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Read Articles And News About Cycling, Electric Bicycles & Scooters, And Safety Information. Get Inspired & Informed!

In Praise of E-Bike Throttles and Pedal Assist Systems

Jonno Leonard - Saturday, September 16, 2017

Not much causes more misunderstanding in the operation of ebikes than the presence of a throttle to the uninitiated. Oh the time I have taken patiently explaining to customers that yes, there is a throttle and no, it doesn’t mean you don’t also get assistance with pedalling….!


So what’s the story here, anyway? Well, in a far and distant land (let’s call it ‘Europe’) they wear strange-looking national costumes, and have invented some equally odd rules about ebikes. Their ebikes are not allowed a throttle, (and are also limited to 25km/hr with a 250watt output, but I digress), and they call an ebike a pedalec (pedal-electric, see what they did there?). So euro-market bikes = no throttle. Simple.


In the brave new world of NZ, where silliness is not so tolerated and interpretations are more liberal, we are all very fine with the practice of having a throttle on an ebike. What does it do? Well, it allows you to set off from a standstill without pedalling which is much better for your stability,and to cruise at a speed you set without exertion. It allows you to chug along at a snail’s pace with your feet down for stability without having to push the bike (great in foot-traffic shared areas). It allows you to add a burst of speed without a burst of energy. Ah, the joy!


The SmartMotion twist throttle


Does it affect your pedal-assist system? Not a bit. Your ebike will still supply assistance when you revolve the pedals, using either your cadence (the speed they revolve) or your torque (the pressure you put through them), depending on the type of pedal sensor your bike has, but that’s another topic for another day.


The take-away from this discussion is that throttles are great, they are not illegal (one rumour), they are not about to be banned (another rumour), and they are completely independent of your bikes’ ability to assist with your pedalling (a basic misunderstanding).


The Magnum lever throttle


So whether it’s a lever-push throttle, or a twist-grip style throttle, rest assured that this writer at least will be throttling-up with the best of them, and encouraging you to do likewise!


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Are you thinking about an electric bike?

Jonno Leonard - Thursday, June 22, 2017


If you are thinking about buying an electric bike, here are some things to keep in mind during the selection process.

Where should you look?

So you want to join the electric bicycle community? There may be a number of reasons why you are looking to get an electric bicycle. Perhaps you are being affected by the rising gas prices or are sick of being stuck in traffic. Or perhaps you want to get some exercise and join in on the growing popularity of bikes in your city. Whatever your reason, e-bikes are a great alternative to driving and can be an effective motivator for getting outdoors and away from the TV.

 

Electric bikes are useful for anyone who would otherwise drive, especially for seniors who would like some pedal assistance. By eliminating many of the hurdles that conventional bike owners face, from that sinking feeling of attempting to cycle to the top of a steep hill to concerns about getting hot and bothered on the way to their chosen destination, e-bikes help to ease the transition to cycling proficiency as one builds one’s bike riding confidence and fitness. Surprisingly cheap to run and extremely quiet, e-bikes offer a realistic method of helping to improve mobility and fitness. Basically, they help make cycling fun.

 

So where do you start? It may be difficult to figure out what kind of electric bike you want to invest in. There are many shapes, models and motors available on the market today. From the power of the motor to the price, multiple factors can affect your purchase decision. The choices can be a bit overwhelming for biking novices. While some e-bikes may rank very high in the reviews, it is important to consider what is best for your particular needs.

 It is highly recommended that you buy an electric bike from your local dealer. Local dealers will have a huge range of electric bikes for sale that you will be able to test ride. There are a wide variety of e-bike types to try, including commuter, mountain, road and beach cruiser. Even if the stock bike doesn’t fit your needs perfectly, most bike shops will be able to make the adjustments necessary to make it more comfortable. In addition, you will get an idea of how the different bikes perform and handle.

It is a good idea to test ride as many e-bikes as you can to get a feeling for which type fits you the best. Another good reason to buy a bike from your local dealer is that they will be able to help you with repairs and maintenance and handle possible warranty issues.

How much power do you need?

