At a time of changes like the current one, it seems that there is a window of opportunity for the electric bike to be much more popular and to end up consolidating itself as a common means of transport in many of our trips. The electric bicycle gives us the balance to combine exercise and become our vehicle because, the great inconvenience in these cases, is arriving sweating and this is the great advantage of the electric impulse, minimizing efforts.
But it is not the only area where they are becoming more popular. In a world where electric vehicles are gaining ground, these bicycles are conquering space as cargo vehicles but, above all, in sports fields. It is clear that they have come to stay. An example is what is happening in countries with a long cycling tradition such as Belgium, where in 2019 more electric bicycles were sold than traditional ones.
Electric bicycles, a sector on the rise
The figures in the sector speak of the good reception of e-bikes, which in the next five years is expected to triple their sales. The electric bicycle democratizes the practice of sports cycling. It is no longer necessary to be in optimal shape to climb a mountain with our group of friends or do a long route that we would not do otherwise.
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The most sold category of electric bicycles are those of mountain and trekking above the urban ones, where in France in 2018 65,000 and 63,000 units were sold respectively. Electric bicycles already account for 13% of total sales in that country.
What power do I choose when buying an electric bike?
The purchase of an electric cruiser bike requires not only choosing the appropriate type for the use that is going to be given, but also the power that we are going to require from its motor due to the type of route or the physical form and weight of the cyclist.
The electric bicycle market offers a wide variety of models and typologies designed for different uses and different users. Once we are clear about the type of bicycle we want, it is time to choose its components. Among them, it is possible to choose the power of the motor, which can be configured in a wide range of levels. From the lowest, which typically reach 250 W (0.3 hp) to 1.5 kW (2 hp) electric bikes, which even outperform some electric motorcycles.
The different standards that exist to measure the power of electric motors mean that those that theoretically offer the same power can actually have quite different levels. In addition, the laws that limit the power of the electric bicycle motor to qualify it as such, as is the case of pedelecs in Europe, also known as EPAC (Electronically Power Assisted Cycles), forcing many manufacturers to electronically limit the power of the engines. Thus, for example, Bosch mid-drive motors, which are located on the bottom bracket are rated with a power of 250 W when, in reality, it can reach 500 W.
Standard power, 250W
The 250 W are the standard power of electric bicycles since it is the limitation imposed by the European Union to require neither homologation, nor registration, nor insurance for their circulation. In the market, there are more than 200 models with this power, which are suitable for flat routes, without excessive slopes. In this case, the motors located on the bottom bracket are more appropriate than those located on the rear wheel hub since they allow the implementation of the classic chain and sprocket transmission, which facilitates assisted pedalling.
In any case, this power is enough to move through more or less flat areas. Great accelerations are not achieved but it must be taken into account that the natural pedalling of a person generates less than 250 W. The speed that these bikes can reach is usually limited to 25 km / h, once again, to comply with pedelec regulations. From that speed on, the motor will no longer assist pedalling.
350 W to 500 W
Despite exceeding the limits established by the legislation, the market offers much more powerful electric bicycles, which can be used in private enclosures or in mountain areas off the roads. In this power range, the fundamental difference with respect to 250 W bikes is acceleration, much more noticeable if the rider is also light. In addition, the climbs will be somewhat easier to negotiate, although the ease of reaching the top will depend on the slope and the weight of the cyclist, so in some cases, you will not notice a difference with 250 W bicycles. In addition, you have to have Note that 500 W may be the minimum power to exceed 32 km / h speed.
750 W to 1,000 W
From this power level, the benefits of electric bicycles skyrocket in terms of acceleration and speed, in addition to starting to offer acceptable performance in climbs, regardless of the weight of the cyclist, especially if the power is close to 1 kW. The speed that can be reached with them exceeds 45 km / h, even at the lowest levels of this fork, with 750 W of power.
With this power, electric bicycles are beginning to be confused with light electric motorcycles. Its acceleration, speed and climb capabilities are independent of the rider’s weight. In any case, they are capable of overcoming the difficulties that the terrain imposes on them. The only limitation they may have is that the slope is so steep that they are not able to achieve traction and skid on the ground.
What is the right level for each one?
If what you want is a bicycle to circulate around the city, commute to work or university and do simple routes without steep slopes, the best thing is to get a legal 250W bicycle, better a moped-style electric bike, which will cover practically all your needs. Based on this power, the choice of power is a personal decision, in which the use to be given, the type of terrain to be overcome and the financial outlay that can be achieved comes into play.