In this week’s blog post, we’re going to dive into the basic function of the electric motor system on the E-Bikes and give technical context to their contribution to making commuting with a bicycle more accessible.
The basic components
Electric bikes typically have three major components: a motor, a battery, and a system controller. Common production bike setups are hub drive systems, providing power from the hub of the rear wheel, and mid drive which are sealed units with a motor running power through a gear box to provide power assist at the pedals. Batteries come in many shapes and sizes and mounting positions, and as one would expect provide energy to the electric motor. System controllers vary by manufacturer but they all perform the same task of monitoring battery level, and regulating the amount of power the motor applies to drive system of the bike.
Watt do you mean?
One of the key distinctions of electric bicycles is they are “Pedal Assist”. This means the electric motor only applies anywhere from 200 to 1000 watts of power when the rider is pedaling and the bike is moving. Most common systems today however are between 250 and 500 watts, with Viking E-Bike’s Solexity commuter bike sporting a healthy 400 watts. These are all nice numbers but for most of us wattage of any kind only gets talked about when we’re replacing bulbs. So to provide some context let’s talk about horses or more specifically horsepower. The Solexity has a 400 watt motor; this is equivalent to 0.54 horsepower, which in a time of thousand horsepower supercars might not sound like much. However if you consider that one horsepower is enough to move 330 pounds 100 feet vertically in one minute,(Imagine carrying about 330 cans of canned vegetables up the stairs of a ten story building, in only a minute) its not hard to see even about half a horsepower is capable of providing some serious oomph to help you along while riding your bike.
Watch this space for more on E-Bikes and the Viking E-Bike Project!