Getting caught out in the rain when you’re on your bike is almost inevitable, or something you even choose to do. However, if you’ve got an e-bike, you may be wondering if you can go out in the rain on it.
So, can you ride an e-bike in the rain? A lot of e-bikes are water-resistant and can be used in the rain.
Water-resistance is determined by IP codes. If your e-bike has one it will tell you how well it will withstand water.
Take a look at the code and if the second digit is greater than 1, your electric bike will be able to handle 10 minutes of 1mm rainfall per minute.
There is much more to how well an e-bike copes in the rain than just the IP number and there are also a number of steps you can take to protect your e-bike from water damage.
Want to know more? Keep reading!
As with many electrical products, manufacturers of e-bikes have started to use IP codes as a recognisable way for people to know how waterproof a battery is.
This IP code is made up of two numbers.
The first number indicates how it is protected against particles getting in - so things like dust and dirt, particularly good if you’re out on muddy trails.
Zero - There is no protection.
One - The battery will be protected against bigger objects and can be touched deliberately.
Two - Objects such as fingers and those of a similar size are fine.
Three - Battery is protected against tools.
Four - The battery is protected against smaller things, up to ant-sized objects.
Five - Dust-resistant
Six - Dust-tight.
So as you can see, the higher the number, the greater level of protection you get. The great news is, six is very common so you don’t need to search hard (or pay over the odds) for it.
Now the second number of an IP code is related to water and how well the battery is protected against it.
Zero - The battery will have no water protection whatsoever. If your e-bike is like this then don’t take it out in the rain as you are in danger of damaging your pride and joy.
One - Getting better and this battery will be able to withstand water dripping from above. E-bikes with this rating have an element of water resistance and 10 minutes of light rainfall should be ok.
Two - Your e-bike will be good for rainfall of 3mm per minute. This rating means it will have been tested for 10 minutes.
Three - With this rating, the battery will be able to withstand water being sprayed from a nozzle for up to five minutes at an angle of 60 degrees.
Four - Giving you more flexibility. Water from any direction can be splashed on the electric bike for at least five minutes.
Five - Exactly the same as a four rating, however the duration the battery will be able to withstand increases to at least 15 minutes.
Six - Your e-bike battery will be protected against powerful water jets. This is for up to 3 minutes.
Seven - The battery can be emersed in water for at least 30 minutes and come out just fine. This means that your e-bike could, in theory, be submerged in water for this time and it will work afterwards.
Not something I recommend you try but at least you know your e-bike will be protected against rainfall.
The IP ratings do go beyond seven and up to nine.
However, you’re unlikely to find an e-bike that has a rating greater than seven. They do exist but a seven rating ought to cover you for most situations on an e-bike.
When it comes to buying an e-bike, try to get one that has an IP waterproof rating of 4 or above.
At four, it provides you with protection against splashing. Being protected against water from all angles is important when you’re out on a bike.
Water won’t just come from above. Water on the road will splash back up as you ride so you want to ensure that your electric bike is protected against this and that’s what a 4 rating will do!
It’s worth thinking about how often you are likely to find yourself riding in the rain. If your e-bike is going to be your main mode of transport to work then you need to factor that in. You will be out in all weathers and need an e-bike with an IP rating to represent that.
It’s not just the battery and how waterproof it is that you need to think about.
Different parts of your e-bike will be rated differently.
The battery is most likely going to be the most important part but don’t forget about the wires and LCD display if there is one.
There are workarounds with the other parts. For example, you can get covers to put on the wires, this will provide the protection they need. These can often be acquired through the manufacturer if they don’t come supplied already.
The LCD display is something you will also need to consider. You may be able to purchase a cover that will provide extra protection. Ziplock bags are common for this purpose.
Be sure to get one that means you’ll still be able to see the screen.
One component that is difficult to protect against the rain is throttle grips. If you have a throttle e-bike this is a tricky one.
Trying to protect the grip can ruin your grip and therefore ruin the amount of control you have your e-bike.
The upside to this is that these parts aren’t expensive to replace so even though there’s not much you can do to prevent them from becoming damaged, they aren’t going to break the bank when you do need to change them.
Now you know the importance of an IP code, you need to know where to find it!
The instruction manual is a good place to start as it’s usually stated in there.
If you are yet to purchase an electric bike and want to know the IP code, then it is more often than not, included in the product description as it’s a bit of information a lot of riders want to know.
Failing that, you can always ask the manufacturer and they will be able to advise correctly.
If you can’t find any reference to an IP code on the e-bike itself then have a read through the instruction manual.
There ought to be something in there about how the e-bike copes with rain.
The other option is to speak to the manufacturer directly and they will be able to advise you.
If you are after absolute spot-on advice about a specific model of e-bike then your best bet is to contact the manufacturer.
Nobody knows the product better than those who designed and built it so they will be able to give you the most accurate information.
There are a few steps you can take to minimise the risk of damaging your e-bike. Here are a few of the top tips!
Once you have finished using your e-bike, be sure to dry it. This removes any sitting water.
