The advantages of riding an electric bike:
- Get the experience of riding a bicycle without the sweat.
- Use an e-bike for local errands. Why drive a 6,000 lb S.U.V. - 2 miles to the corner store or post office; when an electric bicycle will get you there in the same amount of time - without the wear and tear on your car, and without polluting our atmosphere?
- Use an electric bike to commute to work. If your one-way commute is 10 miles or less; why not ride an e-bike instead of driving? If you take surface streets; you'll probably arrive at work in the same amount of time it would've taken you to drive, perhaps even less if you must fight morning and afternoon traffic, since a bicycle is much more maneuverable.
- Get a little exercise. Even though your bike is electric; you can still pedal along with it as much as you care to.
Laws governing electric bicycles:
There are new federal guidelines concerning electric bicycles, and each state/municipality will have codes of their own. Suffice it to say: electric bicycles powered under 750 watts - that do not exceed 20 mph - are generally still classified as a "bicycle", and will not have restricted use. Click here for Federal and state of California codes.
A brief overview of electric bikes and conversion kits currently on the market:
There are basically three types of electric bicycle motor systems currently available: Friction Drive Systems, Chain/Gear Driven Systems, and Hub Motor Systems.
A Friction Drive System usually consists of a motor with a splined shaft that rides upon the tire of your bicycle wheel causing it to spin and propel the bike. ZAP kits and bikes fall under this catagory. While this system is inexpensive, it is not very power efficient since you are loosing a good portion of your energy through friction on the bicycle tire. It is not capable of reaching high cruising speeds, and tends to wear out tires quickly...
A Chain/Gear Driven System consists of a motor connected to planetary gears and a belt or chain that drives the rear wheel gear set. CURRIE systems fall under this catagory. This type of system has very good low-end accelleration (torque), and will reach good cruising speeds. But it shares the same relative drawback as the friction drive systems: you loose a good portion of your energy through the use of gears and belts. These systems also tend to create noise: a high pitched whining sound created by the planetary gear set and chain combination. Also, this kit must be installed on the rear wheel of your bike, connecting its adapter to each and every one of the 36 spokes - a very time consuming and sometimes difficult task...
Hub Motor Systems consist of a motor built into the actual bicycle wheel: the motor spins around the center bearing of the wheel itself. This is by far the most efficient system available, since there no gears or shafts to waste energy or wear out. Hub motors are also sealed, so they can handle the elements of rain, mud or sand, much better than friction drive or gear driven systems...
Should I buy a complete electric bicycle, or get an electric conversion kit for a bike I already own?
That depends on if you like the style of e-bikes available now, or you'd rather customize your own bicycle. It also depends on if you feel mechanically inclined enough to install a kit yourself. But even most complete e-bikes will require you to do some assembly, so if you already have a bicycle, you should consider saving the money and getting a conversion kit. The various kits available today will range from extremely difficult, to extremely easy to install. A rear wheel-mount kit such as Currie's U.S. Pro Drive will be much more difficult and time consuming to install than the Bike Electrified kit - which comes already installed in a front wheel.
Compare the features and prices of e-bikes currently for sale in the U.S:
|Bike or Kit ||Voltage/|
Nominal Power (watts)
|Activation ||Top speed mph ||Range(miles) ||Battery type ||Weight Bike|
|Total Price |
|Better Bikes ||36V, 400W ||throttle ||20 ||17-20 ||SLA ||$2995 |
|Tidal Force Kit ||36V, 750W ||throttle ||20 ||20 ||NiMh ||$1950 |
|Panasonic Bike ||24V, 350W ||pedal ||15? ||12? ||NiCd ||46.5 lbs ||$1495 |
|Prima Bike ||36V, 250W ||pedal ||14 ||18 ||NiMh ||$1495 |
|BionX Kit ||24V, 250W ||pedal+throttle ||? ||18 ||NiMh ||$1300 |
|Giant Lafree Bike ||24V, 400W ||pedal+throttle ||15 ||15 ||SLA ||48 lbs ||$1000 |
|Sharper Image Bike ||24V, 250W ||pedal+throttle ||15 ||12 ||NiMH ||$995 |
|LashOut e-bike ||36V, 750W ||throttle ||23 ||15 ||SLA ||$800 |
|Charger Bicycles ||36V, 450W ||throttle ||20 ||40? ||SLA ||$700 |
|EV Global Bike ||24V, 350W ||pedal+throttle ||15 ||12 ||SLA, Li-Ion ||$699 |
|Go-Hub - Kit ||36V, 400W ||throttle ||20 ||18-20 ||SLA ||50 lbs ||$569 |
|Currie e-bike/Kit ||24V, 450W ||throttle ||18 ||15 ||SLA ||$450 |
|Bike Electrified Kit ||36V, 600W & 400W ||throttle ||25 & 20 ||20 & 30 ||SLA , Nicd, NiMh ||40 lbs ||$449 |
Compare the types of batteries used with electric bikes, advantages/disadvantages of each.
|SLA (sealed lead acid) ||NiCd ||NiMh ||Lithium Ion |
|Weight ||Heavy ||25% lighter than SLA ||40% lighter than SLA ||70% lighter than SLA |
|Charge Cycles ||150 - 300 ||500+ ||500+ ||800+ |
|Amperage Output ||High - 40+ amps ||High - 30+ amps ||Limited - 15 amps ||Low - 10 amps |
|Charging Issues ||Sensitive - must be charged immediately after use ||Tough - new Nicds don't have memory problems ||Very Tough - can be left in discharged state for long periods of time ||Very Tough - can be left in discharged state for long periods of time |
|Price ||Cheap ||Relatively cheap ||Expensive ||Very Expensive |
Where to buy an e-bike or an electric bicycle conversion kit:
Of course we would like you to buy a Bike Electrified Kit; the best kit available today that just happens to also be least expensive! You can buy your kit from our Authorized Online Retailer, or if you'd feel more comfortable trying out one of our products first, go to Wilderness Energy's retail locations page to find a dealer in your area. For more in-depth information about Wildernessess Energy's Bike Electrified Kits; read our FAQ page.
Diagnose and fix your e-bike:
For Wilderness Energy BIKE ELECTRIFED products, visit our troubleshooting page.