Our Most Common Electric Bike Questions
We receive phone calls every day about electric bikes. While we welcome them, the team thought it would be a great idea to write down the most frequently asked questions about electric bikes.
It should be said that there are tons of questions about electric bikes. If there is a question that has not been answered, please give our staff a call at 800-622-4655 and we will be happy to assist you.
What is an electric bike?
Think of an electric bike as a conventional bicycle that also had a battery, motor, and mode of acceleration. The motor can be located in the hub of the front or rear wheel (hub drive) or within the crank of the pedals (mid-drive unit). The battery varies in volts and amperage in which the combination effects uphill power and distance. The battery can be located in either the rear rack or in the down tube of the bike's frame. There are two modes of acceleration, pedal assist and throttle. Pedal assist only activates the motor when you are pedaling (hence the name). Throttle allows you to engage the motor without the need to pedal (think of a moped). There are many combinations that effect battery life and riding style, so you'll want to consider all three when choosing a bike.
What is the top speed of an electric bike?
Typically, electric bikes travel upwards of 20 miles per hour, but some can travel up to 28 miles per hour (and can be called S-Pedelecs).
How long can an electric bike travel?
An electric bike's distance is ultimately dependent on their battery capacity. For example, Pedego has battery upgrades that can allow their bikes 35 - 60 miles of assistance. Other brands, like Stromer, have battery upgrades to allow up to 110 miles of travel. We typically say to expect an average of 25 - 40 miles on a bike.
How do I charge my battery?
Most often, you can charge your battery on or off the bike. Your battery will have a charging port, often closed off with a cap to help prevent debris and dust from getting into the port. Charging the battery is as simple as charging a phone. Flip open the cap, insert the charger, and plug the charger into the wall.
How long does it take for a battery to charge?
Charging your electric bike battery depends on its capacity, but a good estimate is 4 - 6 hours from an empty battery to full.
Do electric bikes charge the battery as you pedal?
No, they don't. Some bikes have regenerative braking, however.
How do you store an electric bike battery when not in use?
We wrote a great article about storing electric bike batteries in this article.
Where can you ride electric bikes?
In many areas, you can ride electric bikes as you would a normal bicycle. For some states, they have restrictions. We suggest looking at People For Bike's page on the latest on your state's electric bike laws.
What is the Michigan electric bike law?
In Michigan, electric bikes are regulated like bicycles. There are three classes of electric bikes: Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3. Class 1 is an electric bike that provides only pedal assist with a top speed of 20 miles per hour. Class 2 is a bicycle equipped with a motor activated by a throttle that has a top speed of 20 miles per hour. Class 3 is a pedal-assist only bicycle that has a top speed of 28 miles per hour.
Class 1 electric bikes are allowed on bike paths and linear trails. Class 2 and Class 3 are not allowed on bike paths and linear trails, unless the local agency authorizes them. Check with your town, city, or county to double check any local rules and regulations.
People For Bikes provides a comprehensive guide to the Michigan electric bike law.
What maintenance is needed on an electric bike?
Maintenance on an electric bike is similar to that of a regular bike. There are certain items to look at every trip while others may only need to be looked at once a year. Here are a few articles that help with maintenance: