Motor type, rider weight, wind speed…what else?
Adoption of electric assisted bicycles is growing, slowly but surely, in North America. Europe, meanwhile, is gaining more than 3 million new eBike riders per year. Germany alone, in 2019, will have a sales volume of nearly one million electric-assisted bicycles.
The question of the factors that influence the distance one can ride on an eBike is one that is sometimes difficult to answer with precision, even for eBike specialists because there are so many variables that will contribute (or diminish) the range of a battery. We will focus on an electric-assisted bicycle equipped with a Bosch mid-drive motor. Bosch is a world leader in electric motors and their engines have already won multiple awards in 2017 and 2018 with the Red Dot Award in 2017 on the Active Line and Active Line Plus models.
ALSO, CHECK OUT: 7 REASONS TO OWN AN ELECTRIC BIKE
- The first factor is one that you wouldn’t necessarily suspect…your left thumb! Whether you use a Purion or Intuvia display, it is normal that at the beginning of your eBike use your left thumb is privileged at the expense of your gearshift. Human nature being what it is, your thumb becomes one of the first elements that will influence your distance. With many years of experience, I can tell you that a ton of riders has a tendency to change the levels of assistance (Eco-Tour-Sport-Turbo) at the beginning with their bike instead of using their gears like on a standard bike with the levels of assistance to fine-tune their ride. At Quantum we call this the “initiation” phase of electric bike ownership.
- Rider weight or loaded weight on the bike. It is obvious that the more significant the rider weight, the more the engine will demand that the battery supply enough energy and thereby reduce the distance traveled. The same goes for any cargo we strap onto our eBikes, every pound counts!
- The difference in elevation. A mountainous terrain, although offering beautiful sightseeing experiences, will reduce the overall distance you can travel as the elevation fluctuation will require more energy to overcome than riding on flat, even terrain.
- The pace of the rider. Bosch engines are optimized for a speed of 50 revolutions per minute. The 50-rpm cadence optimizes the efficiency of the propulsion unit as well as the battery life.
- Stop and start. Just like while driving an electric car, frequent starts are less economical on the battery. Keeping a constant speed improves the distance traveled by your electric bike as rapid acceleration will really grind away at your battery.
- Tire pressure. The rolling resistance can be reduced to a minimum by ensuring adequate tire pressure. One tip for maximizing runtime is to inflate the tires to the maximum allowable tire pressure. By properly inflating the tires you also reduce the risk of punctures as a softer tire will allow debris to insert itself into the inner tube.
- The wind. Although it is difficult to know or measure the exact effect on your autonomy, a headwind will definitely make you lose riding distance as you’re pushing against wind to maintain your speed.
- Temperature. Batteries that experience the extreme cold of winters (like in Quebec for example) will not have the same range as a battery being used at, say, 15 degrees Celsius. Batteries do not like extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold and you will find that the greatest range will be achieved in mild temperatures. There are, however, ways to get around this. Many aftermarket companies have created protective, insulated cases for your batteries in order to keep them at a more constant temperature. This is ideal for anyone wanting to ride their electric bike in the winter!
- The surface conditions. A smooth surface such as asphalt will allow more distance than on gravel or off-road paths.
- The rider’s posture is another element that can vary the distance of travel of your electric bike. A more upright posture with a headwind will allow for less range, of course, because your upper body pushes a lot of air around you and therefore requires more energy from the battery to move you forward.
- Bosch-equipped Ebikes offer four different levels of assistance; Eco, Tour, Sport and Turbo. With Turbo mode offering a 250% boost, you can imagine that you will get quite a bit less range in this assistance mode compared to Eco mode, which only outputs 50% assistance.
- The choice of the motor also influences the battery life. A bike with a Bosch Active Plus engine with a 400Wh battery will allow you to travel much further than the same battery mounted on an eBike with the Bosch Performance CX Line which is calibrated to be sportier and offers more acceleration. The Active Line engine develops a maximum of 40 NM, the Active line Plus 50 NM, the Performance Line 63 NM and the Performance Line CX tops out at 75NM. All Bosch motors are equipped with 3 types of sensors. The torque sensor, the speed sensor and the cadence sensor. Bosch takes 1,000 pieces of information per second which makes this system very natural with a gradual, smooth boost. Your electric bicycle equipped with a Bosch motor is a sign of quality.
At Quantum, Montreal’s eBike experts, we have different bike models with Bosch engines. Our brands such as Gazelle, Riese and Muller Kalkoff, Gepida and Quantum all have their particular use cases. Come in the shop and try them out, we have an electric bike model that will certainly meet your needs! Our strategic location right in front of the Atwater Market directly on the bike path allows you to give it a try and get a good feel for it. Quantum sells electric bikes of all kinds and sizes, from folding to cargo and everything in between!.