As there are a multitude of Electric Bikes with a range of different motor and battery types. I thought we could try and cut through the noise with our helpful Electric bike Guide. Hopefully this will get you more informed and answer some of your questions.
Why would you buy an Awesome Electric Bike?
- Electric bikes can have a significant impact on an improved lifestyle. They benefit both fit and unfit riders. An e-bike can open up cycling to a rider who may not have considered themselves a cyclist before. Cycling can be tough especially if you live somewhere hilly and not everyone wants to smash out 70 miles in the peaks on a Sunday morning.
For some a gentle trip along quiet country lanes and cycle paths in Derbyshire or around the extensive canal path networks between Derby and Nottingham could be just the ticket with a stop off at the cafe or pub for lunch. If you haven’t ridden for years or maybe never really have you should be able to find yourself going further and covering harder terrain than previously thought possible. As you get fitter or if you already are fit, you can turn the power down to a lower assistance level.
- Riders that are already-fit or already able to tackle tough terrain will find themselves able to ride up inclines or cover terrain that simply isn’t possible in the same timeframe on an analog bike. On a full suspension bike with a high power motors the traction from the tyre will often be the limiting factor on a really steep incline.
- Riding an Electric Bike can become a lot more fun as you can tackle tougher terrain, go further and reride steep sections more times in the same amount of time.
- Its significantly cheaper than driving a car, or getting the train or bus. With the current price of petrol skyrocketing significant savings can be made, whilst there’s an initial cost to the bike the fuel savings could go towards this and if a cycle scheme was used a minimum saving of 25% is usually possible on the bike, which is often worth similar to the amount paid for it after 12 months.
- Commuting becomes more practical as you won’t arrive all hot and bothered and it might be quicker on an E Bike.
- Carbon Footprint reduction? E-bikes can contribute to cutting pollution when journeys are used to replace motor transport.
- Carrying additional weight becomes less of a problem i.e child seats or full panniers etc as the E-Bike takes the strain.
- Electric Bikes are a great means of personal transport.
- You can keep up with other riders who are fitter than you.
- Its a great way to ease you self into cycling and make it more accessible.
- You may be able to increase you ride distances or durations on an E Bike.
E-Mountain bikes have seen the biggest uptake in recent years. Quite simply its about the most fun you can have on a bike. Remember that massive climb before the big downhill that your not that keen on riding up? Well now its not a concern as you fly up it! The best thing you will still have the energy to do it again, or maybe another lap of your favorite route.
You could save £1036 / year just on standing charges, factor in over 14 pence / mile in petrol vs 0.13 pence for an eBike and the saving soon rack up. The average car costs can be rather big with Road tax approx £175, Insurance £806 and MOT approx £55. The costs add up. Compare these with the costs of using an e-bike above and making the change definitely makes sense.
How does an E-Bike Work?
E-Bikes are suprisingly simple to operate, you just pedal the bike and the motor provides assistance at your desired level. You will notice the most benefit when you come to a hill.
Most batteries can usually be charged on or off the bike. Depending on the battery and the amp of your charger they will fully recharge in 3 – 8 hrs. Ranging from a 300Wh to a mammoth 700Wh battery you will have plenty of juice to get you over the hills.
As you pedal the motor measures your output and applies assistance as necessary. The output will change accordingly as the force you put in increases / decreases or you select a different power mode.
If required you can pedal the bike with the motor turned off. Assistance levels range from 50% up to 820%+ assist depending on motor type. Most motors have a walk-assist mode so, if you need to push the bike it makes it lot easier.
E-Bike Motor Systems
There are a variety of electric bike motor system available, the best systems are crank driven. They provide more power and better balance than a hub driven motor. These include:
Bosch Electric Bike Motors
A variety of batteries are on offer from 300Wh – 750Wh. The wide range of options and a great reputation for usability and reliability mean you will find Bosch systems on a large range of bikes.
Active Line, (40 NmTorque + 250% Assistance) aimed at hybrids and other recreational bikes. It meets the standard pedelec rules with a maximum speed of 25km/h. (There are higher-speed versions of the other Bosch systems for European S-Pedelecs.)
Active Line Plus (50 NmTorque + 250% Assistance) The versatile Active Line Plus provides optimal support when you are discovering new areas and want to take eBike excursions outside the city boundaries. The quiet, small yet powerful drive unit weighs in at just 3.2 kg and offers gentle acceleration up to 25 km/h. The light weight and reduced size ensure improved handling in all riding situations.
