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Electric Bicycles

Electric bicycles or e-bikes are similar to traditional bicycles but with the addition of an electric motor, battery, and controls to add a power assist when riding. Some models require the rider to pedal for the electric power assist to be available in a process called pedelec systems. Power of the electric system is generally described in watts, with 250 to 350 watts being typical while others provide as much as 750 to 1000 watts of power.

Electric bikes extend ordinary bikes into flexible and utilitarian vehicles. They combine well with bus and train for long-range point-to-point transportation. They can easily cover 20 miles in one low-cost charge and sometimes batteries can be added for more range. For those with balance problems or other disabilities, a trike can cover 15 miles and provide storage for groceries or other items. There are also electric bikes that fold. E-bikes also provide an option to pedal instead of using electric power.

Batteries come in three varieties, lead acid (as used in cars), Nickel Metal Hydride, and Lithium Ion. Lead acid is inexpensive but extremely heavy. Nickel Metal Hydride is much lighter than lead acid. More expensive Lithium Ion batteries are lighter than the others and provide more energy per pound.

Reasons to Buy

  1. Save money – An automobile is expensive to operate when you consider fuel costs, parking, auto insurance, vehicle registration, and general operating and repair expenses. E-bikes’ energy consumption translates to over 1,000 MPG.
  2. Reduce your carbon footprint to help the environment.
  3. Get there faster – For short trips, an electric bike may be faster when you take into account the time finding a parking space, feeding a parking meter, and sitting in traffic.
  4. Very little maintenance – Apart from charging the battery and checking the brakes there is very little to do to keep it running.
  5. Have fun – These bikes are fun to ride and provide better scenic enjoyment.

Bike Speeds

Electric Bicycles – 12 to 20 mph
Electric Tricycles – 10 mph
Electric Recumbents – 20 to 35 mph
Electric Scooters – 10 to over 15 mph
Electric Go-Karts – 5 to 25 mph

Buying Advice

  • An e-bike is still a bike so make sure the bike fits you. The better the fit, the more you pedal which increases your range.
  • A lithium battery can almost double the range of an e-bicycle.
  • Before buying, write down your e-bike needs, such as speed, range, and riding terrain (hills, etc.).
  • Avoid bikes with cheap suspension that make a bike ride feel like a paint shaker.
  • Never buy solely based on price. Invest in a quality e-bike. Avoid cheap, made in China bicycles, such as those sold in Wal-Mart.

 
This bike has a 450-watt DC earth magnet motor and a 24-volt rechargeable battery. It gets 15 to 22 miles per charge and has a top speed of 15MPH.

 
Electric bike brands at Amazon include Yukon Trails, e-Moto, Prodeco Technologies, E-Assist, Cellet, GBE, Izip, LF8, Pedego, EVELO and AccuEvolution.