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Alexis Vuillermoz wins 8th stage of 2015 Tour de France

Phantom Tour de France

When people ask what it's like riding an electric-assist bicycle, the best comparison is to explain that it's just like riding any other bicycle except that when you need or want help on the hill or against that headwind, you have a "phantom" Tour de France-class cyclist on the bike with you.

The average adult can generate about 90-100 watts of energy on a sustained basis. That's about 1/8th horsepower. So, a 250W electric-assist motor more than doubles the average rider's output. A 350W motor nearly quadruples that, 500W, five times, etc. But here's the cool thing about e-Bikes, you still exert energy. In fact, tests have shown the actual physical output between riding a regular bicycle and an electric-assist model are nearly identical. The difference is the perception of effort is far less, by a third in many cases. You're still exercising and burning calories, it just seems easier.

There are two types of electric-assist configurations: pedal-assist and throttle assist. The former, also called pedelec, is what's used exclusively in Europe. The motor only assists you as you pedal. Throttle assist, as its name implies, relies on a throttle like a motorcycle to apply power. It's legal primarily in the United States. Hybrid systems combine the two, enabling the rider to switch modes.

ebike hub motor and mid-drive motor

Motors typically also come in two types: hub motors and mid-motors. Hub motors are mounted either on the rear, the most common, or front wheels. These can be either pedelec or throttle controlled depending the manufacturer and destination market. Mid-motors are integrated into pedal crank and usually are no more than 250W. They are exclusively pedal actuated. Hub motors can be anywhere from 200W to 1000W and more, but are limited to 750W in the USA in order to still be considered a "bicycle" by federal law, allowing them access to bike and pedestrian paths, depending local law. Both approaches provide more than enough power in most cycling situations.

ebike battery

Maybe the most common question asked is "How far can you ride?" Like any electric vehicle, including e-bikes, that depends on many factors including terrain, weather, weight of the rider, etc. But the single most significant factor is the battery itself. How much energy can it store as defined by Amp hours. E-Bike batteries range from around 6-20 Amp hours. Watt hours are usually around 350-400Wh. That's generally sufficient for 20-30 miles of range depending on how much the rider draws down the battery as he or she rides. New 600-800Wh models are coming soon, which will offer even more riding range.

Internet of Things, including bikes

Electric-assist bicycles also immediately lend themselves to being included in the "Internet of Things," a connected world of trillions of sensors and devices. In Quikbyke's case, we aim to utilize this rapidly expanding universe to ensure the enjoyment and safety of our riders and crew members as well as the security of our investment. We also see IoT-connected Quikbykes being utilized to capture environmental, sociological, and infrastructure data that can help cities better plan for a more sustainable future.