Try to cover electrical components. Be sure that this doesn’t reduce the safety of the e-bike as safety is key!
Before you take a hosepipe to your e-bike be sure to know what the IP code rating of it is.
Anything rated 4 and above should be fine with water from hose pipe for a short amount of time.
This amount of time varies depending on manufacturer and model so for a truly accurate guide on a specific bike, it’s best to seek their advice.
Will my e-bike be ok if it gets muddy?
Some e-bikes do just fine in the mud, whilst some do not. It all comes down to the IP rating!
Both numbers of the IP code are important when considering muddy situations.
Aim for the first number being at least a five. This will ensure it is protected from dust (including fine particles of dirt and mud!).
The second number should be at least a four. This means it will be splash resistant.
Ideally, you will want to try and get the best ratings you can afford as this will provide the most peace of mind.
That’s it! Now you know what to look for and how to make sure your e-bike will be able to cope in wetter conditions.
How often do you ride your e-bike?
Sales of e-bikes are booming, you may be considering purchases on yourself. If you’ve done any research you will have noticed that e-bikes can be expensive to buy and just like any investment you may have thought about insurance.
With that in mind do e-bikes need insurance? If your e-bike motor can go over 25km per hour then you do need third party liability insurance. Otherwise, you do not. This was introduced in 2018 by the European Commission.
However, even if your e-bike does fall into that category you may want to consider taking out insurance anyway.
Given that e-bikes can be an expensive investment, it’s important to treat it as such. Just as you would with any investment.
Just as with any insurance, it’s important to get the right type of insurance for e-bike. This will require a degree of research but that’s where we come in!
Read on below to find out why e-bike insurance can be something worth thinking about.
Any e-bike that has the capability to go over 25km per hour or has a 250w or higher motor must have third party liability insurance as per the mandate from the European Commission.
This limit was introduced to protect everyone and try to keep people safe.
25km per hour or 250w is around the speed in which a good cyclist can travel so it is not unusual to encounter cyclists on the road travelling at that speed.
However, any speed greater than that is not what a standard cyclist would be travelling at and therefore, potentially poses a greater risk.
E-bikes aren’t often involved in third party incidents but there is a risk there. One that is greater than that one a traditional bicycle. Hence the need for insurance.
An e-bike that has a motor greater than 250w can go more quickly than a regular bike so the risk is greater to third parties.
Insurance is all about risk at the end of the day and an e-bike that can travel consistently at a higher speed poses greater risk.
So even if your e-bike doesn’t fall into the compulsory insurance bracket, it may be worth covering your back anyway.
The other thing to remember is that e-bikes are heavier than regular bikes so should they come into contact with anything, the chances of them causing more damage is greater.
Providing your e-bike is not one that requires to be insured then you do not need a driving licence. You can treat it as if it were a regular bicycle.
Under UK law you can ride it on roads, cycle paths and everywhere else a regular bike can legally go.
Unlike cars, motorcycles or mopeds you don’t need to register an e-bike and you don’t need to have insurance.
Legally you also don’t need to wear a helmet but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Please do. You know it makes sense!
There is an age restriction on e-bikes. You must be over the age of 14 years old to ride an e-bike on a public road.
There is no law for off-road though.
However, if your e-bike is one that requires insurance, you will need to have a driving license for it and it will need to be taxed and registered. Much in the same way as you would with a car.
The great news is that this shouldn’t be too difficult.
Most e-bikes available in the UK are intended for the European market so they naturally fall in line with what is required by the European Commission.
One thing to keep your eye out for is the CE conformity mark. This will indicate that the bike has passed the tests required.
The other is to check at the point of purchase, look up the specifications from the manufacturer.
You will want to ensure that you are aware of where you stand with the law. Getting it wrong could be very expensive!
They are quite similar but generally a pedelec can achieve greater speeds. For this reason they aren’t very common in the UK.
A bike that will go above 25km per hour will often be referred to as a pedelec.
These bikes, understandably, are subject to tougher restrictions due to the increased speed capabilities.
However, they aren’t able to go above 45km per hour so they aren’t a viable option instead of a moped.
In fact, in the eyes of the law, they need to be treated in the same way as a moped.
Yes, that means a licence, insurance, register the pedelec and a helmet must be worn.
So we know that providing your e-bike falls within the regulations, it is seen as the same level of risk as a regular bike but do they pose any more risk?
Well as of yet, there aren’t the statistics to give you a sufficient answer. As e-bikes are seen as regular bikes, they are counted as such in the statistics!
What I can tell you is that bikes are considered to be safer than cars. So that’s at least something!
Road tax, officially known as ‘Vehicle Excise Duty’.
Something most of us pay if we use the road by one means of another.
E-bikes do not need to be taxed, nor do they pay road tax.
If the Government decided to apply the same rules to e-bikes as is applied to cars when charging road tax, it simply wouldn’t work.
As road tax is calculated based on fuel type and CO2 emissions, e-bikes won’t be liable to pay any road tax.
