MOTORBIKE VS MOTOR CAR VS E-BIKE

Do you have to pick? Lets face it, each has a purpose. I will rather leave the E-Bike and the motorbike at home when I need to travel and it is raining. Surely. Then what can beat a ride along the coast on a Sunday when you have perfect weather. Nothing.

It is very convenient to jump on your bike and park right in front of the shop whilst others try and find parking for which they will pay too. Riding casually the street walks (where it is safe), beats other formats of transport.

The best of all is to ride with fellow E-bikers having a chat and discuss the daily events. That is fun. To me that is really part of the fun experience. Stopping for coffee, having some laughs and move on to the next point of interest. You cannot do that in a car.

The best of all worlds have a car and use you E-Bike to chill.

Electric Bike Range Tips

  1. Okay, let’s get the most obvious one out of the way. Make sure your battery is fully charged.  The reason I mention this is because sometimes it is easy to forget about charging your battery after a hard day at work.  Create a routine so that you immediately plug in your battery when you get home.

 

  1. Pedal harder! This may be obvious too but it needs to be mentioned.  For instance you may need to run some extra errands and realize that you don’t have that much juice (charge in your battery) left.  You could reduce the assist setting (or use less throttle) and pedal more to compensate for a low battery.  I have limped my e-bike home this way without totally draining the battery.

 

Another big tip is to pedal harder at the right time.  A lot of energy is consumed when you accelerate from a stop.  If you pedal hard to get your bike off the line this will help conserve your battery energy.  Additionally, hills take a lot of energy so pedaling a little harder on the hills will help improve your range.

 

  1. Take it easy and enjoy a slow ride. Wind resistance can really drain you and your battery’s energy.  If you need to extend your range, riding a little slower will reduce the wind drag.  Oh yeah and riding slower is usually safer!

 

  1. Consider a second charger. If you have a long commute to work and errands to run, you may need more range than your battery can provide.  You could have a charger at work so that you can recharge during the day.  And if your boss is concerned about the electricity bill you can tell them it will cost pennies to charge your e-bike battery!

 

  1. Buy a second battery? If you have a really long commute or ride route that you like to do it may be worth buying a second battery to add to your bike. Some electric bike manufacturers offer the option of adding a second battery to double your range.  Check with your local shop or e-bike manufacturer for more info.

 

  1. Keep your tire pressure up. This will make a big difference in how much energy (electric & human) is required to move you and your e-bike around.  Low tire pressure can make your electric bike feel sluggish.  For normal city style e-bikes I recommend a tire pressure of 50-60 psi.  Don’t over inflate your tires though because it can lead to a very rough ride!  Here is a floor pump I recommend.

 

  1. Replace your old battery. If you have had your e-bike and battery for a while, the amount of energy your battery can hold will most likely have decreased.  I recommend replacing your battery once the decreased range gets annoying.  Your local electric bike shop can help you with this or you could contact your e-bike manufacturer.

 

  1. Use the regenerative braking feature. Some electric bike systems have a regenerative braking feature (Bionx for example) that turns the motor into a generator in order to act like a brake and put a little bit of charge back into your battery.  Typically this is activated by a sensor on one of the brake levers (usually the rear brake lever).  Please note that there is debate in the e-bike world as to how much energy is actually recaptured using regenerative braking.

 

  1. Take care of your battery! If you can, store your battery at room temperature.  Batteries don’t like really cold or hot temperatures.   In general it is a good idea to charge your battery often to keep it topped off.  If you don’t ride your electric bike much in the winter, store your battery fully charged and charge it every couple of months.  Try not to leave it plugged in for more than 24 hrs.

 

  1. Oil your chain. This will improve your pedaling efficiency and if you have a motor that powers through the cranks of your bike (Panasonic or Bosch for example) it will improve your motor’s efficiency too.  After you oil your chain let it sit for a few minutes before you wipe off the excess oil with a rag.

