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What is an electric bike?
An electric bicycle, also known as an e-bike or booster bike, is a bicycle with an integrated electric motor which can be used for propulsion. Best Electric Bike 2018-19-20-Mountain-Kit-Motorized Bicycle An electric bike – often know as an e-bike – is basically a motor assisted ride. For the most part, they are a combination of a conventional bike with a battery and a motor, which takes some of the effort out of pedalling.That’s not to say that there aren’t some weird and wacky inventions out there for those who are after an e-bike for specific style of riding, though.
Why would you buy an electric bike?
Best Electric Bike 2018-19-20-Mountain-Kit-Motorized Bicycle There are a whole host of reasons why you might want some pedalling assistance in your life.Perhaps you have to travel with lots of cargo, and the added power can mean the difference between using a car or still spinning your two legs.Or maybe you want to start commuting to work, and an electric hybrid could be a great option for helping you cover the miles, without turning up at work in a sweaty state.You might be recovering from injury or illness and the added boost of a motor might help you get back out there again. Or it might simply be the case that you’re not as young as you once were.Either way, there’s a lot of choice in the e-bike world, so the chances are you’ll find the option that suits you.
Best Electric Bike 2018-19-20-Mountain-Kit-Motorized Bicycle Tear up that Travelcard, it’s time to try a new way of commuting: electric bike. And when it comes to the best electric bike, there’s only one choice for us at the moment – the Gtech eBike. And, if we’re being specific, the Gtech eBike Sports. For under £1,000, you get a stunning e-bike that actually looks like a bike.
The Gtech eBike Sports also boasts a 30-mile maximum range, is simple to operate and charge and adjusts speed well. That’s why it’s our choice for the best electric bike.
How to choose the best electric bike for you
Cycling is a great move for a number of reasons: it’s free (after the initial bicycle purchase), it’s good for your health and in many cases, it can be faster than cars and public transport.
Cycling with an electric bike for a commuter is all these things, plus leaves you less sweaty – what’s not to love?
Different brands take different approaches to electric bike manufacture. Some choose to place an electric motor in the front or rear wheel hub, with a torque sensor in the cranks that tells the on-board batteries to send power to the wheels.
Others – notably Bosch and Yamaha – opt for more advanced designs, with the entire motor and sensor unit situated around the bike’s cranks, meaning more visually appealing and aerodynamically advanced frame styles can be fashioned.
If you’re used to non-electric cycles, be aware that e-bikes are heavy and capped at 15mph. In many cases, that means the bike starts to feel like its actively fighting against you, if you try to push the speed higher than that by pedalling.
This can take a while to get used to.
Realistically, 15mph is a very decent average speed when commuting in town or taking on hills, however. This is despite what all cyclists will tell you is their average speed – you’re not fooling anyone, guys!
These are the best electrically assisted bicycles on the planet right now, and there are options for casual commuters, road riders, hill climbers and mud-track scramblers.
We’ve started with what we consider to be the most generally useful mix of power, range, practicality and price, but there are models further down from off-road bikes to fold-up ones, and plenty of price options, from cheap to not-quite-so cheap.
The best electric bikes you can buy
These are the best electric bikes to buy, in order of preference, but also noting what we think each one is ‘best for’. Allez! Please note that you can only pre-order the Brompton at this point, with launch not likely until 2018.
1. Gtech eBike Sports
Best affordable ebike for urban use
Weight: 16kg | Range: 30 miles | Charging time: 3 hours | Gears: none | Power: 200W
There are definitely more powerful electric bikes out there than this, and a few cheaper ones, but Gtech – best known for its vacuum cleaners and hedge trimmers – has pulled off a surprise win, here.
For just shy of a grand, you get an e-bike that actually looks like a bike, has a 30-mile maximum range, and is shorn of anything that could be described as complexity.
You turn it on by pressing the green button on the battery once for low power and twice for high, although to be honest, there is not a lot of difference between them. After that, you just pedal. There are no gears, no chain to muck up your trousers (a motorbike-style carbon fibre belt is used instead) and not that much difference in feeling compared to riding a normal bike.
