Battery assisted Bike Review
A few months ago, Graham Hill asked me for some help in choosing an battery assisted bike. I wanted to help, but I knew that my knowledge was limited – there are so many models, with progress being made all the time in battery tech and power electronics – so I pointed him to someone who I knew was a real expert: Court Rye, the e-bike demigod behind ElectricBikeReview.com. But Graham’s question also made me realize that he certainly wasn’t the only one trying to figure out if an electric bicycle was right for him, what were the pros and cons, and if it did make sense, where to begin and which models to have a look at first.
Best Value Battery Assisted Bikes Available Here for you to view
This led to the interview below, where Court generously shares the e-bike wisdom that comes from having reviewed 300+ models since he started covering the space in 2012 (prolific guy!). My questions are in bold:
Why would anyone want an battery bike?
Well, battery bicycles offer the same great benefits as traditional bicycles including cost savings (no licensing or insurance required), improved health and connection with community.
The real advantage to ebikes in my view is efficiency in climbing hills or fighting the wind combined with better range. If you experience knee pain or exercise induced asthma for example, electric bikes can breath new life into the sport of cycling. They might convince your friend or significant other to join you on the trails more often or they might enable you to commute to work in extreme heat without perspiring so much. I’ve owned cars and mopeds before and neither felt as safe or refreshing as cycling along community paths, away from traffic.
battery assisted bikes remove many of the roadblocks and challenges that people face with traditional pedal-powered cycles but they aren’t perfect. They can be expensive, complex and heavy which is a real pain if the battery runs out half way.
What types of riding are e-bikes best for? What are they bad for?
Since the early days of electric bikes in the United States (starting in 1999 with the EV Global Motors Ebike from Lee Iacocca) frame styles and drive characteristics have really proliferated.
In addition to simple DIY kits there are also systems like the Ridekick Power Trailer now which add ebike performance in addition to storage utility! This system in particular is even easier than installing a kit and can be easily shared between family members and friends using regular bikes or recumbents as a platform.
Today it is possible to dive head first into electric bikes or dip your toe in for a little taste. In some towns you can even rent electric bike to get a better feel for them… Rocket Electrics in Austin Texas for example, offers foodie tours and also has a multi-day SXSW and F1 race week package for people who want to dodge traffic and get an up close view of the city. For the purest experience, purpose built ebikes are the way to go (bikes that were designed and sold as being electric, not converted later). They are lighter, tougher and more capable than ever. Whether you need a folding bike to stow in your loft or take on a plane, a tandem to rent and ride with your friend on vacation or a downhill bomber for free riding on mountain trails (no need for a chairlift!) there is definitely an ebike out there that’s fully capable.