Electric bikes for everyone – breaking down the myths
Electric bikes have spent the better part of the last decade making a significant impact in the world of personal transportation (or three decades depending on who you ask). However, despite their booming popularity, there still exists a number of myths around these innovative forms of alternative transportation. One of the most common misconceptions is that electric bikes are for older riders or those with mobility issues.
I keep thinking this will be the year we roll past this myth, and yet it continues to rear its head in e-bike discourse across the US. And it couldn’t be further from the truth! Let’s debunk this myth and shine a light on the universal appeal and benefits of e-bikes for people of all ages.
Myth: E-bikes are only for the elderly
It’s easy to see how this myth has developed. The added assistance that an e-bike provides can be incredibly beneficial for older folks or those with mobility issues. And in the early years, it was true that older riders made up a lion’s share of e-bike sales.
Companies like Pedego have spent over a decade developing a retail-based approach to teaching customers – originally largely older folks – about e-bikes in their brick-and-mortar shops. It was a move that inspired confidence by testing a range of models and got many people back out riding who had given it up years ago. And ten years ago, silver-haired Pedego riders on electric beach cruiser bikes smiling in e-bike ads were one of the first places that many people learned what an e-bike was. Perhaps that is part of where the misconception came from (and to be fair, Pedego’s models have greatly expanded into several cool, fun new models that target younger riders).
However, to say e-bikes are only for this demographic is a significant oversight.
For the young and adventurous
E-bikes offer an exciting blend of traditional cycling with serious infusion of technological advancement. For younger riders this means longer rides, climbing steeper hills with less fatigue, the ability to pair your phone or GPS with your e-bike, and lots of customization opportunities. Companies like SUPER73 have even built an entire culture around modifying and customizing e-bikes, with riders using their e-bikes as an extension of their personalities to show off their unique aesthetics and designs.
For those that didn’t grow up on a bike, e-bikes also serve as a fantastic introduction to the world of cycling, providing a confidence-boosting assist for beginners.
Younger generations are also increasingly eco-conscious, which makes sense as we see ever more clearly the destruction that is being done to our world. E-bikes offer a sustainable alternative to cars by reducing carbon emissions and contributing to a healthier planet.
And when you consider the tighter wallets that younger generations have compared to their parents’ generations, e-bikes also make sense as an alternative to the rising costs of car ownership. on that in a moment!
For the fitness enthusiasts
Many people believe that riding an e-bike doesn’t provide a workout. This, too, is a myth. Not only has this myth been broken by anyone who “feels the burn” on an e-bike in low power mode, but countless studies have disproven the myth by demonstrating the exercise benefits of e-bikes.
Yes, e-bikes do offer assistance, but unless relying entirely on a throttle, the rider is still active and engaged. If you want more of a workout, you can adjust the level of assist to match your fitness goals or just based on how much effort you want to put into a ride on any given day. Higher assistance can help on thigh-cramping climbs or longer rides, while lower assistance can give you more of a workout.
In fact, I never considered myself a cyclist but over time I found the joy of cycling without any electric assist only after getting an e-bike and improving my own cycling.
For urban dwellers
E-bikes can be a game-changer for city dwellers of all ages. They’re faster than walking, more flexible than public transportation, and less stressful than driving in traffic. Plus, with compact, folding models readily available, storage in smaller apartments is less of an issue.
At risk of repeating myself, e-bikes make excellent car replacements for so many reasons. The costs savings are often touted as one of the main reasons for replacing a car with an e-bike, but don’t discount the shorter trips times due to skipping past traffic or the added fun of turning a commute slog into a joy ride!
In fact, I live my life largely car-free thanks to e-bikes (though I also rely on electric scooters and electric motorcycles, to be fair).
E-bikes and the elderly: A match made in heaven
While I think it’s fairly obvious now that e-bikes are not exclusively for the elderly, it’s worth reiterating how beneficial they can be for older riders.
E-bikes can help elderly individuals maintain an active lifestyle while providing a sense of independence. They offer a safe, low-impact exercise that can be customized to individual fitness levels. The added assist allows for longer rides without the risk of overexertion, promoting heart health and overall fitness. A new wave of electric trikes is even bringing electric biking to those without the balance to ride a two-wheeler.
over, e-bikes are a fantastic way for older people to connect with nature and their communities. They can explore local parks, visit friends, or simply enjoy a leisurely ride, all while benefiting from fresh air and sunshine.
I’ve put both my parents on e-bikes, and it’s amazing to see the smiles on their faces each time they hop on the saddle. There’s just something about feeling the boost beneath you that transcends physical age and connects with people on an emotional basis. If you haven’t seen an e-grin yet, put a parent or friend on an e-bike and you’ll instantly know what I’m talking about. That first ride just brings something out in people and it’s a beautiful sight to see.
Electric bikes are a diverse and flexible mode of transportation that simply transcends age demographics.
They provide a boost for those who need it, an adventurous ride for thrill-seekers, a fitness tool for exercise enthusiasts, and a practical solution for urban commuters.
So whether you’re young or just young at heart, there’s an e-bike out there that’s perfect for you. Let’s move beyond the myths and embrace the two-wheeled electric revolution for all ages!
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High Power Electric Bikes at High Country E Bikes in Utah
Electric bicycles are growing in popularity in Salt Lake City. They have a small motor on the rear-hub or a mid-drive motor in-between the pedals. They perform better than traditional bikes, giving you more riding options, whether you’re off-road or on the street.
At our bike shop, we have some excellent high-power e bike options, with strong motors for quick, torque-filled riding experiences. Ride in Utah on the mountain or road.
Electric bike motors provide either a pedal-assist or a pedal-free throttle. Some give both; some have one or the other.
Amounts of Power on Your Electric Bike
We should say, starting out here, that there is some question about the actual power offered on a lot of these favorite bicycle motors. There’s confusing and conflicting information online, including on the manufacturer’s sites.
The truth is that these are pretty sophisticated motors that are capable of performing better than laws will allow. The bicycle manufactures actually have to create technology that limits their performance, to comply with local laws.
