Gone are the days that if you wanted a two wheel vehicle like a bike, your only choices were between either a heavy and clumsy moped or an even bigger and clumsier scooter. Today though there is one more alternative, one that only weighs 20 more pounds than a traditional bicycle and looks just like one. That third option is an electric bicycle. What are electric bicycles you may ask and many people are, however the answer is simple; it is merely a regular bicycle that has had three extra components added and those components are an electric motor, a battery and a control. The motor of course provides movement whilst the battery provides power for the motor and the control is merely there to allow the rider to set or change the mode of the motor.
The control for ease of reach and therefore convenient, is located on the handle bars of the bike whilst the battery is discreetly placed behind the saddle. The motor itself which comes in a variety of sizes, fits either on the hub of the rear wheel, the hub of the front wheel or in the middle of the bike where it connects directly to the drive chain. Although the motor when located on one or other of the hubs can turn the wheel directly, it often makes the bike feel as if it is either being pulled or pushed. However, when the motor is attached to the drive chain, it powers the wheels in the same manner as the peddles and so feels natural to any cyclist. With the motor placed in the middle of the bike near the drive chain, it also means that it is in a lower position than either of the hubs and so that lower position makes the bike easier to control.
Although the motors range in size from 250 watts to 750 watts, most people find that the 250 watt motor is adequate as it can provide speeds of up to 20 MPH and does not cause the battery’s charge to run out as quickly as the bigger motors would. The control allows the motor to be used in three different modes Peddle only, peddle assist and motor only. In the peddle only mode, the motor will not engage at all, even if the bike is being peddled, allowing the bike to be used as a traditional bicycle. In the peddle assist mode, the motor will engage at any time that the peddles are used. This means that the motor can provide extra power for cycling up hills or against the wind. In the motor only mode, the motor is continuously running, alleviating the need for the bike to be peddled. If used in the motor only mode, the battery’s charge can be expected to last for up to 20 miles but if the peddle assist mode is used, the charge could last for as far as 40 miles. When the battery does need recharging g, it merely has to be connected to a mains outlet.