The twist is that a computer monitors how hard you’re having to work to pedal, and applies the electric motor as required. So you mainly feel its helping hand as you pull away from lights, coming out of corners, and of course, going up slopes.
As with all these bikes, the assisted speed is capped at 15mph, but unlike some of them, the Gtech eBike Sport is light and agile enough for you to be able pedal harder without feeling like the weight is fighting you back down to 15mph. You can even, at a push, use it without the motor on flatter roads.
We wouldn’t try to take this up a mountain section of the Tour de France, but for urban hills and more gentle rural inclines, it really does take the work out of it.
For the money, and especially considering it comes from a hedge trimmer brand, the eBike is a great little set of wheels. There have been sacrifices made in the comfort of the saddle and the grips, and the brakes could have a bit more bite to them, but these seem like acceptable compromises to us.
In some ways, its real USP is that it just looks like a bike. We wish more e-bicycle brands would follow that lead.
2. Volt Pulse Best hybrid electric bike
Weight: 22.7kg | Range: 60 or 80 miles depending on model | Charging time: 3-4 hours | Gears: 8-Speed | Power: 250W
Pricier than the Gtech but offering an awful lot of ebike for your money, the Volt Pulse is a very neatly designed hybrid bike.
Unlike the Gtech it has disk brakes, 8-speed Shimano Alivio gearing and front suspension that can be easily locked off when not required.
The 250W motor is powerful enough to handle hills and to make the bike feel surprisingly nimble for something that weighs 22.7kg.
Possibly my favourite thing about it is the hybrid drive system which combines the same sort of pedal-assistance as the Gtech but also has a very hard-to-resist thumb throttle to push you up to the capped 15.5mph top speed with zero effort.
You can then either cruise at that speed or employ leg power to go faster.
Everything about this bike feels well thought through. For commuters in hillier areas and those who just require extra assistance, it’s a great choice.
3. Haibike Xduro Cross 4.0
Best electric bike for trail riding
Weight: 21.9kg | Range: 30-140 miles | Charging time: 4.5 hours | Gears: 11-Speed | Power: 500W
Despite its serious looking frame and livery, this German-made hybrid machine can happily serve up a comfortable everyday commute once it’s finished pounding the trails.
At the heart of the Xduro Cross 4.0 is a new 250W Bosch Performance CX crank drive motor, which develops an impressive 75Nm of torque and can deliver a peak output of 500W when the path less travelled beckons.
Suntour NCX-E45 Lockout front forks mean bumps and imperfections in the road are smoothed out, and rougher terrain can happily be tackled should the mood take you.
At 21.9 kg, it’s not exactly the lightest machine to wrangle but it does have a ‘Walk Mode’, which offers a small amount of assistance when pushing the bike and the Bosch Lithium Ion 36 Volt battery pack is one of the best – it delivers between 30-140 miles of powerful pedal assistance, depending on the terrain.
Clearly, this kind of quality doesn’t come cheap but a professional finishing kit, which includes Shimano SLX 11-speed gears, Magura MT4 disc brakes and broader 27.5″ rims, means you get a decent amount of bang for the buck.
4. Cube Reaction HPA Pro 400
An even more powerful hybrid ebike
Weight: 20.9kg | Range: N/A | Charging time: N/A | Power : 250W | Gears: 10 Speed
From Germany, like a lot of the best electric bikes, the entirely off-puttingly-named Cube leads the pack when it comes to commute-friendly ‘mountain e-bikes’.
I’ve put that in quotes because I am not sure I’d necessarily take this up and down a muddy hill or a hill stage of the TdF. It’s a hardtail rather than having suspension, too.
However, for general riding outside of largely flat cities like London and Amsterdam, or simply for very lazy and/or more ‘mature’ people, the Cube is a brilliant choice.
It is about double the price of Gtech’s bike, but then you get disk brakes, 9-speed Shimano gears and a much more powerful Bosch hub.
