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Kicking the Tires of an E-Bike? Why Motors, Battery, and Service Matters

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Kicking the Tires of an E-Bike? Why Motors, Battery, and Service Issues

For those who’re trying to improve to an e-bike, you’re most likely just like the hundreds of different new riders looking for what e-bike is finest for you and your meant worth level. Whereas there may be loads of data on the market, we predict among the best methods to begin your search is by inspecting the motors and batteries. These two parts affect an e-bike’s efficiency, worth, and weight, so discovering the precise drive unit and battery on your using wants and price range is one of the best place to begin.

We’re right here to do the heavy lifting for you. Begin by taking our e-bike quiz beneath to seek out the kind of experience that most accurately fits your pursuits, and hold studying as we break down the important thing concerns to make for all of the important parts of an e-bike.

By the point you end this information, you’ll know precisely what to search for throughout your subsequent journey to the store or on-line buy.


All e-bike motors begin with the identical primary operate: changing electrical vitality into mechanical vitality. Inside a brushless DC (BLDC) motor is a rotor, with everlasting magnets hooked up, spinning inside a circle of electromagnets referred to as the stator. Corridor impact sensors change the stator’s electromagnets on and off in a sequence that spins the rotor, producing torque and making your e-bike go.

All e-bike drive models use this design, however there are three main motor designs that harness the facility of the BLDC to realize completely different outcomes.

Mid-drive motors place the motor between the cranks, the place the underside bracket can be. These motors use inside gear discount to generate excessive torque in a small bundle. That, mixed with the bike’s geared drivetrain, means mid-drives just like the Bosch Performance Line CX can climb hill after hill with out overheating.

Excessive torque, effectivity and centered weight distribution make mid-drive motors fashionable on electrical mountain bikes, and e-cargo bikes and better high quality hybrid bikes. Nonetheless, mid-drive e-bikes usually value greater than comparable hub-driven fashions as a result of hub motors are cheaper to fabricate. However in the event you’re searching for one thing that effectively climbs up hills, goes off-road or just gives probably the most easy, pure experience, go for a mid-drive electrical bike.

Hub motors are as they sound: inside a bicycle’s entrance or rear hub. They arrive in two primary variants, direct-drive and geared. Usually 3 to six inches in diameter, the hub has spokes hooked up to its exterior and electromagnets lining its inside. If you apply energy, the electromagnets spin the hub, inflicting the wheel to rotate. A direct drive hub motor has only one transferring half and is subsequently low cost to make and dependable—so long as it’s not going over many hills.

Hauling you and your e-bike over a steep hill just isn’t what direct-drive motors do finest, nonetheless. With out gear discount, the motors want loads of present to rise up to hurry, inflicting them to warmth up and burn by your battery quicker. They’re perfect for cruising at excessive speeds, although, as a result of they change into extra environment friendly the quicker you go. They’re additionally the one kind of motor you should buy on an entire e-bike that does regenerative braking, placing a marginal quantity of energy again within the battery by reversing the motor’s polarity whenever you squeeze the brake levers.

Geared hub motors characteristic inside gear discount and probably greater torque vs. direct drive hubs. They’re fashionable amongst reasonably priced e-bikes. Some electrical highway bikes will go for a compact geared hub motor when mid-drive torque ranges will not be required.

Nonetheless, mid-drives nonetheless dominate the high-performance market as a result of geared hub motors battle in the important thing areas of warmth dissipation and toughness. They’re superb for on-road and lightweight off-road using, however customers have reported inside gear failures after path using, and that’s possible why you don’t see them on e-mountain bikes.


Robb Thompson


Your pockets goes to really feel the e-bike’s battery greater than any element, so that you’ll need to know the way you’re spending your money. Most e-bikes use lithium-ion batteries, the sort you discover in cordless drills and leaf blowers. They’re favored for his or her excessive vitality density and sturdiness.

Battery capability is measured in watt-hours (Wh), a unit of vitality. Most e-bikes have batteries between 250 and 500 watt-hours, and also you’ll find yourself paying about $1 per Wh.

An e-bike’s vary will rely on the hilliness of your route, the bike’s weight, its tires’ rolling resistance, and different variables. However in our testing, a 500 Wh battery will take most individuals not less than 30 miles below reasonable help, together with a couple of sizable hills. Bosch makes it tremendous straightforward to discover vary potentialities for all their motors with this helpful range calculator.


Courtesy of Bosch

Before you purchase, confirm that the bike’s battery is lithium-ion (Li-ion). Some e-bikes use lithium polymer (LiPo) battery cells, that are fashionable in RC vehicles and drones as a result of they’re even lighter and in a position to discharge extra rapidly than Li-ion cells. Nonetheless, LiPo batteries sometimes are available laminate packaging fairly than cylindrical cells, making them extra inclined to wreck (learn: hearth hazard).

For further peace of thoughts, attempt to discover a certification from Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a North American product testing firm that rigorously inspects client electronics to make sure they gained’t shock you or catch hearth.

Weight and Reliability

Past the motor and the battery, you will additionally need to think about an e-bike’s weight and reliability, each of which is able to issue into your possession expertise. You don’t need an e-bike that’s too heavy to placed on a automobile rack or continually breaking down.

Weight: Electrifying a motorcycle provides weight that might be greater than compensated for whereas using, which is one more reason to contemplate the central weight distribution of the mid-drive motors. Nonetheless, there’s no e-assist for hoisting the e-bike onto a tray rack or into the again of a minivan, so that you’ll additionally need to think about how usually you’ll have to choose the bike up. Contemplate in the event you’ll be bringing it up stairs or into public transport. If touring with the bike is high of thoughts, you’ll want to select an e-bike that has an simply detachable battery to scale back vital weight. Many hitch racks at the moment are being developed to accommodate the heavier e-bike with simpler loading options.

Reliability: Identical to acoustic bikes, electrical bikes generally break down and require common upkeep. The electrical parts (motor, battery) on an e-bike won’t be as straightforward to switch because the mechanical parts (cassettes, shifters), so make certain they arrive from a sustainable firm that has a confirmed file of longevity. Before you purchase, think about the way you’d have the ability to service the bike—one thing not each bike store will do. Manufacturers like Bosch have an in depth international dealer network for in-person service, whereas others could ship out a technician or ask you to ship the bike again. Both approach, you’ll want to know your choices if one thing goes improper. [VVJ(1]



Brian Vernor

E-bike shows can do much more than management the fundamental features of the bike. Ensure your subsequent e-bike’s show tells you what key knowledge is necessary to you, whether or not that’s coronary heart fee knowledge, how a lot battery you might have left, or tips on how to navigate your journey. Listed here are the Bosch e-bike shows that provide you with all of your experience knowledge with a fast look.


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