Don’t Get Bogged Down by Motor Power
A low-power motor like the German-made Brose on the iZip E3 Moda only has 250-mph, but it’s so well-built and has a high watt-hour battery, providing an optimal commuting range. It maxes out at 28-mph, the speed limit for e bikes, so it’s not like you’re sacrificing performance on this mid-drive hybrid.
A good analogy when thinking about electric bike motor power is the history of automobiles. It used to be that you had to have at least an 8-cylinder engine to be considered a “fast car.” But car manufacturers are now making speedy 4-cylinder vehicles.
The same goes for ebikes. The size of and power of the motor isn’t necessarily a good indicator of performance.
The laws in Utah on city streets designates that a street legal e bike must not exceed 28-mph with pedal-assist and 20-mph with a throttle. These are called class 3 pedelecs.
Maximum power-systems allowed on Utah roads is 750-watts.
Amounts of Power on Street-Legal E Bikes
There are few classifications of e bikes that are legal on Utah roads. Class 1: Pedal-Assists offer pedal-assist only. All Haibikes with Bosch and Yamaha motors fit into this classification.
Class 2: Throttle On Demand classified bikes allow for pedal-free throttle, and can go as fast as 20-mph. Many of our iZip and Magnum road bikes fit this category.
And Class 3: Speed Pedelec bicycles are often hybrid-style electric bikes and can go as fast as 28-mph with pedal-assist, and 20-mph with a throttle.
Here are some standard size motors on these three classes of road-worthy and mountain-legal e bikes.
500-Watt Yamaha Motors
The majority of the motors we sell at High Country are Yamaha torque-sensing systems, with 500-watts of electricity. That’s the average usage of these systems, but they have peak power-output at 750-watts.
350-Watt Bosch-Power Systems
We also sell Bosch power-systems. This manufacturer offers multiple options to e bike brands, but all the models that we carry have 350-watts of power.
350-Watt Hybrids and Cruiser-Style E Bikes
A number of our hybrid e bikes have 350-watt mid-drive motors by Currie. We also sell the iZip E3 Vibe, a well-liked, extra-small road bike, and the Raleigh Retroglide IE, a gorgeous beach cruiser, both of which come with these lower-powered motors.
We also sell the Magnum Ui5 with a 350-watt Bafang hub-drive built in China.
We also offer hub-drive e bikes with 500-watt motors, like the Das-kit on the Magnum Metro and the Currie hub-drive on the iZip E3 Zuma.
250-Watt Mid-Drive Motors
As mentioned earlier, we sell the iZip E3 Moda with a Brose 250-watt motor. Shimano Steps also produces a 250-watt motor offered on the Raleigh Detour found in our store.
Again, we wouldn’t dismiss these lower-wattage motors like these. We very regularly have customers try these motors, and they’re blown away by the speed and torque. If you’re unfamiliar with bicycles with electric motors, these can be excellent starter e bikes.
Too Fast for Prime Time
We do carry some e bikes with really powerful motors that are not, technically, road legal. So buyers beware.
750-Watt/3,000-Watt Crystalyte Motors on the Vintage Electric Bikes
Vintage Electric Bikes are riding a delicate line between legal and illegal. They offer street road and race mode (for customers that want to ride on the wild-side).
With street mode, your motor will max-out at the legal limit, with 750-watts and 28-mph. The race mode pumps up your power to almost 3,000-watts, giving you speeds up to 40-mph.
750 to 3,000 Bafang Motors on HPC
Hi-Power Cycles (HPC) at High Country E Bikes are the hot-rods of electric bikes. They are ideal for those accustomed to insane amounts of speed on motorcycles but want an electric motor.
Some HPC models, like the Enduro, come with Bafang motors that can be as powerful as 3,000-watts. They’re fastReally fast!
4,500 to 8,000-Watt Crystalyte Motors on HPC
If you want an even faster electric bike experience, and you’d like to try to die young, then you want an Hi-Power Cycles Revolution, with a motor that’s as powerful as 8,000-watts. These are pretty crazy. We’re not going to lie. With an e bike like this, you can go as fast as 80-mph.
High Country E Bikes in the Salt Lake City area has the biggest selection of electric bicycles in the state of Utah. These are some of our most popular models.
See us in Utah or call to order one of our best high-power electric bikes. We’ll find the right model for you, at a reasonable price.
How Much Power Does An Electric Bicycle Need?
This is perhaps one of the most often asked questions I get from people looking to build or buy their first ebike. There are many different electric bicycle power ratings out there which can be confusing to a beginner.
250 watt, 500 watt, 1,000 watt, 36V, 48V…. what does it all mean?!
Well the first thing to know is that not all electric bicycles are created equally. Even two ebikes that both claim to be the same power or ‘wattage’ level can actually be fairly different ‘under the hood’. I’ve written specifically about the myth of the ebike wattage, but I’ll cover it briefly here.
Generally speaking, the higher the wattage, the higher your electric bicycle power will be. However, many ebikes are labeled differently than their actual power level, whether it be for marketing gimmicks, to sneak higher powered ebikes past laws and regulations, or a whole host of other reasons. You’ll want to check with the manufacturer to determine the actual wattage of an electric bicycle, which will come down to two numbers: the voltage of the battery multiplied by the peak current limit (in amps) of the controller.
A common electric bicycle setup is a 36V (volt) battery and a 15A (amp) controller. Wattage is just voltage multiplied by current, so 36 volts x 15 amps = 540 watts. In this case, we are looking at an ebike of approximately 500 watts. Do the math just like this on any electric bicycle to determine just how much power that specific ebike is capable of delivering.
But how much electric bicycle power is necessary?
How much ebike power do you actually need? The answer will mostly depend on two factors: your weight and whether you will be riding up many decent-sized hills. The heavier you are, the more power you need to accelerate the ebike. The steeper and longer the hill you are trying to climb, the more power you need to get up the hill.