Given that it weighs well over 20 kilos, that’s just as well. You wouldn’t want to have to pedal this up a hill with a flat battery – or carry it up a staircase come to that, so make sure you’ve got street-level storage.
It feels about as agile as a 20-kilo bike can feel, however, thanks to the power plant, which is ‘the most powerful E-drive currently available’ at 75Nm, while the 400Wh battery should be good for 50 miles or so with assistance on full blast. An eco mode is also available.
If you require an even more serious steed than the Volt Pulse, this is your best bet. True aficionados, and Germans, will particularly appreciate that the motor powers the crank rather than the wheel. This supposedly ensures a longer life and less maintenance.
5. Ridgeback Electron Plus
Best e-bike for serious hills
Weight: 24.4kg | Range: up to 78 miles | Charging time: 4 hours | Power : 250W | Gears: 8 Speed
Employing Shimano’s STEPS e-bike tech, this is a further step up from Gtech’s City runabout and Cube’s hybrid.
Again it’s heavier (a ludicrous 26kg), higher-specced (this boasts hub gears and built-in lights, powered by the main battery) and more sophisticated. You can even opt for Shimano’s Di2 electric gearing. Shelling out for that in an e-bike context would be kind of ridiculous, but hey, it’s your money.
The built in bike computer shows key ride data, including you how much further the battery can take you, and which of the three power settings you are using.
The STEPS motor system runs from an enormous, rear-mounted battery that gives a colossal, 160-mile range in low power and about 40 on the maximum setting.
With that and the mechanical gears, you have a bike that can deal with just about any hill, and will whirr effortlessly along on the flat.
The one issue with the Shimano system is that its heft, with the fact that the e-power is capped at 15mph, means it is something of a chore to get it going any faster than that. But then, this isn’t meant for the flat; it’s a mountain muncher.
If you live in the countryside, or a hilly town like Brighton, and you don’t fancy having calves like massive hams, the Electron Plus could be your dream ride.
6. Coboc One Soho Best electric bike for style
Who said e-bikes couldn’t be cool? Coboc’s Soho blends all of the stylish elements of achingly hip fixed-gear bicycles with cutting edge battery and electric motor technology.
In this case, the lightweight power source is neatly embedded into the frame, while torque sensors are mounted in the bottom bracket for instantaneous and progressive assistance.
You can expect a range of around 50 miles on a single charge, which takes around two hours. More importantly, the brushed aluminium frame is finished with a lightweight carbon fibre fork, as well as retro-inspired bars and saddle from Brooks.
If you like the idea of e-bikes but hate the look, this is your solution. You big hipster, you.
From £3,199 | Find out more direct from Coboc
7. Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Comp 6Fattie
Another cracking off-road electric bike
Weight: 23.3kg | Range: not quoted | Charging time: not quoted | Power : up to 530W | Gears: 11 speed
Turbo Levo offers serious off-road lunatics the chance to get their kicks with less pedal effort thanks to this awesome electrically assisted machine.
The full suspension Levo FSR Comp 6Fattie (great name, huh?) packs a powerful electric motor that was pinched from the automotive world, which sucks juice from a battery that has been seamlessly blended into the frame.
The entire drive system is neatly incorporated into the bike’s design for optimal weight distribution and the ultimate in sexy design, while users control torque and power output, which peaks at a surprisingly punchy 530W, via a cool Mission Control App that can also be programmed to a time or distance parameter to ensure there’s enough power to get you home.
Once the power output is set, the rider simply pedals and marvels at the amount of power that the battery pack and motors offer up. Once at the top of a gnarly downhill route, the motor can be turned off and the rider left to enjoy the berms, jumps and obstacles that make mountain biking so appealing (and downright scary).
The huge beaded tyres are hardly ideal for everyday commuting but the electric motor will instantly override any rolling resistance that should rear its ugly head. You could also consider some of the more commuter-friendly Turbo models.
This thing is also kitted out with a full SRAM groupset, RockShox Yari RC front shocks, Custom Fox Float suspension at the rear and enormously punchy SRAM disc brakes at the front and rear. Fundamentally, it’s a mighty off-road machine with pro-spec kit that introduces a new style of trail riding, allowing adrenaline junkies to ride further, climb harder and descend faster than ever before.
