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Is 250W enough power for an electric bike?

Aside from speed, power is probably the hottest topic — and selling point — in the electric bike world.

Conventional wisdom would say that when it comes to power, more wattage is better. But if that’s the case, why do so many high-end e-bikes come with what seem like smaller motors — and is 250W enough power for an electric bike?

There’s a few factors that dictate how much wattage an e-bike needs, ranging from the type of motor being used to how the e-bike was designed. It’s also helpful to understand what manufacturers are describing when they talk about motor wattage, and how U.S. law dictates how powerful an e-bike can be. This post will dive into those details and more.

Is 250W enough?

The small but mighty front hub motor on a GoCycle G4i+, arguably one of the peppiest, torquiest and most compact 500W hub motors we’ve tested.

But here’s a short answer that I’m sure will ruffle some feathers: Yes, we’ve found that 250W is often plenty powerful for many e-bikes. There’s some caveats to that statement, but by and large a 250W motor is enough to give a rider’s pedaling a nice assist. Remember, an e-bike is still a bicycle — by definition at least a little physical effort is required.

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500W vs. 750W E-Bike: Does wattage matter on hills?

Does size matter? It’s a query as old as time that, depending on who you ask and in what situation, is going to yield a broad and potentially colorful range of answers.

In the less colorful context of electric bikes, motor size (to most people) very much does seem to matter. The general consensus is that bigger is better. More watts equals more power; equals more speed; equals an easier time climbing hills. But is bigger always better, or can a carefully tuned smaller motor compete with sheer wattage?

We set out to explore this question with a simple test: A head-to-head uphill race between a powerful 750W rear hub motor e-bike and a 500W rear hub motor e-bike that the brand claimed had been specifically tuned for hill climbing.

The result of that test was about as we expected, with the more powerful bike winning our race, but the relationship between motor size and climbing ability is far more complicated than power alone.
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Replacement Electric Bike Batteries Guide

A good e-bike battery should last for hundreds of cycles. With average use, this means several years. Eventually, electric bike batteries need to be replaced as their life cycle comes to an end.

You can tell when a battery is nearing the end of its life when it does not provide you with much range. Some high-quality batteries such as Bosch have a battery management system (BMS) integrated into the battery that actually tells you the current capacity and also how many charge cycles it has gone through.

But no matter what type of battery you have you’ll sooner or later be asking yourself the all-important question: how can I replace my e-bike battery?

Down below Electric Bike Report dives into this question and more in greater detail.

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Electric Bike Modes: Throttle vs Pedal Assist (Pedelec)

Electric Bike Modes: Throttle vs Pedal Assist

A throttle or pedal-assist electric bike: which one will you choose?

There’s a plethora of vocabulary surrounding pedal assist and throttles as it is one of the main ways of classifying e-bikes – you may hear the terms PAS, EAPC, EPV, twist and go, and more in connection with just how the power is activated on an e-bike.

However, it all boils down to the same thing; in order to get the e-bike to deliver power through the motor you either have to use some kind of handlebar device (we’ll use the catch-all term of throttle here) or you have to pedal (hence pedal assist).

Oftentimes e-bikes will have both these features and it’s up to you, the rider, as to when and how to use them. Electric Bike Report will break all of this down in a little greater detail.

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Why are electric bikes so expensive?

Electric bikes cost money; probably more money than the average person might expect. So why are electric bikes so expensive?

Bicycles have come a long way since the heyday of Schwinn and the classic six-speed. Even without a motor and battery, a traditional bicycle is a complex piece of engineering. That engineering takes time and money — likely a lot more time and money than the average person might expect, which could explain some of the sticker shock so many first-time e-bike buyers experience.

Why are e-bikes so expensive? Stromer

The Stromer ST5 is in the upper echelon of luxury e-bikes and has a price tag to match.

This post will offer some explanations for modern e-bike costs and hopefully help you better understand what you’re paying for when you do pop for a new ride. It’s not comprehensive by any means, but we’ll try to take a look at this from two angels: why they are expensive in general, and why they are even more expensive lately.

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How long do electric bike batteries last?

Like the battery in your car, an electric bike’s battery has a useful lifespan that only lasts so long before its performance begins to deteriorate.

So how long will your electric bike’s battery last? In most cases, a good rule of thumb is 2-4 years — though maintenance, storage and how often you use the battery will have a direct effect on your e-bike battery’s useful lifespan.

Though thinking of a battery’s lifespan in terms of years makes sense to most people, time is not really the most accurate metric. Instead, battery life is more accurately described in charge cycles, or the number of times an e-bike battery can be depleted and then fully recharged before it begins to lose efficiency.

How long will an electric bike battery last? Bosch

A Bosch PowerPack 500 battery on the Tern HSD S11.

Most lithium ion batteries you find on e-bikes today are good for about 500 to 1,000 charge cycles, depending on the make and model of the battery. Keep in mind that one charge cycle is from full charge to full depletion, so if you deplete your battery to 50 percent on a ride and recharge it from there, that counts for half a charge cycle — so 500 to 1,000 cycles realistically goes a long way for most riders.

But knowing your battery’s charge cycle rating will only take you so far, how you take care of your battery, store it and how often you ride it are all factors that will have an outsized impact on how long your e-bike’s battery will last.

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What makes a good cheap electric bike?

Bicycles, especially electric bikes, are often more expensive than the average person might think. But not all good e-bikes have to be expensive bikes.

So what makes a good, cheap electric bike? The short answer is the best electric bike is the one you’re most excited to ride, but there are some things to consider that will likely help your dollar stretch further. Things like component choices, battery size and even what type of e-bike you choose.

Radmission good electric bike

The Rad Power Bikes RadMission is one of our all-time favorite cheap e-bikes. It’s also a great example of a no frills e-bike that’s still an absolute joy to ride.

With a critical eye and a good grasp of what you want from your bike and what features are most important to you, it’s absolutely possible to find an e-bike that’ll prove to be your diamond in the rough. This post will walk you through how to do that and offer Electric Bike Report’s tips on what makes a good, cheap e-bike.

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