What is an electric bike ?

What is an Electric bike ?

The electric bike or E bike is a very versatile machine that allows many occasional athletes to embark on enjoyable long, hilly outings without fear of over fatigue. It can be used as a means of transport to get to your workplace without arriving in a pool of sweat, or can be used to accompany someone more athletic or experienced on a cycle tour.  An electric bike will get you up hill and over dale, on road or off road, near or far, but you must not forget to pedal!


Longer journeys can be made by e-bike more quickly and within your level of comfort.


For those who still want to exercise, the different levels of assistance, selectable by a lever on the handlebars,  will help you find the right balance between muscular effort and the power of the electrical assistance.



The origins of the electric bike 

The electrically assisted bicycle commonly referred to as an E-bike, made a short-lived first appearance in the 1930s, before being relaunched in the 1970s. Originally limited by range, volume, power and the weight of the battery, it has experienced real growth since 2000/2005, in particular thanks to major technological developments in battery efficiency and weight.



Operation of the electric bike 

All electric bikes offer a function where the motor can be deactivated, especially on the flat or on descents in order to save your battery power.  Regardless of the level of assistance selected, assistance will cut out if you reach a speed of 25 km / h, or if you stop pedalling.



How far can you go before you need to recharge? 

Regarding the distance you can travel on one battery most manufacturers give wide ranges, between « 50 to 95 km ».  


It is impossible to say exactly how far a battery can take you, as there are many parameters to be taken into account:

your weight, your pedalling force, the wind, how inflated your tyres are, the terrain, and especially the way you use the electric assistance. If you use it sparingly, you will get much further, if you use it all the time, and on the highest assistance mode, you could end up on a heavy bike with no charge left! Experience will lead you to understand how to get the best out of your electric bike and how to conserve the charge for longer outings. A gauge on the handlebars shows you how much charge you have left while you are riding.


To give you more of an idea let's say that a new 36 V-10 Ah battery can cover several dozen  kilometres at a speed of between 15 and 25 km / h. Over time, performance will deteriorate, but you can count on being able to charge and discharge several hundred times if  you have a reputable brand battery: Bosch, Yamaha, Panasonic, Sram, Shimano, Giant ... The cost of recharging a battery is negligible, in the order of a few pence for 50 km.


An electric bike is a great way of mitigating a sedentary lifestyle, it will get you where you need to go fast or let you go on longer or more challenging outings, good for leg strength and endurance, cheap to run and easy on the enviroment - what is there not to like ?!  


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An article written by Denis Menjoulou

Adapted and translated by Sally Simmonds