Sun. Jan 19th, 2020

How to choose an electric bicycle

7 min read
Electric bicycle

What is an electric bicycle

An electric bike or ebike is a 2-wheel vehicle of little weight, similar to a conventional bicycle, which is powered by an electric motor of a maximum of 250 W that complements the mechanical force exerted through the pedals, by the legs of the cyclist who rides it.

The maximum speed that it can reach, by regulation without being considered as a vehicle to be registered, with the electric motor is 25 km / h. You can refer to the types of best electric bikes under 1000 .

History of the electric bicycle

The origin of the electric bike dates back to the end of the 19th century, during the years 1895 and 1900 the first patents were registered in relation to this vehicle. In 1897, Hosea W. Libbey patented an electric bicycle that was propelled by a double electric motor anchored to the axis of the plate, the various patents that attempted to establish a successful design failed, since the technical skills to develop such vehicles were insufficient.

In the decade of theĀ 20s, the German company Heinzmann produced the first motor for a two-seater electric bicycle. In the coming years, the company continued to manufacture engines for the dirt bikes of German mail delivery men.

In the 1930s, the Mineapolis Lejay Manufacturing company coupled a Ford T generator to the rear wheel, and this patent means the seed for the subsequent GoBike.

In 1946, Mr. Jesse Tucker patented one of the qualities that today identifies the operation of an electric bike, which is the coupling and decoupling of the electric motor to the pedals operated by the cyclist. All this was achieved by a motor with gears in its internal part that allowed the rear wheel to go free or driven by the engine.

The first attempts to create an electric bicycle had a multitude of gears from the motor to the wheels and plates, in order to try to transmit the energy to those parts and generate movement on the bike.

Few improvements were made in this field during the coming years, as the environmental and fossil fuel needs were not the same as today, so it was not until the 1973 oil crisis that affected the United States that electric bicycles began to take wingspan

In 1982 Mr. Egon Gelhard created electric bikes in which the motor assists the cyclist in his pedaling based on the principle of bicycles.

During the 1990s there were great advances such as longer batteries, torque sensors, and power controls, these years were led by the company Services Vector Limited and its Zike nickel-cadmium batteries.

In the coming years, improvements in batteries, as well as a greater environmental awareness on the part of citizens, have helped electric bicycles have become popular, and their sales do not stop growing over time, predicting a great future for the market of these vehicles.

How an electric bicycle works

An electric bicycle resembles in aesthetics, design, and operation a traditional bicycle, with the particularity that it has an electric motor that receives battery power and it supports the cyclist’s pedaling, is called pedaling with assistance.

The energy transmitted from the battery to the electric motor is transformed into mechanical force through the pedals, which assists the cyclist once the pedaling begins.

Due to the sensors in the pedals, the electric motor is activated when it detects that the cyclist drives the pedals of the electric bike. The electric motor helps the cyclist in the movement of the bicycle up to a maximum speed of 25 km / h; from there, the cyclist is the one who has to exert the effort to gain more speed.

Depending on where the electric motor is installed, we will find electric bicycles with the engine in the wheel hub (front or rear) or bikes with the motor in the bottom bracket.

Parts of an electric bicycle

The operation of an electric bicycle is very similar to that of a conventional one, although there are a number of elements that need to be added for it to work.

Electric bike battery

It is the fuel of the electric motor, the element that supplies the energy necessary for the engine to transform it into motion through the pedals or wheels.

The first electric bicycles used lead batteries in two different types, the AGM-Lead and the Gel-Lead, these batteries were able to withstand long cycles of charge and discharge. Even today, they are still used in Chinese electric bikes.

The next batteries to appear were those formed by Nickel in its two variants ( NiCd and NiMH ). This type of batteries is disappearing little by little, to the point that if today you need to repair an old battery made with this technology, you probably will not find materials for it.

Currently, lithium batteries are the best option for your electric bike

Finally, and the most used, lithium batteries, these batteries are the ones you will find in our products from the online store. The advantages of this type of batteries with respect to the previous ones are multiple; their weight is about four times lower than the rest, when charging they do not have to worry about being discharged because the memory effect does not exist in them and their useful life is much older.

Motion and torque sensor

This element is vital for the electric motor to work properly. In this field we find two types of sensors, depending on the disbursement we want to make, the movement and the torque, both serve to identify the movement of the bicycle and in this way, through the communication between sensor and controller , the battery Knows when to send power to the engine.

As we have said, we find two types of sensors that we will describe below:

The motion sensor is the most common and known, as its price is more affordable. It is characterized by going over the bottom of the bottom bracket, consisting of a disc on the axis of the pedals and rotating with them and a fixed sensor in the frame of the bike. This sensor simply detects whether the cyclist is pedaling and sends a binary signal to the motor (yes or no) and depending on this the electric motor starts running or not.

The torque sensor is a much more elaborate element than the previous one, and therefore also its price. This sensor detects exactly the amount of force that the person exerts on the pedals, and in this way electrically assists the rider proportionally, giving a feeling of control and naturalness much greater than in the case of the motion sensor. The help provided can be regulated depending on the physical condition of the cyclist.

Electric bike motor

An essential element in electric bikes, they can be mounted in several different places and have a nominal power of 250 W (in order not to be necessary to enroll).

As a general rule we can differentiate 3 types of engines depending on where they are located. We find the front, rear and central engines.

The front engines are characterized by providing a better distribution of weights between axles on the bicycle, are very simple to ride, and the prices of bicycles equipped with them are usually the most affordable. Typical of low-end ride bikes.

The central motors balance the weight perfectly because the motor and the battery are located in the lower central part of the bicycle, lowering the center of gravity to the maximum. These engines are found in high-end bicycles and tend to be the ones that offer the greatest autonomy because they take better advantage of the gear ratios, generating less heat and rotating at lower revolutions.

The rear engines as the name says is located at the rear of the bicycle, the main feature of these is that they improve maneuverability and traction when you drive to the limit, they are indicated for Mtb or downhill electric bicycles.

It is important to choose a bicycle with an electric motor located on the site that we will get the most out of

The big brands that dominate the electric motor market are Bosch, Yamaha, Brose, and Panasonic, which offer the best autonomy, performance and reliability. Indicated for bicycles that will be used to travel long distances (up to 100 km or more) per week, such as trips around the city or paved roads.

The breaks

We can distinguish 3 types of brakes on electric bicycles: conventional V-brake brakes, disc brakes, and regenerative braking.

The V-brake brakes are known worldwide, as have been in use on bicycles since time immemorial. They consist of rubber shoes that exert pressure on the tire when they are operated and thus brake the electric bicycle. Its simplicity, useful life, and low maintenance still make them very valid brakes. The only disadvantage appears as soon as the conditions are rainy or muddy and dirty, so they lose a lot of effectiveness.

V-Brake brakes are a classic in bicycle braking systems, simple, cheap to maintain, and effective.

The disc brakes are relatively modern, they have been used for about 15 years, they are characterized by powerful and modular braking, because their maintenance and tuning is more complex and expensive than in V-brake brakes.

The regenerative brake or KERS , is sold today on some electric bicycles. The idea of this type of brake is to take advantage of the heat that comes off in braking to transform that heat energy into electricity and store it in the battery. The maximum that we can recharge our bike with this system will depend on the slopes or how much we brake, around 10% of the total battery capacity.

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