Electric bicycles are not a new concept, but they are still largely an unknown to many people out there. As a result, there are many unanswered questions about e-bikes that our readers send our way and that people post online.
We’ve decided to gather as many of these e-bike-related questions as we can and provide concise and precise answers.
We’ve also organized them into meaningful sub-categories, so it would be easier for anyone to find exactly the answers they’re looking for. If you need some specific information, we recommend using the Command+F (Ctrl+F on Windows) option.
Let’s get going!
General E-Bike Questions
Are electric bikes safer than regular bikes?
Electric bicycles are just as safe as regular bicycles. Their safety depends on the individual rider and how they are ridden.
In the city, they can be safer than regular bicycles because they make it easier to stay in flow with the traffic around you, which is important to avoid cars squeezing past you.
When did electric bikes become popular?
In 1997, the first commercially successful bike, named “Select”, was introduced to the market. E-bike usage worldwide has experienced rapid growth after 1998, as riders could choose from at least 49 different e-bike models. In the early 2000s, big cycling brands joined the e-bike market as well.
How many people use e bikes?
Estimates showed that there were around 200 million electric bicycles on the streets around the world. By 2023, that number is expected to increase by 50% and reach 300 million. Additional estimates show that around 130 million e-bikes are expected to be sold worldwide between 2020 and 2023.
Does riding an electric bike help you lose weight?
Yes, riding an electric bicycle can help you lose weight. Even though e-bikes have motors that help you pedal, you can choose how much assistance you want to receive. Therefore, you can get a solid workout and burn fat on an e-bike by riding with a low pedal-assistance level or turning off the motor completely.
Can you ride electric bikes manually?
Yes, you can. Most electric bicycles come with an On/Off switch that lets you engage or disengage the motor. With the motor turned off, you can then ride the bike by pedaling on your own, without any assistance. All e-bikes come with pedals and the majority require you to turn the pedals for the motor to kick in and provide assistance.
Who invented the e bike?
The e-bike was invented on December 31, 1895, which is when the first patent was granted to Ogden Bolton Jr. His invention was a rudimental battery-powered electric bicycle powered by a brush-and-commutator direct current (DC) rear hub motor.
Why are e bikes so expensive?
Electric bicycles are more expensive than regular bikes because their manufacturing costs are much higher. They are equipped with sophisticated electric motors and batteries that require a lot of time, money, and expertise to develop and produce. The frame and other components increase the price tag as well.
Is there a weight limit on electric bikes?
Yes, electric bicycles have a weight limit just like traditional bicycles. The weight limit depends on the manufacturer and the type of bicycle. The majority of e-bikes have a 250–300 lb. total weight limit. Some more robust models can carry up to 350 lb. Electric cargo bicycles can usually haul 400 lb. or even more, depending on the build.
Why are e bikes illegal in NYC?
Electric bicycles used to be illegal in NYC because of alleged safety concerns. However, they finally became legal on April 1, 2020, after a new bill was passed. The New York State Legislature now recognizes three classes of e-bikes, including pedal-assist, throttle e-bicycles, and electric scooters.
Are electric bikes considered motorized vehicles?
In the US, electric bicycles with a 20 MPH maximum speed and a 750 Watt maximum motor wattage are considered non-motorized. As a result, the federal government does not require e-bike riders to obtain a license for the purposes of the operation of the bike.
Why are e bikes not allowed on trails?
As of 2019, all three classes of electric bicycles are allowed on trails and in national parks in the US. However, Class 2 e-bikes are not allowed to use the throttle control. Instead, they must be pedaled and should only rely on pedal-assistance.
Can you leave an electric bike outside?
Most electric bicycles are water-resistant, some more expensive models are even labeled as waterproof. However, they should not be left outdoors in the elements without protective covering. You should at least take the battery off, bring it inside, and store it in a dry place. If you leave an e-bike in the rain for prolonged times, dew and moisture could eventually seep into electrical components and ruin them.
