“Further to the request for members’ experiences of ebikes in November’s newsletter, please see my thoughts below.
The advantages of ebikes are well documented – taking up cycling after a break or injury, tackling otherwise daunting terrain/distances, boosting confidence in traffic etc. Over the last few years, I have had practical experience of two commonly available types of pedal assisted ebike, (Bosch) bottom bracket drive with rear mounted battery and MAHLE Ebikemotion rear wheel drive with tube mounted battery.
Both are good, but they are not equivalent options.
Bosch assisted commuter bike
Has a powerful 300w motor and a max power output of 225% of pedal power.
Battery can be removed for charging.
Handlebar display with four power modes plus a walk mode.
The weight of 25kg is too heavy for regular transport by car or train or for touring.
However, its power and load bearing capacity make this bike ideal for commuter/shopping trips, or for steep climbs at high speed!
MAHLE Ebikemotion gravel bike
Panasonic battery mounted within downtube with motor on rear axle.
Battery cannot be removed for charging, so bike has to be situated near power source. A removable battery extender can be fitted but these are expensive and add weight.
3 adjustable power levels giving up to 100% of pedal power.
It’s weight at approximately 14kg makes it ideal for touring (provided you are confident of finding a power source!) and for day rides.
Power button mounted on top tube is not as user friendly as a handlebar display.
How Long’s a Piece of String?
Of course both bikes can be ridden without assistance but the question I am most frequently asked (apart from “do you have to pedal?”!) is “how far can you go”? And certainly FORO (Fear of Running Out) adds a certain frisson to any ride! It is impossible to give an accurate answer, and mileage figures from bike salesmen should be treated with caution, but factors to consider include:
Weight of bike, rider & baggage
Tyres & tyre pressure
For both bikes, on a flattish ride and without an extender, I typically get 50 to 70 miles range. On a very hilly ride, this will drop to 35 miles.”