Frequently Asked E-BIKE Questions
With electric-assist bikes (e-Bikes) being reasonably new and somewhat unfamiliar to many in Canada, we've put together a list of Frequently Asked Questions that we hear often at the shop.
Take a look at what's written below and if you still have questions, don't hesitate to contact us at Cyclepath Kelowna – give us a call, stop by the shop or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ride faster compared to a conventional bike. You may be surprised how quickly you can get around even compared to a car.
- Enjoy riding uphill and into headwinds because the electric assist helps you along. Don’t sweat it; ride with higher assist to get to work quickly with minimal sweat. Then ride home with less assist to get a workout if you want.
- Safety. Safely get through intersections by being able to accelerate quickly from a stop.
- Save the joints. eBikes can make bike riding fun again by putting less pressure on knees, hips, and other joints.
- Enjoy the ride together. You may have a riding partner that rides at a different speed than you. An eBike can even out the pace for both of you.
- Leave the car at home. The convenience, the ease and the speed of an electric assist bike makes it a better alternative to an automobile more often than a regular bike does. A study by Portland State University shows that eBike owners ride more frequently and farther than when they relied on their traditional bike.
- Have more fun! Riding a bicycle is already fun and when you add electric assist it just increases that fun - especially when those hills are flattened out! It will be like riding with the wind always at your back.
What’s the point of an electric bike?
Electric assist bikes add power to your own pedaling. They empower you to do more with a bicycle (ride faster, get up hills easier) and have more fun! For many people eBikes help them:
Can I Test Ride an eBike?
Absolutely. Nothing compares to actually getting out and feeling the electric assist helping you out. To truly understand them, you really need to experience them. Feel free to drop into Cyclepath Kelowna (at 2169 Springfield Road) during store hours and take one for a free test ride - no appointment is necessary.
Take it to your favourite roads, paths and routes... and get a true sense of the capabilities.
How fast can EBIKES go?
Most electric bikes in Canada will provide you with assist up to 32kph.
Why can’t EBIKES go faster?
The intent of an electric assist bicycle is to be very similar to a conventional bicycle and that includes the speed it can travel. If eBikes provided higher power assisted speeds then they would be regulated like a scooter or motorcycle which would require registration, licensing, insurance, etc. In addition, this would limit where eBikes can be ridden. Bicycles and electric assist bicycles are great vehicles because they do not require registration, licensing, insurance, and there are so many places they can be ridden – and you are getting exercise at the same time!
How far can they go?
Most electric bikes have a range of 50 to 100km and that depends on the riding conditions (hills, headwinds, etc.), how much pedal power you are providing, and how much weight you are moving (yourself + cargo). You can get eBikes with more range but they are generally more expensive and weigh more because of the larger battery pack. As this technology matures and battery technology evolves the ranges will increase as well. Quick tip: charging your battery at work will help to increase your daily range.
How much power do ebikes have?
Generally electric bikes in Canada will range from 250 watts to 750 watts. 750 watts is the maximum power to still be considered a bicycle - and that equates to 1 horsepower.
How long does it take to charge an ebike battery?
Most electric bike batteries will fully charge from empty in 3 to 6 hours, depending on the battery size.
How much does it cost to charge an ebike battery?
In general, it will cost $0.05 to $0.20 to charge an electric bike battery pack. This will depend on what your local electricity supplier charges. Most employers will not mind if you charge your battery at work.
Throttle or Pedal Assist, Which is Best?
When e-bikes first arrived on the scene a number of years ago the sensor technology was not as well developed and there was a noticeable delay between applying pedal pressure and the e-bike motor engaging. So, at that time, a throttle was advantageous especially when starting on a hill. We have found, though, that a number of riders with throttle capability tend to rely on their throttles often and treat their electric assist bike more like an electric scooter and they rarely pedal. With the sensor technology available in the latest quality electric assist bikes, especially on mid-drive motors, a throttle is really not necessary.
How much do electric bikes cost?
Electric bikes range in price. The average price range for a quality electric bikes is $2,500 to $4,500 - but more specialized electric bikes can go for $10,000+.
Why would I need an electric bike?
There are so many reasons to buy an electric bike. You might live at the top of a hill, or somewhere that's a little too far away to commute comfortably on a traditional bicycle. You might have a faster parter, or you might just be getting into cycling and want something that helps you while you improve your fitness.
Whatever your reason - adding an electric bike to your lineup expands what you can do with a bicycle. For instance, with an electric cargo bike you can take the kids to school, commute to work, pick up groceries, and enjoy a nice bike ride at the end of a long work day. Remember, you can never have too many bikes!
Also, you may know of family and friends that currently don’t ride a bike but would enjoy riding an electric bike. eBikes can “level the playing field” so that couples and/or friends of different riding ability levels can enjoy riding together.
The more people on bikes, the better!
Can you get any exercise on an electric bike?
Absolutely! You decide how much exercise you want to get by adjusting the power-assist level on the bike.
One strategy is to commute to work with higher assist so you arrive with minimal to no sweat and then use a lower assist when riding home to get more of a work out and unwind from a long day. You can also use your bike in the lower assist mode for your flat riding and add more assist when you get to the hills.
Is using an ebike cheating?
Only if you think it is.
Electric bikes open doors for new and casual cyclists just as they do for experienced cyclists. Casual commuters can get to class, work, or brunch faster without working up too much of a sweat on the way there. New cyclists can explore new roads and discover a love for the sport, spending hours on the bike instead of getting quickly worn out. Mountain bikers can use the electric-boost to hone skills they might not otherwise have the power for or in areas they haven't had much experience in, like the technical climbs you find all around BC (but not so much in Kelowna).
If some consider it 'cheating' to want to use the tools available to build your skills, confidence, and love for cycling, then that's their cross to bear. As far as we're concerned, if you're on a bike and having fun, you're a true cyclist.
How much do EBIKES weigh?
Generally electric bikes range from 45 pounds to 60 pounds. Of course, there are the exceptions on both sides of that range. It is important to note that given the power of the eBike, once you are riding and under pedal-assist, you will hardly notice the weight of the bike.
Their weight doesn't mean they look clunky or chunky either. EBikes today are sleeker than ever, like this one:
COME ON INTO CYCLEPATH AND TAKE AN EBIKE FOR A TEST RIDE!