Are electric bikes easy to steal?
Electric bicycles are not easier to steal than regular bicycles. To prevent your e-bike from being stolen, you should not leave it unattended. If you do, make sure to use a strong and proven lock, or even more of them. Protect your battery by locking it as well.
Are electric bikes noisy?
Electric bicycles produce more noise than regular bicycles, but not significantly so. The additional noise comes from the electric motor, which has a “whining” sound that becomes louder the more assistance you use. This noise usually comes from the bearings, the coils, and the stator and rotor.
Are electric bikes good for exercise?
Yes, electric bicycles are great for exercise. By using different levels of pedal-assist, you can control how much effort you want to put into pedaling. Therefore, you can lower the assist level to make pedaling harder and then increase it when you get too tired. You can even turn off the motor completely.
Can you ride electric bikes in the rain?
Yes, you can ride electric bikes in the rain. The majority of e-bikes out there, even the cheapest models, are either water-resistant or waterproof.
- Read more: Can You Ride an Electric Bike in the Rain?
That means that they can handle moderate to heavy rain without any problems. Still, you should not leave your e-bike outside in the rain for long periods of time because moisture could eventually get inside the electrical components.
How do you change gears on an electric bike?
Electric bicycles do not have gears in the same way that cars do. Instead, they have pedal-assist levels that work with the press of a button. By changing pedal assist levels, you can control how much assistance you want to receive from the motor. When it comes to the mechanical gears, you change them the same way as on traditional bikes—with shifters and derailleurs.
What are the benefits of electric bikes?
Electric bicycles have many benefits. Some of these are:
- They are more environmentally friendly than cars.
- They allow you to ride faster compared to traditional bikes.
- E-bikes help people who are not athletic to ride long distances.
- They prevent you from sweating too much.
- E-bikes motivate people to spend more time outside with their families.
Do electric bikes have VIN numbers?
No, electric bicycles do not have VIN numbers because they do not require the rider to have a license or insurance. Instead, e-bikes, same as traditional bikes, have serial numbers that are not unique to individuals but to the model of a particular brand.
Are electric bikes good for bad knees?
Yes, electric bicycles are good for bad knees. E-bikes have pedal-assist motors, so you do not need to pedal hard on your own and strain your muscles and joints too hard. Depending on how you feel, you can choose a low or high pedal-assist level or even use the throttle without pedaling.
Why are electric bikes so popular?
Electric bicycles are popular because they make cycling accessible to almost everyone. You no longer need to be a trained athlete to ride long distances. With the help of pedal-assist e-motors, you can enjoy long rides without getting too tired, save money while commuting, get fit, and climb hills.
Can you ride an electric bike like a normal bike?
Yes, you can ride an electric bike like a normal bike. You can turn off the e-motor completely and pedal on your own, without any assistance. You can also take the battery off on most models, lower the total weight, and ride your e-bike without any charge.
Where are electric bikes made?
The majority of electric bicycles are made in Asia, specifically in Taiwan, China, and Vietnam. The reason for this is cost-efficiency. Brands move their manufacturing facilities to Asia to lower production costs and make the price of the final product more competitive.
Can electric bikes climb hills?
Yes, electric bikes can climb hills. After all, that’s what they are made for. With an electric bike, climbing a hill is a breeze, especially if you use the throttle or a high pedal-assist level. The average speed depends on the power of the motor and the weight of the rider.
What is the best electric bike for the money?
Choosing the best e-bike is a difficult task as the answer differs from one person to another, depending on the individual needs. The best bang for the buck can be found in the $1,000–$2,000 price range. For example, Rad Power Bikes offers great value for the money.
What is the best cheap electric bike?
The companies that make some of the best cheap electric bikes include Rad Power Bikes, Ancheer, Aventon, Electra, and Sondors. Their bicycles are affordable and come equipped with quality components that offer good value for the money. The best model depends on your specific needs.
