Wouldn’t the world be a happier, healthier place if more people could ride bikes more often?
With Electric Bikes now more people can.
There are millions of electric bikes (eBikes) on the road today in China and sales have been surging in Europe - even in countries with long and storied cycling traditions. eBikes are a new and promising alternative form of transportation here in the United States. They provide a respite to frenetic highways, add zero emissions and like conventional bicycles, offer health benefits while being just plane fun to ride. In many urban situations, commuting by electric bike will be faster and cheaper than either driving or taking public transit.
Fundamentally, an eBike is just a regular bicycle with an electric motor to provide additional assistance to a rider’s own power. There is no throttle - power is provided only when the bike rider pedals. An eDrive system monitors rider output, cadence and speed to deliver a seamless power boost. The assisted power ceases whenever pedaling does. A rider can pedal unassisted and just use the motor to help out on hills and headwinds or use the motor continuously to make riding easier and faster. Since eBikes are pedal assist rather than motorized, they are street legal almost everywhere that bicycles are.
Having fun, riding longer - further - faster with less effort, and ditching the car
It’s still a bicycle
Remember that an eBike at its core is still a bicycle. You’ll want to look at its overall component package as well as its frame and consider whether it would still be a bike that you’d ride without power. At the end of the day, no matter how good the motor and battery, if you put them on a cheap or unreliable bicycle, it will give you a correspondingly poor experience.
Most eBikes on the market will come with one of two motor types, a hub motor – either on the front or rear wheel or a mid-mount motor. Hub motors are less expensive, but have less torque and require more power from the battery than a mid-mount motor. A heavy motor placed within a bicycle wheel also makes for a very imbalanced ride and maintenance such as flat tire repair becomes very combersome. A mid-mount motor is mounted within the bottom bracket and is intergrated directly with the crankset. This is much more efficient because the motor uses the bicycle’s existing gears to provide more torque when needed. Consequently, a smaller mid-mount motor can offer more power and consumes less energy from the battery than a heavier hub motor. With a lighter weight motor placed low and centered, an eBike with a mid-mount motor handles much like a regular bike. You’ll find both Shimano and Bosch’s motors on our bike offerings. Both are maintenance free and provide very low noise and vibration. Shift detection is instantaneous and chain routing over the drive cog is secure so shifts are smooth and chain wear is minimized.
When comparing e-bike power packs, the most important specification is how much energy the battery contains, because that amount determines how much is available to power the motor. The measurement for how much energy is contained in the battery is referred to as Watt-hours (Wh). Depending on variables like gear selection, tire pressure, rider weight, temperature, and assist level, the power packs on Gear West stocked eBikes can provide up to 60 miles while in the economy mode or between 20 - 60 miles across a general mix of modes. These power packs contain litium-ion cell batteries, which unlike the older style batteries do not need to be completely discharged. They offer superior range, reliability & longevity, use a standard 110V plug-in charger and fully charge in less than 4.5 hours. Batteries will operate at full strength for 500 cycles - after which they retain about 60% of original capacity. In all, a battery will be serviceable for between 15,000 and 30,000 miles.
Gear West stocks four models of eBikes from Felt and Trek. We have chosen to carry these models for their design attributes, proven reliability of components and the uncompromising reputation of both bike manufacturers. Please continue to read more about eBikes and the models we are offering and stop into the shop to test ride one. We’re certain you’ll be surprised and impressed by what they have to offer.