Rapid hybrid electric trike
You may have noticed that the shipping date for some models is currently listed as several months away.
While we understand that this is a long time to wait, we wanted to make sure that these bikes were available to purchase for any rider who had their heart set on a preferred model and wanted to secure theirs well in advance.
The dates listed are as accurate as possible, but please note that the entire manufacturing world is in the middle of a global supply chain challenge. As a result, there are some variables that are out of our control (like container shortages, port delays, and the Suez Canal incident).
We know how excited you are to get your new ebike and we are continually scaling up our operations to get it to you as soon as possible.
RadCity 5 Plus Assembly
Requires some technical skill, we recommend our ebike assembly service so you’re ready-to-ride.
What to Measure
Your “bike inseam”.- or inside leg length.- is the distance between your body where it sits on your bike saddle and the ground. This will typically be an inch or two longer than the length of your trousers, but you’ll want to measure to be sure. You’ll use this number on the chart to get a feel for how the different models will fit you.
How to Measure
Wearing your regular riding shoes and with your back to the wall, stand with your feet spread so there is about 7 inches between them. this is about the distance apart your feet would be when straddling a bike with your feet on
Place a hardcover book against the wall with the spine of the book facing upward. Slide the book upwards towards your groin until it is solidly against your body. This may be a bit awkward, but is way more comfortable.- and safer!- than trying to ride a bike that is too big.
If you have a buddy helping you, get them to measure from the floor to the top of the book spine while you hold the book in place. If you’re going it alone, carefully hold the book in place and measure from the ground to the top of the book spine.
RadCity 5 Plus Electric Commuter Bike is available in two different frame styles: Step-Thru and High-Step.
Best electric bikes for commuting 2023: Get to work faster and with less effort
The best electric bikes for commuting help you get to and from work faster and with less effort. That means that you’ll arrive less hot and also gives you a boost away from traffic lights and other stops on your ride.
You’ll become fitter and your commute may well take less time than by car or public transport as you’ll probably find quicker routes that you can only take by bike. It’s likely to be cheaper too, once the up-front cost of the electric bike has been discounted.
Depending on how far you’re planning to ride, your needs will differ. Our pick of the best electric bikes for commuting below covers everything from a folder for a short hop to and from the station to drop bar bikes for a long distance commute that maybe includes some off-road riding.
Cyclingnews has a huge amount of advice on electric bikes if you want to know more.
Our guide to the best electric bikes gives you a more comprehensive range of options, while our pick of the best folding electric bikes offers options that make a compact package for storage or to carry on public transport.
If you’ve got a budget in mind we have guides to the best electric bikes under £1,000/1,000 and the best electric bikes under 2,000/£2,000. You can even convert a non-electric bike to an e-bike with the best electric bike conversion kits.
Alternatively scroll down for our pick of the best electric bikes for commuting, or head to the bottom for a guide on how to choose and an explainer of the laws on electric bikes worldwide.
Best electric bikes for commuting
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Reasons to avoid
The Orbea Gain has such subtle integration of the battery and motor that, at first glance, you’d be hard-pushed to know it was an e-bike. It has an attractive, lightweight, aluminium frame and carbon fork with an 11-speed Shimano 105 drivetrain which should see you over any terrain. Well-disguised within that frame is a 248 Wh battery which should be plenty to get you to work and back.
If, however, you’d like more range, you can simply attach the external water-bottle-style battery and that’ll boost the battery capacity up to 456 Wh. Pedalling assistance is provided by a rear hub motor, which works in a concept Orbea are calling Enough Power and Enough Energy. The idea is that the bike intuitively offers enough power to keep you pedalling smoothly and efficiently to enhance your rider, rather than overwhelming you with big surges in power.
The bike comes with an app that allows you to change the bike’s functionality, including how power is applied as well as ride tracking your rides. The mode button on the top tube has coloured LEDs that show you how much battery is remaining, and which power mode you are in. There’s now an additional bar-mounted controller/computer which gives you more info and which sits on an out-front mount with a built-in LED light.
As a full size e-bike, the Gain isn’t going to be easy to take on public transport though, unlike a small wheeled folder like the Brompton Electric.
Reasons to avoid
If you’ve ever been on the market for a commuter bike you will have almost certainly cast your eyes upon a Brompton. The British company has sustained a great reputation built on ingenuity and build quality for so long that you know you’ll be riding a high-quality machine.
If you need a bike that packs up into a small space, on a train or in the office, for example, a Brompton is likely the best electric commuter bike for you. The C Line Electric bike comes with front and rear lights fitted, as well as mudguards, and the 6-speed gears give you loads of range. Helped by the motor, you’ll get to work easily however hilly your city is.