My wife, for example, is quite comfortable on her 24V, 250 watt ebike. This is a very low powered electric bicycle, but she only weighs about 110 lbs (50 kg) and we live in a flat city, so she doesn’t have to worry about hills. If we lived in a hilly area, she’d likely need closer to 350-400 watts of power, which could better be achieved by an ebike with a 36V battery. An electric bicycle with a 36V battery and 12A controller would output a peak power of 432 watts (36V x 12A = 432W) which would be plenty to scoot her up a decent sized hill.
I weigh about 150 lbs (68 kg) and my wife’s 250 watt electric bicycle feels a bit sluggish to me. A 500 watt ebike, such as an ebike with a 36V battery and 15A controller would be about the minimum comfortable level for me, assuming I’m on flat ground.
Of course, I enjoy a sportier, faster accelerating ebike so I ride an ebike with a 48V battery and 20A controller, giving me about 1,000 watts of power to my direct drive hub motor. That’s more than I need at my weight in a flat city, but if I lived in a really hilly city, that would be a quite appropriate power level. As it stands, in my flat terrain city, 1,000W leaves me some wiggle room for strong accelerations and occasionally towing a bicycle trailer, though I generally don’t use anywhere near 1,000W for my daily driving needs.
Power requirements go up quickly for folks weighing over 220 lbs (100 kg). In a flat area, a 750 watt ebike should be plenty, though acceleration will be notably slower. In a hilly area, a 1,000 watt ebike would be the minimum. Heavy riders climbing serious hills might even have to push past a 20A controller to 25A or 30A combined with a 48V battery to get 1250-1500 watts of power, depending on the specifics of their weight and terrain. Once you start getting above a 1,000W electric bicycle, over heating issues can start to come into play on especially long uphill rides.
The best way to know for sure what electric bicycle power level you need is to do a test ride on a few ebikes of different power levels and determine what feels best. On flat ground an underpowered ebike won’t really be too much of an issue; it will simply result in sluggish performance. Trying to ride an underpowered ebike up a steep hill, especially with a heavy rider, can risk causing damage to the ebike by burning out the motor or connectors. If you feel like your power is disappearing as you ride up a hill, that’s a sign the ebike is working too hard you need a higher power setup.
Lastly, think about cargo. A loaded backpack shouldn’t be an issue, but if you want to carry child seats or pull a trailer, consider bumping up to the next higher power level to ensure you have the power you need when it counts. I personally like to err on the higher power ebike side. If you don’t use the extra power all the time, that’s fine of course. But when you really need it, you’ll be happy that extra power is there.
Yea, you’re going to need more than 250 watts…
Micah is a mechanical engineer, tinkerer and husband. He’s spent the better part of a decade working in the electric bicycle industry, and is the author of The Ultimate DIY Ebike Guide. Micah can usually be found riding his electric bicycles around Florida, Tel Aviv, and anywhere else his ebikes wind up.
Комментарии и мнения владельцев
Greetings Micah, I’m building a trike with a 48 volt 1000 watt front hub and will use a 48 volt 15 or 20 ah lithium battery. My hope is to be able to put my wife on the back and take her for a whirl. The total weight including bodies, bike, battery and all gear will be around 400lbs. My question is whether you think this is an appropriate setup for what I’m trying to do. 90% of the time it would be just myself at around 170 lbs. minus trike and gear. I have an option of upgrading to a 1500 watt or higher rated hub but cost wise things are getting pretty crazy. I sincerely appreciate your time and thoughts helping me/all of us, understand these things. Thank you! christiian Ps I’m using a high end fat tire hub with a really nice street tire for this build, can’t wait!
I’m back! Hi again Micah, So now I have a bigger question and really hoping I might hear back from you. I got a great deal on two Vpower lithium ion 48 volt 10 ah battery packs and need to know once inside, where to make the parallel connections to get the increases I’m hoping for. The only other question would be how to charge…to disonnect and charge separately, they each come with 6amp chargers, or charge them in parallel. I would be happy to to make a donation towards the sites maintenance or a few cups of java for you if there’s any way to do that, please let me know…I would be honored! Shalom!
Hi Jc, You could parallel them by removing the BMS from one battery and connecting each parallel group of cells in parallel. For example, if they are lithium-ion packs, you’ll probably have 13 parallel groups in each battery. You’ll want to make 13 connections, one between each group. But you remove one BMS as the new larger pack only requires a single BMS. Alternatively, you could simply connect the discharge wires in parallel when you want to use them together, and then disconnect them for charging separately. If you go that way, just make sure you never plug them in parallel when they are at different states of charge. A good method would be to only parallel them when they are both full.
Perfect! The alternative method seems to be the easier way to go but just want to be clear, the packs stay in tact with their individual BMS’s, right, and creating a 48 volt 20 ah power sorce? I appreciate the heads up regarding seprate charging and the importance an equal, “full” charge. Thank you Micah, you bless us all with your kindness and knowledge. ~`JcPs I’ve been writing from a small tablet and will lend support when I get home this weekend and back to my iMac by buying a copy of your electric bicycle ebook. Blessings!
It can likely work, but the performance might not be what you’d hope. The problem is there is very little weight on the front of a trike, and when you add more gear/passengers to the back, this imbalance gets even worse. Imagine a pickup truck with front wheel drive and the bed with a full load of rocks. You’ll have serious traction issues with a full load. And with that high level of power, you’ll really need to feather the throttle to keep from doing burnouts every time you start driving. Lastly, most trike forks aren’t meant to handle that much power, so you’ll want to use a beefy torque arm, likely on both sides of the axle.
dear Micah I have selected e-bike as my final year college project and we are producing it for a person who weigh 50 kg and have target to achieve max. speed of 18km/hr. But i’m having confusion regarding the” motor power and battery voltage”. will you please suggest me to use the right accessories for the project. I’m having the project cost of the ”US 200 and I’m using dry lead acid batteries” as the power source.
