Electric cars have been taking the EV industry by storm for a long time. In addition to the electric four-wheelers, there is another type of electric vehicle making steady roars in this industry.
Can you guess what I am talking about?
E-bikes it is.
E-bikes have become one of the most popular modes of transportation, and their prominence is now difficult to overlook. As per the Mordor Intelligence report, by 2029, it is anticipated that the e-bike industry worldwide will achieve a significant growth of USD 25,956.0 million.
There are different types of e-bikes – cruiser, mountain, road, commuter, and more.
But what’s the difference between these e-bike types?
Well, the main difference lies in their features. While some features are standard, for example, the motor, battery, or pedal-assist, other features relate more to safety or additional.
Confused about which features are essential? Then, don’t stop reading this blog!
Essential Features of an E-Bike
Motor and Power System
Imagine reaching your destination three times quicker than before! An e-bike motor delivers both value and power as needed. Power and efficiency are two vital reasons differentiating an e-bike from a regular cycle.
With a great motor, commuting to work every day or climbing a hill can be done effortlessly, unlike in a regular cycle.
Since the motor is an expensive component of an e-bike, it should provide you with good value for money. But how to know if an e-bike motor is offering the best value? You need to know the different types of e-bike motors and their significance.
Types of E-Bike Motors
Positioned between the cranks of an e-bike, the torque produced by a mid-drive motor spins a shaft connected to a chainring. Therefore, the motor complements your pedaling power through the bike’s chain drive instead of becoming an extra power source. The motor also comes with a gear-reduction system.
- E-bikes with a mid-drive motor are easier to ride and carry since the center of gravity is located in the middle of the cycle due to the central position of the motor placement.
- Since none of the wheels are connected to the motor, removing both wheels is easier.
- Connecting the gear ratio to the power source makes the motor more effective in propelling you uphill or enabling faster movement on flat surfaces.
- E-bikes with this type of motor can generate more speed than rear-hub motors.
- Mid-drive motors are more efficient than rear-hub ones as they connect to the crankshaft. This means you can get more range out of the battery.
- It is particularly useful while offroading a mountain trail as you can fully utilize the gear ratio combined with the motor.
- Mid-drive motors can cause the gear chains to wear faster. Compared to the rear-hub motor, you will have high maintenance costs.
- You then continuously shift gears while pedaling the bike to fully enjoy the bike. You must know how the gear shifting works and when you need to shift. This is not the case for a rear or a front hub motor.
- You cannot shift gears while being stationary and can only shift while in motion. If you shift the gears when stationary, you could damage the chain and break it loose. This can be fatal to the bike. If you forget to lower the gears before coming to a complete stop, then you will have to pedal the bike at a higher gear.
- Mid-hub motors are more expensive than rear and front-hub motors.
Front Hub Motors
Self-explanatory from the name, this type of motor is placed in the front wheel’s hub. Front hub motors are known for delivering a powerful all-wheel drive. That’s because the motor drives the front tire while you drive the rear pedals and tire.
- Front hub motor e-bikes are well balanced as the motor is positioned at the front of the bike and the battery at the back. No sooner than you start pedaling, the motor is turned on and it pulls the vehicle forward.
- The best part of a front hub motor is that it is lightweight, which implies that you can easily cycle your way despite the motor being switched off, unlike in a mid-drive motor. And that’s not all – you can shift gears while in motion and when stationary.
- It needs less maintenance than a mid-drive motor.
- It offers additional traction from the all-wheel drive system by powering both wheels separately.
- Since the motor isn’t included in the drivetrain or rear wheel, it can be used with any rear-wheel gear or non-geared cycle.
- Very easy to remove and install compared to any motored cycle.
- Weight is equally distributed if the battery is in the back or middle of the e-bike.
- You will have a feeling as if you’re being pulled forward. This might be uncomfortable for many as conventionally, the force is applied at the rear wheels of a vehicle.
- As the weight in the front wheel is less, the e-bike can spin on itself without gripping. However, you can learn to adjust your riding style eventually.
- Not suitable for climbing steep hills.
- Compared to other e-bike motors, these pedal assist sensors have a fixed level rather than an intuitive, reactive design.
Rear Hub Motors
As the name suggests, this type of motor is situated at the rear wheel and applies torque to the wheel directly to provide power. Unimpacted by chains or gears, this is today’s most popular type of e-bike motor.
Sometimes, rear hub motors are also referred to as geared or gearless. These motors control motor speed by varying gear ratios. These motors have complex construction and can help achieve greater riding efficiency.
You can also come across some rear hub e-bikes with a speed controller at the handlebar that can be operated using only a thumb! With a single push of the button, you can pedal faster or slower easily by changing the motor speed.
