E-Bike Buyers Guide & FAQ
- E-bikes are “pedal assist”. You have to pedal but can set the assist to multiply up to 4.1 times rider input.
- Electric motors are in the rear wheel (hub), or frame between the pedals (crank). The “feel” and “balance” is very similar.
- Electric motors are “48v brushless” and give absolutely no trouble. Their “power” is measured in watts, generally 250, 350 and 500 watts, the latter usually used to commute over 32 kmph. (FAQ: https://bhsouthafrica.co.za/faq/)
- Battery capacity is measured in “watt hours”. More capacity means a longer range, not more power!
It is a given that the most affordable e-bike will assist a healthy rider (novice and unfit) to keep up with/overtake a fit, strong rider on a normal bike consider:
Factors to bear in mind are….
- RANGE: The lowest capacity battery (500wh) will assist the rider up to 100kms in “eco” mode on an undulating road. Consider the terrain and elevation that you would be covering, the additional cost and weight of a 600 or 700 w/h battery may not be necessary!
- SUSPENSION: “Hard tails” have front suspension which are sufficient for normal roads, gravel tracks and “green belts”. Dual suspension bikes are better for rougher terrain.
- WHEEL SIZE: Mountain bikes come with standard 29” and 27.5” diameter rims. Leisure riders, in particular ladies and shorter riders prefer the smaller option.
- MOTOR SIZE AND MODEL: (Bosch, Evo, Yamaha & Brose). The ATOMX & ATOM range have motors in the crank and are governed to 32 kmph. The main benefit is that the rear wheel is easy to remove/fit in the event of a flat tyre.
The EVO range has the motor in the hub of the rear wheel which generates power to the battery when free-wheeling and generally used within city e-bike range.
SAFETY FIRST: e-bike riders can find themselves riding with seasoned mountain bikers. Technical sections, especially descents can catch novices out quickly.
NO FLATS: Punctures are common but unnecessary. Experienced riders know to deal with them. Ask your dealer to do a “tubeless conversion” or fit tyre liners, especially if the motor is in the wheel.
KNOW YOUR BIKE: e-bikes create instant “fun value”, but there is much more to them. Insist on a demonstration on delivery for maximum enjoyment, maintenance and storage procedures.
LOADING: All BH ebike batteries can be removed and fitted to make them lighter, therefore loading is easier.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How fast can the bike go?
Rule of thumb. 250w and 350w motors fitted into the rear wheel hub, assist the rider up to 30 kmph, but you can pedal faster! 500w hub motors assist up to 45 kmph! Crank powered motors (motor fitted in between the pedals) generally assist 25 kmph
How far can I go?
It depends on the battery strength.
- 400 wh – up to 85 km
- 500 wh – up to 105 km – normal riding using gears – undulating terrain
- 600 wh – up to 125 km – normal riding using gears – undulating terrain
Remember electric motors are measured in watts (like horse power of the engine in your car) and the batteries in watt hours (like the capacity of your fuel tank). So if you have a 250 watt motor at full capacity and a 500 watt hour battery, you will do 70 km at 35 kmph in two hours on a flat road. The average e-bike rider contributes about 120 watts pedal power and 120 – 200 watts are assisted by the motor hence the distances achieved. We have noticed e-bike customers constantly covering distances further than expected as they get more accustomed to the bike and fitter.
How long does it take to charge the battery?
- About two hours to 80%
- About three and a half hours to 100%
How long is the battery lifespan?
Batteries are supposed to take 500 charges with a maximum of 20% deterioration thereafter. Our experience is that after four years of selling BH, this fact is true! (Our first batch of Neo 29ers sold to a rental company in April 2014 are still functioning perfectly). Battery care and maintenance is important to get maximum life expectancy.