The company has fitted a 250 W motor to the bike, with a large-enough 300 Wh battery. The battery sits in a pack that conveniently unclips from the front of the bike and can be carried over your shoulder to your office or home to be charged. A full charge should be achieved within four hours. The quoted range for the battery is up to 70 km if you have it on its most energy-efficient setting. There is an LED indicator on the top of the bag which shows you how much of the battery you have remaining, which power mode you are in, and what setting your lights are on.
The bag-plus-bike set-up does make carrying the bike that bit more difficult though, although it does make charging a lot easier than an integrated battery like that on the VanMoof and the Orbea Gain and lowers the weight of the bike when you need to carry it.
There’s a P Line Brompton Electric available as well as the classic C Line Electric. Lighter components and fewer gears drop the weight quoted by Brompton from the C Line’s 17.4kg to 15.6kg.
You can read more in our full review of the Brompton C-Line Electric bike.
Reasons to avoid
The first thing that strikes you with the VanMoof S3 is just how modern it looks. The bike has very clean lines, classic geometry and most of the cables are hidden. The company sells five bikes, with either a standard crossbar or a more step-through frame design, including the VanMoof V which is rated to 31mph (although this model needs to be registered and insured to ride in the UK and Europe).
As well as automatic gearing, VanMoof’s anti-theft package means that if your bike gets stolen, they will personally track it down and if they can’t find it, they’ll replace it with a new one.
A feature that is still quite rare on bikes at the moment is the automatic gearbox. The Sturmey Archer gearbox will react to your accelerations and speed and make sure you’re always in the best gear. Should you wish, you can alter the timing of the gear changes with the VanMoof app. The 250 W motor is powered by a 504 Wh battery, with a range of between 60 to 150 km depending on the mode you have the bike in and the terrain you’re riding over.
There’s lots of integration, like the LED array built into the top tube, built-in lights, lock and alarm and location tracking from the VanMoof app, although the built-in battery and high weight mean that charging is not as easy as with a separate battery like that on the Brompton Electric.
Reasons to avoid
Ribble is at the forefront of value-for-money, high-specification, well-integrated e-road bikes. Many of the hallmarks of this capability are evident in this hybrid bike, which should handle both your commute and leisure rides with ease.
The basis of the bike is a strikingly good-looking lightweight aluminium frame within which there is a battery so well hidden that you barely notice it’s there. A subtle button and LED light on the top tube allow you to see how much battery is left and let you choose how much assistance you want. If you want even more control of the settings, you can change the settings in Ribble’s app.
The bike is impressively kitted out too, with a Mavic wheelset, a rear pannier rack, a bell, front and rear lights and full-length mudguards. As with all bikes where you can’t remove the battery, including the Orbea and the VanMoof, you will have to take this bike within touching distance of mains power to charge it up.
Reasons to avoid
While Tern claims the GSD isn’t intended to be a car killer, it may well be just that. The company is best known for its folding bikes, and while the GSD isn’t a fully foldable bike, the seat post and handlebars do collapse to make storage of this bike a little more compact. The reason it can’t fold down much smaller is this is not your average folding bike. This is a heavy-duty cargo bike, capable of carrying up to 200 kg, be that luggage, or should you attach the right seat, two passengers on the back.
The bike employs a dual battery system, which is 400Wh and 500Wh in size. Should you have both of them attached you’ll have a whopping 900Wh of capacity. This will be enough to assist your cycling for between 110 and 250 km depending on which of the 4 modes you have it in. The 10-speed Shimano hub gears and impressive 85Nm of torque mean you’ll be able to get up any hill, even when fully laden. It comes complete with wide, grippy tyres, a rear luggage mount, a kickstand, front and rear lights, and mudguards.
It’s a heavy duty cargo carrying option, but not as practical as a folder like the Brompton C Line Electric or a bike with less luggage capacity like the Ribble if you have less need of carrying capacity.
Reasons to avoid
Built for comfortable as well as speedy commutes, the Trek Domane LT electric bike gets Trek’s IsoSpeed seatpost decoupler built in to increase the isolation of your rear end from road vibrations. There’s front IsoSpeed too to add comfort at the handlebars. Wide 32mm tyres help add comfort and grip as well and you can either fit mudguards or even wider rubber for rougher routes into the office.
The Fazua motor’s phone app lets you fine-tune the motor’s output levels to match your power needs, so you can upscale the power delivery if you need more support for faster getaways or tone it down if you want to preserve battery life.
The Fazua drivetrain is removable from the bike, so you can ride without assistance, save weight and use the space that held the motor for storage, while Trek’s endurance geometry makes the Domane LT a comfortable ride for the long haul commute.
