As part of our mega guide to the best bikes on the market, we give you the rundown on what to look for when buying an e-bike.
In their ‘Eco’ setting, most e-bike batteries can cover over 100 kilometres, so there’s plenty of juice to get to and from work, run errands, or simply get out and enjoy a quiet spin without having to worry about the battery running out. We tended to use our Trek Conduit+ for a few days until there was about 25% battery left, then recharge it up to maximum overnight. Charging takes about five hours.
Most e-bikes have three settings: Eco, Normal, and High. The Eco setting was good for buzzing around, offering a slight boost over a normal bike. For daily commuting, we spent the bulk of time in the Normal mode. In this setting, we got up to speed earlier than in Eco and settled in to the 25km/h cut-off while still getting a bit of exercise. On days we rolled out the door a little late, deploying the High mode meant we could stay at a faster speed with less effort, arriving at work fresh rather than sweaty and stressed.
HOW LONG DOES A BATTERY LAST?
Depending on motor power, battery size, and assist level, ranges span from 45 kilometres to more than 140. Modern e-bikes use the same lithium-ion battery technology as most electric cars, and their batteries are typically good for about 1,000 full discharge-recharge cycles.
For most users, that’s three to five years of life, over which time capacity will slowly degrade to about 60 per cent of original and you’ll notice decreased range. You can buy a replacement battery from the system’s maker. Prices may drop in the future, but for now, count on at least $1,000 for a new one. Be sure to dispose of the old lithium battery appropriately.
For best performance and life, lithium-ion batteries shouldn’t be completely discharged, and should be charged every now and then if you’re not using them for long periods. Plan for several hours to reach full charge from empty, and always use the charger that came with your system to prevent power spikes or overheating that could cause a fire. For best power output, avoid storing the battery in extreme temperatures.