The system would need to be overhauled for it to work.
That doesn’t mean cyclists don’t pay road tax. 8 out of 10 cyclists own a car so they do contribute, despite what some people think.
There was a study conducted in Holland that showed that riders who rode e-bikes were no more likely to be involved in a crash that required them to go to an emergency department than those on regular bikes.
So while yes there is still some risk when riding an e-bike, the risk is no greater than if you were riding a regular bike!
A concern with e-bikes is what happens when the battery runs out and you’re away from home. Are you left pushing a bike, a heavy one at that?
Often this leads people to wonder do e-bikes charge while riding? Yes, they can! Though there is more to it than that. Those that re-charge through pedalling can be quite inefficient at it.
Having said that, there are a few options out there so all is most certainly not lost. Some e-bikes will recharge the bike when you apply the brake.
This is known as regenerative braking. In terms of how useful this is, well, you’re looking at getting another 15% added to your range so it’s worth having!
Regenerative might not be the best option out there (keep reading to find out what could be the best option!). It can be an expensive way to get a little bit extra out of the battery.
Regenerative braking electric bikes tend to come at a premium as they aren’t widely available and require that extra bit of technology.
An in-depth look at the technology behind regenerative braking can get complicated so let’s start with the basics.
When you apply the brakes on an e-bike fitted with this technology, the motor will flip into reverse mode. The result is that the motor will run backwards and the bike will begin to slow down.
As this happens, the motor becomes a generator and this sends energy to the battery.
Simple enough when put like that!
So what’s the problem? Well, for regenerative braking to be sufficiently effective, you would need to be stopping from quite high speeds due to the low mass of the e-bike.
That’s not always going to be the case, in fact, it’s rarely going to be the case. Not to say that you won’t pick up energy while doing regular braking because you absolutely will!
Another issue is that for regenerative braking to work, the motor will need to be on all of the time.
Now if you’re like me, you only switch the motor of an e-bike on when you need it. When I’m going downhill and likely to be using the brakes more, I don’t have the motor switched on.
It only goes on when I don’t like the look of a climb and I’ve never been in a position where I’ve thought I’ve been going up a hill too quickly! Quite the opposite in fact, sad to say!
Much like claims car manufacturers make with MPGs, the likelihood of achieving the 20% extra range from regenerative braking isn’t all too likely, to be honest. Not impossible, but it would have to be the right riding conditions to get that.
A different type of solution, which is more cost-effective, is to buy an additional battery. This way, you get double the range without having to worry about how much you are braking!
This is another “yes but…” answer!
Charging an e-bike using solar power can be done but it isn’t very practical if you want to use it every day.
The more practical option would be to opt for an extended range battery, or as suggested above, an additional battery. These will give you the extra range, without the impracticality of solar panels.
If you are still considering going down the solar power route, then portable battery packs could be an option. These will be charged using solar power.
The issue is that to make it viable, the solar panels would need to always be spread out. You will find that the battery pack will be quite a weight too.
This is where it can be worth thinking about an additional battery as an option as it may be lighter.
Forgetting the solar power or regenerative braking for a moment, let’s just look at how far an electric bike goes with a standard battery.
Technology with e-bikes has got better and better over the years, as has the range of the batteries.
It does depend on the model as to how far you’ll get but you can get anywhere between 20 - 60 miles on a single charge. Please do check the manufacturers’ specification though as it does vary!
If you’re willing to go the extra mile (pun intended!), then you can pick up yourself a top of the range e-bike that has a range of over 100 miles.
All of this also depends on the type of riding you do and where you do it.
Taking on a lot of hills? Your range will decrease.
Faced with a headwind? Your range will decrease.
Tailwind? Enjoy the extra help! Your motor won’t be working as hard so you’ll get more out of it.
There are other factors at play too, such as the level of assistance your require from the battery (which mode you have it on, a more powerful mode will use more power).
As you can see, there are lots of different things that can change how far a single charge will get you.
Over time you will get to know your e-bike and how far you can go. If you’re like me, you’ll be surprised at how far a single charge can get you!
There are a few tips and tricks you can deploy to get the most out of a single charge.
A good place to start is to lower the power assist setting you use.
I get that this may not sound like a great idea but it will save your power (and you will get a better workout so there are positives!) and increase your range.
A higher power assist mode will make the motor work harder to keep you going, this increases the power output and therefore decreases the range.
For those riders who have a throttle assist motor then limiting you throttle use will work in the same way.
Another option to increase the range on your e-bike is to take things more gently.
Cycling at a slower pace reduces how much power your e-bike has to use. If you think how the MPG on a car goes down dramatically when you accelerate, it’s the same principle.
Therefore, by going more slowly on your e-bike you will find that you go further.
Now that we’ve looked at riding style, it’s time to think about other adjustments you can make.
Tyres. If your e-bike is for road use then thinner tyres at a higher pressure will reduce the amount of rolling resistance you will experience.
If we stick with the car principle, if your car tyres are low in pressure then your MPG will go down.
