An introduction to e-bikes
An e-bike is a bicycle with an integrated electric motor offering some form of assistance to a rider in propelling the bike forwards. This assistance can come in many forms including hub assist, however, pedal, or pedelec assistance is by far the most popular option.
Pedelec motors are fitted to the crank area (where the pedals attach) of an e-bike frame and offer electrical assistance relative to the amount of power being exerted by a rider.
The power output of these motors or drive units is typically governed by regulations (more on that below), however, it is fair to assume that the majority of e-bikes being shipped are equipped with a power output of 250 watts.
Riders also have to be fitted with functional pedals for the bike to be considered a power assisted bike. Bikes fitted with a throttle based motor system must adhere to slightly different output regulations, with maximum power capped to 200w, whilst speed remains limited to 25 kph. Any e-bike that exceeds these regulations is categorised as a motor vehicle and standard road rules apply.
How does an e-bike differ from a normal bike?
Aside from the often obvious electric motor system that integrates into an e-bike, modern e-bikes are starting to look more and more like their traditionally pedal powered cousins. When looking at a regular commuter and an e-bike side by side, it's easy to see some resemblance between the two, start looking a little closer and a number of differences start to become more noticeable.
As e-bikes often come with extra heft, and more power output to manage, they will typically be built tough. The differentiation between a standard bike and an e-bike is that the latter will typically be built with a specific frame, as well as reinforced forks and components to handle the additional loads on offer. As a result of this they often tip the scales in excess of 18kg, and that's before adding such accessories such as water bottles, luggage, and tools.