Electric bikes have exploded in popularity in recent years, and there are several reasons for this.
Electric bikes provide excellent performance and convenience, making hills and long distance riding that little bit easier, and giving you that bit of assistance you need on difficult sections of your ride to improve your comfort and make things much more enjoyable.
However some people may be unsure about electric bikes and how they work, as well as how far they can actually ride.
No one wants to get caught out peddling all the way home without that little bit of help an E-bike provides, especially as these bikes can be a little heavier than non-electric bikes.
In this guide we’re going to look at how far an electric bike can typically ride, as well as look at the factors that can affect your range to help you get a better understanding of your battery performance depending on the type of riding you do and several other important factors.
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City cycling is arguably one of the best places to ride an E-bike, as cities are generally flat and well paved, and the E-bike can help you keep pace and stability when riding on busy roads surrounded by traffic, buses and other cyclists.
It’s also easy to charge up if you need to in a city, so there’s that extra peace of mind when riding in them or commuting.
However, how efficient are E-bikes for commuting in cities?
While there will always be some variance depending on your own weight and size, as well as the weight of your bike and the size of your battery you can use this guide as an estimation until you’ve fully tested the limits of your bike.
On a relatively small 300 watt hour battery you can comfortably expect to ride 40 to 50 miles if you stay at a lower power or eco setting, which is a really amazing amount of range and well within what you would need to get around even the biggest cities in the world.
Most electric bikes use far more powerful batteries than this so you can be relatively comfortable commuting around cities using an E-bike.
If you’re riding at a faster pace or using full speed constantly, or riding on poor road surface in poor conditions you should naturally expect a performance drop, especially if there are hills to negotiate.
Generally however you can expect to reach 50KM, particularly if you’re using a larger 400WH or 500WH battery.
When it comes to road touring E-bikes can make things way more enjoyable, providing you have the range for your entire route.
If you’re cycling on open roads at a fairly consistent speed, you can expect to hit ranges of up to 80 miles if you use a low to mid power setting and a 500 watt hour battery.
This is a seriously impressive amount of range and it could vary of course depending on the particular route you use and the road quality, elevation change and weather conditions, however you can expect to break 60 miles quite effectively with a battery of this size.
Good road surfaces and a smaller amount of elevation could lead to even more impressive range!
Off road riding
Riding in difficult terrain, with soft ground and steep hills you will see a much shorter range, however these rides are typically fairly short due to their physically demanding nature so this is actually a relatively favorable trade off.
For a modern mountain bike being used in high performance mode, you can expect to ride somewhere around 25Km on a 400 watt hour battery, over 30KM on a 500 watt hour battery, and almost 45 KM on a 700 watt hour battery.
This is impressive, and while some off-road routes will challenge these ranges, if you plan carefully and swap your settings depending on the elevation and technical difficulty of different track sections you should have ample range for most trails.
It’s important to note here that your battery power can be affected by additional accessories that draw power, such as integrated lights of bike computers as well as outputs to USB, so make sure to account for this and how it will affect your range/battery life.
There are other important factors to consider too such as;
One of the main factors on battery life is the weight of the rider and any luggage being carried.
Typically, doubling the rider weight equates to a loss of around 20% range/battery life available
The speed at which you ride will have a huge impact on battery life. If you use eco mode you will extend your range much more than riding at full power constantly.
The capacity of the battery in watt hours will also play a huge part in your available range.
Generally 300 watt hours is fine for city riding and flat terrain, but for riding tough hills and difficult off road terrain 500 watt hours is considered the minimum.
You can obviously add larger batteries if your commute is longer or goes over rough terrain.
The type of tyre you use, including its width, pressure and tread type can massively affect the efficiency of your bike.
Narrower tyres are far better for road riding and are much more efficient on smooth surfaces, while thicker tyres are a necessity on rougher ground, so be aware this will affect your range noticeably.
One of the biggest drains on battery power are hills, and even a small city climb can take a lot out of your battery. Planning for this accordingly is the best way to ensure you aren’t caught short.