8. Gtech eScent
Basically the other Gtech but with gears, suspension and a much bigger price
Weight: 19kg | Range: 20 miles | Charging time: 3 hours | Power : up to 500W | Gears: 10 speed
Rather as it did with the City at #1, Gtech has undercut its more established bicycle rivals with this beefed-up, ‘mountain bike’ successor.
At £1,899 it’s not as competitively priced as its gearless sibling, but if you consider that it weighs less (19kg) than the Pulse and Cube, it’s not a terrible deal.
Like the Cube the eScent has Shimano Deore gears and disk brakes.
It lacks the power and range (you’ll get about 20-30 miles) of that bike but particularly for cyclists making the switch to E-biking, it’s more fun to ride.
That’s due to the lighter weight and the way it assists your pedalling automatically, based on resistance put up by hills etc.
9. Giant Road E+1
Weight: 18kg | Range: 50 miles | Charging time: 4.5 hours | Power : up to 500W | Gears: 22 speed
Billed as a ‘lively hybrid powered bike’, the Road E+1 is really the closest thing to an electrically assisted performance road bike as it’s possible to get.
Granted, the UCI would likely have several heart attacks if you turned up to a professional event on this but that’s not to say it doesn’t have its merits.
As a rapid commuter machine, it’s faultless, with an ultra-reliable 500Wh Lithium Ion battery powering a SyncDrive Yamaha X94 central motor, which produces 80Nm of torque, and the sort of finishing kit that’s reserved for top end road racers.
A Shimano 105 groupset, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes and FSA extras all come as standard, so if you feel like you need a bit of assistance on your daily commute or a handy shove next weekend ride, this could be just the ticket.
10. Brompton Electric
Coming 2018, pre-order now: best fold-up electric bike
We got to have a go on the long awaited e-Brompton at Ride London and it is really impressive. For starters, because most e-bikes look a bit weird, the slightly ‘eccentric’ Brompton shape isn’t as jarring. It’s just another electric bike that looks kind of like a normal bike, but not really.
The F1-trained engineers at William Advanced Engineering assisted with the electrical parts and the result is a 250W motor that provides pedal assistance via the front hub – which is unusual – drawing power from a 300Wh battery pack that sits in a bag and goes on the front where the Brompton luggage rack would normally sit.
You can also opt for a larger bag that holds both the battery and your spare suit or laptop or whatever.
Thanks to clever engineering, the Electric Brompton folds up identically to the non-powered variety, and although it is pretty heavy, the small wheels that come into play once folded down, and the way the weight is balanced means it is quite straightforward to trundle along.
A neat smartphone app shows current charge levels and lets you tailor assistance settings, while cadence and torque sensors mean power delivery is smooth and only kicks in when truly required. Brompton also plans to offer diagnostics and warnings that a service or battery replacement may be necessary via the app.
Brompton offers fewer options than it does with its standard steeds, but while it comes in any colour you like, so long as that’s black or white, there is also a choice of two or six gears, that 20-litre bonus luggage option, and you can shell out extra for a fast charging system that delivers an 80 per cent battery top up in just 90 minutes.
Above all, the Brompton is a lot of fun to ride in urban settings. Its powerful enough to breeze up hills with near zero effort, but light enough (well, by e-bike standards at least) to feel quite nimble. As with any Brompton, you probably won’t win a half-mile sprint on it, but thanks to the pedal assistance, you most certainly will get off to a flying start.
In fact, the only problem with this bike is that you can’t buy one yet. However, you can put down a £200 deposit to reserve one for delivery in 2018. Final prices will be from £2,595 to £2,755.
THE BEST ONE:THE RICH BIT TP12 350W LITHIUM MOUNTAIN BICYCLE
I don’t care who you are – if the TP12’s look doesn’t make the little kid inside of you squeal then you might want to see the doctor, because you are probably dead inside.
