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Digital Subscriptions > Bikes Etc > March 2018 > AN A TO Z OF E-BIKES


Everything you ever wanted to know about e-bikes delivered in an alphabet style rundown that even manages to include the later Q. But only just!


…and AH is for Amp-Hours. This is basically a measure of how much juice an e-bike’s battery has. The higher the number, the longer the battery will last, and the further that e-bike will get you. In theory, 10AH batteries are fairly standard but manufacturers claims about how far those batteries will take you can vary wildly. In truth, how fast you burn through your Amp-Hours and therefore what range you get from an e-bike battery will depend on a number of factors. These include what level of power assist you’re using (most e-bikes have three or four levels), how much you use it to tackle hills or headwinds, how much weight that engine is having to shit, as well as how your bike is set up. A well-lubed, friction-free chain and higher tyre pressure, for example, will produce less rolling resistance and therefore drain the battery less. As a rule of thumb, if range is a major concern, upgrading from a 10 AH battery to a 15AH one is advisable.


E-bikes – in the UK at least – tend to come with either Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) or Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries. Because of problems with quality and weight, acid lead batteries similar to those found in cars make up less than 1%. Lithium batteries use the same tech as mobile phones and can be charged up to 1,000 times (compared to 300 for an acid lead battery). The batteries power is limited to 250 Wats by UK law which will give you a range of between 10 and 80 miles – depending on the factors mentioned previously – from a single charge. Many retailers suggest charging the battery at least once a month if the bike isn’t ridden much, and say that the more the bike is ridden, the stronger the battery will be. Eventually, though, all e-bike batteries will deteriorate and need replacing at the cost of approximately £200. You’ll usually find the battery mounted on or integrated into the bike’s frame or fork, often ingeniously so. Weight and recharge times vary from bike to bike.


Photography: Adobe Stock

The controls are the means by which you turn the power on or off and select the level of assistance. Most e-bikes offer three or four levels of electric assist, ranging from full power modes that will help you tackle big climbs but will drain the battery quickly, to eco modes which will give less of a boost to your pedalling but will maximise the battery range. In most cases, the power can be switched on and off, and the mode can be selected from the handlebars of your bike, although the types of control you find vary widely. These can range from a simple push-button module to full head units with LED screens, while some can be paired with a smartphone app for remote control settings.

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E-BIKES This month, we give you everything you ever wanted to know about e-bikes, delivered in an alphabet style run down that even manages to include the letter Q, but only just.