How far can you go on a charge?
Most eBikes have a minimum range of 20 miles and that depends on the riding conditions (hills, headwinds, etc.), how much pedal power you are providing, and how much weight you are moving (yourself + cargo). You can get eBikes with more range (up to 100 miles) but they are generally more expensive and weigh more because of the larger battery pack. If you are looking for long range, look for larger capacity batteries such as the 600 or 500 Wh battery rather than a 400 Wh battery.
How fast can an eBike go?
What you will find after riding an eBike is that they are geared toward acceleration and distance rather than top speed.
The majority of eBikes in the U.S. will provide you with assistance up to 20 mph. There are some, called speed pedelecs, that will assist you up to 28 mph, but you always need to be providing your own pedal power to get to that top speed. Throttle type eBikes are limited to the 20 mph top speed limit.
The intent of an eBike is to be very similar to a conventional bicycle and that includes the speed that it can travel. If eBikes provided higher power assisted speeds then they would be regulated like a scooter/motorcycle which requires registration, licensure, insurance, etc. In addition, this would limit where eBikes can be legally ridden.
Bicycles and electric bicycles are great vehicles because they do not require registration, licensure, insurance, and there are so many places they can be ridden.
Are they legal to ride on Anchorage trails?
Yes, despite a misleading Anchorage Dispatch News Article, electric bikes are 100% legal for use on all Municipality of Anchorage Bicycle infrastructure. This includes single track and soft surface trails that are designated open to bicycles.
“Bicycle means a low-speed electric bicycle and any device propelled solely by human power upon which any person may ride, having at least two tandem wheels either of which is more than 14 inches in diameter. (CAC 9.04.070; AO No. 78-72; AO No. 2011-113(S), § 1, 11-22-11, eff. 12-22-11)”
Will the Battery Charge While Pedaling?
Very few eBikes have this feature because it requires a substantial amount of your pedal power, so be ready for one heck of a workout! Some of these same eBikes have regenerative braking that will slightly charge the battery as you are braking, similar to the way electric cars do. Overall the weight or mass of an eBike will not provide a significant amount of regenerative power unless you find yourself biking down an endless hill.
Doesn't this defeat the purpose of getting exercise on a bike?
You are in full control of the power delivery and can choose to ride as a regular bike for exercise or use the full assistance to get from point A to B in the quickest manner. The ability to transfer seamlessly from a great workout machine to an absolute rocketship is what makes eBiking so much fun!
Studies have shown that electric bikes can provide meaningful improvements in cardiovascular health. These bikes allow you to blend a workout into your day without having to make difficult adjustments to your daily routine.