What Are E-Bikes and Should YOU Try One?

Throughout the year, our staff members will be providing blog readers with maintenance and mechanics articles on different skills, knowledge, and tips for safe riding.

In this article, Andrew Magill informs us on E-Bikes.

E-Bikes, or electric assist bicycles, are rapidly becoming a more common sight on streets and bike trails. They have already been popular in Europe and some parts of Asia and Australia. But what exactly is an E-Bike? It is a bicycle with a battery-powered motor that either assists the rider while they are generating force from pedaling or may power the bike without pedaling (up to specified speeds). While the motor is active, these bikes won’t travel faster than 28 mph.    E-Bikes use rechargeable batteries and small computer systems that function as information and control modules. There are E-commuting bikes, E-mountain bikes, E-adult tricycles, E-cargo bikes, and more. Motors will either be integrated into one of the bicycle’s wheels (usually the rear) or can provide torque to the pedals through the bottom bracket (this setup is often called mid-drive). Batteries are also affixed to the bicycle in various locations depending on the model.

E-Bikes are designed to handle almost exactly like traditional bicycles, however, the electric motor means that users may travel with less effort and cover more distance in less time. E- Bikes can be an excellent choice for those using a bike for transit, and make riding easier for anyone who might shy away from using a bike for reasons such as health, fitness level, age, disability, or the need to carry heavy cargo.

E-Bikes do come with some interesting challenges. They are more expensive to buy than their non-electric counterparts. Also, batteries need to be charged regularly and occasional maintenance or repairs will be needed to the drive units and computer systems. This requires some education for users and bicycle repair shops. E-Bikes are often much heavier than traditional bicycles due to the motor and batteries, so lifting them up stairs can be challenging. However, many E-Bikes have “walk modes” which allow the motor to assist the user in pushing the bike up a steep hill or ramp. The frequency with which the user will need to charge an E-Bike battery depends on the specific battery and motor, as well as the duration and load that are required from these components, but they can usually run for multiple trips. The batteries can be charged in almost any electrical outlet, however, manufacturers recommend using the specific charger designed for their battery.

The hope of individuals and advocacy groups who support bicycling is that E-Bikes will mean that more people can bike more regularly for fun, transit, or fitness benefits. This can increase public health, reduce traffic congestion, and reduce vehicle emissions. It can make it possible for friends and families to bike together as a group. Another goal is to ensure that E-Bikes remain classified as bicycles and are not confused with other electric-powered vehicles such as electric scooters or E-Motorcycles. If you find E-Bikes fascinating or want more information, stay tuned. Expect to see E-Bikes available for rent or demo in the near future at locations around the Twin Cities. Alternatively, stop in at our 2010 26th Ave South location. I’d love to talk with you about E-Bikes. After recently attending a four-day E-Bike design and repair training, I am really charged up about this topic!

From the Mechanic’s Bench: Bikes in Pop Culture

Throughout the year, our staff members will be providing blog readers with maintenance and mechanics articles on different skills, knowledge, and tips for safe riding.

In this article, Skye Vang takes a different spin on things with three cool bike things to check out.

Wind Breaker, comic by Yongseok Jo

“Jay is the Student Body President of Sunny High. Not only is he a smart student, but he is also an extreme biker with extraordinary technique. Trail his bike to encounter his friends, loves, and adventures.”

Wind Breaker is a Korean comic (with English translations) I just discovered a few months ago on Webtoon. There are over 200 episodes currently on the Webtoons platform with new episodes up weekly on Mondays! They can be read online or through the Webtoons app. My favorite parts of this comic are the bikes, the illustration, and the way the action scenes are conveyed. Also, nearly everyone wears helmets, they compete in a variety of street races and competitions, and there’s just a bit a teen angst–we all remember those times, right? Check out some screen shots of the comic below.

You can read the comic here: https://www.webtoons.com/en/action/wind-breaker/list?title_no=372

Biking (solo) by Frank Ocean, Biking by Frank Ocean ft. Jay-Z and Tyler the Creator

Content warning for explicit language.

Frank Ocean is one of my top 5 favorite artists so when I heard this song I was so geeked. It came out summer 2017 and I can’t tell you how many times I rode to this song that summer with arms sprawled out catching a sweet lil tan and all the fresh air filling my lungs. “Biking” is smooth and relaxing, puts you in just the right mood to cruise–it’s really feel good. Also, look at how relatable these lyrics are: “I’m biking uphill and it’s burning my quads/I’m biking downhill and it sound like a fishing rod.” My quads are burning right now just thinking about biking up those pesky St. Paul hills. There’s two versions–one with Frank Ocean alone and the other with Jay-Z and Tyler the Creator. Both are great but I do have a favorite. Listen to both below and let me know which one is yours.

Biking (solo) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKY8-c5CRgU
Biking – ft. Jay-Z and Tyler the Creator – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYGPcfUqzL0

Yowamushi Pedal, anime by Discotek Media

“Onoda Sakamichi is a rather timid, anime-loving first-year student at Sohoku High School. Upon entering high school, he tried to join the anime research club, but after meeting Imaizumi Shunsuke, a renowned cyclist since middle school, and Naruko Shoukichi, who swept the Kansai cycling championship, he ended up joining the competitive cycling club. “

If you like more moving-action rather than comic-style action, you should check out Yowamushi Pedal. I’ll admit I haven’t watched this one yet, but it caught my eye on Crunchyroll, so I’m going to be watching it soon! So, why don’t you join me? I do know one thing, though–sports anime are super intense and usually packed with tons of character development that really makes you root for the underdog. You can catch this on Crunchyroll, both online or in app form. Episodes are in Japanese with English subtitles. This is season 1, and there are multiple seasons and films. Watch the promotional video here (sorry, no English subtitles for the promotional video): https://www.crunchyroll.com/yowamushi-pedal/yowamushi-pedal-pv-1-644851

If you want to check out more anime featuring cycling, check out this list here: https://www.anime-planet.com/anime/tags/cycling

That’s all I have for you today. Feel free to send your favorite bike comics, songs, or anime/tv show/movies to [email protected] Hope you all enjoy.