Electric bikes: everything you need to know
– So we here at The Vergelove electric rideables. Hoverboards, skateboards,scooters, motorcycles, mopeds,unicycles, tricycles, youname it, we’ve ridden it. But I’m here to tell youwhy I think electric bikesin particular are morethan just a fun tech fad. I think they could actually bethe future of transportation. But that said, there’s a lot out there,and you don’t wanna get fooled. So here’s some stuff youneed to know about e-bikes. Obviously e-bikes are not new. They’ve been around for decades. And if you live in Chinaor Europe, it’s a good betthat e-bikes are alreadya way of life for you. In Europe, for example,e-bikes have long helpedolder adults maintainindependence and are just nowreally blowing up with younger riders. But here in the U. S. , e-bikesare still pretty niche. They only account for a4% of total bikes sales. Compare that to morebike-friendly countrieslike the Netherlands wherethere are more e-bikes soldthan regular bikes. Overall, experts predictthat worldwide saleswill hit $23. 8 billion by 2025. But Americans are slowly coming around. Sales of electric-bikesin the U. S. have grownmore than eight folds since 2014. It took a long time to get to this point. Now one of the firstpatents for an electric-bikewas registered in 1895 by aninventor named Ogden Bolton. Now Bolton didn’t actuallyend up making or sellingany of his bikes,but amazingly some of the samedesign details can be foundin e-bikes today. A rear hub motor with abattery centrally mountedon the frame. Now I know what you’re thinking. What the hell is he talking about?A rear hub motor, amps and volts. I don’t wanna get ahead of myself. So let’s talk about thebasics before we get towhy e-bikes are thefuture of transportation. So generally speaking e-bikes are bicycleswith a battery-poweredassist that comes throughwhen you pedal or in somecases use a throttle. Pushing on the pedalactivates a small motorthat gives you a boost. So when you’re zipping up a hillor cruising over rough terrain,you don’t have to break a sweat. Twisting a throttle does the same thingbut without pedaling. There are two types of motors. There’s the mid-drive whichis located in the middleof the bike usuallybetween the two pedals. And then there’s the hubmotor which is locatedin the center of either thefront or the rear wheel. There are pros and consto both types of motors. Hub drives have been aroundforever and tend to be cheaperand more versatile. They’re really excellentmotors for anyone needinga reliable e-bike for long,mostly flat commuting. Mid-drives are usually smaller and lighterand can allow for greatertorque than hub drivesmaking them well suited forhilly areas and off road use. Their center positionon the bike also createsa more balanced ride. And changing a tire on a mid-drive bikeis usually less of a pain in the ass. E-bikes also tend to usedifferent types of sensorsto determine how best to dole out power. There are two types, torquesensors and cadence sensors. Torque sensors regulate the motor based onhow hard you’re pushing the pedals,while cadence sensors workoff of how fast you pedal. Good bikes use torquesensors while the low endershave cadence only, anda lot of bikes use both. I highly recommend testingout both types of motorsbefore buying an e-bikes tosee which is the best for you. Think about how youplan on using the bike. Commuting, off-roading, touring?The better e-bikes brandsusually match the appropriatemotor placement with thetype of bike they’re selling. Most mountain bikes comewith mid-range motorswhile the majority of commuter bikes soldin hill-less Amsterdam are hub based. ♪ They see me rollin‘ ♪♪ They hatin‘ ♪♪ Tryin‘ to catch me ridin‘ dirty ♪ Now let’s talk power. Manufacturers will oftenoffer power ratingsfor a variety of reasons. Until recently power ratingswere a way for bikecompanies to dance aroundEurope’s strict importation lawswhich prohibited anythingstronger than 250 watts. But now the continentallows the sale of bikeswith way more powerfulmotors, which is goodbecause it allows bikesto be seen as a viablealternative to cars. Still power ratings canbe pretty subjective,and you can probably getaway with just ignoring them. To get a better idea ofhow much maximum poweryou’ll actually feel,check to see if they listthe volts and the amps. Multiply those two togetherto get the watt hoursor the number of watts thatcan be delivered in an hour. This gives you a great senseof how much range you’ll get. For example, Rad PowerBikes‘ excellent cargo bikethe RadWagon has a batterypack that is 48 voltsand 14 amp hours. 