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
What’s the point of an electric bike?
Electric assist bikes add power to your own pedaling thus enabling you to do more with a bicycle (ride faster, get up hills easier) and have more fun! For many people eBikes help them:
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.
- Can I Test Ride an eBike?
Absolutely. We feel that 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.
Looking to extend the Test Ride? We can rent you an eBike for the day (call for details). Take it to your favourite roads, paths and routes... and get a true sense of the capabilities. Upon your return, should you decide to purchase an eBike, we'll then apply the rental fee to your bike purchase.
- How fast can they go?
Most electric bikes in Canada will provide you with assist up to 32kph.
- Why can’t they go faster?
The intent of an electric assist bicycle is to be very similar to a conventional bicycle and that includes the speed that 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 they 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 the 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 the 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. With this in mind, 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 they cost?
Electric bikes range in price from $500 to $10,000+ but the average price range for a quality electric bikes is $2,500 to $4,500.
- I currently ride a conventional bike, why would I need an electric bike?
You may find that adding an electric bike to your lineup of bikes 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.
Overall, 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.
- How much do they 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.
COME ON INTO CYCLEPATH AND TAKE AN EBIKE FOR A TEST RIDE!