200 is on the low end of what is possible. If this is just a proof of concept, finding some used batteries and building a custom friction drive using an old DC motor will likely be a good option. Look up “friction drive ebike” and you’ll find many examples. Any ready-to-go ebike kit is going to break your 200 budget, so you’re left with building something custom.
Hi micah First tnx for your useful website can i ask you how much energy can produce an e bike with generator?
I’m not sure I understand the question. If you run a generator off of an ebike, you’ll probably end up getting back around 75% of the energy that was stored in the battery, after efficiency losses. The second law of thermodynamics is a cruel mistress…
Hi Micah, Greetings from New Zealand. Loved your website and every bit of it very informative and useful. I am converting my son’s mini quad bike (40cc) to electric at the moment. I am planning to add a 36v brushed DC motor with 1000w. He is around 40 kg 8 years old. But i would like him to use it until he is 12 years old up to 60kg. I am adding 3 x 12v 7.2Ah/ 20hr SLA batteries (cheap option) and a charger 36v with 12amp charging current. I would like to have your advice if anything wrong with my project ? any recommendations are much appreciated !
I don’t understand what you mean by 7.2AH/20hr batteries. Are they 7.2AH or 20AH? 7.2AH isn’t much, especially for SLA’s where you shouldn’t really discharge them more than 50% if you want long life out of them. Other than that it seems like a good plan. Brushed motors and SLA is old school, but it’s worked for decades. Please be safe though…where I live you have to be 16 to ride an electric bicycle…
Thanks for the response. The battery pack will have 3x sla batteries. Each are 12v – 7.2 amp. The 2ohrs as per the manufacturer that need charging 20 hrs to get 7.2amp. Link below. So i assume 7.2amp × 3 = 21.6 amps total ? https://www.jaycar.co.nz/12v-7-2ah-sla-battery/p/SB2486 I know old skool but not keen to spend alot on his project so far ( on a budget ). He is going to use off road in the farm with protective gear. So he should be fine. Still need your advice about the charger please. It will be 36v charger 12amp.
Hi Micha, first of all thanks for sharing e-bike ideas through your great website!! I am planning to mount an electric kit (like the 8fun mid drive) on my mtb in order to go to work on bike more often. In my case it is 35km one way consisting of a mix 1/3 kinda hilly gravel roads and 2/3 bike lane. I wonder about my power requirements, yet being a newbie I am still a bit confused about the figures in this discussion, since it is not always clear if they are pertinent to “pure throttle mode” or to “pedal assist mode”. I am mostly interested in the latter. For instance in your response to Carlos W you say “A 100kg total (bike and rider) setup with a 250W motor and 36V battery would get 20 km/h on a 5% grade, but only 7 km/h on a 10% grade. On the 5% grade, the motor would overheat in 6.5 minutes, and on the 10% grade the motor would overheat in 1.4 minutes!”. I take the overheating figures are meant without pedal assist, so how would this scale with pedal assist? Any comment welcome. Cheers, Kris
Hey Kris, Those figures are all assuming 100% throttle and zero pedal assist. It’s hard calculate exact figures when using pedal assist because everyone pedals at different power levels… If you assume you’re doing half the work of the motor then you’d effectively double your range, but who knows exactly how much work you’re actually doing? Unless you’re a really serious pedaler, I’d assume you’re not going to be doing more than 1/3 of the work, which would be a good basis to start from. You can head on over to the ebike simulator at ebikes.ca though and play around with the numbers for your battery and motor setup to see what figures you get. That’s how I calculated all the figures you referenced.
I am a 95 kg man and looking for my first ebike. Do you consider 250w 36A will not be enough for my weight? Not many hills where I might use it but since it´s a folding one I would like to take it when travelling. Should I opt for the 350W instead? Thanks or sharing
36V 250W will work for you, but it’s going to feel a little underwhelming in terms of acceleration. If you want a nice, slow and easy going ride, 250W will do it. Keep in mind that most humans generate less than 250W when pedaling. But if you want something that feels sportier, 350-500W is the ticket.
Hi Micha, I have just started to repair my 2-seater e-scooter with lithium ion battery pack, which had lead acid battery earlier. I want to change all; battery, controller and the motor. I’m confused with a question: How to define permissible load for a dc electric motor? For example, if I have a 500 W motor, what would be max power and how to relate with load? Thanks anyway for your helpful blog.
Basically, you want to make sure your controller isn’t higher powered than your motor, since it’s the controller that limits power in the system. So if you have a 500W motor, you’ll want to pair it with a 500W or less controller. What will happen if you used an 800W controller, for example? If you’re a fairly lightweight person and/or don’t climb many long hills, chances are you’d be fine (and notice some nicer acceleration). But using more power than the motor is rated for in long durations (like accelerating a larger person or climbing a long hill) could burn out the motor.
Hi Micah, Many thanks for your earlier discussion. I came back with two further doubt. (1) Can I use 18650 Li-ion cells to built a 5 kWh battery pack? I am basically curious about what to do while scaling up the system. (2) If I want to drag one ton of total load (lets say a 3 wheeler) in a nominally flat road, what kind of motor (watt) should be used? (average speed: 30~35 km/h) Thanks in advance. Sourov
What do you think about a BBS02 8fun Bafang motor 750w with a 48V – 10.4 AH SANYO battery, i’m 82kg of weight. I live in a place full of hills. Is this kind of battery appropriate?
There are a few Sanyo batteries out there so it’s a bit hard to say, though most are rated for at least 2C. Basically, 10.4 AH is about the minimum for that motor kit. It will definitely work, but you’ll be pushing the battery closer to its maximum power draw level, meaning it just won’t last as long as a larger battery.
Generally speaking you do not want to use a stronger motor than your power source (battery) is rated for. However, the more important figure would be your controller. If you have a 300W controller or less, than it should be fine for that battery.