What is the price of an electric bike?
The cheapest e-bikes cost less than $500 whereas the most expensive cost upwards of $10,000. However, the average price for a good-quality electric bicycle ranges between $1,500 and $3,000. That’s how much you should expect to spend to get a reliable model from a well-known brand.
How long do electric bikes last?
With regular and proper care, electric bikes can last a very long time, just like traditional bikes. If you service them regularly and store them in a dry place, you can expect a lifespan of more than 10 years. The battery usually lasts between 3–5 years, but it can easily be replaced.
What are the disadvantages of electric bikes?
Some of the biggest disadvantages of e-bikes include:
- E-bikes are more expensive than traditional bikes.
- They are heavier than traditional bikes.
- The battery takes a long time to charge.
- The range is not very long on most models.
- Maintenance is more complicated.
Should I get an electric bike?
If you want to ride longer distances, have higher average speeds, and get less tired, you should get an electric bike. E-bikes are good for health, fitness, the environment, and the wallet. E-bikes are also incredibly fun to ride, which is another reason to consider buying one.
Can you ride an electric bike on the pavement?
Yes, you can ride an electric bike on the pavement without any issues. Most electric bicycles are built for riding on paved roads and city streets. E-bikes typically have wider tires than traditional models, which improves the overall comfort but does not affect the rolling efficiency.
Can you ride an electric bike if banned from driving?
Yes, you can ride an electric bicycle if banned from driving. To ride an e-bike, you do not need a driver’s license, insurance, or registration. Therefore, e-bikes are an excellent means of transportation for individuals who are disqualified from driving cars.
How do you use an electric bike?
An electric bike uses an e-motor to assist the rider while pedaling. Therefore, to ride an e-bike, you need to turn the pedals, which engages the motor that helps you pedal more easily. The only exception is using the throttle, which allows you to move without pedaling, just like a scooter.
Is it hard to pedal an electric bike?
No, pedaling an electric bicycle is not hard. The motor assists you while pedaling, which means you will not have to use as much of your own power. However, this all depends on what level of pedal-assistance you use. However, when riding up very steep and long hills, you will have to pedal a bit harder.
How much does a good electric bike cost?
A good electric bicycle usually costs between $1,500 and $3,000. This is the average price of high-quality e-bikes made by reputable manufacturers. However, that does not mean that you cannot find an excellent e-bike that costs less than that. There are great models for around $1,000 or less as well.
Is it worth getting an electric bike?
If you ride a bicycle regularly for fun or to commute to work, getting an electric bicycle is definitely a good idea. E-bikes have all the benefits of traditional bikes but are a lot more efficient when it comes to climbing hills or riding against the headwind.
Do you need gears on an electric bike?
You should purchase an electric bicycle with gears if you live in a hilly area or you intend to ride longer distances. Gears allow you to ride more efficiently at a low pedal-assist level and extend the range. If you live in a very flat area and you do short rides, you can get by with a single-gear e-bike.
Do electric bikes work without pedaling?
Class 2 e-bikes that come with a throttle work without pedaling. You can ride just by twisting the throttle, without turning the pedals. But they also feature pedal-assist, so you can pedal to ride as well. Class 1 and Class 3 e-bikes do not feature a throttle. Read more about this topic in our throttle vs. pedal-assist ebikes guide.
Can electric bikes be used on bike paths?
Electric bicycles are allowed on bike paths in the US and in most other countries around the world. As of recently, electric bicycles are no longer seen as motorized vehicles, so they are even allowed on bicycle trails. You just need to make sure to ride at a speed that does not put other riders or pedestrians in danger.
Can you still pedal an electric bike?
Yes, you can pedal an electric bicycle just like a traditional bicycle. Class 1 and Class 3 e-bikes provide pedal-assistance which requires the rider to turn the pedals in order for the motor to kick in. You can also pedal an electric bike even when the motor is completely off.