Performance Line (65 Nm Torque + 300% Assistance) puts out 65Nm for faster acceleration for e-mountain bikes, European trekking-style bikes, and a general sportier feel. Active Line and Performance Line look very similar but for the graphics on the casings.
The Performance Line CX (85 Nm Torque + 340% Assistance) is for mountain bikes with a maximum torque of 85Nm and power coming in at a pedaling rate of just 20rpm. The motor is smaller than the Active Line’ too. That reduces the distance between the pedals so a Performance Line CX e-bike feels more like a regular bike.
The Performance Line CX Smart System was launched in early 2022 with the same power specifications as the Performance line CX, however, a few new things are available with this including a new 750wh in-tube battery
There is also a new Bosch Flow app available for download, which includes the feature of allowing the end-user to update their own bike software, users will be able to adjust support, dynamics, maximum speed and maximum torque on the bikes drive unit
In addition, there is a new remote unit and a new kiox 300 head unit
Impulse Drive Electric Bike Motors
The Impulse drive systems are fitted to Kalkhoff bikes, options are:
The Impulse 2.0 with 70Nm Torque
With 80Nm Torque, you have the Impulse Evo Moto
The smaller and lighter Impulse Evo RS packs a whopping 80 Nm Torque
The impulse motors ceased production in 2021 and kalkhoffs are now fitted with either Bosch, Shimano or Panasonic motors.
Shimano Steps E-Bike Motors
The Steps E6000 50Nm Torque system is aimed at urban use and has a 418Wh battery. It also has the option of working the Shimano’s electronically controlled Di2 hub gear. This can be set to automatically shift gears and reset the gearing back to a low gear when you stop.
Shimano Steps E6100 60Nm Torque motor is a premium e-bike system of components that are installed on an e-bike to deliver a fully enhanced riding experience. It’s the most versatile system in our collection, built on the latest technologies developed for our successful e-MTB system which serves as the industry’s benchmark.
Shimano Steps E7000 (60Nm Torque) It rides like a normal mountain bike thanks to its small size. Allowing it to be built on the same frame geometry. The low profile with a durable protective cover is designed to handle the rigors of off-road riding. While clearing protruding roots and rocks. It can be counted on for a controlled, smoother riding experience.
Shimano Steps E8000 with a 70Nm Torque system it is designed as a direct competitor to the Bosch Performance Line CX system. The system is smaller and more powerful than the E6000 system.
The OLED display is positioned behind the bars so is protected. The E8000 system also has the Di2 option for electronic shifting. The battery is bigger at 504Wh.
Shimano Steps EP8 was launched in 2022 with a motor weight of 2.6kg and a power increase to 85Nm which matches the Bosch CX performance systems coupled with a 630wh battery
Yamaha E-Bike Motors
PW-X2 High-end sports motor.
PW-X2 is even better at delivering the necessary power when the rider needs it the most. At 100rpm, power delivery is up to 50% higher than its predecessor. The PW-X2’s exclusively tuned Automatic Support Mode delivers optimal assist in settings ranging from trail riding to racing by choosing from the bike’s three riding modes. Eco, Standard, and High- as conditions demand. The system reduces assist on level roads but boosts power on steep inclines to offer fine-grained assistance. It feels like it’s reading the rider’s mind. With a weight of 3.1kg and a Max torque of 80Nm it is a great motor.
PWseries ST All-round motor features Yamaha’s Quad Sensor System so that it can deliver assist optimized for all conditions. Despite weighing 100g less than the previous model. The unit also offers a broader assist range that can accommodate high-cadence pedaling. The tuning of the PWseries ST makes this drive unit the perfect all-rounder. Whether you’re a newcomer to the sport or a veteran rider, and whether you’re on- or off-road, the PWseries ST delivers fun, pleasant assistance for all riders. With a weight of 3.4kg and a Max torque of 70Nm
PWseries TE drive unit focuses on providing comfort and a stable ride in urban areas, coping effortlessly with riding conditions including steep climbs and rides against strong winds. Thanks to the Quad Sensor Technology, the system automatically detects riding conditions such as hill starts, and delivers the appropriate assist power and smooth acceleration. With a weight of 3.4kg and a Max torque of 60Nm
Yamaha PW-X3 was launched in 2022 with a power boost to 85Nm matching Bosch and Shimano top spec 2022 motor systems, the PW-X3 is approximately 20% smaller and 10% lighter than the PW-X2 weighing in at a competative 2.75kg and 5 modes including automatic support mode for E-MTB riding.