The TP12 comes in blue, orange, green and yellow. All of these colors look great. The big fat tires remind my of the Yamaha TW200 offroad motorcycle. The TP12 looks like it’s ready for anything and, according to the manufacturer, it is. Beach sand, snow, and everything in between are a playground for the TP12.
Weight is a big issue when it comes to electric bicycles, especially when you run out of juice and have to rely on pedal power alone. The TP12 is actually rather heavy, despite its aluminum frame. It weighs in at 57 pounds, which is porky, but given how heavy-duty this all-terrain bike is, I think it’s completely forgivable.
It’s equipped with a 350 brushless DC motor powered by a removable, sealed lithium battery pack. One of the great things about electric bicycles is that you can choose how much you rely on the motor and battery. On battery alone the TP12 can hit almost 22 miles per hour with a maximum range of almost 28 miles. If you give it a little light assistance you can extend that considerably. Which means you can still enjoy riding your bike, but avoid getting hot and sweaty while doing so. Leave the steep uphills to the battery and give some pedal to the flat straights. The TP12 has three modes – pure twist-throttle electric, pedal assist, or pedal power only. Recharging takes 1-4 hours to complete.
There are some nice extras like the LED headlight and kickstand but, at this price, excluding these would have been criminal. In general the components seem to be high-quality in nature, and users are happy with the build quality of the bicycle.
This is my top pick. I know it’s pricey – you could probably get a decent used motorcycle for the same price – but in the long run the TP12 will pay for itself.
The only real negative I can see is that suspension is limited to the front fork, but those extra fat tires should make up for it and cushion out the worst of the bumps. If you have the cash then this is the one to go for in my opinion.
SECOND PLACE CHOICE: THE ADDMOTOR 500W ELECTRIC MOUNTAIN BIKE
The Addmotor is a bit of an odd looking thing. Sort of retro-future. I definitely prefer the TP12 reviewed above, but there is something decidedly “I Robot” about the Addmotor’s design. I especially like how the main electric unit almost entirely fills in the frame. Many electric bikes look as if the motor and battery were an afterthought, but the Addmotor (ironically, given the name) looks as if it was designed from the ground up to be electric.
The funky looks of the Addmotor are probably due to the “advanced biomechanics” the manufacturer says went into its design.
The 500W motor gives this bike a top speed of 22 miles per hour, which matches the speed on the less powerful TP12, but the range is greater – up to 28 miles on electric power alone. It’s on par with the TP12 and, of course, pedaling can increase that substantially.
The Addmotor has been designed with EU laws in mind and so doesn’t have a throttle, which is sort of weird since none of the other specifications comply with EU regulations. To find out more about the effect of EU electric bicycle laws, check out my short article.
This Addmotor 500W also doesn’t have the fat tires and sweet looks of the TP12. However it is quite a bit cheaper and much less flashy, which is why it gets my second place prize.
THE AWESOME BUDGET OPTION: WATSEKA XP SPORT-ELECTRIC
This is the worst nightmare of the Cyclamatic, which I review below. This is a brushless 250W step-through e-bike for under $600. It has a top speed of 16 miles per hour and a one-size-fits-all adjustable frame. It has features like a headlight, taillight, cargo rack, ignition keys, and so on.
Overall, this is a well-rounded bike with an adequate (18 mile) range that’s well worth it for the price. It really beats or matches the Cyclamatic point for point, and I think this is one of the most appealing budget e-bikes I’ve seen.
THE WALLET DESTROYER’S CHOICE: THE PRODECOTECH REBEL X V5
Wow, ProdecoTech was toy-shy about pricing themselves out of the e-bike market. At just under $2500, the Rebel X V5 better have more than a desperate-to-sound-cool name.
Its design is pretty impressive if you’re a fan of Black OPS military vehicles, and most observers won’t notice that this is actually an e-bike. Which is exactly what you want when it comes to clueless cops who think you’re riding a motorcycle.
The hydraulic brakes are certainly impressive, but the 20 miles per hour top speed and 30-mile range are no better than similar bikes that cost over $500 less. This is in spite of a whopping 600W motor. I suspect the speed has been electronically limited, so hopefully that extra power translates into enough torque to tackle the really steep hills.
