There are many benefits to driving electric bikes to work or play. If you are considering getting one, you may have some questions about their practicality and portability. Here are some facts you may not know about electric bikes that may impress you. These are a few good things to know before you buy your new toy.
Electric bikes or also called E-bikes have been around since the 19th century. An E-bike has an integrated electric motor to assist with propulsion, making going up hills and riding into headwinds much easier.
Do I have to pedal an E-bike?
Many E-bikes are classified as pedal-assist. This means you have to pedal to make the bike go forward.
The trend for many E-bike manufactures in the last few years is that they have added throttle control to their bikes. This means you can use the throttle and do not have to pedal. This also means if you do not pedal the battery will deplete sooner.
Do not be surprised if in the next few years the throttle controls disappear as I have heard a number of trails in the US are allowing E-bikes on their trails but the E-bikes are not allowed to have a throttle.
Can You Get Your Electric Bike Wet?
Some electric bikes are more waterproof than others. Look for a good bike that is water-resistant and designed to get wet. The most critical areas that you want to make sure that can endure heavy rain are:
- The battery
- The throttle
- LCD Display
- Charger Socket
If you are buying a new bike, read electric bike reviews online to find out how waterproof a bike it is.
Can You Take an Electric Bike with You on a Plane?
Some bikes are more portable than others. Most conventional bikes can be checked with the airlines and transported with other oversized baggage. However, most airlines do not allow electric bikes or motorcycles on board; it can be considered a hazard.
The main concern is not your E-bike it is with the Lithium batteries that have been known to explode. Airlines will allow batteries that are under a 100Wh rating and includes most cell phones. The next battery rating size is 100-160Wh this would include your laptop and Audio Visual Equipment.
Over 160Wh requires Air Carrier Approval.
Air Carrier Battery Restrictions
|Spare battery |
or in device
|In device||100-160Wh||Yes||Permitted |
|Spare||100-160Wh||Maximum of 2 individually |
protected spares per person
with air carrier approval
|In device||>160Wh||No||Permitted |
What you can do to transport your E-bike to your destination
If you really want to bring your E-bike with you, here are a few options that may work for you.
- Ship your batteries to your destination separately from your bike
- Ship your bike to your destination
- Rent batteries for your bike at your destination
- Buy a new battery at your destination
Not only that E-bike can weigh up to 80 lbs and the excess weight fees can add up. Be sure to check with your airline before taking your e-bike to the airport. It might be a better idea just to rent E-bikes at your destination.
If you plan on traveling with an e-bike, be sure to check your flight’s bike policies before trying to board.
If you are sticking closer to home and driving you will need a good bike rack that can handle the weight of a couple of E-bikes see my post: Best Car Bike Rack Carrier for a Fat Tire E-bike to get the right one.
Can the Batteries be Replaced on an Electric Bike?
Yes! The batteries on electric bikes can be replaced. Most batteries lock into place and are designed to be easily removed. Lithium-Ion replacement batteries start at around $400. Keep this in mind when parking your bike outside. Best to take the battery with you.
Be sure when replacing the battery that it is the correct replacement voltage and that the connectors are compatible with your bike. If you are part of an online Facebook group ask the group to help you get the correct battery replacement and where they got it. A good place for replacement batteries is Bikeberry.com
Can an E-Bike Pull a Trailer?
Most E-bikes can pull a trailer. If your e-bike has a strong enough torque to get you up hills, it can actually pull things. If you purchased a cheap e-bike, with low power, you might find it difficult to pull a trailer efficiently.
Many people use trailers on their E-bike to pull their children. Often cities dwellers use trailers on their E-bike to carry various items around town. In China especially where they use E-bikes as their main form of transportation you will see variations of an e-bike with trailers.
Can I Trade My Car and replace it with an Electric Bike?
Depending on where you live, absolutely. If you live within a half-hour bike ride of stores and work, an e-bike can be a great option. If you need to travel further distances, a car might be required, however, for those who live and work in a large city, an e-bike is a great alternative.
They are easier to park, easily charged at most locations and can save your money on gas, registration, and insurance.
Weather conditions can be an issue if you live in a colder climate. A few modifications to your bike and driving will keep you riding safely. Dressing correctly is the biggest challenge. Good tires and a well-tuned bike is a must. See my post Tips when Riding in Winter to learn how to prepare for winter riding.
Are E-Bikes Good for the Environment?
E-Bikes are better for the environment than a car or truck. The emissions from these larger vehicles are substantially higher than the low carbon footprint of an e-bike. E-bikes are six times more energy-efficient than rail systems and just as environmentally conscious as a traditional bike.
The most dangerous aspect of electric bikes is the battery. Disposal of these can be challenging, as they need to be dumped properly. Most towns, however, have a hazardous waste day where items such as e-bike batteries can be dropped off.
The recent conversion to Electric bikes in China from gas-powered motorbikes has really made a big difference to the air quality.
Do I Need a Drivers License to Drive an E-Bike?
No, you do not need any special licenses to drive an e-bike. While their speeds can vary, they are still classified the same as a regular bike. Electric bikes have many perks. They are better for the environment, can replace a car, and save you money. This is all good stuff to know before deciding if you want one.
How fast can an electric bike go?
The speed on an E-bike can vary depending on the size of the motor. Regulations in particular countries also dictate the legal speed an electric bike can go.
- United States e-bikes are limited to 20mph or 32KM/h with a 750-watt motor limit
- Canada e-bikes are limited to 20mph or 32KM/h with a 500-watt
- Australia e-bikes are limited to 15mph or 25KM/h with a 250-watt
- Europe e-bikes are limited to 15mph or 25KM/h with a 250-watt
You can get faster E-bikes but with that comes more regulations like licensing and insurance.
Should I get insurance for my E-bike?
Electric bikes are expensive
Electric bikes can be a lot of fun. Priced more than regular bikes E-bikes are even more desirable to steal than a regular bike.
Depending on your auto insurance or homeowner insurance it may or may not cover your e-bike and if it does it most likely is not full coverage.
You want to be sure that you have adequate coverage for damage, loss, and theft.
Does my homeowners, renter and auto insurances cover my e-bike?
Most like the answer is no. Most home insurance covers only motorized vehicles and E-bikes are not regarded as a motorized vehicle. Also, electric bikes don’t need a driver license or need to be registered. So your auto insurance won’t cover your electric bike
How can I get electric bike insurance?
There is specific E-bike insurance available. First, start with the insurance companies you already deal with and see if they offer insurance for your E-bike. Depending on your E-bike insurance cost can be as little as $100 per year and go up from there.
See my full post E-bike Insurance: What is the cost and what does it cover? for more information.
There you have it a few Facts You May Not Know About Electric Bikes. If you want to learn more about E-bikes see more of my posts.