Over the past 12 years, we've seen the popularity of electric bikes increase year on year. Chances are someone you know owns an electric bike.
Covid 19 has only increased the popularity of e-bikes as more people avoid public transport & look for a low risk, cheaper alternative to cars & public transport.
What is an electric bike
An electric bike, also known as an e-bike, is a bicycle with a battery powered motor that provides assistance to the rider.
In addition to all of the standard components of a bicycle, electric bikes generally include a motor, controller, display screen & battery.
How do e-bikes work
Using an electric bike is like instantly becoming a professional cyclist.
Most electric bikes have "pedal assistance". Sensors detect when the rider starts pedalling & activate the e-bike motor. When the rider stops pedalling, the motor stops.
The display allows you to adjust how much assistance the motor provides. Low levels of assitance are like having a breeze in your back. High levers of assistance will propel you up steep hills without needing to pedal any harder.
Pedal assist bikes in Australia must be limited to a speed 25km. When you reach this speed, the motor will stop providing assistance however the rider can still continue pedalling.
The battery powers the motor. The capacity of the battery relates to how far you can ride per charge. The larger the battery, the further you can ride per charge. If you run out of battery, you can still pedal the bike without motor assistance.
Some electric bikes have a throttle which allows the rider to activate the motor without pedalling.
The progression of e-bikes
In the early days of electric bikes, e-bike conversions were a popular way of adding an electric system to your standard bike.
The few bike manufacturers that made e-bikes would generally add on electric systems to their existing bike models.
As a result, electric systems were often added to bikes that weren't best suited to be electric bikes.
These days, manufacturers design & build frames specifically made to be electric bikes. The improvement of electric systems has resulted in more powerful motors, sleek integrated displays & larger more efficient batteries.
More recently, these advancements have also lead to the development of super-lightweight electric bikes that are mostly undistinguishable from standard bikes to the untrained eye.