Depending on the motor fitted to your e-bike, the maximum can be 250% to 400% of your input, while the lowest Eco mode adds 40 to 60 extra thrust. Some provide assistance for speeds up to 28 mph (=45 kilometres per hour – class 3 e-bikes). Some electric bike models include a feature to recharge the battery, usually while braking. By turning the bike off, or switching to pedal assist level 0, you can pedal and steer the bike as you would on any normal pedal-powered bike while shifting gears to suit the terrain.
A sensor detects your pedalling torque and communicates with the controller to accelerate the ebike accordingly. Most e-bike brands are strong proponents of the synergy resulting from combining human pedal power with electric power, so they’ll tell you the expected range when you do both.
Also, because the bike has some weight to it, you may feel wobbly the first few times you start or stop. Even if you’re not conditioned to go 5-10 miles at a time, you can easily cover those distances with an electric assist, which is a great way to build endurance and confidence.
Keep in mind that it will be harder to pedal than on a traditional bike because if you don’t use the electric system, you will now have the added weight of the motorized system fighting against you. However, the rules are changing a bit and there is a new category of electric cargo bikes that can use a motor that provides more power to help their riders more when moving heavy loads. It’s also important to note that regenerative braking is not as effective on electric bikes as it is on electric cars. If you’re new to the world of electric bikes, it’s important to keep in mind that, while you never forget how to ride a bike, an electric bike isn’t just any bike.
IMBA, the sport’s largest advocacy group, has changed its stance to support access for some pedal-assist electric bikes (those that max out at 20 mph) on some trails. However, due to the design of the motors that provide the regeneration, you’ll often find that the bike is harder to pedal if you ride it with the power off. E-bike systems usually have a number of different levels of assistance that you can select via a button, usually on the handlebars or top tube.