- Better weight distribution
- Improved traction while claiming hills
- Much cheaper than mid-hub motors
- Due to its popularity, spare parts and maintenance are cheaper
- Minimal impact on bike’s aesthetics
- Easy installation
- Limited traction on the front wheel
- Handling and maneuvrability can be affected
- Limited torque and power compared to mid-drive motors
- It has low acceleration and high speed compared to mid-hub motors
- Rear wheel maintenance can be more complicated
- Replacement can be difficult if you have a geared bike
The battery is one of the components that differentiates an e-bike from a regular bike. After all, the battery makes an e-bike capable of transporting you to a greater distance in a few minutes!
If it takes 50 minutes to reach your office, on an e-bike, it’s 30 minutes more or less, depending on your speed.
An e-bike allows you to achieve greater riding speed due to its battery and motor. However, an e-bike battery can be removable or integrated and you need to understand them clearly to make the right choice.
Integrated e-bike batteries, also called built-in or internal e-bike batteries, are rechargeable battery packs designed to power e-bikes. Unlike removable or external batteries, integrated e-bike batteries are built directly into the bicycle’s frame, creating a sleek and seamless appearance. These batteries are a key component of e-bikes, providing the electric assist that allows riders to pedal with less effort or even ride solely on electric power.
- It has a clean and aesthetically pleasing design
- It helps to keep the weight low and centered on the bike as it is located in the downtube of the frame
- Being enclosed in a frame, an integrated battery is better protected from rain, dust, and extreme temperatures
- It has larger capacities compared to external batteries due to the space available within the frame
Removable e-bike batteries, also known as external or detachable e-bike batteries, are rechargeable battery packs that can be easily removed from the electric bicycle for charging, storage, or replacement. Unlike integrated e-bike batteries, which are built into the frame, removable batteries are separate units that can be removed from a designated compartment on the e-bike.
- It offers the convenience of taking the battery to charge indoors
- Riders can carry a spare battery for extended range and can switch out a depleted battery with a fully charged one during long rides
- It is easier to replace without the need for professional assistance
- Removable e-bike batteries are often lighter and easier to maneuver
- Riders can charge the battery at home, in the office, or any location with a power outlet
Want to know how you can improve your e-bike battery’s lifespan? Then you should certainly read this blog!
Understanding when to replace your e-bike battery is also essential. Here are some vital signs you need to consider when replacing your e-bike battery:
- There is a decrease in the range it can provide on a single charge
- If the electric assist feels weaker or can’t reach the same speed and performance level as when the battery was new
- Need to charge the battery more frequently
- If you notice any physical damage to the battery, such as cracks, leaks, or swelling
- If your e-bike displays error messages or warning lights
- If your battery is too old
E-bikes are available in a wide variety of frame types and sizes. To know which is the best for your needs, you must know about the specialty of these frame styles.
Custom e-Bike Frame
Some e-bike manufacturers, like Hero Cycles, create custom frames to incorporate the battery inside. These cycles are stylish due to their ergonomic design, which efficiently hides the battery inside the frame.
Upon first look, you might not even recognize if it’s an e-bike or a normal cycle. Mostly, the battery is placed at the front bar of the frame. You may notice that the width of the front rod is much thicker than a conventional cycle.
The main disadvantage is that you cannot remove and charge the battery separately. You have to carry the whole cycle with you to charge.
This e-bike category uses the same frame as a traditional cycle; the only difference is that it has an external battery attached to the frame. The battery can be positioned at the front or the back of the seat, depending on the design of that model.
Here, you can detach the battery and charge it separately anywhere without carrying the cycle. This adds to the range of the cycle if you want to top it off in the middle of the ride, but you might not carry the cycle there to charge.
This can happen if you travel to the office using this type of e-bike. You can easily detach the battery and change it at your desk, which is impossible if it is built into a custom frame.
It is also easier to upgrade or replace the battery than an inbuilt battery.
The major disadvantage is its longevity can be impacted when directly exposure to moisture and sunlight. It is also vulnerable to theft.
Want to enjoy convenient access to your e-bike on and off? Then, a step-through frame is ideal for you!
This type of e-bike frame is quite a rage among people of all age groups, from children to young adults and even older people. People with physical conditions such as arthritis have difficulty lifting their legs right up to the e-bike’s center bar. In a step-through frame, one can easily pass their legs through the frame when getting on it without lifting the legs too high.
Did you know? Step-through cycles were made for women.
Convenience is the reason. Women who wore dresses could board their bicycles easily without damaging their outfits.