How do I choose an electric bike?
When choosing which e-bike to buy, you should focus on:
- Considering your personal needs.
- Determine how much money you can spend.
- Test ride several e-bikes if possible.
- Consider the motor power and battery capacity.
- Choose a reputable manufacturer.
- Read online reviews to find out what other riders think.
E-Bike Battery and Charging
Can you ride an ebike without the battery?
Yes, you can ride an e-bike without the battery. If you take the battery off or the battery is empty, you can simply ride your electric bicycle like a normal bike. Keep in mind that e-bikes are heavier than ordinary bicycles, so riding without pedal-assistance can be challenging.
How much does an ebike battery cost?
The price of an e-bike battery depends on the quality and capacity. Typically, a 400Wh to 700Wh battery will cost between $500 and $900. While this seems expensive, keep in mind that an e-bike battery lasts between 3–5 years or even longer if taken care of properly.
What happens when an ebike battery dies?
When the battery on an e-bike dies, you can simply continue riding your e-bike like a traditional bicycle. Riding this way can be challenging for some people because of the added weight, especially uphill. However, on flat ground, riding with a dead battery should not be a big problem.
How do I make my ebike battery last longer?
To make your e-bike battery last longer, follow these tips:
- Condition a new battery by charging it for 12 hours the first time.
- Don’t drain your battery completely between charges.
- Avoid very hot and cold temperatures.
- Don’t overcharge the battery.
- Never store an empty battery.
Can you overcharge an ebike battery?
No, you cannot overcharge a modern e-bike battery. Once the battery is fully charged, the charger will usually stop providing voltage to the battery. However, you should still avoid leaving the battery on the charger for long periods to avoid damaging the cells or causing safety concerns.
How do I choose a battery for my electric bike?
To choose the right battery for your electric bicycle, you should consider the following:
- Your personal needs: range, frequency, e-motor power.
- The battery’s capacity, measured in Wh or V/Ah.
- The battery’s voltage (affects the power output of the motor).
- The weight of the battery.
- The size and shape of the battery.
Why are electric bike batteries so expensive?
Electric bicycle batteries are expensive because they use a lot of pricey materials, such as lithium. Moreover, to build a high-quality e-bike battery, a company needs to spend years on research and development, as well as hire an educated workforce, all of which costs a lot of money.
How often should I charge my electric bike?
To prolong the lifespan of your e-bike battery, you should avoid discharging it fully. Instead, try to recharge the battery when there is between 30% and 60% of charge left in the cells. However, it is advisable to occasionally fully discharge the battery, preferably every 30—40 charge cycles.
Can I leave my eBike on charge overnight?
Yes, you can leave an e-bike on charge overnight, though it is not advisable to do so frequently. Once the battery is charged fully, the charger will stop providing voltage to the battery. However, leaving the battery plugged in for prolonged periods can damage the cells or cause safety concerns.
Should I charge my eBike after every ride?
The best practice to extend the lifespan of a Li-Ion battery is to keep it charged between 20% and 80%. If your battery level drops below 80% after a ride, you can feel free to charge it again. Just avoid charging to 100% and then not using the bike, as this can negatively affect the battery.
Do electric bikes charge when you pedal?
Most electric bicycle batteries do not charge when you pedal, but there are some exceptions. However, such technology is still quite expensive, so the benefits do not justify the costs. Plus, motors with regenerative charging increase the resistance, which makes pedaling harder.
How can I increase the range of my electric bike?
Keep the following things in mind to increase the range of your electric bicycle:
- Stay in a low pedal-assist level.
- Don’t use the throttle too much.
- Keep the tires pumped up.
- Decrease the weight of the rider and the bike if possible.
- Ride in a more aerodynamic position.
- Charge the battery fully.
How far can you commute on an electric bike?
An e-bike’s range depends on the capacity of the battery, the rider, the type of riding, and other things. Typically, you can expect to get a 20–50-mile range for most e-bikes. However, with a bigger battery, more pedaling, and less assistance, you can increase that to up to 100 miles on some models.
