Place an ad

Ultimate Guide to Electric Bikes

August 01, 2017
Ultimate Guide to Electric Bikes

Breeze through traffic on your morning commute, over vineyard-lined hills to get that perfect glass of wine, or even up and over steep, stunningly beautiful mountain passes with an e-bike. You’ll cover ground during these expeditions faster than you’ve ever ridden before, and you’ll have enough energy to enjoy the scenery when you finally get there. An electric bicycle, or e-bike, lets you do everything from long rides on previously unexplored roads to rediscovering your commute to work. Everything feels a little bit easier, hills seem flatter, your city smaller, and things that once required a car are now just a bike ride away. Let an e-bike enhance your daily riding experiences and give you just a little more help than you are accustomed.

slorencephoto_stepssd_029-jpg

E-bikes are perfect for a wide-range of people. They are great if you are looking for an alternative to commuting by car, a less-physically demanding entry into the sport of cycling, or even for a seasoned cyclist that wants to cover more ground and experience more in a limited amount of time. E-bike pedal-assist systems feature large battery capacities and intelligent power management that result in an expansive riding radius. Ride 50 miles on a single charge, and fully recharge the battery in just a few hours.

slorencephoto_stepssd_407-jpg

Hate riding into the wind? Let your pedal-assist motor put in the extra effort for you so that you can focus on enjoying the scenery. Going to work, the store, or just out for a meal with friends? You’ll arrive cool, refreshed, not overheated and sweaty. Want to get to the end of that long, winding road, but afraid you won’t have enough energy to get back home? Let your e-bike take those fears off your mind. You’ll be able to explore new places knowing your pedal-assist system will get back.

slorencephoto_stepssd_477-jpg

E-bikes come in a variety of forms, but the simplest, and most intuitive motor type currently on the market is a pedal-assist system. A pedal-assist motor, like Shimano STEPs system, is built directly into the bike’s bottom bracket and delivers power directly to a riders’ pedal stroke. It won’t pedal for you, but the system will respond with power as you pedal, providing more power as needed. All it takes to engage is simply pedaling the bike. These systems come with multiple tiers of assistance, usually controlled at the handlebars with sleek bar-mounted switch units. This allows you to level your assistance up or down on the go for anything from a leisurely, smooth ride about town, to cranking up climbs on your favorite local loop.

slorencephoto_stepssd_462-jpg

E-bikes have recently gained immense popularity in Europe and are shifting the paradigm regarding the nature of cycling and who can go out for a bike ride. Ride on a mountain bike trail, bike path or a city street in Europe, and you are bound to see loads of cyclists enjoying e-bikes. However, despite this popularity overseas, they are looked upon with a fair bit of skepticism in the United States. This lukewarm reception is due to not fully understanding what an e-bike is, who they are for, and what they can offer. When most people finally get on an e-bike and realize what the machine is, they leave their preconceived notions behind and become a fan of what it can do for their everyday riding.

Why would you buy an e-bike?

E-bikes are great way to get outside, feel the wind in your hair, experience the joy of being on a bike, all without the hassle and concerns that go usually along with cycling. An e-bike solves the problem of a commute being slightly too far or showing up sweaty, covered head to toe in spandex. You will finally be free to ditch the traffic-packed car ride to work everyday, enjoy the outdoors and be in complete control of your effort level. Want an easy, but fast, ride to the office? Simply up the assist level. Want to grab a quick workout on the ride back home? Dial down the assist and push yourself as much as you want.

slorencephoto_stepssd_143-jpg

While e-bikes certainly have the potential to provide high speeds at a low exertion for a manageable commute, they aren’t limited to city riding and errand running. E-bike pedal assist systems can be found on top-level bikes used by riders at the highest level. They allow even the fittest riders with limited time to hit all of their favorite trails in a limited time frame, all while pushing themselves physically and getting in their usual workout.

What can you do on a e-bike that you can’t do on a regular bike?

A major window of opportunity that an e-bike opens up is allowing riders of differing fitness levels to enjoy riding together. Now a couple or group of friends at varying level of fitness can head on long rides and forge unforgettable experiences that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. Anyone with a partner who loves to ride will understand the frustration of not being able to keep up or get to experience the fun places they are resigned to simply hearing about. With the assistance of an e-bike it is easier to get up and over steep climbs, fly over flat sections and enjoy those once-unreachable areas. An e-bike can be a great equalizer and make those long rides on weekend mornings a lot easier to navigate.

slorencephoto_stepssd_175-jpg

How do you charge an e-bike?

Most e-bike systems come with a proprietary charger. All you need to do is remove the battery from the bike and plug it into a standard wall outlet!

slorencephoto_stepssd_534-jpg

Who are E-bikes made for?

Anyone who enjoys the simplicity and beauty of riding a bike. They are perfect for anyone for someone interested in cycling but intimidated by the effort required, someone just getting back into the sport after time away, someone who wants to ride to work but feels their commute is too physically demanding, takes too much time, or even a fit individual who wants to maximize their time to cover multiple trails. In short, e-bikes are great for nearly everyone.

Where can you ride an e-bike?

The most commonly misunderstood part of e-bikes is the rules and regulations regarding where you can ride them. Most consumers and the general public are misinformed on this issue. Figuring out where it is legal to ride an e-bike can be overly confusing, complicated and turns off many potential consumers.

Fortunately, pedal-assist e-bike systems are the most accepted form of e-bikes and as more and more consumers purchase e-bikes in the United States, pressure is being placed on legislation to allow their use wherever a standard bike would be allowed. E-bikes are incredibly popular in Europe and the rules and regulations there have been crafted to facilitate this demand.

Peopleforbikes.org is a great resource for any questions regarding the legality of e-bikes in your area. The map below shows the broad outline for every state’s e-bikes rules and regulations.

E-Bike_map-jpg

To expand upon this rough outline, Peopleforbikes has state-by-state legal breakdown regarding where you can ride an e-bike. Portland State University has an incredibly easy-to-use interactive map, up to date as of November 2016, that lays out e-bike rules and regulations. The map is also available in PDF form.

The state-by-state breakdowns on the Peopleforbikes website are very easy to read and should answer most questions you have about where you can ride your e-bike.

If you are still unsure about where you can ride e-bikes in your area, simply stop in and ask a local bike shop.

slorencephoto_stepssd_206-jpg

If you enjoy riding a bike, want to spend less time in traffic or on clogged public transportation, an e-bike is the perfect transportation alternative. You’ll have time to stop to enjoy an espresso with the time you’ll save by opting out of the traditional commute. An e-bike will be sure to open up new avenues for your riding and remove any hesitation you may have about getting places on time and being drained when you finally get there. While flying along bikes lanes and paths you’ll wonder why it took you so long to get an e-bike in your life.


Links and resources:

http://www.peopleforbikes.org/pages/e-bikes

http://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/state-electric-bicycle-laws-a-legislative-primer.aspx

http://ebike.research.pdx.edu/content/e-bike-laws-state-and-province


Follow BikeExchange: Email | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | STRAVA

Read our commitment to you regarding our Email and Privacy Policy