It works in the same way with an e-bike, your motor is forced to work harder to get you to your desired speed, therefore decreasing the range.
One thing that you may not consider is ensuring the battery on your electric bike doesn’t become overheated.
You may also want to check the brakes aren’t rubbing against the wheels and consider reducing the overall weight you carry.
The majority of batteries on e-bikes are lithium batteries so the thing to concern yourself with is the size of the battery.
Getting the right type of electric bike for your needs is almost more important than the battery as in most cases, these can be changed.
E-bikes are more expensive than their traditional bike equivalent and that is due to the battery.
Therefore, when it comes to buying an additional battery or a replacement, you can expect to pay around £300 to £800 for one.
This price does vary hugely and will depend on the size, model and manufacturer of the battery itself.
What you will find is that most batteries do come with a 2-year guarantee as standard.
If you take care of the battery you should find that the battery will be good for many more years.
To get the most of out your e-bike batteries you should be mindful about where you store it. Aim to keep the battery at around 0 degrees celsius, this stops it from getting too hot.
Rather than charging the battery after every ride, regardless of how much charge is left, you should try to drain the battery before charging it again.
Using chargers that aren’t the original one can have a negative impact on the life of the battery too.
As will dropping it or it getting too wet.
Where do I charge an e-bike?
The battery can be charged as you would with most things, through a standard mains connection.
Can an e-bike be used when it’s raining?
Though the short answer is that most e-bikes will be fine in the rain.
E-bike sales are booming, in the last year sales have increased by 31%, with more and more people choosing the attractive electric motor.
But can e-bikes go uphill? Yes! Today's e-bikes are designed to tackle even the steepest of climbs and it shouldn’t be too difficult for the rider either. There has been some serious development in the gearing system of e-bikes to ensure that hills aren’t a problem.
Having said that, steep climbs will affect the range of the motor but it makes hills that wouldn’t be possible on a traditional bike, possible and even enjoyable.
An e-bike will make hill climbing much easier for you in terms of effort, whilst still giving you a fantastic workout and puts a huge smile on your face!
I’m a cyclist and I actually like hills but I have no shame in saying that when I went to Mallorca last year, I hired an e-bike.
Why? Because it’s hilly. The climbs (that I did) go on for miles and miles and at an average of 7 or 8%, I wasn’t confident I would be able to tackle them in the way I wanted so e-bike it was.
Despite being assured by the hire shop, I was worried that I’d burn through the battery on the e-bike by going up these hills and find myself having to pedal a heavy bike all the way back to the hotel - we’re talking 30-50 miles so I feel like my worries were valid!
Well, I’m happy to report that the e-bike did everything I asked of it and never once ran out of juice.
An e-bike took away the worry and stress about climbing the hills so I could enjoy it and that’s the important thing, I enjoyed my rides.
I saved the power for the climbs so I got some decent exercise in and it’s worth saying, that just because an e-bike has a motor, it doesn’t mean you get off scot-free.
A lot of the good quality e-bikes are ‘power assist’, meaning you will still have to pedal.
If you don’t put the work in, neither will your bike. Fair enough though, right?
So it’s safe to say that gradients of 7 - 10% are more than doable on an e-bike, in fact, you shouldn’t find them too difficult at all.
You can even stretch that to 14% and you’ll still be powering up those climbs.
After that, things get a little harder work but still, you have a motor so it’s possible but your legs will feel it.
The phrase “Hills for thrills” has never been so true as when you’re on an e-bike!
Exactly like climbing a hill on a traditional bike, there is a technique to doing so on an e-bike.
It’s important to get it right so that you enjoy the climb and also most importantly, make it to the top!
There are three things to consider when you’re faced with a climb on an e-bike - do these and your life will be a lot easier.
Remember, hills don’t get easier, you just get quicker.
Body Position - This will vary for some people and depending on how long the climb is, you may find yourself switching things up a bit.
For example, if the climb is quite a long climb, I will occasionally get up out of the saddle for a few pedal strokes.
This changes which muscles are in use. Being out of the saddle is generally less efficient and harder on your legs but it can be the change you need.
However, the best thing to do is stay seated as this will maximise the power to the pedals, meaning you will get up the hill not only more quickly but more efficiently.
Tip: If you want to make the most of each pedal stroke, consider using clipless pedals.
As the gradient starts to go up, shift your body weight slightly forward. You will find how far works best for you.
Cadence and Line - Line choice is mostly relating to mountain bikers but road cyclists do need to consider their line too.
Try to take the outer line on a bend as this will usually be less steep.
Cadence is how many revolutions your pedals make while you’re riding (rpm).
If you want to get into tracking your cadence, you should be aiming for around 60rpm when climbing a hill.
What you don’t want to do is to stop pedalling. This will cause you to lose your momentum.
If you stop on a hill, it can be very difficult to get going again. Trust me, I’ve been there far too many times.
This is where e-bikes come into their own, they make it possible for you to keep your momentum.
Tyre Pressure - This will vary greatly depending on the terrain you’re on but getting the right tyre pressure can make your life much easier.