Whether you’re out for a fun ride or exercising regularly, a step-through e-bike can be your perfect option, depending on your needs.
E-bikes are now available in a wide array of sizes and designs. But if you want the convenience of storing it easily, you can’t go wrong with a foldable e-bike.
These e-bikes are compact and can be easily stored anywhere – in a corner of your room, inside a car’s trunk, or under your bed!
These e-bikes are lightweight compared to other e-bike styles and, hence, are easy to carry.
Folding e-bikes allow a rider to customize their ride per their needs using various accessories and components. Additionally, these e-bikes are equipped with a high-performing battery to help travel longer distances than you would in other e-bikes.
These only have smaller wheel sizes ranging from 12 to 20 inches and seats with adjustable height and handlebars.
Foldable e-bikes have zero storage issues and can be carried seamlessly when folded, as they have dedicated handles for this purpose. Moreover, these are more secure than other e-bikes as you don’t have to leave them chained to a door 1km away from your destination because of parking problems!
Electric Mountain Bikes
Do you love offroading?
An eMTB is just what you need!
eMTBs or electric mountain bikes come with thicker wheels, a motor with high power output, and a more aggressive suspension system to ensure you navigate the roughest terrain seamlessly. These bikes mostly have a mid-drive motor due to their high torque output and gear utilization cap.
The electric assistance helps riders climb steep hills and cover longer distances. These adventure e-bikes offer various levels of assistance, allowing riders to tailor the power output to their preferences and fitness levels.
They provide both experienced and novice riders an opportunity to explore trails, venture into rugged landscapes, and enjoy the thrill of mountain biking with enhanced confidence and reduced fatigue.
eMTBs offer a way to experience the joys of mountain biking while expanding accessibility and allowing more individuals to partake in the adventure.
There was a time when customer orders were delivered to their doorstep in 4-wheelers. Then came the 2-wheelers, and now, deliveries, especially last-mile deliveries, are being done on e-bikes too! And not just on any e-bike but e-cargo bikes.
E-cargo bikes are designed to have a larger carrying capacity than traditional e-bikes. However, if you’re wondering how much weight an e-bike can carry, that depends on the vehicle’s design, size, and materials it is composed of.
E-cargo bikes are of various types, and each has a different carrying capacity, as mentioned below:
Frontloader: 160 to 200kg
Mid-tail: Rear rack – 65kg Front rack – 20kg
Utility: Rear rack – 35kg Front rack – 10 to 15kg
Moped-style e-bikes are compact and can easily be driven around. This type of frame perfectly combines an e-bike and a regular cycle.
In terms of appearance, they look almost similar to a regular cycle. However, a battery is installed in the frame of a moped e-bike. These bikes feature pedals and a low-powered electrical motor, offering convenience and comfort like traditional mopeds.
Moped e-bikes feature long seats, large tires, and suspension. Such features make the ride comfortable throughout the journey. As for ensuring safety, you can rely on powerful lighting, erect sitting position, and throttling when riding around the city.
While moped-style e-bikes provide electric assistance, they have lower top speeds and less power than motorcycles or scooters. Also, electrical mopeds are primarily designed for urban or paved roads and may not perform well on rough terrains or off-road trails.
Determining the right type of brake for your e-bike is essential as it ensures a safe riding experience. The more powerful the brakes, the better. How efficiently and promptly you can pull over your e-bike again boils down to the braking system.
Like a regular bike or a 4-wheeler, the braking system in an e-bike comprises several components like the levers, cables, caliper, braking pads, motor cut-off switches, piston, and rotor.
However, multiple e-bike brakes are available today, with many parts as mentioned above. It can be confusing and risky if you don’t know the difference between these brake types. So here is a brief description below:
Rim brakes are probably the oldest type used in the initial e-bike models. These brakes function by pressing the brake pads on the inner edge of the rim when the brake lever is used. The friction to stop the e-bike occurs when the brake pads are pressed against the rim’s edge. This type of brake allows you to stop quickly since the surface area for braking is considerable.
Rim brakes can be installed on wheels of any size. Since a rim brake engages the nearly complete circumference of the wheel, the necessary clamping force for a specific amount of braking is significantly reduced compared to that of a disc brake. Rim brakes exert less pressure on the e-bike frames than disc brakes. Besides, if you’re riding longer downhill distances, rim brakes are the best for optimal speed control as the rims provide a substantial surface area for effective heat dissipation.
This type of brake is also available in mechanical and hydraulic versions.
Disc brakes have become increasingly popular in e-bikes, offering enhanced braking performance and reliability. Unlike traditional rim brakes, which rely on friction between brake pads and the rim’s surface, disc brakes utilize a rotor attached to the wheel hub.
