric bicycles, also known as ebikes were introduced. These electrical bicycles began the revolution of using environmental-friendly transportation but still using the power of electricity to move. Ebikes give their users the convenience of using cars but they still have the concept of an ordinary bicycle.

 

What Are The Benefits of an Electric Bike?

 

There are numerous benefits to owning an electric bike, whether you are already a regular cyclist or contemplating taking up cycling for the first time. Indeed, many of the advantages of non-assisted cycling apply to electric bikes too.

You will enjoy the benefits of getting fitter and healthier without the high costs of going to the gym.

In an increasingly sedentary world, more exercise would be a good thing for many of us, and building cycling into your routine is a good way to get that exercise. Even on a bike that has a motor helping you, you will get exercise. Just turning the pedals will keep joints mobile and burn more calories than sitting in a car or on a bus. If you suffer from painful leg joints, then the gentle workout offered by an electric bike might help, even if pushing hard is beyond you.

Of course, if you want an all-out no-pain-no-gain workout, a standard bike will make you work harder. But will you keep it up? Like a crash diet that leaves you feeling hungry all the time, taking on a long commute or a hilly locality might mean you start off with good intentions, but then start to find excuses to back out, and leave the bike in the shed. An electric bike, like a sensible balanced diet, could help you to maintain your level of activity, meaning that you get more exercise in the long run, using it several times a week. And of course, as you gain fitness, you can choose to use the assistance less and less, perhaps only on the worst hills, or into the strongest headwinds. And with assistance, you might feel able to travel further, increasing the amount of time you spend exercising. Cycling isn’t just about physical fitness either – there can be huge benefits in terms of well being, just from being out in the fresh air, seeing the countryside at a human pace, hearing the birds and experiencing the seasons. An electric bike can help you to do all that, just as a standard bike can. Plus, if people who want to be fitter and healthier are on a budget, all you just need to do is purchase your own electric bike kits and you are already good to go!

 

You are saving more money

With the cost of motoring and public transport ever rising, cycling for regular transport is one way to make your money go further. The average cost of running a car, including fuel, parts, servicing, tolls and so on, is between $2 to $5 a mile. For standard, non-electric bikes, the cost has been estimated at around 4.2 cents a mile. For electric bikes, on the other hand, it’s between 5 and 8 cents a mile. Some experts do put the cost per mile higher for more heavily used electric bikes – up to around 20 cents or so – using less optimistic estimates of battery life before expensive replacement is needed. But even at this level, battery powered bikes is much cheaper than running a car.

An electric bike conversion kit does cost a little more than a non-electric bike in the first place. However, they often hold their value well and if you replace regular short car journeys with cycling, you can recoup the money quite quickly and gain all the advantages of cycling. In places like the city, where congestion charges apply, you will be exempt from them and you won’t have the expense of parking charges. It might be wiser to make sure that your bike is insured against theft or damage and this may be possible through your household insurance or a specialist schemes which explicitly covers electric bikes.

One of the biggest advantages of electric bicycles is that they're extremely affordable to operate. It costs less than a penny per mile to ride an electric bike or scooter. In comparison, it costs $0.15 per mile on average for gasoline alone or 1500% more to operate a gas-powered vehicle. Add in license costs, insurance, registration, maintenance and other fees, you will surely be paying skyrocketing costs. According to U.S. Government figures, the average cost of driving and maintaining a motor vehicle in the United States is $0.54 per mile.

 

No harmful carbon emission

For environmentally conscious individuals, the most important benefit of choosing electric-power is the positive impact on the environment. Unlike gas-guzzling vehicles, electric bicycles don't burn fossil fuels and release no harmful carbon emissions. Although power plants indirectly produce CO2 to charge the battery, its impact is minuscule when compared to automobiles. Not only does lowering CO2 emissions reduce pollution and improve air quality, but it might also limit the effects of global warming.

 

It is fun for use for people of all ages!

Not only are electric bikes and scooters cheaper, safer and cleaner to operate than gas-powered vehicles - they're fun for people of all ages! Electric scooters are great for kids and act as an excellent back-up ride to school. Dad will appreciate the fresh air and cool breeze on his effortless ride to work using his electric mountain bike. Retirees will even find electric bikes especially useful when performing their daily commutes to the park or the corner store.

 

Proper Care And Maintenance Routine

 

Proper electric bicycle maintenance is really no different than the maintenance needed for any other conventional bicycle. The electric components require little or even no maintenance and all the other bicycle parts require the same maintenance that is needed for any standard bicycle.