A tyre pressure that is too low will increase the rolling resistance, meaning that the motor on your e-bike is working harder to get you up those hills.
This will impact your overall range and make you work harder.
Tip: Check your tyre pressure before every ride. Tyre pressure does go down gradually so will need topping up.
A lot of people want to be able to go up a hill as quickly as possible and an e-bike certainly helps to increase your average speed up a hill.
Depending on the model of your e-bike and how steep the climb is, you can expect to achieve speeds up to around 18mph.
This is without putting a whole lot of effort in.
Put more effort in and you’ll be up those hills in no time.
There is one snag, the vast majority of e-bike motors will stop assisting you when they reach a certain speed so you’ll be on your own for power.
The good news is, you won’t be working as hard as you would without a motor!
Different e-bike motors will work in different ways.
Some will work out the power you need based on how you are pedalling, this will change as you go along. The outcome of this is that you pedal just as you would normally.
The majority of e-bikes these days have power-assist modes. Depending on which mode you have it set to, will determine how much assistance you get.
Eco mode will focus on giving you the extra range so you will have to work harder. The upside is, providing your legs can take it, you can go further before the battery runs out!
Turbo mode, is quite self-explanatory and speaking from experience, a whole lot of fun!
There is more emphasis on giving the rider power. You won’t need to pedal as much and your speed will increase. The downside is that the battery will run out more quickly.
However, if you know how far you’re going, then you can judge it to perfection.
Turbo mode is great when you’re faced with a hill that you really need some help on, it will get you up the hill and possibly even with a smile on your face!
There are three different ways to power an e-bike. Each has its own benefits, but let’s see which one is best for hills!
Mid-drive or Crank - These are quite popular and ideal for taking on hills.
The motor is low down in the centre of the bike, think where your pedals are.
This type of motor works well on hills because they have a high torque rating. They also benefit from a better centre of gravity.
Better centre of gravity means that you are able to ride more naturally and maximise power delivery.
Front Hub - Bikes with a front hub motor are usually folding bikes.
They are compact and the power delivery is representative of that.
However, they can be the ideal e-bike if you need a compact folding bike that can take on some hills.
Rear Hub - A rear hub motor will look very similar to that of a front hub.
There are stark differences though and that is how the power is delivered.
A rear hub motor is able to deliver the power directly to the rear wheel. This ‘pushes’ you and the delivery of power is much greater.
If you’re after an e-bike with speed, then a rear hub motor should be on your radar!
When you ask a cyclist, “how do I get better at hills?”, they often say, “hills. Just do them”.
Well, now you can on an e-bike!
No doubt passing any cyclist who has given you that advice. What a satisfying thought!
Like many other battery powered products, ebikes do need battery replacements from time to time. How often should this be and how do you know the time is right?
If you’re just getting started on your journey with ebikes, how are you supposed to know when your ebike battery needs to be replaced? Great question! Before we get to the answer, let’s take a closer look at ebikes and how they work.
The term “ebike” is a contraction of the words “electric” and “bicycle” (or “bike”) so we know that they use electricity to power themselves when we use them. This electricity is stored in a battery.
Types of Ebike Batteries
Ebike batteries are generally one of two types: Lithium or lead acid.
You’ve probably heard the term “lithium battery” used when talking about things like watches and other small products, and this type of battery is similarly used in most ebikes. It’s attractive as an option due to its compact size and weight which make the finished ebike lighter and more streamlined.
Lithium batteries are typically quite durable and because they’re manufactured by some of the biggest tech companies in the world (eg LG and Sony), they’re usually very high quality.
Lead acid batteries by comparison are larger, heavier, and bulkier than lithium batteries. The most common example of a lead acid battery is actually a car battery, which should give you some idea of their hardiness.
Although many ebikes with lead acid batteries might be of suitably high standards, they’re not as commonly used for ebikes nowadays due to their heft.
Every battery will be slightly different but there’s one common thread between them all, and that is the concept of charge cycles.
Battery Lifespan and Charge Cycles
The lifespan of all batteries can be measured in charge cycles. A charge cycle is essentially the cycle by which a battery is charged from completely flat to completely full, and then depleted back down to 0 again.
Each battery will be able to stand a different number of charge cycles before their effectiveness and durability starts to decrease. In other words, a battery might have a lifespan of 100 charge cycles, meaning it is able to be fully charged and fully drained 100 times before it will cease to work anymore.
Lithium batteries are by far the most durable and efficient and can generally last around 1000 charge cycles whereas lead acid batteries usually need replacing around three times more frequently (around 300 charge cycles).
The specific battery used in your ebike is not only limited by its charge cycle capacity, but several other factors that affect battery durability and can impact its overall lifespan as well. A more in-depth look at these factors might be useful:
Factors Affecting Ebike Battery Lifespan
You probably have experience of an old laptop or even your mobile phone overheating, either through working too hard or by extraneous heat being applied (for example leaving your phone in a hot car for a few hours). If this has ever happened to you, you’ll be familiar with how overheating can slow down your devices or even cause them to freeze (ironically!).
