The electrically assisted bicycle is currently meeting with real enthusiasm, and more and more of you are coming to the store for information on electric bicycles. Here are some guidelines to help you before your purchase.
History and key figures
The first electrically assisted bicycles (VAE) appeared in the interwar period, but without success. The idea was revived in the 1970s, but the volume, weight, and low battery life did not allow the electrically assisted bicycle to develop.
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Since 2005, in particular thanks to the technological evolution of batteries, the electric bicycle has been booming in Europe.
Since 2005 the sales of electric bikes have only increased year after year. In 2018, 340,000 VAE were sold in France. In 2006, only 6,700 electric bikes were sold in France compared to 50 times more in 2018.
Principle of operation of an electrically assisted bicycle
It is simply a bicycle equipped with a motor, which can be located either at the level of the crankset or on the wheels. This motor is powered by a battery that allows the user of the electric bike to be assisted when pedaling.
Generally, e-bikes have 3 to 4 assistance modes that allow you to regulate the intensity of the pedaling assistance. Of course in OFF mode (without assistance), electric bikes can be used like classic bikes, but heavier than a traditional bike.
For an electric bicycle to remain a bicycle under the law, it must comply with the criteria defined by the EN15194 standard :
- Assist must be cut off from 25 km/h
- Assist must be turned off when user stops pedaling
- Motor rated power must not exceed 250 watts
- There are also electric-assist bikes that can reach speeds of up to 45 km/h. These e-bikes require registration, insurance and the user must wear a helmet.
Batteries, key components of VAE
In fact, on an e-bike, the battery is the most expensive and fragile element. Before you buy it, it is necessary to pay great attention to the quality of this product. You should choose batteries from well-known brands like Bosch, Yamaha, Panasonic, Shimano, Samsung, etc.
Battery capacity is expressed in amps, watts, and volts. Amperage represents the amount of power available to the battery, and voltage represents the voltage of the bike’s motor. Multiply the amperage by the voltage you get in watt-hours to get your battery’s charge when it’s fully charged. For example, a 36-volt battery at 10 amps has a capacity of 360 watt-hours (10Ah X 36V = 360 Wh). To comply with the EN15194 standard, the e-bike is electronically limited to 250 Wh, and the extra power comes in the form of greater autonomy.
Amperage is a measure of autonomy and voltage of power. Therefore, the higher the amperage, the higher the autonomy, and the higher the voltage, the easier it is to climb the hill.
When using an ADO Ebike, it is difficult to give accurate autonomy in kilometers because many parameters such as user weight, wind, tire pressure, relief, and physical fitness are taken into consideration. .. On an average route with a little peace of mind and infrequent stops, a user with an average weight of 15 ° and a temperature of 100 Wh will be able to travel about 20 km. You also need to consider the level of support you have selected. Therefore, autonomy can range from simple to triple.
A high-quality battery lasts 700-1000 charge cycles. Batteries become old and lose their capacity over time. If you lose more than 30% of your capacity, you may need to replace the battery.
The cost of recharging is estimated to be a few cents at 50 Kms and € 1 at 1000 Kms. Therefore, the actual consumption of an electric bicycle is not the power consumption, but the depreciation cost of the battery.
Poor quality batteries lose storage capacity much faster.
The motor of the electric bicycle can be attached to the rear wheel, front-wheel, or crankset. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of various engine positions on electric bicycles.
The engine assists located on the rear wheels provide the feeling of being propelled. Intuitive and natural. During a flat tire, if you are not a handyman due to the presence of electrical cables, repairs can be complicated and may require the use of certain tools.
The electric bicycle with a motor on the front wheel is an entry model. These are simple motors from a technical point of view and are reasonably priced. Even if a failure (puncture) occurs, the front wheels are easy to disassemble and can be repaired without any problems.
The presence of the front wheel motors puts pressure on the steering of the bike, so the feeling of driving is not natural. For example, rain-slippery climbs and gravel can make the sensation of traction uncomfortable.
The main advantage of an electric bike with a motor on the crankset is that the weight of the latter matches the center of gravity of the bike. Therefore, these are very useful VAEs. Equipped with a torque sensor, it provides progressive assist according to the user’s efforts and enables smooth driving. These are very reliable motors. And finally, if a flat tire occurs, repairing it is as easy as a traditional bicycle. The only downside is the price. In fact, for an electric bike with an entry-level central motor, you need to count at least 1400€ / 1500€.