First impressions

Hi. I'm new to this e-bike world but have made some obversations from reading the online threads. My first observation is that there is a lot of confusion over performance and range. I think that that is probably less complicated for me in Europe as I like most other people here ride 25 km/h pedal assist bicycles not more powerful machines or those which rely on battery power for propulsion using a throttle. The range offered by any bike is very variable and is influenced by many factors including the motor power/batters size, rider weight, terrain, rider technique, fitness etc. As a newcomer I was amazed by the lack of range mentioned by other posters until I realised that many people use their bikes as electric motorcycles rather than power assisted bicycles. The second observation is the short life span of the transmission components experienced by many riders. Is that because too many manufacturers use components that are just not up to the job?
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
Is that because too many manufacturers use components that are just not up to the job?
No, poor riding technique is primarily to blame for mechanical failure. If you keep a proper (high pedal cadence) coupled with the appropriate gear selection and power setting, stress on the motor, gears and controller are minimized. If you start off from a stop on maximum power in the wrong gear, or always "lug" your bike up a grade with the motor running at low RPM with a high power setting you are stressing the components and setting yourself up for a mechanical failure.

Court J.
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
As a newcomer I was amazed by the lack of range mentioned by other posters until I realised that many people use their bikes as electric motorcycles rather than power assisted bicycles.

Good observation. Yes that will certainly drastically reduce range and also be more abusive to the components unless the rider using only throttle is being particularly cautious.

Court J.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
The range offered by any bike is very variable and is influenced by many factors including the motor power/batters size, rider weight, terrain, rider technique, fitness etc
If you are riding a light two wheeler the main factor is wind resistance. Europe limits bikes to a low speed and that speed matches the wattage limits. In the US, legal speeds can be double the Euro-speeds. The laws of aerodynamics say if you double the speed you quadruple the power is takes to move forward. So Europe uses 250 watts and the US uses 750 watts.

Hub motors extend the life of drive components by doing a big proportion of the work. My drivetrain will probably last forever, and they are low end spec Shimano stuff.

Ebikes have pedals and if people ever pedal, it does them some good. The fact is that most people pedal most of the time but at speeds around 25mph the motor does most of the work.
 

vincent

Well-Known Member
hmm, i read a lot of the threads on this forum and have not noticed many people talking about only using throttle and not pedalling

it seems to me the bikes are very varied in weight, battery capacity , volts 36vs 48 and motor size etc in addition to rider weight, terrain, wind etc so i would be surprised if we did not all reference different ranges

sure i get more range riding here in the flats a lot than someone riding the same bike in a hilly/mountainous area

and we have a lot of varied qualities of bikes available so some component failures would be normal
 
The thing is Vincent that was one of my first impressions so it cannot be disputed. Personally I'm not sure if riding in hilly areas uses more power, having ridden normal bikes in hilly areas and Holland I find the flat to be far more tiring, especially when there is any wind. I live in a hilly area and when using my e-bike only use the assistance when needed and that excludes all downhill sections, most of the flat and of course the times when I am exceeding 25km/h.
There are many posts that state how their writer has bought x chains and y chainsets in ridiculously low mileages. I have mountain bikes that have never had transmission failures despite having hard lives. All these breakages appear, to me, to suggest that the components are chosen on cost grounds not suitability.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
Your first observation seems certainly true for the USA. We are an automatic transmission culture here. Even some people who have been riding bikes for years don't understand gears very well.

Me, I've always enjoyed clicking up and down thru the gears on my bikes, and I really like it when the adjustments are set right. I use gears and pedal assist because I am a recreational rider. Don't need to get somewhere on time. 25 km/hour is faster than my usual speeds. When I have checked my "mileage", it's under 8 watt-hours per mile which is about half of "average" use. I get range anxiety, but I'm capable of riding home on no battery.

Your second applies to mid drives that are used hard, very hard. I have a Bafang mid drive kit. I picked up an extra chain and a better derailleur, and I have extra free wheels (new), but haven't seen any wear on my old stuff after 500 miles because my usage is pretty mild.

On the other hand, I like having power in reserve. Verified that my Bafang kit will do 45 km/hr. I also have a bike with a little 250W motor and 250W/36W controller. The throttle was kind of useless. I upgraded to a 500W controller, and now it has some bite. I put 48 volts on it yesterday and it will do 40 km/hour. Will probably melt the motor if we used it like that.
 
Your first observation seems certainly true for the USA. We are an automatic transmission culture here. Even some people who have been riding bikes for years don't understand gears very well.

Me, I've always enjoyed clicking up and down thru the gears on my bikes, and I really like it when the adjustments are set right. I use gears and pedal assist because I am a recreational rider. Don't need to get somewhere on time. 25 km/hour is faster than my usual speeds. When I have checked my "mileage", it's under 8 watt-hours per mile which is about half of "average" use. I get range anxiety, but I'm capable of riding home on no battery.

Your second applies to mid drives that are used hard, very hard. I have a Bafang mid drive kit. I picked up an extra chain and a better derailleur, and I have extra free wheels (new), but haven't seen any wear on my old stuff after 500 miles because my usage is pretty mild.

On the other hand, I like having power in reserve. Verified that my Bafang kit will do 45 km/hr. I also have a bike with a little 250W motor and 250W/36W controller. The throttle was kind of useless. I upgraded to a 500W controller, and now it has some bite. I put 48 volts on it yesterday and it will do 40 km/hour. Will probably melt the motor if we used it like that.
I know about the automatic gearbox culture as I also have a Model A Ford and am a member of a forum based in the US. Every now and again there are threads about people having to learn or relearn how to use a manual gearbox.
 
If you are riding a light two wheeler the main factor is wind resistance.
Possibly on the flat but absolutely not true whe I and many other people ride. The main factor for most people is gradient. Wind resistance usually only comes into effect when travelling downhill and then gravity provides free assistance.