The popularity of bicycles has skyrocketed this year, and electric bikes are no exception. The concept of electric bikes still seems a bit mystifying to some, though.
Are they a bicycle?
Are they a scooter?
Are they a hybrid of a bicycle and a scooter?
Since Sonoran Outdoor Adventures offers electric bike tours in the Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ area, we wanted to break down some commonly asked questions and explain some of the advantages of choosing an electric bike over the traditional pedal only bicycle options.
What is an electric bicycle?
Electric bikes or E-Bikes can be any type of bicycle, and Sonoran Outdoor Adventures choose to provide tours on full suspension mountain bikes. E-Bikes are bicycles with an integrated motor that helps propel the bike forward but does not complete all momentum. So, the rider will still have the ability to pedal. The engine is simply there for an assist.
Most electric bikes are designed to use the motor when necessary, often an excellent way to get started quickly or help with movement up steep inclines, but it will not alone move the bike.
Electric bikes are especially advantageous for those that commute via bike on difficult terrain or for long distances. Then, the rider does not get tired as fast. They can also be great for people that want some assistance as they break into mountain biking but may not have the endurance or strength to make it up steep hills or go long distances.
How do electric bikes work?
Luckily, electric bikes will move and function as a standard bicycle does. Your pedaling, braking, and steering are all the same, but electric bikes help the rider as they ride into a strong headwind or up a steep hill.
Most electric bikes will be designed with a battery pack somewhere between the wheels in the frame. This large battery is what usually gives away that it is an electric bike. They won’t be too powerful or too bulky as all you need is a battery that is large enough to store energy but not too heavy to weigh down the bike. Lithium-ion batteries tend to be the most popular choice on modern electric bicycles, with a range of 10-40 miles between charges (depending on the terrain).
Electric bikes will also have a compact, an electric motor mounted on the back wheel. These motors will be confined inside of a hub of some kind. Some E-Bikes mount the motor on the front or even within the frame as well. This will be dependent on the brand, age, and general application of the bike.
There are also a few differences in frame design and braking. Some E-Bikes utilize a regenerative braking mechanism that, when going downhill or pedaling, the turning of the wheels will begin to charge the batteries. This is only useful if you are going down many hills, as there is a limited amount of kinetic energy to be pulled from pedaling.
The type of electric bikes we are referring to are considered to be power-assist bicycles. There are some full-power bikes on the market, and those require almost no pedaling. Full-power E-Bikes tend to be far bulkier, have less run time, and are not quite as fun since you aren’t pedaling much at all.
Electric bike tours
One of the best ways to know if an electric bike is right for you is to test one out! Sonoran Outdoor Adventures offers once in a lifetime electric mountain biking experiences in the Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ area.
Our expert guides will teach you the ins and outs of riding an E-Bike on our breathtaking desert trails.