Ebikes can suffer the same fate and overheating can cause damage to their batteries. The best piece of advice to ensure this doesn’t happen is to always store your bike in a cool place out of direct sunlight when not in use.
Fully Depleting the Battery
You might not always be able to help this one but it’s definitely worth mentioning – using up all your ebike’s battery so that the battery is completely flat is never a good idea.
Draining any battery until it’s dead will compromise its ability to hold charge at optimal efficiency so if at all possible, you want to avoid fully depleting your ebike battery on those longer rides. Some ebikes will gain charge as you pedal in which case depleting the battery might not be such an issue, but if this isn’t the case then you’ll need to be a bit mindful.
Once in a while probably isn’t going to be make or break, but if you find you’re having to pedal the last few miles home every time because the battery is dead, that’s going to be detrimental to the battery lifespan.
This might seem a little counter-intuitive, but it is actually possible to charge your ebike battery too much! This also goes for other kinds of batteries (yup, that means your phone too) so it’s good advice to heed for all chargeable appliances.
If you leave your ebike charging overnight, for example, and the battery reaches full capacity long before you unplug it, this actually lowers the overall recoverable capacity of the battery. In other words, overcharging your battery can lead to the battery being unable to charge fully and hold charge over time.
Again, once in a while isn’t the end of the world but you’re much better off frequently topping up the battery instead of leaving it on charge for ages and ages.
Using Off-Brand Chargers
This one might seem obvious but it’s a trap that many people fall into as their original chargers age; try to avoid off-brand ebike chargers or chargers from brands that do not match your bike.
Your ebike will come with a specific charger that is engineered to fit your ebike battery perfectly. Using a charger that did not come with your bike or came from a different manufacturer will eventually cause damage that could lead to short circuiting and other battery issues.
If your battery is repeatedly damaged by an off-brand or unmatching charger, it will require replacing much more quickly.
It probably goes without saying that ebike batteries should not get wet.
A wet battery is a recipe for several kinds of disaster so you should take extra care to ensure your bike is kept dry as far as possible. The odd splash here and there as you ride through a puddle will be absolutely fine as ebike battery housings are usually waterproofed very well, but it’s best to keep your bike on the dry side.
This goes for cleaning your ebike battery too; there’s no need to wet or spray your battery if it needs cleaning – a lightly damp cloth will do the trick just fine, and make sure the battery is 100% dry before you charge or use it again.
For more info on ebikes and water, click here.
What to Keep an Eye Out For
If you think your ebike battery might be flagging, there are a couple of warning signs you can watch for that might suggest a battery replacement is looming.
One of the most obvious symptoms of a tired battery could be the battery making unusual sounds while in use. Things like seemingly undue whirring or ticking could indicate an issue with the battery or connections.
Overheating is another clear sign that the battery could be nearing its last legs. If you feel the battery compartment getting abnormally hot, it might be time to think about a battery replacement. Bear in mind that extended use or hot weather conditions could also be a factor here so the issue might not be battery health.
If the battery decharges more quickly than usual or takes longer to charge back up, then this could also indicate the battery coming to the end of its lifespan.
On a Balance
There are many reasons why an ebike battery may need replacing, whether it be through frequent use, incorrect charging and storage, or poor bike maintenance, and likewise, there are many ways of ensuring your battery lasts as long as possible.
A lot of this will be common sense but as long as you’re following the guidance set out by the manufacturer, using all the correct parts, and not taking unnecessary chances with your ebike, you can expect the battery to last years before requiring replacement.
Most ebike manufacturers will give a 2-year guarantee so don’t be afraid to get in touch with your supplier if anything goes wrong before this point!
No one likes the idea of being stranded somewhere, but luckily for ebike riders, running out of battery during a ride is not as dramatic a car running out of fuel!
Why is this then? What does happen when an ebike runs out of battery mid-ride?
The odds are you’ll probably be ok but before we get into why, let’s take a quick look at the role of the battery in an ebike:
Ebike batteries are essentially the only thing stopping a normal, unassisted bike from becoming an ebike. Even though the concept might seem quite futuristic, after all bicycles have been around since 1817, ebikes are actually simpler than a lot of people would think.
Your Ebike Battery Died, Now What?
You might have already pieced together the answer to this one. When your ebike battery dies whilst you’re out on a ride, you have two options:
Option A.) Hop off your bike and push it alongside you until you reach home (or wherever else you’re going).
Option B.) Keep pedalling!
The option to keep pedalling means that if your ebike runs out of battery, you can continue to use it as a conventional bike, pedalling to propel yourself.
Odds are, you already use your ebike as a conventional bike some of the time, and at the end of the day, the battery is there more to assist your pedalling than to completely replace it anyway!
Running out of battery simply turns your ebike into a normal bike, from power-assisted to unassisted.
Are There Any Risks Involved?
While there might not be any direct risk to your own health or safety, there are a couple of things to think about when planning your next ride. Keeping these factors in mind will help you to maximise your ebike’s lifespan as well as ensure your continued health and safety.
