What are Ebikes?

As more and more electric bikes are making their way from the showrooms and out on to the streets, many people are wondering: what exactly is an Ebike, and is it right for me?  If you have never seen an Ebike – electric bicycle – before, then you are probably envisioning something that looks like a moped or a scooter, or perhaps even a paired down motorcycle, but an Ebike mostly resembles a regular bicycle more than any other type of motorized vehicle.  Typically it is a bike, any bike, that has been tinkered with in order to add a small motor and battery to power it to the stem of the bicycle.

You may be thinking that since it is an electric bike, that there will not be the traditional pedals on it in order to propel you forward, but that is also not true. An Ebike still has all of the same features that a regular bicycle will have, right down to the bike accessories and the pedals. You always have the option of moving the bike forward using the pedals and not using the motor at all. The idea behind an electric bike is not to replace traditional cycling, but more to augment it. It gives you a helpful hand in getting up and over hills or even taking over the propulsion if you are tired and need a break from pedaling.  When you are on an electric bike, you have three options available to you for movement, you can pedal, you can turn on and use the motor to move you, or you can pedal at the same time the motor is on.

An electric bike has a motor that is powered by a battery, so naturally that battery is going to run out of juice after a certain amount of use and will need to be charged. Most Ebike batteries are very easy to charge through the use of a regular wall outlet.  You simply plug it in for a few hours and then you are ready to get back on the road. Batteries to your Ebike’s motor will eventually run out and need to be replaced, but not until you have charged it around 1000 times.

Many people wonder how you can operate a bike with a  motor on it but not have to have a license in order to ride it, much like you do with motorcycles and scooters. The regulations in the US currently state that as long as an ebike motor is only capable of achieving up to 20 miles per hour and has a motor that is no higher that 750W that is it still considered a regular bicycle. Of course, you can always add your own force to the force of the motor to go faster than 20 mph if you wish, but the motor itself can only be capable of 20 on its own. As a result, most of the electric bikes that you see in local shops will automatically fall under these guidelines.