E-bikes are zero-emissions vehicles, as they emit no combustion by-products. However, the environmental effects of electricity generation and power distribution and of manufacturing and disposing of (limited life) high storage density batteries must be taken into account. Even with these issues considered, e-bikes are claimed to have a significantly lower environmental impact than conventional automobiles, and are generally seen as environmentally desirable in an urban environment.
I found the $49 optional thumb throttle to be very useful. It’s a great way to get yourself easily out of a mess like deep sand or mud, while walking alongside the bike. It’s also useful when you want to make a quick start from a stop light without having to shift into a lower gear, or when you’re feeling lazy and want to cruise along without peddling.
Another type of electric assist motor, often referred to as the mid-drive system, is increasing in popularity. With this system, the electric motor is not built into the wheel but is usually mounted near (often under) the bottom bracket shell. In more typical configurations, a cog or wheel on the motor drives a belt or chain that engages with a pulley or sprocket fixed to one of the arms of the bicycle's crankset. Thus the propulsion is provided at the pedals rather than at the wheel, being eventually applied to the wheel via the bicycle's standard drive train.
The environmental credentials of e-bikes, and electric / human powered hybrids generally, have led some municipal authorities to use them, such as Little Rock, Arkansas with their Wavecrest electric power-assisted bicycles or Cloverdale, California police with Zap e-bikes. China’s e-bike manufacturers, such as Xinri, are now partnering with universities in a bid to improve their technology in line with international environmental standards, backed by the Chinese government who is keen to improve the export potential of the Chinese manufactured e-bikes.
Electric bikes are, for all intents and purposes, bicycles. These small, compact bicycles differ from mopeds due to a key design feature – they can all be powered manually, simply by pedaling. However, each one incorporates a powerful rechargeable motor that can do the work for you when you need it to – such as on large hills, or if you’re tired after a long day – and be switched off when necessary.
A big selling point of the attractive Citizen Bike Seoul, sold direct from the company’s website, is that it comes straight out of the box ready to ride—on our test unit, even the tires were inflated. Unfortunately, we didn’t find the ride and gearing as smooth as those of bikes costing just $100 more. Though the folding and unfolding were easy, the magnets simply wouldn’t hold when the bike was folded, and it kept flopping open (especially problematic when I was carrying it down subway stairs); the company told me that an update on that was coming. Plus, the Seoul’s folded footprint was so large it wouldn’t fit through the subway turnstiles.
According to Bike Friday, the New World Tourist will fit into a Samsonite F”Lite GT 31 suitcase, and will accommodate front and rear racks for panniers, as well as a trailer. Bike Friday offers the New World Tourist with multiple drivetrain options and disc brakes. There is also a belt-drive version with an internal shifting hub. Builds start at $1300.
More powerful pedelecs which are not legally classed as bicycles are dubbed S-Pedelecs (short for Schnell-Pedelecs, i.e. Speedy-Pedelecs) in Germany. These have a motor more powerful than 250 watts and less limited, or unlimited, pedal-assist, i.e. the motor does not stop assisting the rider once 25 km/h has been reached. S-Pedelec class e-bikes are therefore usually classified as mopeds or motorcycles rather than as bicycles and therefore may (depending on the jurisdiction) need to be registered and insured, the rider may need some sort of driver's license (either car or motorcycle) and motorcycle helmets may have to be worn. In the United States, many states have adopted S-Pedelecs into the Class 3 category. Class 3 ebikes are limited to <=750 watts of power and 28 mph.
This is one of the most favorite electric folding bikes on the market because it’s well-made and packed with quality features. It’s made of 6061-T6 aircraft aluminum alloy and glows in the dark. It’s powered by rear direct drive 350W motor, with brushless front and rear 160mm hydraulic disc brakes. The bike features a display that shows on/off status, throttle and pedal assist control, USB phone charger, speed and battery life.
The Ancheer folding electric mountain bike does have a few weird quirks. The first is the handlebar mounted battery. It saves space for the folding mechanism, but looks odd. Fortunately it has very little effect on handling because it is mounted so close the head tube’s pivot point. It does raise the center of gravity of the bike a bit, but the difference is small compared to how much you raise the bike’s center of gravity.