Electric Bicycles: Twelve Reasons for NOT Getting an Electric Bike.
Reason 4: Electric Bicycles are Bad on Hills.
When I first heard this one as a reason NOT to get an Electric Bike – they aren’t very good on hills – I was very confused!
Round where I live, EVERYTHING goes up and down – the main reason I can see for getting an Electric Bicycle is that our neighbourhood
is so hard to get around on an pushbike (you end up doing a LOT of pushing).
So, I needed to dig a little deeper.
Things I heard were that:
- The motors can’t take the strain of all that hill-climbing.
- The battery runs down super-fast.
- Most Electric Bikes can only take on “flat hills”(!)
Was there any truth in all of this?
Firstly, I wanted to learn how Pedal Assisted Bicycling worked (these “pedelecs” are the only ones that are legal in Ireland).
As you can see from the diagram – the motor assist DOES kick in the most when you are cycling up a hill.
On a pedelec bike, you need to keep the pedals going at all times to keep the bike moving – so – I guess the next question is “how steep a hill can you climb “ while barely keeping the pedals turning?
I came across the following (which I look forward to testing):
“Provided you supply a reasonable amount of effort, you can expect to climb hills of 1 in 10 (10%) on an electric bike with ease, and clear
a maximum gradient of 1 in 7 (14%)".
14% seems to be the maximum gradient – while that does not sound like a lot – I have discovered that the typical maximum gradient recommended for
road-building in the UK and Ireland is 12.5% - but more usually 10%.
So – that’s that bit covered!
Next – what effect does all of this hill-climbing have on running down the battery?
Well, if we consider that -
ITS EASY TO get 20 MILES from a bettery charge WHEN CONDITIONS ARE PERFECT, i.e; NO HILLS, GREAT BIKE PERFORMANCE, WIND DIRECTION, Low RIDERS WEIGHT and PEDAL ASSIST.
Well, guess what. I could not get a clear answer on how long it would take to drain the batteries of my “yet to be bought” Electric Bicycle.
It seems that it depends on a lot of variables – and an awful lot on my riding style. So, I’m going to have to wait and do a road test myself in the next six months.
In the meantime, I’ll assume that I can get about half the range I might expect under perfect conditions in my hilly neighbourhood.
Finally, what about motors? Do they wear down fast in hilly areas?
The only mention
I have come across to answer this question is when somebody said that drive motors such as the Panasonic setup you get in Kalkhoff and other E-bikes is much stronger over time for
hill-climbing than for hub-motors. I need to dig a little deeper into this one.
This seems like a nonsense idea to me – as where I live, Electric Bicycles are ALL ABOUT flattening hills. However, it does seem that I need to get one with
a good range, strong build and good braking power to start with. And then start the testing....
Now, what was the next reason NOT to get a Electric bicycle?
Go to Reason Number 5: Electric Bicycles Have a Limited Range.
Go Back to Reason Number 3: Electric Bicycles are Too Ugly.
Back from Electric Bikes Are Bad on Hills to Electric Bicycles
Back from Electric Bikes Are Bad on Hills to All Electric Vehicles
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