Frequently Running Out of Battery
Overestimating the Battery
Ways to Avoid Running Out of Battery Too Quickly
While it might be unavoidable some of the time, there are ways to make sure you don’t run out of battery too quickly or too often when riding your ebike.
Monitor Battery Levels and Shift Gear
Avoid Riding on Low Battery
Minimise the Weight Your Ebike Carries
Use the Right Tires for Your Journey
Maintain Your Ebike Battery Properly
On a Balance
Ebikes offer an excellent low-impact alternative to conventional cycling and the introduction of battery power is a simple way of providing this. Ebikes are fairly fool-proof and their batteries generally have a long life and can hold a lot of charge.
Like everything else in this world, ebikes are not perfect and unfortunately, they do run out of battery from time to time. This is by no means the end of the world and the most likely scenario is that you’ll be able to pedal your ebike home if you do find yourself out of battery.
There are many ways to help your ebike battery to last longer, both in the long term and on each individual ride. By taking a few precuations and following the tips explored above, you can maximise your battery’s efficiency and durability.
Take care of your ebike battery and it will take care of you!
For many people, ebikes might seem to have quite a high price tag when compared with their traditional, unassisted counterparts, but why exactly are ebikes so expensive?
The price of an ebike will vary greatly from model to model and it’s definitely possible to find more wallet-friendly options. But as a general rule, ebikes tend to lean towards the pricier side of things, and there are many reasons why this could be.
The “E” in “EBike”
So probably the most prominent reason why ebikes are so expensive is because of that little “E”. For anyone who doesn’t know, that E stands for electric which naturally means that ebike = electric bike (or electric bicycle).
It makes sense that a bicycle supported by electricity would be more expensive to manufacture and therefore more expensive to buy than a conventional bike, and this is exactly the case. The electric components of an ebike such as the battery and motor are much more complex than the simple mechanisms of a traditional bike and require more expertise to manufacture.
Mid-drive motors work together with the chain drive to augment your pedalling power rather than creating an all-new source of power, whereas hub-direct motors work by spinning around the axle of the front or rear hub. This is less effective than a mid-drive motor although hub-direct motors can also generate energy when you brake.
The third kind of motor, hub-geared, uses gears to reduce RPM (revolutions per minute) and increases torque, maximising efficiency. These are usually the most expensive kind but there is a lot of variation across different manufacturers.
Expensive Parts + Expensive Expertise = Expensive Bike (unfortunately).
Another simple reason for ebikes being more expensive than unassisted bikes is that they generally come with quite a few additional accessories that a normal bike doesn’t need. Such accessories include:
These are the four main additional features that will add to the price of an electric bike, and in the majority of cases, there’s no getting around them.
While this might seem like an inconvenience to your pockets, it’s worth considering that these accessories will enable you to enjoy your ebike to the fullest and are therefore very necessary.
So now that we know what parts of ebikes contribute most to the price, are there any other factors? What about non-essential features?
Like conventional, unassisted bikes, ebikes also have a range of smaller add-ons that can be used to customise the style of your bike and add convenience. Some popular choices include:
These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ebike accessories and it’s easy to see how the prices can add up! For the keen cyclist, the higher price tag of a kitted-out ebike is a worthy price to pay for making the ride as smooth, comfortable, and convenient as possible.
Another Perspective on Price
For many people, regardless of all the necessary and additional costs that make up an ebike, they still come out as quite expensive. It might help to see the matter from a slightly different point of view:
Ebikes cost what they cost, and what they cost is most likely going to be cheaper than a motorcycle or a car. They might be more expensive than a lot of unassisted bikes, but ebikes are more convenient and, in many ways, can’t really be fairly compared to unassisted bikes.
There is also such a vast array of unassisted bikes out there that many of the more high-end options will cost more than a standard ebike. Ebikes are not necessarily the priciest bicycle choice out there which is important to bear in mind.
Ebikes also have several important health benefits which could make the price even more understandable. You can read up on these benefits here.
There are many reasons why ebikes might seem expensive, and there are definitely models out there that cost a seemingly disproportionate amount. However, most ebikes cost exactly what they should for the features and added convenience that they offer.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to your own cycling capabilities, what you plan on using your bike for, and how often you’ll be riding. These are the factors that will determine how worth-it an ebike will be for you.
That said, you don’t need to break the bank in order to get your hands on a quality ebike, and as long as you take proper care of it, you can expect to enjoy your ebike for many years and many rides!
Ebikes come in all different styles, sizes, and capacities, but how many watts do they typically run on? How powerful can they be? How much wattage do you need and how do you know?
Ebikes, like any electrical appliance or product, come in a variety of different wattages depending on make, model, and intended purpose. How do you know what kind of power you’ll need?
If you want to go mountain biking, or plan on having other adventures where your ebike will need to work a bit harder, then you’ll need more watts. On the other hand, if you know you’re only really going to be using your ebike for short journeys or trips that can be made mainly on flat, smooth roads, then a lower wattage will probably do just fine!