Haibike Hpr 120S motor is a brute of a motor availale on bikes from 2019 to 2021 in the UK. Because of its patented transmission the motor offers extreme power and efficiency in a compact package. If you have ever thought that you couldn’t ascend up a hill on a bike. This motor system will give you everything that you need to conquer it. An extra strong power package ensures the necessary power when you need it. With perfect modulation possible through the five custom assist modes. They developed a dynamic motor that is the most powerful mid-mounted motor on the market at the moment. Providing up to 120 Nm torque and 820% Assistance.
Together BMZ they have developed a 48 Volt battery with a 630 Wh capacity. On the inside the battery connects via magnet to the system inside of the frame. With the added piece of mind of a ABUS lock to keep it there. You can purchase a 10 amp charger. This brings an empty battery to 80% battery level within 60 minutes of charge time.
Which electric bike motor system should I buy?
It’s quite possible you are confused about which is the best motor system to buy Bosch, Shimano, Yahama or something else. Its easy to get too focused on the specifications and options available
Our advice is to choose the type of bike that is most suitable for you and not worry to much about which motor brand it has, provided it’s from one of the premium brands already mentioned and you have support available locally should a problem arise. If you have purchased the bike from new from a local bike shop they should have all the diagnostics and dealer support available should anything go wrong.
Types of E-Bike – Which Electric bike is right for me?
There are a number of types of electric bikes available and choosing the right type should be based on the type of riding you plan to do. We have split this into the categories below:
Hybrid, Trekking, Touring and Town Electric Bikes
Hybrid trekking and touring E-Bikes are more suited to road riding, cycle paths and canal paths etc and typically they will come equipped with mudguards, pannier racks, lights and a kickstand. Variants include Step through models, women’s sport models with sloping top tubes and traditional gents model with a conventional top tube.
They make a great option for commuters as you can arrive at work in style without breaking a sweat. They are also great for anyone who just wants to get out and enjoying cycling, choose a more trekking orientated bike and light bridle way and mixed terrain use will become accessible. E-Bikes make a great addition to a motor home as they can be easily carried and give you the freedom to get around after you have pitched up.
Hard Tail Electric Mountain Bikes
Hardtail E-MTBs have front suspension and a rigid rear end. Hardtails make for a very versatile bike as they can be used on any terrain, they still make for a practical commuting, trekking, or town bike with the added option of going off road. Commuters often choose a hardtail as it makes for a practical weekday bike with the added benefit of being able to take it off road at the weekend.
Full Suspension Electric Mountain Bikes
A full suspension E-Bike has front and rear suspension, if you are planning on going off road this the most versatile option.
There are a number of factors to consider including wheel size, tyre size, travel and geometry. For example, if you are not planning on riding very technical off-road then a shorter travel full suspension bike may be more suitable for example 100-140mm travel. Whereas if you are planning on hitting the trail centres or peak district then a longer travel bike may be better 140mm-170mm travel.
The most common wheel sizes are 27.5inch and 29inch wheels including plus size wheels which typically have a 2.8inch tyre. Tyre sizes can range of from around 2 inch to 4.5 inch.
Modern full suspension bikes are very efficient and suitable for even the casual rider, with options to lock out suspension when not required.
Demo an Electric Bike
Free Demo Ride (Short Test)
We understand how important it is to test ride an Electric Bike and we have a number of demo electric bikes in stock and available to test at our Derby bike shop.
Our short test rides are usually long enough to demonstrate the benefits of an e-bike. We have a few routes to take you on suitable for novice or experienced riders and will tailor it to suit your preferences. Our favorite route includes a good hill to test the motor and flatter sections to test out the eco modes.
We will come along with you on the demo to show you the route and point out the key features of the bike and answer any questions you have. You can also test out multiple bikes and motor systems to compare the different bikes available.
Please get in touch or just drop in we can usually accommodate a test ride without an appointment.
Are Electric Bikes Reliable
Electric bikes fitted with the motors and electronics in this article tend to be quite reliable, but occasionally they do have issues. The sort of problems we have seen in our workshop includes head unit failures, battery and motor failures. Fortunately, the failure rate is quite low and most manufacturers offer at least 2 years warranty on the electronics on the bike. When a warranty issue happens we diagnose where the problem is and liaise with the suppliers to source the suitable parts and fit these as part of our after-sales service.