E-verything you need to know about E-bikes6 July 2020
To be totally honest we’ve never done E-bikes because we didn’t want to risk our reputation for totally sorted rides on something untested. The chance to work with one of Europe’s largest and most experienced E-bike builders mean we can use their experience and ours to bring you brilliant bikes you can trust at prices you won’t believe.
Buying an E-bike adds a lot of questions compared to a conventional bike though so here’s what you need to know to power up your riding.
Do I still have to pedal?
Yes. All our bikes are pedal assist which means the motor automatically adds power to the amount you’re putting in. Pedal hard and the motor will help more, soft pedal and it’ll just cruise along, but it won’t turn the pedals without you. Otherwise it would be a moped.
How far do they go?
How far you can go depends on a lot of things like how hilly/rough the terrain is, which level of assist modes you use, how hard you want to work and the size of the battery.
How do I know which battery to choose?
You’ll find some brands - even Shimano themselves - claiming some very optimistic ranges. EG Shimano reckon you can get 150km out of a 418Wh battery but realistic ranges are probably from 50km blitzing round Sheffield’s hills with your weekly shop or 100km plus assisted cruising on more mellow roads.
If you don’t mind putting more effort in yourself then choosing lower power settings - will obviously extend range. A bike with a less powerful motor will also make the battery last longer and if you really want maximum range then choose a model with a larger 504Wh battery.
What style of bike do I need?
Our E-bikes come in every variety from classic sit up and beg shoppers to full on mountain bikes so whatever riding you’re into, we’ve got a power assisted option for you.
The great thing about having a motor though is you have to worry less about the rolling resistance of bigger tyres. That’s why you’ll see a lot of our bikes coming with bigger volume rubber so you can bounce through back street potholes, cruise canal paths comfortably or explore your local trails on the weekend. 29er MTB tyres and suspension add even more off road capability if you want it.
With an electric motor helping out headwinds don’t matter as much either, so if you prefer an upright position for comfort and safety then you can power up rather than crouching down. In other words, if you fancy something more traditional and townie that’s still fast, fun and ready to explore, or you fancy trying mountain biking on the weekend after riding to work and back all week then an E-bike is the answer.
What sort of electric motor do I need?
Most of our E-bikes are mid engined for exactly the same reason supercars are. It puts the weight in the best place for handling so you can fit a bigger motor and battery and still have a super smooth ride. Using Shimano Steps mid motors also gives us the best reliability, the neatest displays and the most natural feel at your feet too.
Rear wheel motors are the simpler, cheaper way to get some power behind your pedalling and they work fine on smoother roads and trails. Having that much weight in your back wheel can thump about more if you start heading properly off road though.
What power do I need?
There are two ways to measure power on an E-bike, peak wattage or torque. Peak wattage is how much extra boost it can give at maximum power - like a tailwind or another rider giving you a push. Torque is how much extra acceleration/pulling power you’ll get away from traffic lights or up steep slopes.
Our bikes typically range from 200W/40nm (healthy tailwind/gentle shove) to 400W/60Nm (like having sails on your bike or the legs of a pro rider/serious starting push). We find we rarely ride in max power modes anyway though so don’t get too hung up on it.
Internal or external battery?
Internal batteries look super neat and they’re the most secure system if you don’t want to carry a battery about with you. External battery designs are easier to make though so they’re cheaper. It’s also easier to whip the battery on and off for charging if you’ve not got a plug near where you store your bike.
Getting the best from your E-bike.
While our motors, batteries and wiring systems are all top end with full waterproof ratings, anything electric always prefers being kept clean and dry. Check for loose or corroded connections or other accidental damage on a regular basis too.
Batteries really don’t like the cold either so store and recharge indoors where you can and don’t expect to get as far on a frosty day as you will in summer.
If you’re using a Shimano motor then make sure you don’t touch the pedals while it’s starting up. It performs a quick self check before starting up, and if you interfere you’ll get an error code on the screen and you’ll have to turn it on and off again. Well, it’s a small computer so how did you expect to fix it?
Hopefully that’s answered all the questions you have about powering up your pedalling, but obviously if there’s something you want clarifying about a specific issue or bike then get in touch with our customer service team.