Some of the e-bike models we stock have a manufacturer-claimed range of up to 190km.
The actual distance you can ride on a single charge will vary according to several factors, including the size of the battery, your weight, how much or how hard you pedal, how hilly it is, headwind/tailwind, air temperature etc. So it is possible to use up a battery charge over a much smaller distance.
We explain this in a little more detail below. You can also get an excellent overview of how this works using this nifty ‘range calculator’ made by Bosch.
Pedal Power: most e-bikes are designed to help you only while you pedal. Therefore, the more muscle power you use, the less power is taken from the battery and the more range you’ll achieve. This is especially relevant when accelerating or climbing steep gradients. If your e-bike has a throttle (which allows you to get power without pedaling), relying on the throttle will eat through your battery charge faster. When a throttle is installed there can be a tendency for this to happen.
Terrain and Rider Weight: If you use your e-bike in hilly areas, expect less range from your battery. Similarly, heavier riders or people carrying heavy loads can also expect reduced range.
Speed and wind resistance: Windy days can reduce range. This is because of increased air resistance. Similarly, if your e-bike offers assistance over 25km/h (many European models do not), you will see reduced range at higher speeds: you are likely to do twice the range at 25km/h than at 35km/h.
In New Zealand, the legal power output for a road-going electric bike is 300 watts. A 300 watt electric bike will typically go about 32-35km/h unassisted. Most NZ production electric bikes go about this fast. A 300 watt mid drive system like the Lekkie Summit can go faster as it uses the bikes gears as well as human input to obtain higher speeds.
There are systems available that can go much faster, but the bicycle must be registered to go on public roads. We believe electric bikes should make the ride more enjoyable but not necessarily more exciting. If you are looking for a high power unit to take off-road we can point you in the right direction.
Choosing the right motor is a matter of what suits your bike and what suits your riding style. Here are some factors for your consideration.
Hub motor – Explorer System
A hub motor system has good acceleration and hill climbing torque. It suits people that want an easy to use system with good range and smooth performance. You could think of it as the “automatic” system.
Mid drive motor – Summit System
A mid drive system has the advantage of driving through the bicycle gears. This allows for a greater torque and speed range. Great for people who want to ride as fast as possible or climb as steep as possible. Also it can fit to a wider range of bikes. Think of it as the “manual” system.
An e-bike is a bicycle with electric motor to help you along. You ride it much like you ride a normal bicycle, but with less effort.
Broadly speaking, there are two types of e-bike.
‘Factory’ e-bikes are bikes that designed from the ground up as e-bikes: our range includes Kalkhoff, Moustache, Faraday and others.
‘Kit’ e-bikes are ordinary bicycles with an electric motor kit retrofitted. We offer a Lekkie motor kit, which we can fit on many of the bikes we stock, or even install on your own bike.
Both of these types of e-bikes can come in many styles, from commuter bikes to full-suspension mountain bikes, and everything in between. Our focus is on urban and cargo bikes, used for commuting, transport, or pleasure. To that end, we stock bikes that have a focus on quality, are beautiful to look at, and will last a long time.
An e-bike motor works by automatically switching on the (quiet) motor when you pedal. There are two different types of motor: motors that are in the wheel hub, and motors that are in the crank. Both types have their pros and cons - it all depends on the type of riding you're planning on doing.
As a rule, crank motors provide a more authentic bicycle experience. This is because the motor senses how much power you are putting into the pedals (using a torque sensor), and responds proportionally (that is, the harder you pedal, the more the motor helps you). This makes you feel like you have extra strong legs! Crank motors tend to be more responsive than wheel hub motors, and allow the bicycle to roll more freely without the additional drag of a motor in the hub. We stock several e-bike models with crank motors made by Bosch and the German-produced Impulse. We also offer a crank motor kit: the Lekkie Summit.
Wheel hub motors offer a simpler design. Most wheel hub motors do not sense how much power you are making with your legs, so they will generally be either ‘on’ or ‘off’ (though one exception is the beautiful Faraday, which has a separate torque sensor in the crank). We stock several e-bike models with wheel hub motors including Vintage Electric and Faraday. We also offer a wheel hub motor kit: the Lekkie Explorer.
All of our e-bikes allow you to adjust how much power you want, or to switch off the power altogether and ride it like a non-electric bike. The Lekkie kits also have an optional thumb throttle, which allows you to apply power without pedaling.