I have been looking all over YouTube for something like this. Thanks a lot for the information, I have a little problem I just want to verify with you pls. So I bought mountain bike from Walmart. just ordered 1000watts 48v e-kit ordered (4) 12 volts 7ah batteries (makes it 48×28= 1344, I think).I weigh 168lbs (5’9) and carry a 5lbs school backpack to school everyday.from my apt to school is 1.9mile.always this slide hill (though I’m a new biker still able to ride it) but always tired afterward and little knee pain. ( that’s why I bought the e-kit) 1. do you think with the e-kit and battery power can push me up the hill ? 2. if the watts from my battery is 1344watts but the e-kit is 1000watts, will that mess it up or damage it? 3. the battery fully charged, can it take me to school and back at a constant 48v? note: the 1.9mile to my school isn’t all hill just like 0.2mil.
That all sounds reasonable, the batteries can definitely handle that 1,000W motor and they should be able to drive you 4 miles with a slight hill no problem at all. The 7AH isn’t a lot and the lead acid batteries are a bit old school, but it will all work. Your math is a bit off though. Your battery is a 48V 7AH when you combine those 4 bricks together (the voltage adds since they are in series but the capacity does not add unless they are in parallel). So you’ve got 487=336 watt hours. Not a ton, but you’re also not going that far either. Lead acid batteries can also handle a lot of power – much more than lithium batteries. That is one of their advantages – one of their only advantages actually…
hi i want to make an e bike in my university at first i decide to use hub motor for my e bike but there is a problem in my country this kind of motor are very expensive so i decide to use DC motor (250) watts ( i am 65 kg ) and there is two choice for DC motor first : BLDC second: DC i don’t know the difference of these motors and the usage of them please tell me the best motor for ebike and then tell me why ? thank you
Sorry, but I don’t know too much about the retailer scene in Jerusalem. It’s so hilly that I know most the 250W ebikes (the legal limit in Israel) can struggle on those hills. I wish I could be of more help to you! There are some good groups for ebike riders in Israel, so you might have better luck searching there for a recommendation on a specific Jerusalem vendor.
A person riding a bike cannot usually output more than 200-250 W of power for more than a minute or so. If you use the motor only as an assist, I think that 250 W would suffice even in hilly terrain and for a 100 kg person. Can you please explain why my reasoning is wrong?
A 250W motor can suffice for many people, but a 100 kg person on hills would find the performance to be very underwhelming. I used the hub motor simulator (an awesome tool!) over at ebikes.ca to run a few quick simulations. http://www.ebikes.ca/tools/simulator.html A 100kg total (bike and rider) setup with a 250W motor and 36V battery would get 20 km/h on a 5% grade, but only 7 km/h on a 10% grade. On the 5% grade, the motor would overheat in 6.5 minutes, and on the 10% grade the motor would overheat in 1.4 minutes! These motors are fine for flat ground, but they just can’t handle the hills. A normal rider going up a 5% or 10% incline would get tired and as their legs filled with lactic acid, they’d be forced to stop. A motor, on the other hand, just keeps going and progressively heating up, which increases its resistance which makes it even less efficient which makes it heat up even more and the cycle continues until it eventually destroys itself…
Hi. thanks for the article. I want to buy an E bike. big wheels. I weight 210 lbs and I live in Jerusalem. and as you know Jerusalem has some hills but I will be peddling easily to “help” the bike. What e bike should I choose ? Thanks.
Hi Khalid, In Israel I know that the company Greenbike has some good quality bikes and good service. Most of their bikes are the smaller folding bikes but I believe they have some standard size bikes with larger wheels as well. Jerusalem is pretty hilly as you noted, so I’m not sure how well they will work. They’ll get you around, but the performance will be a little underwhelming on those big hills…
Dear Micah, I was quite happy to discover your site and was surprised about the amount of information that you make available. I would love to build two new battery packs for our two bikes. The bicycles are Gazelle Easy Glider made in The Netherlands around 2008… They are equipped with a Brushless Panasonic motor and powered by a 10Ah 26V Li-Ion Mn battery type NKY233B02. Forgive me if I overlooked your information concerning he use of LiFePO4 cells. Apparently, these cells offer nothing but advantages though their voltage is significantly lower…? I would welcome your ideas on the replacement of the present battery and hope to be able to achieve a bigger capacity. Could you please advise me what BMS I would best buy and possibly also the type/brand of cell and their connection S7 or S8 ? What about using 19670 Vss 18650 ? Does this protection make a difference? Any spot welder recommendation? Thank you for all possible hints ! Kindest regards,
Hey Micah, First, thank you for sharing your knowledge on electric bikes. There is a lot to think about before installing a conversion kit. Pity I did not find your page (my bad) BEFORE I ordered and installed a kit. My questions are regarding Torque: How to know, or calculate torque power delivered? The manufacturers tend to give a higher torque on the specs than the real one, it seems. How to be sure I get what I am paying for? I would like my next build to be stronger, as my 500 w/ 20 A/ 36V gets quite warmed up when I pulling trailer with two kids in it. Living on the west side of Norway, the next hill is not far away! And 1000 w seems a little much to me, as max power allowed on the roads in Norway (EU-regulations) is as little as 250 w. How can I maximize my torque, in short? Best regards Jan
Calculating the actual torque is pretty difficult without a custom dynamometer for your ebike. I actually built one for a senior design project for my mechanical engineering degree, but it’s not a simple build. Generally speaking, a motor with a wider stator is going to be torquier, but with motors that are similar sized it can be hard to compare. Many manufacturers supply a torque graph with the motor, and I’d recommend searching around for one. Here’s a somewhat shady one for a goldenmotor hubmotor showing a max of about 9Nm of torque at full power: http://www.goldenmotor.com/hubmotors/BLT-800W%20Performance%20Curve.jpg The best bet is to try and locate the performance charts like these for each motor before you buy to compare. When you’re stuck with a 250W motor, there’s not a lot you can do to maximize torque though. You can aim for a lower speed motor which won’t have more torque, but you’ll feel like you have more effective torque because the motor will not heat up as much when towing as it is staying in a more efficient rpm range. Other than that, 250W are pretty much known for not being so torquey. You can always overvolt your motor (swap in a 36V battery instead of 24V or 48V instead of 36V) which will give you a boost in power and torque.
sir i want to build a ebike with 100ow motor and how much power battery does it needs? bike wiehgs 80kg and man weighs 70kg
I’m a 5’9″ 246 lbs person who is losing weight. I’ve been checking out ebikes and have ridden four different ebikes by 3 different manufacturers. The only one I’ve been able with peddle assist to get up 20 mph was a Pedego Interceptor. I’m looking for something for commuting 21 miles round trip that can move my heavy body easily at 20 miles per hour for 11 miles with either pedal assist or throttle depending on how lazy I’m feeling at the time. Can you advise the minimum watt motor I should have to meet my needs?