Look, I can see where the money has gone. The streamlined design, with its internal cable porting, is fantastic. It has those fat, offroad tires that should do well on a variety of terrains. One nice feature is the ability to charge USB devices from the battery; don’t worry, it won’t affect your range in any noticeable way.
I really want to like the Rebel X, but having to choose between this and the TP12 is a tough decision. Ultimately I don’t think the extra money ProdecoTech is asking justifies what improvements they’ve implemented.
THE CYCLAMATIC GTE STEP-THROUGH BICYCLE
The first thing I think when I see a step-through bike like this is “Hipster alert”, which is unfair, I know, but I can’t shake that impression. It’s a pity, because if you like vintage styling the Cyclamatic is actually a thing of beauty. The vintage styling is only skin-deep of course; the bike is made from modern materials using modern technology. The step-through design also makes it practical for people to mount and dismount while wearing the more restrictive clothing for work purposes.
There are a couple of big problems with this bike for me. The first is that it uses a brushed motor. That seriously impacts the lifespan of the motor, and when the brushes wear out you’ll have to fork out for a refurbishment or a new motor, whichever is cheaper. The 250W motor and 13 miles per hour top speed are also disappointing. Of course this bike is clearly intended for road use only so it’s been built with those restrictions in mind, but it’s nice to have extra power in reserve when you need it. A 20-mile electric range is adequate too, just not terribly exciting.
The list price on these bikes was originally about $2000, which is just way too high. Now, however, they are going for less than a grand, which is way more reasonable for what you get.
At the price the Cyclamatic is going for these days it may very well be a good short-range commuter, but that brushed motor may put a limit on how many miles you’ll get over the bike’s lifetime.
THE GREENBIKE USA FOLDING BIKE
Electric bikes are some of the best commuting electric vehicles you can buy, but they definitely lose out when it comes to being compact and portable. That’s the niche foldable bicycles are meant to fill. You can fold them up, put them in your trunk, and use them as a last mile solution.
The downside is that there are obvious compromises in terms of wheel size, suspension, and overall ride comfort. They’re perfect for last-mile transport since a mile is about as much as you’d like to ride.
The Greenbike breaks this mold a bit by having a comfy, spring-loaded seat and full suspension. There’s also a package rack, LCD display, and kickstand. Not bad for a foldable.
The battery is removable, although it’s not clear how easily this is done. Still, this means you can have a charged backup on hand if you need it. The Greenbike tops out at 20 miles per hour and the claimed range is 50 miles. This seems like a lot, to be honest, so I assume this is with pedal assistance; but this isn’t clear from the marketing material. At about $1200 this bike is a bit of a bargain, but if you don’t need the portability aspect of the Greenbike then you’d be better off buying a full-sized e-bike at a similar price.
THE SCHRYERPOWER CUSTOM CRUISER
The Custom Cruiser is probably the closest thing you’ll get to a factory made “pimp” bike. It really does look like the custom cars and motorcycles you’ll see rolling down the streets of Los Angeles. There’s no way you won’t attract attention on this thing.
Fat tires, front- and rear-disc brakes, and an LCD display round out this bike. At just under $2000 the Custom Cruiser is a bit pricey and the lack of suspension is something I find worrying, so it’s not high up on my list. But if the look of the thing appeals to you, you could do a lot worse for the money.
WHEELS OF FORTUNE
Buying an e-bike is a serious commitment for most people, but hopefully these highlighted bikes will give you a good idea of what sort of outlay you’re looking for and what counts as a good bike. Don’t forget to check my buyer’s guide in case you don’t find your next personal transport among these particular bikes.
Electric bikes: what are the options?
Electric hybrid bikes
This is the big seller for electric bikes and power assisted commuting has had a dramatic pull across Europe, when e-bikes have really come to prominence.
The benefits are clear to see: it takes less effort to ride, meaning you get less sweaty. It’s easier to haul heavy luggage around and still cycle. You can keep pace and feel more comfortable in traffic – fit them with a rack and mudguards and you’ve got a seriously practical bike.
