An electric bike is a great option for anyone who hauls heavy loads, tackle serious climbs, or just wants to be able to ride further, faster. E-bikes help folks with physical barriers stay in the saddle, enable long-haul commuters to arrive at work with energy to spare, and are a viable alternative to a car for urban families.
Sidesaddle can add e-assist to your current bike or find you the perfect factory-equipped e-bike. We work with the industry’s top brands including Bosch and Shimano, as well as innovators like Vancouver’s own Grin Technologies. All of our brands offer excellent quality and value. Come in for a test ride and let us show you what’s possible!
What exactly is an e-bike?
An e-bike is a traditional pedal driven bicycle that has been fitted with an electric motor and a battery pack. The bike still works as a regular bike, but the rider can get help from the motor when they need it. E-bikes are different from scooters or mopeds, which are heavier, more expensive, and unwelcome on bike paths.
What is it like to ride an e-bike?
The motor reads your pedaling effort and amplifies it, so it is like riding a regular bike except you have super strength. Hills flatten, headwinds blow by, loads lighten, and tedious commutes go by much quicker. In short it is really fun and requires no extra skills!
How fast can I go?
BC law requires that E-bikes max out at 32km/h, but most e-bikes are technically capable of going much faster.
Can I still get exercise when I ride an e-Bike?
How much help you get from the e-assist system is totally up to you. If you pedal as hard you do on a conventional bike you’ll still huff and puff, you’ll just travel faster. The type of e-bike system you have also impacts how much effort your ride will be (see What's The Difference Between Throttle and Pedal Assist? below).
How far can I go on a charge?
It is not unusual for pedal assist systems to go over 100km on a charge. That said, your range will depend on how you share the effort with your motor. Going extra fast, climbing steep hills, or carrying heavy loads all affect range. If range is a problem you can store an extra charger at work or even add a second battery.
How heavy is an e-bike?
The motor will add 10-15 pounds and the battery will add 10-15 pounds. Generally, more powerful systems will be heavier. If lifting the bike is a concern, you can remove the battery to lighten the load.
How much does an E-bike cost?
Good quality e-bikes start at $3,000 for the complete bike, or $2,000 for an after-market kit. Cheaper e-bikes tend to be poor quality, and are not recommended.
Once I have purchased my e-bike, how much will it cost to run it?
E-bikes use only a few cents’ worth of electricity for a full battery charge, and beyond that it is just like maintaining a regular bike. Since you will likely travel longer distances on your e-bike, plan to replace wear parts such as brake pads and tires more frequently. Many manufacturers now offer e-bike specific parts designed for higher mileage.
What if my e-bike breaks down?
Buy your e-bike from a reputable local shop who will be there for you if the system has any problems. Online sellers often cannot provide any local support, and require bikes to be shipped back for warranty or repair.
Can I ride my e-bike in the rain?
Yes. The electrical components need protection from wet conditions, but a properly set up e-bike can be ridden all year, in all weather.
Can I travel with an e-bike?
Yes, but there are limits on the size of lithium battery that can go on an airplane. Small battery packs are available that are under the limit, and you can use more than one to achieve the same charge capacity as one large battery.
What is the difference between throttle and pedal assist?
With a strictly pedal assist e-bike, the motor only provides power while you are actively pedaling. With a throttle you can push a button and have the motor drive the bike with no help from you. Throttle systems are slightly more complicated, and can lead to shorter range if you rely too much on pure motor power.
What is the difference between hub drive and mid drive?
These terms refer to the location of the motor. On a hub drive e-bike the motor is in the middle of the front or rear wheel. With mid-drive, the motor sits in the middle of the bike, between the pedals. Both styles have advantages, though mid drives are becoming the more common choice.