Wattage isn’t the biggest concern here, though anything less than 500W isn’t going to be great for your purposes. 750W would be best. But more important is capacity of the battery in AH. 10AH is the minimum you want if you can charge in between the two legs of the trip. Assuming you can’t, or planning for the odd day that you forget to charge, 20AH would be best to ensure you’ve got enough juice to get there and back on throttle alone.
Hello, I have a 48 volt battery and a 500 watt motor. Will a 48 volt 1000 watt controller work with these, or will it burn out the motor?? Thanks
It really depends on riding conditions. Generally this combination would be a bad idea, but if you’re fairly lightweight and you don’t go up long hills, the motor won’t be pulling the full 1,000W offered by the controller very often. You only pull full power under peak loads (e.g. Heavy acceleration and hill climbing).
I AM SAUD FROM INDIA, I am an electrical engineer. I am going to build an electric motorcycle for a competition. I just want to know that I have to consider both the vehicle and driver’s weight or just driver’s weight for the selection of motor. And please suggest the ratings of motor and battery for 70kg of driver and 60-80 kg of vehicle to drive in a muddy road and to claim through 30 degree elevation.
Hello back from Israel! You definitely want to consider the weight of the rider as well. Unlike cars, for electric bicycles and motorcycles the weight of the driver is a big percentage of the total weight. I’ve never built an electric motorcycle so it’s hard for me to estimate the power you’d need, but you’re looking at seriously powerful components not normally used in ebikes… likely 5kW minimum.
I live in Istanbul, Turkey in a city with hills. Eventually I will return to the USA but I would like to buy an e-bike to ride while I’m here. I’m not sure how to address the 110 vs 220 current issue. I’m familiar with the brand Pedego which I like because it’s perky. I weigh about 112 lbs. I’m thinking 36 volt lithium battery 12 amps. Also, I like a quiet bike and not that loud humming sound. Any advice would be appreciated.
The 100v vs 220v isn’t really an issue, you just buy a different charger if it isn’t multivoltage. If you have big hills, you’ll want a powerful direct drive or a mid drive. A geared motor is smaller but they are usually weaker and also are a bit louder, which you said you’d like to avoid.
sir I want make a ebike to carry a cargo with the weight nearly 100 kg and me 100 kg. how much power motor and battery I needed to built a e bile
That’s hard to say because it also depends on many other factors including type of motor, battery, riding terrain, speed, etc. You’re looking at an absolute minimum of 1000 watts though. I’d aim for a slower winding of motor and you’ll be able to get away with less power. It will also be safer. With that much weight, make sure you’ve got good brakes.
12V isn’t going to provide enough power unless you’re pulling a crazy amount of current, which can be dangerous. Aim for 24V at a bare minimum. My wife weighs 50 kg and her bike uses 24V 10AH battery with a 14A controller.
hi my name is meysam I study in Iran and my major is Mechanical engineering I want to make Ebike and I don’t know if I choose motor’s 500 waat how much is the weigh of bike ? tank you
Yes you can, but it isn’t the best method. It’s hard to know what quality of cells you can find in old laptop batteries. Plus, mixing different types of cells will give less than optimal results.
It really depends. Most 500 watt motors will weigh between 4-6kg, but the weight of the finished bike will depend on the other parts you include and the type of bike.
hi my name is helmy. i am planning to make diy electric bike.i have an old 700cc bicycle. my weight is 100kg. my target speed 25km/h. how much watt motor is needed? what type of motor to use? how many volt battery to use? how to charge the battery electric bike using alternator? how far it can go ? i hope you can help me. TQ.
Hi Helmy, you’ve got a lot of great questions that require specific answers based on your own needs. Your questions are so broad and diverse that I recommend you check out the book I wrote to help people like you plan and build a custom ebike at http://www.UltimateEbikeEbook.com
Hi Micha, my name is Shalom, and i live in Tel Aviv, Israel. I have been building a diy ebike for some time now but with the laws in israel on ebikes being so tough its hard to get parts. I managed to get a 750w brushless motor (China) on a 750w 36v controller on a 36v 11ah battery. I have a lot of power taking off but then after 10mph or so it wont go any faster. Its quite embarrasing as 36v 250w bikes pass me all the time. I recently got a 48v 13ah battery and a 48v 800w controller. Will i kill my motor if i use this and do you think that i would still be able to use my 36v 11ah battery if needed? Also is there anyway to tell how much max amp my controller is. I am trying to do the math like you easily explained in a different page (thanks for that) to figure out the actual wattage of my bike now and if i were to switch the setup. Thanks
Shalom Shalom, Was the motor meant for a 26″ wheel and you put it in a smaller 20″ wheel? Unless it was already meant to be a really slow wind, then that could be the reason it’s going so slow. 10mph, or 16 kph, is very slow for a normal 36V motor. You should be fine with using 48V on that motor with a new 48V controller, but that will only increase your speed by about 33%, to about 21 kph. There’s a chance that your original controller had a speed limiting function. This is often a set of single wires that can be disconnected with a single wire connector. Or it could be an issue with your controller. If you switch to the 48V battery and controller and suddenly your speed doubles, then that is a sign that it was actually a problem with your 36V controller. To determine the max amp of your controller, I recommend using a watt meter like a Cycle Analyst or Wattsup meter. There’s also the Battman meter that is sold in Israel. Connect that between your controller and battery to see exactly how much current your controller is pulling at any moment. The current it is pulling during acceleration or when climbing a hill will be the max amps of the controller.