Electric mountain bikes
Electric mountain bikes have also boomed lately. Obviously the attraction of getting to the top of the hills faster and easier is there for all to see. Similarly, that assistance can balance the drag of the knobbly tyres.
Electric road bikes
Electric road bikes are still a rare sight on the roads, although a couple of big names such as Giant have produced models. For the most part, though, they’re concept bikes showing what might one day be possible with road frames, batteries and motors.
What does the law say about electric bikes?
Electric bikes are not just disguised motorbikes or scooters, and there are some very key differences between the two. For starters, an e-bike can only assist its rider, its motor cannot be the sole source of power for the bike. To clarify, an electric bike can only assist a rider up to 25kmh (that’s roughly 15.5mph).
Similarly, the motor inside the bike can only be a maximum of 250w and cannot be operated by a throttle like you’d find on a motorbike. Which, sadly, does mean you’ll have to use your legs!
What to look for in an electric bike
What are the different types of electric bikes?
Most e-bikes come in the form of a Pedelec or pedal-assist, which monitors the input of a rider and assists as much as possible (up to that limit of (20kmh).
Less common are Twist-n-Go models, which allow riders to operate the input of the motor from a switch (or even a throttle).
Where should the motor be placed?
There are really only two options for e-bike motor placement: either on the front wheel or on the frame.
Typically, you’re more likely to find a hub mounted motor on cheaper e-bikes. While they do have the advantage of being perhaps a little bit more quiet, they often can’t handle the hills quite as well.
Spend a little more and you’re far more likely to get a frame mounted motor, also know as mid-drive motors. There are quite a few benefits to this type.
For starters, the weight distribution of the motor is much better. Instead of sitting on the front, it’s now centred around the bottom bracket, which makes the bike more stable – a key consideration for both road and mountain bikes.
Other benefits include the fact that frame based motors can use the cranks to monitor your own power output and meter their’s accordingly. This can give a much more natural feel to your ride.
They’re also more efficient as they power the chain rather than moving the wheel forward.
What about batteries?
Another consideration worth thinking about is electric bike batteries.
Of course, no battery will last for ever, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some serious mileage out of whichever comes on your bike.
You’ll find battery capacity measured in both watts (watt hours, WH) or amps (amp hours, AH). Typically, an e-bike’s battery capacity usually lies between 7-10ah.
What type of batteries are common? Well, Lithium ion batteries are becoming popular the world over so it’s no surprise to see them specced on e-bikes, too. Typically, you should get around 800 charge cycles from a battery before it bites the dust.
You can also probably expect anywhere between 25 and 75 miles of run time on a full charge. Naturally, the more assistance the bike gives, the more power it will draw from the battery.
What components should you expect?
E-bikes are starting to spawn a whole new world of components, the most notable of which are obviously the battery and motors.
Here, it’s very much a case that you get what you pay for, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for big household names like Bosch. Shimano are increasingly involving themselves in the world of assisted pedalling, too.
Your e-bike will likely come specced with some form of hydraulic disc brakes. The added speeds will definitely warrant the added stopping power, as will the extra weight the battery and motor add to the bike.
In terms of motors, the big names are Yamaha, Bosch and Shimano. Shimano Steps was the first e-bike specific groupset from the Japanese giant and it features a mid-drive electric motor, as well as integrated electric shifters and a torque sensor to smooth out the ride a little.
Bosch has really embraced the electric bike market and their range of motors offer a variety of power assistance depending on how much you’re will to spend.
More expensive models will provide 300% support compared to your pedalling. Their less expensive offerings will give out 225% support.
Like normal bikes, electric bikes can come geared or single speed, with many brands offering the best drive chains on their top models.
Elsewhere, tyres tend to be fatter, even on the road bike options you can expect up to 32mm of rubber to be specced. The extra rubber helps absorb the impacts of the heavier frame as well as provide more grip and stopping power to balance the extra weight and speed.