But electric bikes require more care since they will usually be ridden farther and faster than a conventional bicycle. And anything that slows the bike down (like dirt in the gears or deflated tires) forces the battery to work harder. This shortens the time between charges and means you can travel less distance on a single charge.

Gas powered vehicles have many different parts that move. An electric bike, in comparison, has very few moving parts. You don’t need any sort of oil change, air filters, spark plugs, etc in an electric bike. You can, by large, maintain and repair your own e-bike.

Basically, an electric bike has fewer components than a typical gas vehicle. Therefore, it is significantly cheaper and easier to maintain.

Keeping your e-bike in great condition is fairly easy and very important so don't neglect it.

 

Cleaning Your Bicycle

 

Cleaning is the number one thing you can do in order to ensure your e-bike will serve you for a long time. In the long run, it will save you money and a lot of time waiting for the bike to be repaired.

  • Ideally, you should clean your e-bike after each ride. But it really depends on your riding style and on how much you ride. A good rule of thumb is that if you ride more than twice or three times a week, clean your bicycle weekly! Once in a while, clean the bike with greater care.
  • The electrical components don't take kindly to strong water stream. A strong water stream could breach the waterproof seals of the electrical components and even force water in them and cause premature failure.
  • Therefore, don't use aggressive water sprays or power jets when washing the bike and keep water off the battery as much as you can. Clean gently but thoroughly and make sure that all the outer casing of the electric parts are dry and clean.
  • Remove any dirt, debris, sand, mud, grit, and grime that got caught on the bike and dry it off.
  • While cleaning, it is a good opportunity to look closely for a worn, loose, cracked, rust, teared or damaged part. Buckled paint can also be a hint for some parts that need closer inspection.
  • If you are not sure about something, advise with some knowledgeable friend or take the bike to your bike shop.
  • Don't use aggressive water sprays or power jets when washing the bike: keep water off the battery as much as you can
  • Dry off the bike after washing it, or after riding in the wet.
  • Don't leave the bike out in the rain or snow: store it somewhere dry and out of direct sunlight (which can cause problems if the battery overheats)
  • Don't open up casings, chargers, etc. You are unlikely to be able to reseal them effectively, making them more susceptible to water damage

 

Lubricating

 

  • After cleaning, it is also advisable to lubricate the chain, levers, derailleur, cables, etc. A clean, lubricated e-bike tends to be faster, smoother and quieter. It's like having a little extra push for free.
  • Apply the lubricant to the different parts and let it sit a few minutes and then wipe off the excess lubricant with a rag.
  • After a while, clean the different parts with a degreaser to remove any excess dirt that has been collected on them.

 

Do Not Expose Your Bike In Extreme Conditions

  • Don't leave the bike out in the rain or snow.
  • Store it somewhere dry and out of direct sunlight. Overheating the batteries, for example, can cause problems.
  • Also avoid opening up casings, chargers, etc as you are unlikely to be able to reseal them effectively afterward, making them more susceptible to water damage and other extreme weather conditions.

 

Schedule Your Maintenance

 

The frequency of maintenance depends on how much you ride and under which conditions. Recreational riders need far less maintenance then off-road riders. The harder you ride, the more you have to take care of your bike if you want it to last.

There are various time intervals for proper maintenance. Quick maintenance should be done before & after every ride. And then, every couple of months, a more serious maintenance steps should be taken.

 

Always Read The User Manual

 

With each new pair of e-bike, you should get a manual which include, along with other stuff, the basic maintenance procedures (and also the non-basic stuff). It also needs to include the initial setup procedures. For example, the battery requires initial setup before its first use.

In case you didn't get it, ask the shop seller to give it to you. You won't always get one. Sometimes, the seller won't have the manuals and sometimes even the e-bike manufacture didn't supply such a manual at all. It can happen sometimes when dealing with cheap e-bikes.

In either case, it should raise a question mark. Maybe you should look out for other e-bike shops or pass on to different e-bike brand.

If for some reason, you didn't get the manual after all, look for it inside the different brands pages.

 

Keep Your Tires Inflated To The Proper Air Pressure

 

This will keep your bike running smooth and efficient and it will prevent flats.  If your tire pressure is too low your bike will be more difficult to pedal and you risk a pinch flat (when you roll over an obstacle and it causes the tube to puncture by pinching it between the tire and rim).  If your tire pressure is too high it will make for a rougher ride.

As a good rule of thumb I recommend 50 psi for an e-bike that will be used for cruising around town for an average rider weight. For a lighter rider, 40-45 psi and for a heavier rider, 55-60 psi.


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