The Domane LT is still available for now, but the new (and even more expensive) Domane SLR that replaces it is lighter and (for US riders) faster.
Reasons to avoid
You might initially mistake this bike for a mountain bike, rather than one cut out for commuting. In reality, the 2.3-inch tyres and 80 mm travel suspension fork are perfect not for the trails but smoothing out bumps and road buzz on your commute. If you live in slightly more remote areas, the bike should also deal with gravel or hard-pack dirt trails with ease.
The bike comes with a large 710 Wh battery which powers a trusty Specialized motor and a SRAM NX groupset with a wide enough range to get you over any terrain. To keep you safe, it also comes with hydraulic disc brakes which will provide dependable braking in any weather conditions. It comes with front and rear mudguards, and a rear pannier rack to carry any work stuff from A to B without having to wear a backpack. It’s available as a step-through as well as the version with a top tube shown above.
You get extra comfort, range and a more powerful motor, but the Turbo Vado isn’t as sprightly as the Orbea Gain or the Cannondale Synapse.
Reasons to avoid
If you want to speed up your e-bike commute, a drop bar racer will give you a more aerodynamic ride position that should be faster than a flat bar hybrid like the Ribble, the Specialized or the Orbea. The Cannondale Synapse Neo comes with a powerful Bosch motor that’s mid-mounted for stability and a high capacity battery for plenty of range. The EQ version also gets mudguards, a rear rack (not shown in the image above) and lights so it’s all-weather ready and easy to load up.
There’s a 10-speed Shimano Tiagra drivetrain with plenty of gear range, that along with the motor should make a breeze of hills on your ride into town. The hydraulic disc brakes mean assured stopping and the 35mm wide Schwalbe tyres should provide comfort over broken roads or even if your commute takes in a towpath or gravel track. There’s plenty of range from the large 500Wh battery too.
Reasons to avoid
Hummingbird has engineered its folding electric bike to be as light as possible. A carbon fibre main frame paired to a cantilevered truss rear section and lightweight components bring the overall weight down to a claimed 10.3kg.
The Hummingbird bike doesn’t fold down quite as small as a Brompton Electric, it’s only singlespeed so might not work for hillier cities and the range is quite limited at around 50km, but Hummingbird has upped the torque from the 250 watt motor so there’s more pulling power to help get you moving. All that engineering means that the Hummingbird bike is expensive though.
Best electric bike for commuting: everything you need to know
There’s a lot to think about when selecting an electric bike for your commute, so we’ve provided a breakdown of the key points here. There’s more information in our guide to the best electric bikes as well.
Why is an electric bike good for commuting?
An electric bike can make your commute a lot more comfortable. It can make stops and starts a lot easier, provide assistance on uphills and increase your overall average speed, while lowering the effort you need to put in, so you should arrive less hot and tired than on a non-electric bike. You may feel more comfortable riding a longer distance too.
It’s also likely to be a lot more comfortable than a ride on public transport and you can choose your own time to travel, while you’re less prone to delays due to congestion than in a motor vehicle.
Many towns and cities now have dedicated cycling routes, so you may not need to compete with motorised traffic and might be able to skip queues and even get a jump at traffic lights due to cyclist priority signalling. There are also often quietway routes for cyclists that bypass main roads and take you away from traffic and may route you around bottlenecks.
On the flip side, most electric bikes are quite heavy, so moving them around at the beginning and end of a ride will be harder work than with a non-powered bike. If your commute involves public transport it will be harder to get your electric bike on and off than with a non-powered bike and you may not be able to take a non-folding bike at peak times. The best folding electric bikes will help here.
You also need to make sure that you can keep your electric bike charged up so you don’t run out of juice halfway home in the rain (although electric bikes are designed so that you can pedal them without assistance). That means having a handy power outlet close by where you park your bike, either at home or at work, or an e-bike with a removeable battery. You might need a second charger at work too.
What material should my frame be made of?
The three most common frame materials you’ll come across when looking for a bike are aluminium, steel and carbon, although titanium might make an occasional appearance.
Carbon is most often used in the best road bikes because of its low weight and high stiffness. However, it can be quite fragile, and innocuous bumps could cause very expensive damage, so if you’re locking your bike up in communal locations, we recommend you stay away.
Most bikes you look at for commuting are likely to be made from aluminium, and for good reason. It’s fairly cheap, very durable and not subject to corrosion.
You may find some electric bikes are made of steel. While it is tough and can take some bumps and bruises, it is relatively heavy and can be subject to corrosion.
What should I look for in an electric bike motor?
Most e-bike motors are power-limited to 250 watts, but they can provide varying amounts of torque, measured in Newton-metres (Nm). If your commute is flattish and you’re fairly fit, a motor with around 40Nm to 50Nm torque is likely to be fine, but if you’re riding somewhere more arduous or expect to be carrying a lot, then a motor with more torque will be better. Some go up to 80Nm or more, which is what an electric mountain bike puts out.