A Little Glossary of EBike Jargon
In order to better understand what kind of wattage your ebike will need to have in order to support your desired riding, there are a few words we need to sink our teeth into:
Watt (W): - A watt is a unit for measuring power within an electrical circuit, and relates to the rate of energy consumption of said circuit.
Kilowatt (kW):- 1000 watts (similar to kilometer or kilogram).
Power (P):- Power is also a unit of measure, and relates to how quickly “work” can be done, with “work” here meaning a measure of energy transfer when an object is moved by an external force.
Horsepower (hp):- A more specific unit of power, measuring the rate at which work is done, usually in the context of motors or engines (hence why you’ve probably heard the term said when talking about cars).
With these definitions in mind, we can move on to answer the questions above in a more informed manner because after all, an ebike represents an investment both of finance and your time, so this is not a decision you should make off the cuff.
How Many Watts are Ebikes Typically?
Although there is a lot of variation across different brands, models, and functions, there are certain averages that can give us a decent idea about what to look for. In the most basic and vague terms, a common wattage for a lot of ebikes is around 500W but you should look for an option that is more specifically suited to you and what you want to use your ebike for.
A lot of ebikes will be rated with a certain wattage, but due to different guidelines for measuring power, similar motors from different manufacturers might have the same rating but actually have different wattages. For example, two standard ebikes from two different companies may both be rated as 500W but in reality, one might be 500W and the other closer to 700W.
To make sure you’re getting the number of watts on the tin, so to speak, it might be worth speaking to the manufacturer directly to confirm. The quality of the bike’s electrical components (namely the battery and motor) will also affect how close to the watt rating the bike actually is.
So How Many Watts are Necessary?
Again, the answer to this will come down to what you want to achieve with your ebike, as well as some other factors such as the weight the bike will be carrying. For added perspective, the average person pedals with a power of around 30W when keeping to an easy, cruising speed, which is about the same energy consumption as walking at a normal pace.
If you’re going to be zipping to the shop along a flat road or using your ebike to get to and from work not too far away, then you won’t need anything too powerful. Something around the 250-350W mark will probably work just fine.
This works out at just under 0.5hp and is generally the lowest power rating range for ebikes. There are a few kinds which go below this but these ebikes aren’t going to offer much and likely aren’t worth getting.
If you live somewhere hilly or need a mountain bike style of ebike, then you’re going to have to ramp up that wattage!
When you get to the 350-500W range, which is where majority of standard ebikes fall, you start to get better acceleration, higher speeds on flat ground, and the ability to steadily climb small hills. Between 700W and 1kW is where the real magic happens however, and at 1-1.3hp you’ll likely be able to reach around 30mph and start tackling steeper inclines with greater ease.
Anything higher than 1kW starts creeping into light motor electric motorbike territory and if you’re looking to buy an ebike, will be pretty gratuitous.
Other Factors That Will Affect Power
Regardless of what wattage you go for, there will be things that will put additional strain on your ebike motor and therefore affect the power provided.
The most obvious of these is added weight. This might be the weight of the rider, or the addition of bags or equipment to your ebike. You might find that riding your 250W ebike on your own on a flat road is fun and smooth but as soon as you pile on a heavy rucksack or a basket laden with groceries, your acceleration slows down and the ride is a bit more sluggish as a whole.
Stopping and starting abruptly or frequently during a ride can also impact power, causing slower acceleration and creating a generally more tense and jerky experience.
Tire pressure and surface conditions work hand in hand when it comes to power, having similar effects. If your ebike tires are a little on the squishy side, the bike will have to work harder to exert the same force compared with appropriately inflated tires on the same terrain. Likewise, riding on rough, rocky, or otherwise uneven ground will also lessen the overall power output of your ebike motor.
Temperature is another enemy of power, and unfortunately it works both ways. Overheating and overcooling will both slow your ebike down, as these more extreme conditions affect the capacity of the battery and the general function of the motor. This means your watts won’t stretch as far as they would in optimal weather conditions.
Wind has a similar effect to temperature and surface conditions too, as it’s yet another form of resistance that your ebike motor will have to contend with. That is of course, assuming you’re riding against the wind; riding with the wind is a whole different story and will help your ebike to propel you forwards (thank you wind!).
What It Boils Down To
In order to properly answer questions such as “how many watts do ebikes have?” and “how many watts do I need?”, you need to consider all the available information and the factors that will affect your riding.
How much do you weigh? Will you be regularly carrying additional loads on your ebike?
Where do you most often ride? Will you need something powerful enough to go up hills?
What is the weather like most of the time? How smooth is the road surface?
Do you want or need to go at a relatively fast pace? Do you need to travel far?
These are some of the questions you need to ask before even considering wattage. Once you do nail down the answers, it’s probable that the perfect ebike option will jump out at you.
You may use your ebike for different kinds of journeys and in different conditions, but hopefully being equipped with the information above will help you to know what to expect from your motor!