When the brake lever is engaged, brake calipers squeeze the brake pads against the rotor, producing immense stopping power. This design provides several advantages for e-bikes.
Disc brakes excel in wet and muddy conditions where rim brakes may struggle to maintain consistent stopping power. The rotor and brake pads are shielded from external elements, reducing the risk of diminished braking performance due to water, dirt, or debris. This reliability is especially crucial for e-bikes, which often travel at higher speeds and carry heavier loads than traditional bicycles.
Like rim brakes, disc brakes also offer excellent heat dissipation capabilities. The rotor’s larger surface area allows for efficient heat transfer, preventing the brakes from overheating during prolonged or intense braking. This is particularly advantageous for e-bikes that frequently navigate hilly terrains or require frequent braking while descending. The ability to dissipate heat effectively ensures consistent and reliable braking performance, reducing the risk of brake fade and enhancing safety for e-bike riders.
Similar to rim brakes, disc brakes also come in mechanical and hydraulic versions.
Like the motor or battery, tires are also one of the crucial components of an e-bike. The direction changes you make while traveling, the force applied to the pedals, or how efficiently you tackle the road bumps all are directly linked to the type of tires you’re using. Your tire choice can either make or break your riding experience and safety.
Need help with choosing e-bike tires? Here is a brief guide:
Road tires are lightweight and narrow and measure between 23 to 25 mm in width. These tires have minimum tread patterns and increase riding speed due to less contact area between the vehicle and the road, reducing friction. These tires exert low pressure on the ground, helping the rider to accelerate easily.
However, there’s a huge risk of slipping and falling during monsoons. Hence, road tires may not be ideal if you live in an area that experiences wet weather.
Hybrid Bike Tires
Do you ride your e-bike to reach the office every day?
If yes, then hybrid tires are the one for you!
Since you’ll be traveling on asphalt and concrete surfaces most of the time, commuting tires are known for offering a safe ride on such surfaces, especially in wet conditions.
These tires are designed to be flat and smooth with widths between 28mm to 42mm. Besides having all-weather tread patterns, these tires offer the rider excellent comfort, control, and grip. The reason is their high air volume, which leads to a decrease in tire pressure.
Navigate any terrain effortlessly- thanks to their stability and cushioning coming from the tire’s width. Moreover, you can travel smoothly without any vibration. Besides offering enhanced grip and control, even in wet conditions, the tire’s shape helps divert water and averts hydroplaning risks.
Cyclocross tires are a good option for traveling on grass, pavement, gravel, or mud. These tires have wider widths, around 30mm to 33mm, and aggressive tread patterns. Cyclocross tires offer a good balance of performance and stability on regular and off-road surfaces. These tires have reinforced sidewalls and puncture-proof layers to enhance durability and minimize wear and tear.
Mountain Bike Tires
Mountain bike tires are fat and wide making them perfect for offroading, unlike the ones discussed before. Featuring extremely rough treads with big knobs, these tires maintain a strong grip on the ground, providing optimal traction even in challenging terrains.
The enhanced contact patch with the ground ensures superior stability and control, especially when navigating rocky and technical trails.
Should You Go for Fat Tires or Narrow Tires?
E-bike tires are available in various widths, from 1.75 to 4 inches. However, each e-bike tire size has its pros and cons. Deciding whether you should go for fat or narrow tires depends on the kind of riding you’ll engage in.
With narrow tires, you can experience amazing agility along with riding range. That’s due to their smaller contact patch. But when it comes to absorbing bumps and offering a smooth ride, narrow tires may not be the best at it. These tires are ideal for traveling on smoother roads. Enjoy the best efficiency and maneuverability when riding an e-bike with narrow tires.
Love to ride on all terrains? E-bike fat tires are what you need!
Tires with a width of more than 4 inches are categorized as fat tires.
Fat tires deliver a complete package, offering everything from enhanced balance and stability to effective shock absorption, ensuring you have everything in one.
As the world embraces sustainable transportation solutions, electric bikes continue to promote greener, healthier, and more enjoyable ways to traverse our cities and explore nature. By considering the key features outlined in this guide, riders can confidently make informed decisions and embark on their e-bike journeys, unlocking a new level of freedom and excitement on two wheels.
A digital content writer by profession and a tech enthusiast by heart, the world of Electric Vehicles has always left me fascinated. And I am sure there are many like me who wish to know more and more about electric cars and bicycles. This has led me to share all the hottest news in this industry with my readers! Exploring new places, trying out different cuisines or binging on Netflix always brings a smile, of course when I am not writing!