How to build an electric bicycle motor?
Building an electric bicycle motor from scratch requires technical knowledge and professional mechanical and electrical skills. If you don’t possess these skills, a better way to build your own e-bike is to use a DIY conversion kit, which comes with all the necessary parts you need to install on your bike.
How to install a hub motor on a bike?
If your hub motor does not come already laced to a wheel, you need to take the old rear hub off of your wheel and attach the e-motor you have. After that, you need to install the wheel along with the torque arm and connect it to the controller and battery.
How to attach a motor to your bike?
Depending on which type of motor you have, you can either install it on the front wheel, the rear wheel, or close to the bottom bracket. Installing a hub motor is the same as installing a regular hub, whereas a mid-drive motor can be attached with special clamps.
E-Bike Conversion Kits
How to convert a bike to an electric bike?
To convert a traditional bike to an electric bike, you need to follow these steps:
- Purchase an electric bike conversion kit with all the parts you need.
- Install the motor on the bike (hub or mid-drive).
- Install the battery on the frame or rear rack.
- Attach the display and the controller.
- Route all the cables properly.
How to assemble an electric bike?
To assemble an electric bicycle, you need to purchase the appropriate conversion kit that fits your bike. After that, you should attach the motor to the bicycle, install the battery in the correct place, and attach the controller and the display. Charge the battery and you’re ready to ride.
How to make a low budget electric bike?
The best way to make a low budget electric bike is by purchasing a conversion kit. The cheapest e-bike conversion kits have front or rear hub direct-drive motors, so this is the way to go. Budget kits also come with a low-capacity battery, but that should be enough for casual riding.
What’s the most powerful electric bike conversion kit?
The most powerful e-bike conversion kit is the CYC X1-Pro. It comes with a 5,000-Watt mid-drive motor that has a power output of around 10–20 times the typical e-bike. It has a top speed of above 50 MPH and weighs only 7.7 lb, which is pretty lightweight.
Can you put a motor on any bike?
Yes, you can put an electric motor on any bicycle. You can attach a mid-drive or a rear hub motor on most modern bicycles, be it MTB, hybrid, cruiser, road, etc. Where that is not possible, you can attach a front hub motor, which is even more versatile and universal.
Can you convert a mountain bike to an electric bike?
Yes, you can convert a mountain bike to an electric bike. Mountain bikes are actually the most commonly converted type. You can easily find a corresponding conversion kit with a hub or a mid-drive motor that can fit your bike. Keep in mind that the conversion is much easier with a hardtail bike than a full suspension bike.
Electric Bicycle Types
What are the different types of electric bikes?
There are three classes of electric bicycles:
- Pedelec Class 1: E-bikes with pedal-assistance and without a throttle, with a 20 MPH maximum speed.
- Throttle Class 2: E-Bikes with both pedal-assistance and throttle and a 20 MPH maximum speed.
- Speed-Pedelec Class 3: E-Bikes with pedal-assistance only, with a 28 MPH maximum speed.
Are e mountain bikes worth it?
Yes, e-mountain bikes are worth it as they allow you to ride faster, spend less energy, and ride longer distances. If you are a DH rider, an e-mountain bike will allow you to climb faster and with more ease, saving you energy for the descent.
What is a Class 1 electric bike?
Class 1 electric bicycles are pedal-assist only. That means that they have no throttle and require the rider to turn the pedals in order for the motor to engage and provide assistance. This class of e-bikes typically has a 20 MPH maximum speed.
What is a Class 2 electric bike?
Class 2 electric bicycles feature both pedal-assist and throttle functions. This means that the motor can assist the rider even when they are not turning the pedals. The maximum assisted speed of these electric bicycles is limited to 20 MPH. This type is very popular among beginner riders.
What is a Class 3 electric bike?
