Since the battery affects the weight, style, and range of the bike, its choice is crucial. Batteries play a huge part in how electric bikes work. The majority of the batteries you’ll find offered on the market fall into one of the following two categories:
SEALED LEAD ACID (SLA)
These batteries were once the standard battery type for most electric scooters and electric bicycles. These days, most electric scooters still use SLA batteries, while electric bikes (which often require human input) have opted for newer battery technologies to keep the bike as lightweight as possible.
Heavy and bulky
Offer a shorter riding range
Shorter life span of about 100-300 full cycle charges
Require more maintenance, and need to be charged immediately after use
These are the newest technology in batteries. A lithium battery has a lifetime roughly 2-3 times that of an SLA battery. Lithium batteries are much lighter and also are largely maintenance-free.
Lightweight – high-capacity, 36V10Ah Lithium-Polymer batteries can weigh as little as 6 pounds!
Offer a longer riding range – battery can travel up to 40 miles in pedal-assist mode (or 20 miles on throttle-only).
Longer life span of about 800 charges or 3 years of virtually daily use
More expensive – starting at about $1,500 to $3,000 and above
Available in a variety of styles, the controller lets you operate the electric assistance on your electric bike and is an important part in how electric bikes work. The controller is located on the handlebar for ease of use. There are two main styles of controllers – pedal-activated and throttle-based controllers.
Pedal-activated systems offer electric assistance as you press down on the pedals. There is no need to engage a throttle – simple pedaling will do the trick. Electric bikes with pedal-activated systems have a controller mounted on the handlebar that lets you adjust the level of assistance that you receive as you pedal. You can dial in the amount of assistance you want, ranging from no assistance to a great deal of assistance.
Throttle-based controllers work with a simple throttle mechanism. The throttle will either be a twist-grip type or a thumb-press type. With a throttle, you simply pull back or press the throttle to receive the electric assistance. Some electric bikes require nothing more than activating the throttle, allowing you to ride without pedaling.
By and large, electric bikes are simple to use, ride, and maintain. Overall, they require little maintenance beyond that which a standard bike requires.
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