A mid-mounted motor is likely to keep your e-bike most stable, as it’s low down and central on the bike. But a rear hub motor isn’t likely to have a significant impact on handling and, as your weight is over the rear wheel, grip isn’t likely to be an issue.
Front hub motors are more tricky, as there’s less weight on the wheel and so less grip and the extra weight can affect the bike’s handling if it’s not been carefully designed.
How much battery capacity do I need?
As with all technologies, it’s easy to look back at some original e-bikes and notice how bulky they looked. Batteries were bolted onto frames wherever there was space and were often very low capacity. Fortunately, we’re beginning to see much bigger capacity batteries and sleeker integration of both batteries and motors.
Typically, the smaller the physical size of the battery, the lower its capacity, and the fewer miles you’ll get out of it. For most people, this shouldn’t be an issue, with even small batteries having enough juice to get you to work where you can charge up again or serving duty for multiple days of commuting.
Battery size is most often expressed in watt-hours (Wh), and the amount of assistance you’ll get from it depends on how much you ask of it. For example, a 300 watt-hour battery can provide 300 watts of assistance for one hour, or 100 W of assistance for 3 hours.
A battery can weigh several kilograms and make up a significant proportion of an electric bike’s weight. That’s okay in a non-folding bike, although it can make moving the bike to a storage area at the end of a ride harder. It’s more of an issue with a folding bike designed for portability, so a bike like the Brompton C Line Electric will often have a lower capacity battery to make it easier to carry.
How do I charge my electric bike?
Some bikes have removable battery packs making them simple to unclip and charge, even if your bike is left outside or in a communal bike store. Others, typically those with more integration, require you to charge the battery while it is attached to your bike, meaning you’ll have to hook it up to the mains in your house, garage, or at the office, so it’s worth checking to see how easy this might be for you.
You’re either going to have to carry your charger with you or buy a second one if you need to charge the e-bike at both ends of your commute. Some electric bikes like the Orbea can be fitted out with a range extender battery if you do need more range, but in reality most commutes are likely to be short enough for range not to be an issue even with the lowest battery capacity, unless you expect to go multiple days without recharging.
How many gears do I need?
As usual, the stock answer is that depends. If you live somewhere flat, a singlespeed electric bike may be enough for you. The extra power provided by the motor means that starting off will be a lot easier and faster than with a non-powered commuter bike.
At the other extreme, if your commute is hilly, you may need a full range of gearing, as found on the best commuter bikes which don’t include a motor. Again, the motor is a huge help here. Crank it up to maximum power output and it may pull you up steep inclines; lower the assistance level once you’ve reached the top to conserve battery life and range.
What additional features should I look for?
For commuting duties, it’s preferable to get the load you’re carrying off your back: you’ll be more comfortable and your centre of gravity will be lower. It may be easier to look around without a pack too, although the best cycling backpacks will be designed to address these issues.
If you’re planning to commute with your electric bike in all weathers, then look for mudguards or at least the option to fit mudguards to your bike. Likewise, winter commuting is likely to mean at least one journey in the dark. In-built lights are handy and they’ll often be run off the electric bike’s battery meaning that there’s less to remember to keep charged up.
You can pick up a set of the best bike lights relatively inexpensively though. It’s a good idea to use lights even during the daytime to up your visibility, particularly in town.
Take a look at our commuter bike accessories checklist for a longer list of things you might need for your commute.
How do I maintain my electric bike?
Bikes, like cars or any other mechanical device, need to be maintained. If you’re not an experienced mechanic, most things are simple enough to learn how to do yourself, but spend a little bit of money and a bike shop will have you good to go in no time. But, the fewer complicated parts, and the better you care for your bike, the less chance there is of things going wrong.
The gears on your bike, including the derailleurs, cables and shifters will require regular maintenance to keep them performing at their best. Some people are fortunate to live and work in flat areas and so they can get away with the simplicity and ease of a single-speed bike.
However, most of us live in areas with hills, and therefore gears are a necessity. Internally-geared hubs are a more robust, easier-to-maintain solution than derailleurs, but can be pricier. You’ll sometimes find a carbon fibre belt drive on bikes for commuting, which cuts down on maintenance over a chain-driven solution.
Maintaining your brakes in working order is arguably the single most important thing when looking after your bike. Jumpy gears and a loud chain might ruin your enjoyment, but poorly functional brakes could have much more dire consequences.
Classical brake systems, using a cable to join your lever and your brakes, have stuck around for so long because they’re simple and they work, but you do need to keep them properly maintained, regularly checking the cables for wear.
