CYCLING PERFORMANCE TIPS
Last updated: 11/4/2020
E-Bikes (Electric Assist Bikes)
This article (Over the Alps on a Bike With a Boost)
caught my eye as it suggested a way to let those who aren't
quite as strong (significant other, physical limitations, slowing down but still yearning
to get out on that bike) enjoy the camaraderie of cycling with a partner or group.
But for regular riders there are worries about the impact of ebikes. This
summarizes them as well as outlining the positives health and social impact of getting more people out on a bike.
A couple things to keep in mind if you are considering an ebikes:
WILL YOU LOSE FITNESS ON AN E-BIKE?
- There are three classes of ebikes:
- Class 1 - bikes have a motor (max 750w) that assists while you're pedaling, up to 20 mph.
- Class 2 - models have throttles that don't require the rider to pedal in order to get a boost.
Class 2 models have throttles that don't require the rider to pedal in order to get a boost. They
are really not ebikes but rather electric scooters.
- Class 3 - also known as "speed pedelec," can also have up to a 750w motor, but it can assist you up to 28 mph.
- Stick with a major supplier: Bosch, Yamaha, Shimano, and Brose.
- The rating of watt hours (Wh) takes into account battery output and life to give a more accurate
reflection of power (higher Wh equals bigger range).
- Because e-bikes are capable of greater speeds for longer periods of time than standard bikes, you want
extra control. Wider tires provide traction and some bump absorption with little penalty. You also want strong
brakes to slow you (and all that extra weight) easily. It’s worth looking at the quality of the brakes and
investing in bikes with better ones if you can.
- Batteries are expensive, so make sure there's a good way to lock the battery to your bike if
you'll be keeping it outside.
This is a concern I hear regularly when e-bikes come up in a discussion.
If you are talking about cardiovascular fitness, my answer is an unqualified no.
With the power off (or battery out) an e-bike is just a heavy cross bike. You work the
same muscle groups and sit on the bike in a similar position.
Are you going to be able to push that extra mass of slightly less aerodynamic metal
as fast as your lightweight road bike? No. Will your maximal power (wattage) output
remain at the same level (although at a lower top speed)? Yes.
So that means you can continue your personal training program (using intervals,
for example, with a power meter as your measuring tool) and end up at exactly
the same level of fitness as if you had done the same wattage-directed training
on your lightweight road bike.
E-bikes are pedal ASSIST and are not electric scooters. So if your ride with the
same level of exertion, riding an e-bike should be no more detrimental to your
fitness (assuming you continue on a regimented training program) than riding with
the boost of a tail wind or from riding in a peloton. But if you start to enjoy
the ride, and back off on your level of input, then, of course, de-conditioning
is the inevitable result.
I understand the resistance to e-bikes. I enjoy keeping up with my weekend group,
knowing that I am doing it all on my own (without electric assist). And I know I
would miss that sense of accomplishment on an e-bike.
But as I get older, I face the inevitable slowing that we all get to experience. If I
want to keep the enjoyment of a group ride, I have to stay with a peer group that ages
right along with me...or get an e-bike.
If you want to continue to measure yourself against your peers on a weekend ride, then
by all means take the road bike. But if this is just concern about training to the
maximum possible (for your age), that training can be done just as effectively on an
e-bike while commuting during the week, or riding with your spouse on weekends or vacation.
The big benefit of the e-bike revolution is that these bikes are putting more riders
out on the road, and with more regularity, as time passes. Friends whose "significant others"
never wanted to ride, now tell me that with an e-bike, they (the other) is now pushing them to
find a time to ride together.
And an e-bike is just plain fun. You find yourself looking around as you spin at at
an easy rate rather than focusing on how many more intervals you need to finish that day.
Finally, there is the aging factor. We all get older, and as we do, are abilities to churn out
watts of power decrease - no matter how hard we try to fight it. If you are barely hanging on with
your weekend riding group, an ebike may be the answer. You may get a few comments, but
then just point out that no one escapes father time, and their time will come.
And I will say, as one who scoffed at e-bikes for many years, fighting the trend for
longer than I might have, (I'm now 73) an e-bike is really fun to ride!!
RISKS OF EBIKES
can be a definite hazard, especially if you buy cheap equipment or try to modify the
WHAT'S NEW IN TECHNOLOGY
Bosch eBike Systems 2020 innovations - Lighter and more responsive motors. 50% smaller than
the previous models and weighing 2.9 kilos (25% lighter). "...manufacturers have been able to build the frames with shorter chainstays, giving the bikes a more lively feel. " And as to on the bike performance,
"The pick up from the motor was instantaneous and there wasn't any moment when you were left
wanting for assistance from it."