Class 3 electric bicycles are known as “speed pedelecs.” These are pedal-assist only bicycles with a 28 MPH maximum assisted speed. This class of e-bikes does not have a throttle, so the rider needs to pedal for the motor to kick in and supply additional power.
How long do electric mountain bikes last?
Electric mountain bicycles last just as long as traditional mountain bikes. The lifespan of an e-mountain bike depends on how well it is taken care of and maintained. With proper care and with regular servicing, it can easily last more than 10 years.
Why are e bikes limited to 15 mph?
In the UK and the EU, e-bikes come with a 15 MPH speed limit for safety purposes. The legislators have concluded that a higher maximum speed comes with greater risks to the rider and the people around them. However, this decision has been the subject of a lot of debate.
Are electric bikes lazy?
Most electric bicycles are not lazy and they are definitely not intended only for lazy people. E-bikes usually accelerate quickly because of their low weight and maintain a 15-30 MPH average speed, which is not lazy or slow at all. The only exception is the cheapest and weakest e-bikes which sometimes lack power.
Can I make my electric bike go faster?
Yes, you can make your e-bike go faster. There are several ways to do this:
- Change the top speed in the settings if the option is available.
- Install a higher-voltage battery if your controller can handle the added voltage.
- Install a more powerful motor that can develop higher speeds.
How do you hack the ebike limiter?
If your e-bike comes with a speed sensor attached to the rear wheel, you can hack the limiter by moving the sensor closer to the pedals and attaching the magnet to the pedal crank arm. The pedals are always turning more slowly than the wheel, which will trick the motor into thinking you’re going slower and will prevent it from cutting off.
Can you chip an electric bike?
Yes, you can chip an electric bicycle by purchasing a special chip/module that plugs into the controller and sends special signals to the motor to increase the top speed. If you buy a certified and tested module, it should be perfectly safe for the motor and the controller.
How fast is a Class 2 ebike?
A Class 2 e-bike has a 20 MPH maximum assisted speed. This means that the motor will cut out once the bicycle reaches that speed, no matter if you’re using pedal-assist or throttle. Of course, you can also go faster than that by pedaling on your own.
Are e bikes faster than normal bikes?
E-bicycles do not have a higher maximum speed than normal bikes, but they do have a higher average speed than most bikes. An untrained rider can easily maintain a 20 MPH average speed on an e-bike, which is a feat that takes years of training on a normal bike.
Is 250w enough for an electric bike?
A 250W motor is usually strong enough for an average-sized person that rides on flat terrain and climbs moderate hills. Such a motor would struggle up very steep climbs and would require the rider to pedal harder. If you are a heavy person, a 500W motor is a much better choice.
How fast is a 1000w ebike?
Depending on the specific motor, the weight of the bike and the rider, as well as some other conditions (such as the wind and terrain), a 1000W e-bike can usually go 30 MPH or faster on flat terrain. With perfect conditions and chipped motors, some riders have reported even higher speeds.
How fast will a 1500 watt ebike go?
A 1500W e-bike can usually easily reach a 35 MPH maximum speed without overheating. This is the speed that you will be able to maintain for some time. You can push some more efficient motors to 40 MPH, but less-efficient motors could overheat if you try to do that.
How fast is a 2000w ebike?
A 2000W e-bike can develop speeds of around 35 MPH. That is a similar top speed to slightly weaker e-bikes, but the acceleration of a 2000W motor will be much higher. Plus, a 2000W e-bike will be able to maintain a higher average speed when riding up steep hills.
Other Popular E-Bike Resources:
- Best Class 3 Electric Bikes of 2023
- Best Folding Electric Bikes of 2023
- Best Class 2 Electric Bikes
- Best Electric Bikes Under $2,000
- Best Class 1 Electric Bikes
- Best Electric Gravel Bikes to Ride in 2023
Hope you found this resource to be valuable! If you have more questions, feel free to ask below and we’ll include them on this list.