In 1985, a company attempted to create a transportation solution between a conventional pedal bike and a car, perfectly suited for low cost, short and mid-distance transportation.
Whilst the result, a recumbent tricycle known as the Sinclair C5, was not a commercial success, it did highlight the cap that a lightweight electric bike could effectively fit in, providing efficient transport at ranges beyond most pedal cyclists.
Before you buy one, however, there are certain aspects to consider to ensure that the e-bike meets your needs. Here are some factors to consider before placing an order.
At present, the legal speed limit for an electric bike on the road is 15.5mph, with a motor’s power limited to 250W, so these are the key numbers to keep in mind when it comes to power.
A 250W motor with a 36V battery should allow for effective hill climbing and is the type of bike to go for if you are expecting steeper climbs on your journey.
As electric bikes use battery power, the range can be somewhat variable depending on the terrain, weather, temperature, rider weight and any additional cargo.
As a general rule of thumb, every 20 watt-hours (found by multiplying amp-hours by voltage) will provide enough power for a mile of travel, so if you have a 36V battery rated at 15Ah, that will provide a Wh capacity of 540, which roughly translates to 27 miles.
Most e-bikes have an LCD display that displays the charge level, allowing you to know at a glance how much power you have to get you home.
An important decision for any cyclist, it is essential that the bike you use allows for a comfortable, safe riding position, and the exact dimensions to use will depend on your height.
Typically, for every four inches of height you have, you will need an extra inch of height on your frame, but the size of your legs will also be a factor here.