Higher-end bikes are often equipped with hydraulic disc brakes; not only do these work more effectively in poor weather conditions, once set up they should require less maintenance too. Disc brakes are trickling down the bike hierarchy and you might find them on quite inexpensive electric bikes.
What are the e-bike regulations where I live?
What classifies as an e-bike and what regulations apply to riding it vary by where you’re located.
At present, most e-bikes in the UK fall under EPAC (that’s the electrically assisted pedal cycle) amendment regulation mandate. This means bikes have to be moving before the motor can kick in, it can provide a maximum of 250 watts of aided power and has to stop aiding at 25 kph. You also have to be at least 14 years old to ride an e-bike.
So long as your bike meets these criteria (as all the ones in the article do), then you’ll have the same legal standing as regular bicycles and you’ll be allowed on roads and bike paths. If your bike assists you up to faster speeds it’ll be considered a two-wheel moped, and therefore you’ll require insurance, a certified helmet, and a valid driving licence.
In Australia e-bikes can assist you up to a maximum speed of 25 kph. The two legal systems in Australia are throttle-operated and pedal-assist. If you have a throttle-controlled bike it can provide up to 200 watts of power, whereas pedal-assist e-bikes can give you 250 watts of assistance. Anything above that is legally considered a motorbike and must therefore be licensed and insured.
Given the structure of the American legal system, the rules governing the use of e-bikes are predictably more complicated than those in the UK and Australia. Let’s begin.
Obviously, the laws governing the use of e-bikes vary from state to state, but these are often difficult to interpret. The all-encompassing, federal definition of an e-bike is “a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p.), whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 mph”.
As if that isn’t complicated enough, often state laws may override federal legislation. Some 33 states have statutes that define an e-bike in some way, while the rest lack any specific definition, and often chuck them in with other classes of vehicles. At present, 13 states are adhering to a three-tiered system proposed by The Bicycle Product Suppliers Association. While the motors on all classes of bikes can produce a maximum of 750 watts, they are tiered depending on their maximum assisted speed:
- Class 1: the motor provides assistance only when the rider is pedalling, and cuts out at 20 mph
- Class 2: the motor can contribute even if the rider is not pedalling, but cuts out at 20 mph
- Class 3: the motor provides assistance when the rider is pedalling but cuts out at 28 mph and must be equipped with a speedometer
While class 1 and 2 bikes are allowed anywhere bikes are allowed, class 3 bikes can only be ridden on roads and bike lanes, but not multi-use paths. In the states that regard e-bikes as vehicles, licensing and registration may be required to operate an e-bike.
Yes, this is a lot to get your head around, but thankfully the kind folk at People for Bikes have put together a state-by-state guide.
E-Bike Wattage: How Many Watts is a Good Electric Bike?
The age-old question – is more really better? In the case of watts and electric bike motors, well, it depends. E-bike motors with a high watt output will deliver faster acceleration, more zip when riding up hills, and generally better performance for heavier riders.
But like a high-performance car isn’t usually as efficient as your everyday runabout, it’s the same for electric bikes. A motor with a higher watt rating will drain a battery faster, leaving the rider with less riding range.
At an eye-watering 1000W, electric bike motors are starting to near a boundary with electric motorbikes. Acceleration is eye-watering and hilly rides for heavier riders are no problem. All this extra power does mean that battery juice is drained rapidly, reducing your overall riding range. Returning to the plug socket frequently also means more money handed over to your electricity company!
Highest Wattage E-Bike
Today some electric bike motors are rated at over 1500W. A quick google reveals manufacturers claiming speeds of up to 40mph for motors of this rating. At this level, it’s hard to argue that these are electric bikes anymore.
250W vs 500W vs 750W vs 1000W E-Bike
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E-Bike Torque vs Watts
After all this talk (or should it be torque?) of watts, it would be remiss of us not to discuss another rating sometimes quoted by e-bike motor manufacturers. Torque is a measurement of the force an e-bike motor applies to the rear (in some cases front) wheel. A higher torque figure is important for providing forward momentum on steep terrain or when riding with heavy loads.
Bosch’s Performance Line CX motor, the German brand’s top-end motor can pump out 85Nm of torque. It’s entry-level motor, Active Line has a maximum of 40Nm. Performance Line CX is most often seen on electric mountain bikes where acceleration on very steep, loose terrain is vital. Meanwhile, Active Line is a motor usually reserved for city e-bikes where acceleration is less important.
You’ll also see the word torque in relation to a torque sensor on electric bikes. Essentially this is a system which understands how much power a rider is applying on the pedals before rationing the power of the e-bike motor accordingly. The aim is to deliver a feeling like riding a normal bike.