E-bike 2.0 - the future for road ebikes. Current e-bikes are, well, clunky. But you knew
that some company would develop something a bit more elegant and appealing to regular cyclists.
The price is high as with all new products - computers and electric cars are good examples. But
with mass production it is just a matter of time until the prices come down and they become
competitive with other high end bikes.
- Artificial Intelligence is coming. This article
is a great example of the convergence of AI (artificial intelligence) and self driving technology to
solve the problem of "shared scooter litter" on many urban streets. And it eliminates the need to
chase down scooters to recharge the battery. I'm sure we will see something similar in shared bikes too.
- State of the art - eroadbikes. A nice summary and review.
Amazing how much things have changed in the last few years - and prices dropped as well. Most are in the 20 pound
range (without the battery).
- A 15 pound ebike. It's
just a prototype. But ideas like this push the technology. I was
impressed with the weight saving with a friction drive motor. 600w isn't too shabby.
- And this is what is
available commercially at the moment. 24 pounds! With a glowing review to
- This ebike eliminates
another barrier to urban ebiking.
A great alternative for the daily commute. No more need to chain your bike outside at work. Just fold it
up and store it near your desk. For those interested in the
- Fast-folding frame - fold and stow the bike in just 10 seconds.
- A range of up to 50 miles
- And at 39 pounds the weight of a heavy suitcase.
EBIKES IN THE NEWS
- E-BIKES GET ANOTHER BOOST - Paris to subsidize ebikes. Electric cars will address the pollution problems but
not the congestion. An electric bike seems the best fit to improve both of them.
Paris will probably be just the first of many cities to come to the same conclusion.
Subsidies are the least expensive way to move things in this direction.
- WIRELESS CHARGING - With the movement toward electric bikes (electric assist or
electronically controlled adjustments on the fly) I suspect wireless charging will have a place.
When you park the e-bike in the garage, this option will eliminate the extra step of
plugging it in, or changing out batteries.
- THE TOTALLY ELECTRIC BIKE - Technology in cycling marches on.
Here we see a different slant - a smart bike that adjustments on the fly to adapt to varying riding conditions.
I was particularly intrigued by the idea of a dynamo in the rear derailleur to power the electronics.
- AN EBIKE MADE LIFE GOOD AGAIN!! A sad story to read,
but a great example of perseverance, never giving up,
and how it was an ebike that made a difference in this rider's life.
- ANOTHER USE FOR AN EBIKE - PACED
TRAINING. Why you might ask. It is much more realistic training
that following a motorized scooter. Besides being loud and foul smelling, a scooter doesn't handle modulations in
climbing pitch the way a cyclist does. Pacing behind an e-bike mimics the psychological effects that riders experience
during a race. And finally, "When you have someone else watching and holding you accountable, you don't want to fail"
....even if it is an e-bike.
ROBOBIKE DELIVERY VEHICLES. We all thought e-bikes were going to be our nemesis
as they clogged city lanes and mountain trails.
Its been speculated that rather than decrease city congestion, self driving cars might aggravate
the problem. No longer would you sit behind the wheel, get frustrated with the time suck of
commuting, and decide to join a car pool to share the driving. With an autonomous vehicle you
could just sit back and work on your computer while the car worked it's way through slowing
traffic. No car pool hassles. So actually more, rather than fewer, cars would be on the road
at any given time. Likewise for Uber and Lyft. They haven't decreased the congestion problem
by keeping cars at home. Now they roam the roads waiting for fares, and as a result
we actually do have more cars on the roads at any given time.
Bet you thought you could get an e-bike and escape into the bike lane, beating those
dummies stuck in traffic to work? Well, cyclists now have their own potential bike
lane congestion aggravating vehicle - the autonomous food (and packages) delivery robot.
Maybe drones will end up being more cost effective and save us.
- THE MARKET is booming in
2019 with more and more choices of bikes.
- E-RICKSHAWS - a
fascinating look into the dynamics that are extending the reach of e-bike technology into the third world.
- EVEN HARLEY DAVIDSON IS JUMPING ON THE EBIKE BANDWAGON. Can't afford your "bike" ( Harley) just yet?
This may help for the short term.
But of course you will also need a pair of these "leathers"
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