High power systems are fun if you are looking for a rush, but they are generally heavier because they need a larger battery to give you a decent range. Some of the bikes with high power systems feel more like a motorcycle and less like a bicycle. Depending on your needs, lighter bikes can be enough for everyday riding. Test riding a number of different electric bikes with different power and motor types will help you determine what is right for your riding. Remember though, that the legal limit for an e-bike to remain a bicycle in New Zealand is 300W output. High-powered ebikes technically do not qualify for 'bicycle' use.

How much range do you need?

Having a lot of range seems like the right way to go but this can incur a significant cost. The battery pack is generally the most expensive part of an e-bike so determining your realistic range is important. Most standard e-bikes have around a 400 watt hour battery pack that will provide 30-40 kilometres of range depending on the riding conditions, how much pedal power you are providing and how much weight you are moving. The watt hours are the capacity of the battery pack. This measured is determined by multiplying the volts with the amp hours (e.g. 36 volts x 11ah = 396 watt hours). Where battery options exxist, Think Electric Bikes will generally stock the larger option, feeling that extra range is generally a welcome thing.

An additional tip is that if you are commuting to work, you may want to keep an extra charger at the office so that you can top off your battery for the ride home. This is an inexpensive way to extend your range.

How much should you spend?

It is important to evaluate how often you think you will use your electric bike so that you can determine your price range. For example, if you will be riding occasionally then you may not need the highest quality bike with all the bells and whistles. If you will be riding a lot, then you will need a bike that can handle the daily miles with reliable components. These bikes generally have high quality batteries that can last many charge cycles. But keep in mind that high tech features such as larger batteries and full suspension generally means you will be looking at a high price tag.

These are some tips to help you choose the best electric bike for you. Most important, however, is that you enjoy the rides! So try not to get too bogged down with the technical details. Just go with an e-bike that is comfortable to ride and performs the way you want it to.

 

For more information about where to go to find the best electric bike for you, check out our website or visit our store. Currently we have a pop up store in Devonport village that offers rentals bicycles and e-bikes, open Thursday to Sunday (winter hours), and retail sales and the chance to demo any bikes you want at 25 Lake Road. Try them out!


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Winter Riding Rules!

Jonno Leonard - Friday, April 07, 2017

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Do I really need an ebike?

Jonno Leonard - Thursday, March 30, 2017

This might seem a strange title for a piece on an ebike website, but we do get a constant stream of people in the shop who are in the process of deciding whether or not an ebike is for them (it always is, by the way, they just might not have worked it out for themselves yet!). Read More

The helmet that thinks for you!

Jonno Leonard - Friday, March 10, 2017
Bike helmets have come a long way from their humble beginnings in polystyrene. Nowadays you can find any helmet to suit your needs, from the aerodynamic racing style to the airbag helmets for the stylish urban cyclist. However, in this digital era, the new Livall helmet takes the cake.  Read More

Not biking to work yet? Here's 9 good reasons to do it!

Jonno Leonard - Sunday, February 26, 2017

1. It's really fun!

Biking is exhilarating, and allows you to leave your cares behind, at least for the time you are in the saddle! Zooming along is a rush, and reminds you of a simpler time when 'going out to play on your bike' was an activity in itself, rather than a means to an end. Enjoy it!

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Ride Awake, Stay Safe! Be Invisible!

Jonno Leonard - Wednesday, January 25, 2017

So many of us have concerns about our own safety when we are out biking. What steps can we take to keep ourselves upright and intact? Here are some ways I treat the matter (and I mean it about being invisible, read on to find out more...) Read More

Create a 'bike-to-work' culture in your company

Jonno Leonard - Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sounds simple, right? But how to approach it and what are the benefits of a 'bike-to-work' culture? Read on, for answers to your questions, and easy how-to's..... Read More

Scooters have grown up!

Jonno Leonard - Thursday, December 08, 2016

Scooters are for kids, right? So why have you started seeing grown men (and women) on them, and how come they are doing 25km/h these days?? Read More

'E-Bikes Are For Soft People!'

Jonno Leonard - Sunday, November 27, 2016

We just got back from the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge. Luke was riding the 80km with his Takapuna Grammar School cycle team (top team in the country, I'll have you know!), and I had dutifully cheered from various vantage points as was making my way in the family hauler with the rest of the brood to meet up at the finish. So it was a 'share the road' situation, and a good-natured competitor clocked my plate as he cruised past, and pointed out to me (the driver of the rumbling beast) that 'E-Bikes are for soft people'! The cheek!! Read More



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