How to Improve the Range of Your Electric Bike
The first question we’re always asked about our electric bikes are “How far do they go?” This is a difficult answer because of all the variables involved including the terrain, the weight of the rider or cargo, wind resistance, how much the rider pedals, etc. As a general rule of thumb, however, we tell people that Pedego electric bikes can travel between 40 and 100 kilometres on a single charge. In order to maximize your efficiencies and easily travel 100 kilometres there are some obvious and not-so-obvious ways to improve the range of your electric bike.
First, the obvious:
- Make sure your battery is fully charged at the outset of your ride (and make sure it’s in excellent shape by following our guidelines for prolonging the life of your battery)
- Pedal more
- Use the throttle less and/or use a lower pedal assist setting
And now, here are six less-obvious ways to improve the range of your electric bike.
#1. Avoid Stopping & Starting a Lot
As with your automobile, you’ll get better energy economy by travelling at a constant rate over time versus starting and stopping a lot in city traffic for example. That said, obviously we do not recommend you ignore traffic signals and cruise through stop signs. But if you’re on a ride and can avoid pulling over many times, then you’ll increase the distance you can travel on a single battery charge.
#2. Pedal off the Start
Aside from pedalling more, it’s also important to pedal at the right times. It takes a lot of energy to accelerate from a complete stop and so the more energy you apply through your legs, the less energy will be syphoned from the battery i.e. get the bike rolling a bit before the motor engages. Additionally, hills take a lot of energy so if you pedal a bit harder when going uphill, this will help improve the range of your electric bike.
#3. Use the Correct Gear
There’s a term in cycling called “cadence,” which refers to your pedalling rate, or, more accurately, the number of revolutions of the crank per minute. Efficient cadence falls between 80 and 100 revolutions per minute so if you’re in a really high gear and you’re having to push hard on the pedals in order to get the crank to rotate, then it’s best to change to a lower gear. Likewise, if your pedals are rotating too quickly, you’re wasting energy without getting the benefits of the down thrust on the crank – so switch to a higher gear.
#4. Keep Your Tire Pressure Up
Mechanics always recommend you maintain the pressure of your automobile’s tires to maximize fuel efficiency and the same goes for your electric bicycle. Low tire pressure means more surface area of your tire is in contact with the ground and the result is a sluggish ride. For normal electric bikes, we recommend a tire pressure of 50-60 psi and for our Ridge Rider and Trail Tracker bikes, we suggest lower pressures of around 35-45 and 20-30 psi respectively.
#5. Lube Your Chain
It’s a good idea to clean your electric bike regularly to ensure grime and dirt doesn’t wear down your componentry. It’s also important to lube your chain often using a lubricant specifically designed for bicycle chains. (Don’t use WD-40 for instance as it tends to collect grime.) By lubricating your chain, you will improve its performance and therefore improve your pedalling efficiency. How often you lube your chain depends on usage but it’s a good rule of thumb to wipe it down with a rag at least once a week, apply a small amount of lubricant, let it stand for a few minutes and then wipe off any excess with a cloth.
#6. Keep Your Bike Tuned Up
The most effective way to lessen the efficiency of your electric bicycle is by having brake pads that drag or rub on your discs or wheels. Even if it’s just a slight rub, the distance of your ride on a single charge will be compromised. Make sure your wheels are true (in alignment) and your brake pads are in good condition and not rubbing. The best way to ensure this is the case is to take your ebike into a mechanic regularly to be tuned up. They’ll have access to spoke wrenches and other tools that will help keep your electric bike running smoothly, efficiently and far.