Saturday, December 10, 2016
I would normally answer comments to my posts in the section relating to that post, but R.R 's comments on my last post need some answers that might be of general use to others contemplating getting an e-bike.
Firstly I would put his mind at rest. Modern e-bikes will be perfectly capable of easily tackling the type of rides he contemplates. (Although I cannot comment on the traffic conditions since I don't know the area) The latest batteries are lithium-ion, like those used in hybrid cars and are much lighter than of yore, mine (the larger long range version) weighs in at 3.5 kgs. My bike weighs 24 kgs including the battery. For comparison a classic modern touring bike (not electric) such as the Pashley Roadster Classic weighs 19 kgs. Actually its weight is only apparent when moving it around when off the machine. Once under way it feels like a normal bike, indeed I often ride with the electrics off when the going is level.
The pedal assist will augment power up to the speed you dial in. It will increase its assistance according to gradients/headwinds . The separate, power only, twist grip provides exclusive e-power without pedalling, but I only use this for start-offs if stopped on a gradient, for instance. As soon as I am under way pedal assist takes over. Unfortunately recent EU regs are outlawing this facility and all future e-bikes will be "pedalecs" only, although most dealers seem to be able to get round this legislation in the UK.
Batteries: come in two sizes 10 amp hour and about 16 amp hour. Always go for the larger one (in output) , they are very similar in weight, but their range increases by about 30%. The larger is about 30% more costly too (you get what you pay for). It really depends on how far on a ride you intend to go, RR's rides will be OK with the smaller battery. Batteries are often located on a carrier, high up over the back wheel (like my first conversion at blog-head) and this compromises handling, I had experienced the "tail wagging the dog" on occasion. A much better position is low down, in the centre of the bike, behind the seat tube (like my current one) or on the down tube from bars to bottom bracket.
Motors: Located in front wheel, back wheel or bottom bracket. Front wheel compromises handling, back wheel is fine. The latest, and most expensive, are in specially constucted ebikes and built into the bottom bracket,(see image at the top of this post) supplying power direct to the pedals rather than the wheels. I have not experienced them but others say that they are better on really steep hills, so if contemplating the Col du Tourmalet I would go for one of them! I think the worst option would be a rear carrier battery driving a front wheel motor (as was my first one).
In RR's locality I have found Hereford Electric Bikes, which looks a good dealer and if really interested I should go along and see what's on offer and discuss things with the staff. They stock, and I can recommend, the "Freego" brand as my wife has one, also my regular cycling companion, Peter, who was instrumental in getting me on e-bikes. If difficulty is experienced in "getting your leg over" (the bike!) most makes do a dropped frame version, popular with ladies and older folk. (My future purchase, no doubt).