48 times 14 equals672 watt hours. If you’re thrifty with your energy usage,each mile you travel willcost you about 20 watt hours. Therefore, a 672 watthour pack will get youabout 34 miles of range. Alright, let’s talk classes. There are three classesof e-bikes in the U. S. Class one is pedalassist with no throttle. Class two is throttleassisted but with a maximumspeed of 20 miles per hour. In a class three, it’s pedalassist only, no throttle,but with a maximum speedof 28 miles per hour. In Europe they only have two classes. Class one, which is byfar the most popular,has a maximum speed of25 kilometers an hourwith no helmet required. Class two is 1,000 watt plus motorscapable of going 45 kilometer an hour,require a helmet and can’tbe ridden on bike paths. They’re basically motorcycles. So where can you buy an e-bike?Well, your local bike storeis honestly your best bet. You’re gonna get a selectionthat’s been curatedby the owners, and thefolks that work thereare gonna have answers toall your burning questions. Amazon is obviously another place,but there’s some pretty serious trade-offsthat you have to consider. Your bike could arrive pretty banged up. And the companies thatsell e-bikes on Amazonare a little bit ephemeral,here one day, gone the next. It’s not just Amazon of course. A majority of the e-bikes sold in the U. S. are just cobbled togetherfrom off-the-shelfChinese made parts that youcan find in the catalog. And if that sounds easy,it’s because it is. It helps explain whythere are like a billione-bikes companies onKickstarter and Indiegogotrying to impress youwith their flashy designsand futuristic tech. Many don’t come with warrantiesor any customer support. And it’s very likely thatyou’re buying a Chinese modelthat’s just been rebrandedfor Western marketingand sold at a markup. If you find an e-bike that you like,an interesting test is tosearch the bike’s specson Alibaba to see if something similaris being sold in Asia. It might even be cheaper. Alright, so I promisedto explain why I thinkthat e-bikes are thefuture of transportation. So here we go. First, it lowers the barrier to biking. So if you’re someone who’solder or you’re stressed outabout the strains of biking,it really lowers the barrier,and it’s easier to justifygetting on a bike and just ride. You’re more likely to ditchyour car or delete you Uber appif you know you’re gonnaget to where you wanna gowithout getting sweating and stressed out. And look, if you’re worriedabout electric bikestaking all the fun out ofcycling, well, you’re wrong. A study of the cognitiveand psychological effectsof outdoor cycling actuallyfound the same resultsfor e-bikes and traditional bikes. Let’s say climate change has got you down. Electric bikes are way more sustainablethan electric cars. They’re gonna make ourcities more livable,and they’re gonna helpclear up traffic congestion. So as our cities arebecoming more congested,some companies are turning to e-bikesto make their deliveries. Domino’s Pizza recentlyannounced they’re gonna be usingRad Power Bikes to make pizzadeliveries in some cities. UPS is using electric cargo bikes. German delivery companyDPD is gonna be usingthese really cute looking mini trucksthat are actually e-bikes in disguise. E-bikes are changingthe way that businessesare doing business. So the other day I wasriding an e-bike to work,and a remarkable thing happened. Well, first, I wasn’t killed, which,in a city as deadlyfor bikers as New York,is a minor miracle. But more importantly I gotto the office super quick,much faster than if Ihad taken the subway,and I wasn’t a sweaty, stressedout mess when I arrived. Here e-bikes are almost exclusively usedby food deliver workers,and it got me thinking abouthow far behind the restof the world the U. S. iswhen it comes to bikes. We see them more as recreationthan as transportation. Something to be used in fair weatherand not in the rain andthe snow like the Dutch do. But come on, our U. S. women’s team just beat themin the World Cup. Surely we can competein the saddle as well. Our streets are designed for cars,and pedestrians and bikers arereally just an afterthought. But e-bikes can open up a whole world,especially for peoplewith different abilities. Look, they’re not gonna solve everything,but I can guarantee thatonce you start riding,you’re not going to wanna stop. Did we make that word up?Is that a real word, rideable?It’s like a lunchable, but you ride it. What the hell is that thing? – Maybe it’ll be really quick.