Firstly may I say that this is a brilliant site. Especially for a layman who does not know negative from positive in electrical terms, having been in the financial markets for the most of my life. For my sins I purchased a bike hire company and like all good corporate characters have expanded (read this as very busy loosing money) to include more areas and exotics like the Worksman Chariot which I have electrified using a Dillenger ebike 250w kit which is the legal limit for Western Australia. I have now purchased 4 derelict Pedicabs, 2 Chinese specials and 2 VeloCity Cruisers, you can see the difference in quality. The specifications for the latest Velocity cruisers is a 250w 48v motor with a 39ah battery. My model had a 20ah battery. The current batteries and state of the wiring is “had it” and I have no way of testing the motors, so I would like some advice on how I could check if the motors are OK. Secondly do you know where I can purchase a replacement kit with a 20ah battery, or should I go with a 250w 36v 12ah setup which I can get for under 500-00. These are heavy pedicabs, 190kg with a gross of 300kg. However the terrain is as flat as a pankake.
I’m not familiar with the VeloCity cruiser ebike (or is that one a pedicab too?) and didn’t find it in a quick google search. Do you have a link or more info on the motor (brushless, brushed? etc?) that can help me advise you on checking the motor? Regarding a 40AH battery, are we still talking 36V? That’s a big battery for a bike, but if it’s for a pedicab, you might even consider lead acid batteries. Generally I advise against them for ebikes, but since a pedicab is stable and the extra weight isn’t a deal breaker in a flat area, it’d be a cheap way to get a lot of battery. If you can afford it though, there are some big batteries on Aliexpress that could be good for you. Lithium is of course more expensive, but it will last longer too. Here’s a 36V 40AH and here’s a 36V 25AH for comparison, both LiFePO4 batteries so they should last well over 1000 cycles – years even if you’re doing a complete discharge every day at your business. I’m not sure what wheel size you’re looking at. Assuming it’s a standard 26″ kit, something like this would get you everything you need except the battery for about 200 USD.
My Volto is 37 Volts/14 Ah = 514 Watts. It just copes with me on most of my riding as I’m over 100kg. What I have just been reading about, enables me to understand the juddering and complete stop of the motor on 1 or 2 places I’ve been. ( Hot weather also.) This seemingly repaired itself after a long downward gradient. I’m not sure that I would want a more powerful motor at this stage as I’m appreciating the extra exercise, unless I decided to trek over some of the much rougher and steeper roads inland. (which may happen in the future) So thanks for that., Pat.
Hey Pat, I’m glad to hear that you’re enjoying your Volto. Remember though, the power equation is Power=VoltsAmps, not Amp Hours. Amps (or more accurately “current draw”, measured in amps) is determined by the controller, not the capacity (AH) of the battery. I’d suspect that your controller is somewhere in the range of 15A, meaning that your Volto is still pulling a bit over 500 watts. That judder you are experiencing can be caused by a few different things, one of the most common is a bad or weak connection between the motor and controller wiring. Sometimes the connection is just weak enough to cause issues during heavy loads, such as climbing a steep hill. When things heat up it can also increase the symptom. You might just examine the connectors from the motor to make sure the sensors and phases are in good shape and haven’t melted together. Happy riding!
Top 6 Rad Power Bikes Reviewed
Rad Power is a Seattle based consumer-direct e-bike company that offers high-quality e-bikes at a relatively low price.
In 2007, when he was just a high-schooler, Mike Radenbaugh built his first e-bike as he need a convenient way to get to school.
From there on he would locally work on people’s bikes, converting traidtional bikes into e-bikes and would continue doing so until 2015.
Around that time he joins forces with college roommate Ty Collins in order to transition RabPower from a local brand to an international goliath.
A trusted bike manufacturing company like Rad Power Bikes will give you the best value for your money.
One of the main reasons as to why you get such a high quality e-bike at such an affordable price is because RadPower deal directly with the consumer.
In order to help you make a well-informed decision, in this article we share with you some basic but fundemental info you need to be aware of before making a purchase.
We also go through 5 of the best Rad Power Bikes and their features and specifications.
In a hurry? After 35 hours of research we recommend:
Rad Power Bikes RadCity Step-Thru
This awesome e-bike is also complete with basic and important components such as full-coverage plastic fenders, hybrid tires, LED front and tail lights, and an upgraded rear rack and added with an adjustable suspension fork. What more would you want for?
RadExpand 5 from Rad Power bikes is a compact and fat tire foldable e-bike choice which is perfect for saving space in your garage.
Rad Power RadRover 6
If you want a powerful and good quality electric bike without sacrificing your budget, then this RadRover Bike from Rad Power Bikes can be your best choice.
Quick Comparison Table
Best for Off-Road Rad Power RadRover 6
Powerful and good quality electric bike
Our Top Pick Rad Power Bikes RadCity Step-Thru
Budget Pick Rad Power Expand 5
Compact and fat tire foldable e-bike
Things you should know before purchasing a Rad Power Electric bike
Electric bikes are designed based on different people with different purposes which.
It’s important to know what you’ll be using your e-bike for and purchase a model accordingly.
E-bikes can be used in different kinds of outdoor activities including but not limited to:
child transportation, cargo hauling, road biking, fat tire off-road biking, trail riding, mountain biking, urban commuting, downhill riding, or even just traveling.
Electric bikes also come in two different types ‘Pedelec’ and ‘Twist-n-go’.
Pedelec is the most common type of system attached into an electric bike. It monitors the pedaling of the rider and helps them to have an extra kick-off by automatically adding a certain amount of resistance in the motor that commonly depends on the rate, speed, and force.
The maximum speed in some places is limited to 25 km/h and motors are limited to 250W.
Some e-bike models can reach a top speed of 45k/h however, the rider still needs a special driver’s license, insurance, as well as plates.