Best Wattage for an Electric Bike
When all is said and done the best wattage for an electric bike is a personal choice. Some riders would never consider anything other than the maximum Watt rating, whilst others would be more than happy with a 250W motor.
For experienced cyclists, a 250W motor will deliver more than enough oomph. For newer cyclists looking for instantaneous acceleration and Rapid hill performance, a higher-wattage motor may well be a better option. Ultimately there’s no substitute for giving electric bikes a test ride before you spend your hard-earned cash!
Everything you need to know about e-bike batteries [from a battery engineer]
Would you be the person taking the stairs or the escalator?
I’ll be honest. barring the one-off day that I’m feeling particularly sprightly, I would just hop on the escalator with those 30 people on the right. And I’m willing to guess that most of you would too.
What we can gauge from this picture is that most people would rather do as little work as possible to get from point A to point B. This is especially true when it comes to commuting on a bike. The picture above is analogous to the difference between a regular bike and an e-bike.
Even if we address all the concerns when it comes to biking in a city (like safe biking infrastructure), we can’t expect to change fundamental human behavior. when given the option between less work or more work to achieve the same outcome, people will more likely choose to do less work.
Since getting my e-bike, I can comfortably bike from my home in Somerville to the Seaport district in Boston. a roughly 5-mile trip. in just about 20-minutes. All of a sudden, biking 5-miles is a piece of cake. I also don’t have to spend time sitting in traffic, waiting for public transit, or worry about showing up to a meeting looking like I swam across the Charles river to get there.
The beauty of an e-bike is that it makes cycling an inclusive mode of transportation because it doesn’t discriminate by age or physical ability.
When it comes to purchasing an e-bike though, there are a plethora of options for both the bike and battery. So how do you decide which one is best for your needs? As a battery engineer who has built hundreds of batteries and logged way too many hours soldering battery packs, here are my thoughts on the most commonly asked questions when it comes to e-bike batteries.
If you’re new to battery terminology, you might want to start here: Battery terms that every e-bike owner should know.
In this post, we’ll cover the following questions:
What is the best e-bike battery?
This is one of the hardest questions to answer. There are so many variables that go into what makes a good battery and what’s best for you, may not be the best for me. Even then, a good battery can perform poorly if it’s not cared for properly.
Battery packs are made up of individual battery cells. Cells are classified into cylindrical cells (like your AA and AAA) and prismatic cells (like the one in your phone). Each class of battery is manufactured in a variety of form-factors (in the battery world we use this term to mean size). The most commonly used form-factor of cells in an e-bike battery pack is the 18650.
A battery pack is only as good as it’s weakest cell.
When it comes to batteries, in my experience, there is a strong correlation between price and quality. I don’t follow this rule when it comes to most things like for example, box wine (I’m just saying, there are plenty of really good box wine options these days!). When it comes to batteries though, you really don’t want to be compromising on quality because you’ll eventually end up having to pay the price.
Here are some things to keep in mind when purchasing an e-bike:
Cell Manufacturers: Panasonic, LG, and Samsung have a good reputation in the battery industry for their high quality cells, so paying a premium for these cells is certainly worth it. If the e-bike you’re trying to buy doesn’t have or provide cell manufacturer information, they’re likely not going to be a reliable source anyway.
Cell Chemistry: Lithium-ion (li-ion) batteries are the best option for e-bikes. Although lead-acid batteries are significantly cheaper, they’re three times as heavy as their li-ion equivalents.
Li-ion has several variants of cell chemistry. The most popular ones for e-bikes are Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC), Lithium Cobalt Oxide (LCO), and Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP). The metrics to look for when selecting a cell chemistry are:
- Specific Energy: has an impact on the range of your battery.
- Specific Power: how the battery handles high load scenarios like going up
- a hill.
- Safety: does the chemistry have a history of high in-field failures.
There are trade-offs when choosing one chemistry over another, but as we’ve shown in the image below, NMC and LFP are both great options that both offer the best value in terms of performance, price, and safety.
Picking the right battery chemistry has to do with figuring out what matters most to you. Do you want a battery that has a longer range (higher specific energy) but doesn’t have as much power? Or do you want a battery that has a more power (higher specific power) but may not last as long?
In my opinion, the best e-bike batteries are likely going to be made from cells manufactured by Panasonic, LG, or Samsung with either LFP or NMC cell chemistry.
What is the range of an e-bike battery?
The range of a battery pack depends on the amount of energy packed inside of it and is measured in Watt-Hours (Wh). Watt?
Watt-hours are calculated by multiplying the battery capacity, in Amp-hours, by the battery Voltage, in Volts.
Let’s assume that, on average, 1-mile requires about 25Wh of energy. So a 14Ah, 36V battery should get you about 25-miles per charge.
