Your guide to electric bikes
Learn all about best way to give your day a boost
Electric bikes can help you do more and go farther than you ever thought possible. Plus, they’re a blast to ride! This post will highlight the topics we cover in our comprehensive e-bike guide, including their benefits, how they work, what type is right for you, how to ride them safer, and how to care for them. You can check out the full e-bike guide here, and shop for e-bikes here.
There’s an e-bike for everyone, whether you’re buying your first-ever bike, coming back from an injury, looking to keep up with a faster group, or you just want to have more fun on every ride. E-bikes flatten hills, let you carry heavier loads, and help you cut back on car trips. Plus, you still get the benefits of a traditional bike! E-bikes help you get more exercise, spend time outside, skip the traffic jam, and more.
Electric bikes (also known as e-bikes and electric assist bikes) work by using an electric motor and battery to help you power your bike. The battery powers the motor, and you control the amount of power the system outputs using a controller that’s typically mounted on your handlebars. There are two main methods by which power is transferred from the drive system to your bike—pedal assist and throttle control.
On pedal assist electric bikes, you control the amount of assist the system gives you and the assist only kicks in when you pedal. The motor amplifies the power behind each of your pedal strokes, providing a natural riding feeling that makes it seem like your legs are supercharged!
Electric bike speed is dependent on the capability and construction of the motor, and maximum electric bike speeds are regulated by law. Most e-bikes in the US will assist up to 20 mph. Faster electric bikes —called speed electric bikes or speed pedelecs—have special motors that assist up to 28 mph.
You can go faster than your e-bike’s maximum assist speed, like when you’re zipping down a hill, but the motor will stop assisting once you reach 20 or 28 mph. At speeds lower than 20 or 28mph, your speed is dependent on what gear you’re in, how much you’re pedaling, and what level of assist you choose. Different levels of assist will help you move faster by providing more power. For example, turbo mode provides the highest level of assist, and would help you go your fastest.
Electric bikes are divided into three main types or classes based on what sort of motor they have, whether or not they have a throttle, and how fast they go. It’s important to know which classes of e-bikes are legal in the areas where you’ll ride.
The general range estimate for an e-bike varies from 20-100 miles on a single charge. We know—that’s a really wide range! That’s because electric bike range is dependent on several factors and can be very complicated to calculate. Some factors you can control, and some you can’t. Controllable factors include the size of your battery, the efficiency of your motor, the level of motor assist you select, and how much weight you’re carrying. Uncontrollable factors include wind, weather, temperature, and terrain. We recommend using an e-bike range calculator to help you figure out a more accurate range estimate for your e-bike.
The first step to finding your perfect e-bike is to consider what type of riding you’ll be doing most. Just like traditional bikes, different types of e-bikes are designed for different types of riding, like mountain biking, city riding, commuting, and road riding.
These e-bikes give you the extra power you need to go farther, carry more, cut down on car trips, and have fun riding with friends.
Electric road bikes let you ride with faster groups and push yourself to go a few extra miles. Plus, they give you a strategic boost when climbing hills.
Electric mountain bikes give you the power to explore more trails and hit more laps than ever before. You can power up climbs and be your own shuttle.
Electric bikes don’t require much more maintenance than a traditional bike. The main thing is to treat your battery with care, just like you would your laptop or smartphone. And always take your e-bike into a qualified electric bike shop with mechanics who know how to work on e-bike drive systems. Check out our guide and learn how to clean and maintain your e-bike, the best way to store your e-bike, and more.
Riding and commuting by e-bike is awesome. You can carry more while sweating less, go faster than a traditional bike with less effort, and you won’t have to deal with traffic jams or parking garages. Plus, you’re spending time outside getting exercise.
Just like on a traditional bike, knowing how to ride and commute safer on an e-bike will make your experience that much more fun and rewarding. In our guide, we discuss everything from how to optimize your e-bike’s range, to tips for safer e-bike commuting, and how to properly secure your e-bike.
About the Author: Trek
Our mission: we build only products we love, provide incredible hospitality to our customers, and change the world by getting more people on bikes.