On the other hand, the other type of e-bike system is the ‘twist-n-go’usually uses a switch and allows the rider to trigger motor assistance.
The most crucial and important component is usually the motor.
There’s two types of motors, Mid-drive motors and Hub Motors.
The Hub Motor is the most common type of e-bike motor, the motor is placed in the center of the bike wheel.
Mid-drive motors are placed closer to the center of the e-bike and are becoming much more common.
Both types of motors have their own sets of pros and cons.
Hub motors are far easier to maintain, however they’re most commonly far heavier than mid-drive motors
Hub Motors can be placed on both the front or the rear of the bike
Mid Drive Motors were designed to have a better gear ratio than hub motors and are commonly lighter.
Mid Drive motors can, however, be very hard on the bike’s components.
Most models or average electric bikes use lithium-ion batteries. However, pricey e-bikes can have advanced tech batteries with lighter materials, quick-charge, and commonly lasts longer.
The life and effectiveness of the battery usually hold less energy and degrades over time.
So we strongly recommend purchasing from the reputable battery brands that offer at least two years warranty.
Lithium-ion batteries are known for its long-lasting life specifically lasts for 800 full charge cycles or 3 years of weekday commuting.
With careful use, it could survive for up to 2,000 half-charge cycles.
As I mentioned earlier, a full charge battery typically takes between 2 ½ to 6 hours depending on the battery’s manufacturer, chemistry, as well as its capacity.
The most important specification of the best e-bike is the range, or how far the bike could go in a single battery charge.
Uphill riding can commonly run out the battery power halfway up which is why it is important to fully charge the battery before using it.
There are many different factors that can affect the range of an e-bike including, its battery capacity, the weight of the driver or luggage, frequent changes in speed, and tons of other factors.
For example, if you are going to a 10km of daily commuting, you don’t actually need a 70km range.
You should choose an e-bike with a range that suits your commuting tour profile.
The cost of an e-bike can vary greatly due to a number of factors.
RadPower’s circumvents the traditional dealership practice and deals directly with consumers, skipping the process of selling to distributors and retailers, which ultimately means higher-quality and lower for the consumer.
When buying electric bikes, you should, if possible, ask the retailer for a test drive.
This allows you to see if the bike fits you physically, as well as checking out the quality of it.
So now that we all know the things to consider before purchasing a good quality electric bike, here are some of the best and the hottest electric bikes from Rad Power Bikes.
Top 5 Rad Power E-Bikes for 2023
Rad Power Radrover 6 Plus. Rad Top Pick
The Radrover 6 plus has proven itself as one of, if not the best Class 2 fat tire electric bikes currently available within that spectrum.
Overcoming all obstacles, especially those during the winter, is made possible with its fat tires, first-class suspension, and the RST spring fork fixed on the front. all of them guarantee stability.
Most Class 2 e-bikes can’t boast about the comfort level present with the saddle or the reliability of the handlebar. unlike the Radrover 6 plus, which offers a comfortable and adjustable seat alongside a soft but firm grip on the handlebar.
Rad Power Radrover 6 Plus Soruce: radpowerebikes.com
An integrated taillight, brake-light indicator, and a LED headlight will ensure the rider’s safety during all late-night cycling sessions.
No matter what type of weather you encounter. the hydraulic disc brakes will effortlessly stop the bike in its tracks in a matter of seconds when the time comes.
The secondary LCD has also proven itself a tad inconvenient during sunny days, as it gets quite difficult to point out every bit of information present on the display.
Also, the Essential Kit Rad bundle features front and back fenders that are primarily made of plastic. heavier items shouldn’t be placed into them as it may cause some issues.
Still, with a 750W geared hub motor, a Lithium Rad battery, aluminum-alloy rims, and a durable front-suspension fork. you can effortlessly take on any terrain.
Rad Power Bikes RadCity Step-Thru
First one on the list is the RadCity Step-thru bike from Rad Power Bikes. This bike is ideal for city riding and offers comfortable components such as city style design, one frame size, handlebars, and an adjustable stem for improving fit range.
This awesome e-bike is also complete with basic and important components such as full-coverage plastic fenders, hybrid tires, LED front and tail lights, and an upgraded rear rack and added with an adjustable suspension fork. What more would you want for?
Rad Power Bikes RadCity Step-Thru
With this RadCity Step-thru bike, you are always ready for the ride in any conditions and applications.
RadExpand 5 Electric Folding Bike
E-biking enthusiasts eagerly waited for an affordable unit capable of conquering all types of terrain, regardless of how unfavorable they might be, while simultaneously proving little difficulties when trying to transport that type of e-bike.
Luckily, the time came, sooner rather than later, when Rad Power Bikes launched their definitive answer to our prayers. the RadExpand 5.
With exceptionally fat tires and an incorporated folding system. you won’t have any problems transporting your e-bike while traveling to a designated area. This combination has proven itself numerous times, even though the RadExpand 5 isn’t a particularly old e-bike.
On the contrary, with many different accessories that you can choose from, such as the large or medium front-mounted basket, a saddle with enhanced levels of comfort, the Rad mirror, or a GUB PRO-3 phone mount. this e-bike truly sits at an affordable price tag.
The list of possible accessories goes on and on. Still, we guarantee that all of them have proven themselves reliable, except for the Premium Headlights, which aren’t necessary as the standard headlights provide plenty of light whenever you decide to take a ride during the night.
On the topic of safety. the Rad frames effortlessly met the European Committee for Standardizations guidelines, as well as the U.S. Customer Product Safety Commission standards. the RadExpand 5 guarantees a safe and comfortable ride.
Did someone mention comfort?
With the adjustable riser bar that can move in or out, you are left with a fat-tired foldable e-bike that can be tailored to meet your length criteria.
Not to mention the 750W brushless geared hub motor, 672Wh battery that comes with the Rad Power Bikes Smart charger, custom LED, front and rear integrated lights, 6061 aluminum frame, and Rad Power 180mm disc brakes. an all in all complete e-bike.