Keep in mind that the weight of the rider, outside temperature conditions, and the amount of pedaling will make a significant difference in range.
A word of caution: the range that e-bike manufacturers provide should be taken with a grain of salt. That number is generated from tests that are run in perfectly tailored lab conditions. Do you charge any of your electronics in an incubation chamber set at 28° C with a lab-grade charger that applies the perfect current while charging? Yeah, I don’t either. And so, We should assume that the manufacture-specified range is delivered only if the battery is charged and discharged under ideal conditions i.e. not real world conditions.
For a more realistic estimate, shave off 15% of the manufacturer specified range and assume this padded number to be your real range.
If you’re looking for a longer range, choose a battery that has higher capacity (Ah). If you’re looking for more power, choose a battery that has higher voltage (V). Learn more why voltage and capacity matter.
What is the lifespan of an e-bike battery?
There are several factors that affect the lifetime of a battery such as:
- environmental conditions: temperature during charging discharging
- charging rate: how fast or slow your battery is charged
- charging voltage: what voltage the battery is charged to
- depth of discharge (DoD): what voltage the battery is discharged to
The list above isn’t exhaustive but, in general, batteries decay as a function of time in the charged state. Period.
Day 1: You get your new e-bike and charge it up to 100% and go on a bike ride. When you come home, you charge the bike back up to 100% and you’re excited to ride it again soon.
Day 2. 364: Life get’s in the way and you still haven’t been out on your bike since that first ride.
Day 365: One year later, it’s the perfect day for a bike ride and you finally have some time on your hands. You head to your basement, unlock your bike, and excitedly turn it on. 80% charge. What? You clearly remember charging your bike to 100% last year before moving it to the basement!
The truth is, we can’t beat thermodynamics. I’ll say it again: batteries decay as a function of time in the charged state.
Now, because you left your battery at 100% for a whole year in a basement with no temperature control, you inadvertently caused your battery to lose a certain amount of irreversible capacity. Your range will be ~20% lower and you’ll likely have to replace your battery sooner than you expected. The table below shows you how much recoverable capacity exists in a battery after storing it at different temperatures and different charge states for 1-year.
This is why a lot of electronics come with batteries that are only partially charged. to help slow down this decay. That being said, it’s hard to track how long e-bikes and their batteries have been sitting in warehouses before being delivered to your door so you could get a battery that has been decaying for a year or two.
Manufacturers also tend to overrate their batteries and will make claims about certain batteries having a lifetime of at least 1,000 cycles. Show.me.the.data.
The lifetime of a lithium-ion battery is described as the number of cycles until the capacity (Ah) drops below 80% of it’s initial capacity. In general, this is roughly 250-400 cycles (depending on battery chemistry and other factors) which amounts to roughly 1.5 to 2 years if you charge discharge daily and care for your battery properly.
How to charge your e-bike battery to make it last longer
- The thing that will kill your battery faster than anything else is leaving it charged at elevated temperatures. If it’s 80 degrees outside and you have your e-bike fully charged, move it indoors where it’s cooler and try to drain the battery as soon as possible.
- Charge your battery at room temperature as often as possible.
- When sourcing an e-bike battery charger, the slower the charge rate the better. For example, if you have a 2-Amp charger, and your battery is a 14 Ah battery pack, you are charging at 14 Ah / 2-Amps = 7-hours. This is a nice, slow charge which will certainly improve the longevity of your battery pack. Avoid charging at rates that are faster than 2-hours for a full charge.
There’s a lot that goes into choosing the best battery for you e-bike, and there certainly isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. But if I were buying an e-bike battery today, here’s what I’d do: LFP or NMC, slow charge, avoid storing or charging in hotter temperatures, and leave the battery at around 30% charge if you don’t plan on using it for a while.
Have questions? We’d love to help. You can get in touch using the contact form or find us on @somerville_ev
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What Makes Fat Tire Electric Trikes So Great
Since petrol began to climb, fat tire e-trikes have been gaining popularity. Many bikers possess battery-powered tricycles, electric tricycles, or bicycles. Furthermore, the simplicity and adaptability of an electric tricycle make it a better alternative than a bicycle. They are, however, a significant investment. As a result, you may be hesitant to pick an e-trike over a standard bike or trike.
This article will look closely at fat-tire electric trikes, discussing everything from how they work to their numerous benefits.
What is a fat tire electric trike?
Electric tricycles have grown in popularity recently, transitioning from a niche product to a mainstream favorite. They help the rider get around and provide health and wellness benefits.