Bosch Active Line 2018
The Bosch Active Line was designed for riders seeking comfort whilst touring, commuting and leisure riding. It’s specifically developed to offer a smooth power delivery, for city and country areas alike.
For 2018 the Bosch Active Line gets re-worked, with a new motor designed to deliver moderately dosed support for riders. The new motor design has reduced the overall size by 25% by going back to a big sprocket externally compared to being internally geared.
This allows less resistance and brings the size of the unit down for better integration. The weight has seen a reduction too, weighing in at just 2.9kg. By moderating the power, electric bike battery ranges are also increased further.
Bosch Active Line Plus 2018
As well as the new Active Line version, Bosch has also created a sportier version – The Active Line Plus for 2018. This agile drive system offers more punch than the standard Active 2018 setup, with torque up to 50Nm and weight in at just a little over 3kg.
A best in class system for leisure and sportier riding, the Active Line Plus improves handling due to its reduced weight and size. The motor noise and resistance are also significantly reduced too, due to the new gearing set-up.
New eMTB Mode For Performance CX
The Bosch Performance CX system still remains the market leader in the eMTB category, the perfect balance of torque and assistance for more sportier Mountain Bike riders.
With assistance up to 300% and 80Nm of torque, the Performance CX can dominate any hill in any conditions. New for 2018 is an eMTB mode, which replaces the current Sport mode, switching between Tour and Turbo depending on the terrain you are riding.
The Bosch system detects which mode will support you best and alternates giving less fuss to the rider and more time looking at the trails!
This mode will come on 2018 eBikes equipped with the Performance CX motor.
It will be available as an update from your Bosch eBike dealer for all current CX users of 2016 and 2017 models. This update should be available from the end of July.
Bosch PowerTube 500 2018 Battery
For the first time, Bosch announces the PowerTube 500. This sleek 500Wh battery allows bike manufacturers to integrate the tube shape battery into electric bike frames. Until now most batteries fit externally. This new PowerTube battery for 2018 can be mounted horizontally or vertically, combining modern design with high quality Bosch technology.
For 2018 a clean and seamless look can be provided, still allowing the user to drop the battery out for charging if required. When unlocked the battery can pop out of the frame. A safety catch prevents the battery from falling out if not properly locked in.
By mounting within the frame, the internal battery is also fully protected from knocks and the elements.
Bosch eBike ABS 2018 Support
Bosch brings further safety to electric bikes with a launch of Anti-Lock Brake Systems (ABS), enabling controlled and stable braking under even severe conditions. More suited to city and trekking electric bikes, this ABS system has 2 specific tasks:
ABS For The Front Wheel
Wheel speed sensors monitor speeds of both front and rear wheels. If the system anticipates locking of the front wheel the front brake pressure can be regulated under harsh braking, stabilising the bike to a controlled stop, increasing overall stopping power, control and safety.
Rear Wheel Lift Control
The Bosch eBike ABS system will intelligently control rear wheel lift. This significantly reduces the possibility of the rear wheel lifting under heavy braking when braking on the front is applied forcefully.
Overall this allows much more efficient use of the front brake where tests have shown over 70% of your stopping power comes from.
Although we are announcing it now, this update will likely be tested on particular bikes in 2018 with an official launch onto production bikes for 2019.
It’ll be limited to the standard Performance line in combination with the Intuvia display on city and trekking bikes. Further development of brake technologies will come from world renowned brake suppliers Magura.
Other Updates For 2018
As the Bosch eBike system is so adaptable and also fully updateable we also see a host of other stability and performance updates for the system itself.
With the addition of eShift, a clever setup that allows integration of hub gears from manufacturers like Shimano, NuVinci and new for 2018 – Rohloff hubs too.
Bosch eShift is available for Bosch Performance CX, Performance Line, and the newer Active line / Active Line Plus motors too. For 2018 eShift may also be available for derailleur gears from Shimano specifically for electronic shifting on eMTB’s too.
Other updates include revised Bosch Nyon features and user interfaces. From new maps to route planning features, Bosch has updated Nyon to be more user-friendly. Neat options like altimeter previews and battery usage come too with future updates.