 

Acknowledging Pete (Electric Bike Report) for this article

TOP TIPS: WHAT TO TAKE ALONG ON A RIDE

  • Before you get on the bike make sure you have your helmet on. (Put it on or close to the bike when you store it.)
  • Sun protection. If you have not put sun tan lotion on before you left, ensure to take some along.
  • Eye protection. What about a good pair of sun glasses.
  • This is to buy some a cappuccino and maybe a muffin at the coffee shop.
  • Your cell phone. Not only to make a call but to take those photos for Facebook or Instagram.
  • If the weather is a bit dodgy, take a rain jacket or jersey along if you expect cool weather.
  • It may become hot and a bottle water (in your bottle cage) is a good idea.
  • Comfortable clothes. Make sure the clothes you wear is suitable. Remember your legs move so suitable pants is a good idea. Ladies be aware that you will lean forward (with some Pedego models you may) so you do not want to display too much.

TOP TIPS: WHAT TO DO BEFORE A RIDE

  • Charge the battery. Get into the habit of charging the battery on your return. Nothing so frustrating as going for a ride with a half loaded battery.
  • Pump the tyres. A flat tyre calls for a disaster. It is not only dangerous but it will result in a flatty.
  • Ensure your helmet is donned and properly secured.
  • Do some planning. Although you may change your mind on the way, have some game plan.
  • Estimate the distance you intend riding and ensure that this is within the capability of your battery.
  • If you have not oiled the chain for a while, do so.
  • Pack your belongings for the trip: a cell phone, money, a hat and sun screen.
  • It is a good idea to tell someone where you going and when you expect to be back.
  • Make sure you have agreed where to meet friends at what time.
  • Get into the right frame of mind as you are about to have some FUN.

TOP TIP: HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR E-BIKE

  • Just like your car, your E-Bike also requires some love and care. It all starts with cleaning the bike. Do the chain first. Use a chain cleaning liquid or paraffin. Then wash the bike with soap and water. Use chain lube, it will extend the life of both the chain and components. Some furniture polish at the end will make it shine again.
  • Take your bike for a service for time to time. Under normal use, once a year should suffice, but get it done.
  • If something is not working properly (such as the gears are making a noise or the shifting is a problem), take it to your local bike shop and get it fixed.
  • Your bike is an expensive item, look after it. Store it in a safe place. Best, lock it for safety purposes.
  • Even when you are not using the bike, ensure the tyres are inflated. Most tyres today have an indication of maximum tyre pressure indicated on the side of the tyre.

IS AN E-BIKE “CHEATING”?

Some time ago when you use an E-Bike people frowned upon the idea and regarded it as cheating. Well, lets understand why you use an e-bike and that it itself is vast. The main reason for an e-bike is to have fun. Or you just do not want to pedal for instance if it is a mode of transport. Surely you do not want to get to work all sweaty?

Then you go out for a ride and people ask:  what is the point of cycling when you have a motor to assist? The reason could be because I want assistance for whatever reason. To use an E-Bike is not there to compete with the competitive rider. It is to go out there and enjoy the ride. You are not hiding the fact that you are on an E-Bike, so there is no cheating involved. And it is not a race.

I am also a competitive cyclist but I also enjoy riding my E-bike. Mostly with my wife and that is super fun.

E-BIKES AS A TRAINING TOOL

The major advantage of an E-Bike is that it gets those that are not used to be riding, on the bike. It is an easy entry. Many people just find it too hard and strenuous to jump on a normal bike and give up before they start.

The E-Bike eases you into it. In the beginning you will use much more power and as you find it easier, you will use more leg power and probably use the motor only when it is too hard to handle. Like going up a hill or when you feel tired.

If you have the intention to use the bike also for exercise and not only for fun, start slowly. Short distances and as you feel more comfortable, go further and use less power. Later on if that is what you want, do the leg power as much as possible, well knowing that if you need assistance it is there.

Many E-Bike owners buy the bike to have fun with others. You may not have the physical condition to stay with a group or a family member and the E-Bike makes this possible. Now you can stay with them and it is up to you to decide how much leg power you want to add to the assistance offered by the motor.