Fat tire electric trikes for sale are popular because of their stylish design and the extra maneuverability provided by their large tires. The rider can endure higher height variations when stuck when using this easily. Furthermore, the strong motors on the eclectic trikes allow them to travel in areas with poor footing. Pedaling e-trike’s thick tires requires more effort, resulting in higher caloric expenditure.
E-trikes are excellent for improving your mood and increasing your fitness level. So, let’s look at how e-trikes can help with things like sadness, anxiety, and insomnia.
Read also: How to select the best e-trike (with examples)? And, How much does a good e-trike cost?
Fat tires vs thin tires e-bikes: pros and cons
Thin tires on electric bicycles are intended for speed and provide several advantages over larger tires. Compared to their larger siblings, skinny tires are designed to travel at higher speeds. You’ll be able to attain incredible speeds, giving you an advantage in any competition.
The sleek shape and broad width of the tires assist in cutting through the air, while the tires ‘ low pressure keeps the vehicle steady. As a consequence, the bike is lighter than traditional fat-tired electric bikes.
The bike requires less effort to push, making it suitable for persons of all fitness levels.
- On the everyday journey, thin tires are more maneuverable and fuel-efficient. They have substantially less grip on the rough ground due to their drastically decreased bulk. As a consequence, you may go long distances on a single charge.
- Using thin tires on an e-bike allows the rider to move quickly since there is less air resistance. As a result, a thinner tire will allow you to cut through the air more effectively when riding.
- Because lighter components support the narrow tires, the bike’s overall weight is lowered.
- With less wear and tear on your tires throughout your daily commute, you may get away with thinner tires.
- Thin tires are less than ideal for lean angles and high-speed cornering due to a lack of side traction when leaning the bike for a Rapid sharp turn.
- You risk falling off your bike on rough roads with narrow tires. If your electric bike falls into a ditch, you’ll have to cycle your way out.
- You should not ride at full throttle unless there are no other cars or impediments in your path. During a commute, accidents are more likely to occur while driving too fast on thin tires.
Fat tire e-trikes
Bicyclists who like being outside are especially attracted to fat-tired electric bikes. Large tires can easily tackle the most difficult terrain. These tires withstand harsh circumstances, such as loose stones, muddy walkways, and snow-covered roads. They will take you to fresh and fascinating places you never imagined reaching by bike.
The larger contact area of fat tires was designed to reduce strain on the bicycle and its rider. This enables such tires to make excellent contact with the snow-covered terrain.
Most bikes lack the grip required to ride on sand, but your electric bikes’ big tires will easily transport you. Because of the huge footprint of your tires, you can confidently negotiate bends in wet circumstances.
- With large tires, you may safely let your hub motors run at full power. You may go farther, certain that the electric bike will stay stable as you accelerate.
- Muddy, uneven terrain necessitates the use of big off-road tires. I’d always suggest fat tires to folks headed out for a vacation to the mountains or the forest for some RR.
- Because there are no possible slips or the risk of losing your balance and falling while utilizing fat tires, you may break harder.
- Fat tires may be more costly since they are typically seasonal and made to order. They are more expensive because more rubber is utilized and is not readily accessible everywhere.
- If the electric bike’s thick tires make it heavier than typical e-bikes with thinner tires, it will be more difficult to ride. The suspension must be sturdy and spacious enough to carry the weight of the fat tires across difficult terrain.
- The greater rolling resistance induced by the tire’s size necessitates the usage of more energy during acceleration.
- Suspension and brakes must be larger, heavier, and more frequently serviced. The brakes must be robust enough to bear the weight of the tires to stop the e-bike.
Introduction of Grandtan M-340 fat tire electric trike
The Addmotor Grandtan M-340 is a popular consumer-direct electric tricycle. The footrests and frame design make getting on and off the chair simple. There is a throttle built in so you don’t have to pedal if you do not wish to, and you can reach speeds of up to 20 mph (32 km/h) with the throttle alone or with the pedal assist.
The footrest is built-in. It is sturdy and can hold a basket. Like most three-wheeled vehicles, this Class 2 electric tricycle is stable on straightaways but shaky in corners. According to Addmotor, the M-340 has a 48V 20.0 Ah battery with a large capacity.
For this to make sense, the battery must be 48V 20.0 Ah. While Addmotor advertises a range of 85 miles (135 km), a reviewer claims this trike has a real-world range of about 125 miles (200 km).
Because the shipping weight is listed as 140 pounds (63 kg), we can assume that the bike is quite heavy (about 80 pounds or 36 kg). A practical option for transporting large amounts of material in a relaxed and unhurried manner.
A few words in conclusion
Fat tire electric trikes for sale are becoming more popular among bikers. Fat tire e-bikes are excellent for people of all ages. Electric tricycles with big tires are available for purchase, and I hope you find the correct one.
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