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What is an E-Bike?

What is an e-bike anyway? I cannot tell you how many times I hear this question asked. Sometimes I get so excited to tell friends and family about my new business venture that I completely glossed over even explaining what an e-bike is. I don’t realize that I am doing this until I notice a funny look on their face followed by “What the heck is an e-bike?” Or “So are they scooters?” And my favorite “I used to have a moped. They are pretty cool, but I just never use it anymore.”

If I am honest, I didn’t completely understand how an e-bike works until my first test ride. I, too, had some preconceived notions about what an e-bike was and how one worked.

E-bikes, as they are commonly referred to, are electric bikes. Cycling on an e-bike is a lot like cycling on a regular bike. You can quickly and easily turn the motor off and ride the bike just like a regular bike if you wish. The only difference you might feel is that e-bikes are typically heavier than a regular bike, primarily because they are carrying around a large lithium battery. Of course, the main difference is that e-bikes do have a motor to help the rider along. Once you have turned the assist on and start peddling, you will feel the motor kick in. Each pedal rotation will tell the motor that you are riding and helps scoot the rider along. Our e-bikes all have a throttle as well, so if the rider didn’t want to pedal for whatever reason, they wouldn’t have to. If you are too tired to peddle or want just to sit back and enjoy the ride, by all means, go right ahead.

“Well, that’s cheating. I like to get a workout if I am out for a bike ride.” This is what I hear next, and I completely understand that mindset. Sure, it might be cheating in the sense that you are getting help while you peddle but remember, unless you’re using the throttle, you still need to pedal to make the motor work.

“So what’s the point then?” For starters, hills become a breeze. You can ride right up the steepest hills without getting out of breath or needing to hop off and push your bike up. You can also go for a much longer ride than you might typically be able to on a regular bike. Our renters usually do a 30 to 40-mile ride in 4 hours. The majority of our customers would not have been able to complete a ride that long comfortably and certainly not in that short amount of time. The smiles on our customers’ faces say it all. “That was awesome!”
Another question we get a lot is what do the different classes of e-bikes mean?

In the US, there are three types of e-bikes:

  1. Class 1 is a pedal-assist with no throttle.
  2. Class 2 has a throttle assist, and a pedal assist but with a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour. Class 2 bikes are allowed on all bike trails unless otherwise stated, including the Cannon Valley Trail.
  3. Class 3 is pedal assist only, but with a maximum speed of 28 miles per hour and generally not allowed on most bike trails.

All of our bikes are class 2 e-bikes. 

Here is some more information on what e-bikes Rolling River Bike Rental (RRBR) has to offer:

  • When this blog was written, RRBR carries two brands of bikes, TuoTeg and Pedego. Each of our bikes is a class 2 bike with a battery range of about 40-60 miles depending on the rider, the terrain, and the usage of the motor. 
  • All of our bikes have five speeds that the rider can easily adjust while riding to fit their comfort level. Some riders enjoy their ride at a low speed and only turn it up when they feel the need for extra help or give themselves a little break. Others turn their setting to a higher speed for most of their ride and enjoy the ease of how far their bike can take them in a shorter amount of time. Our customers typically have a huge smile on their faces while telling me what speed they were on or how quickly they became comfortable enough to start trying higher speeds. 
  • All of this boils down to that e-bikes are regular bikes with a bit of extra added help so that riders can enjoy a variety of trails and terrain and for longer distances. We hope that this information has helped you better understand what an e-bike is and what it is not.