Ask An Electric Bike Expert Anything!

Raleigh Electric Bikes commuter

So, you're thinking about buying a new electric bike. Sounds like a good idea, right? Alternative transportation has been a big talking point and maybe it's time to take the plunge and give this thing a whirl. It would be great having an alternative to the car all the time, and maybe getting out for a little fresh air now and again could be a good change of pace.

If going the electric bike route can tip the scales toward taking the occasional 'round town adventure or leaving the car at home when heading to work, then it's definitely an option worth taking seriously.

But wait a minute, this is no ordinary bike. This is kind of like when hybrid cars started coming out. They were some unfathomable abomination of car and research university lab experiment, promising you the world if only you would buy into the idea. Part traditional vehicle and part battery powered gizmo, they promised enhanced fuel economy, reliability and a better way to get around. Sounded crazy at the time, but it's not like seeing a Prius is uncommon these days. Times change.

Before you jump headlong into this bold new world of electric bikes though, there's a few things you want to know. Everyone should make informed decisions, and that's why we took the time to talk to our tech expert to get real answers to the questions that any potential buyer should be asking.

How fast can I ride on an electric bike?

Well, that all depends really. There's a variety of systems that deliver a range of pedal assistance. The two biggest variables are how much pedaling force you can produce and the maximum regulated output your given battery and motor system is capable of delivering. Without getting caught up in overly complicated math and engineering calculations, any electric bike will amplify your efforts giving you an effective boost of power and speed. If you can ride say 15 mph on flat ground, then you may be able to achieve 20 mph. There is a regulator on all electric bikes, some allowing top speeds as much as 28 mph, but again, this is only in response to your pedaling. Where you are likely to reap the most benefit is heading uphill. Imagine riding up a big hill with the same effort you might spend cruising along on the flats…do we have your attention now?

Raleigh Electric Bikes commuter

How far can you ride on a single charge?

This is again a bit of a loaded question because the answer depends on a whole host of variables. Most electric bikes allow you to regulate how much power you can add to your pedaling effort. This can range from zero of course up through increments until you reach maximum output. If you turn the system on the highest assist level, you should expect to travel less distance, but you will have a really fast and fun ride while it lasts! In general though, if you assist your pedaling with the most conservative setting, you should still expect consistent power as you pedal for something between 25 and 30 miles or more, depending on the variables, including the terrain you're covering.

Electric Bikes Raleigh new electric bike

Should I recharge it every time?

There used to be a lot of debate about recharging best practices. It revolved around creating 'memory' in a battery, which would limit its ability to accept a charge. Technology has evolved though, relegating this argument to the past. With the advent of new materials, there is no downside to keeping your battery fully topped up. It ensures that you can enjoy maximum range anytime you head out for a ride, and it doesn't negatively impact battery life.

Current Lithium-Ion batteries are designed to be completely cycled 500 times or more. A full cycle means that you would run it down to its cut-off voltage before recharging, but incremental charging does not count as a complete cycle, so charge away! A note though, regardless of how much or little you use your bike, you should charge it to full once every few months to make sure the battery doesn't discharge too low. Think of what happens to a car battery if you leave the lights on for days in the middle of a cold winter. You don't want your battery going that flat.

What happens to an electric bike if it gets wet?

Electric bikes are made to handle the elements just like any regular bike. It's an outdoor machine after all and can be treated as such. Ride it in the sun, rain, cold, whatever you want really—it can handle it. That's not to say that you should unnecessarily expose it to the elements though.