E-bikes are gaining popularity as a mode of transportation, especially in urban areas. Compared to traditional bicycles, electric assist bikes have more component parts and therefore weigh more. This article further addresses factors that determine the weight of an electric bike.
How much Does An E-bike Weigh?
The weight of electric bicycles is a factor that many consumers often consider when purchasing. In general, the weight of a traditional bicycle is 15 kg, while that of an electric bicycle is 20-30 kg, or even more. It depends on the type of e-bike, you can check the average weight of different types of e-bikes here.
Factors that Affect the E-bike Weight
The Frame Material
There are different frame materials in various electric bike handles. This includes aluminum, carbon fiber, titanium, and steel frames. Aluminum and carbon fiber frames are typically lighter than a steel frames. Aluminum is a popular choice for electric bike frames because it is lightweight, strong, and durable. It is also relatively inexpensive, making it a budget-friendly option. Thus, most modern manufacturers, like the Honbike, uses aluminum frame in their productions. The carbon fiber frame type is also lightweight but more expensive than aluminum. Nevertheless, it can provide a smoother ride and optimum performance, making it the popular choice for high-end electric bikes.
If you want the least expensive frame material, consider steel. However, it is generally heavier than aluminum or carbon fiber. Titanium is also a strong, lightweight, and corrosion-resistant material often used in high-end electric bike frames. The major setback is the high price. Thus, manufacturers ensure not to use expensive materials for production and not affect the operating cost. Meanwhile, some manufacturers also use wood to produce electric bike frames. As much as it gives a unique and natural look, it is heavy and less durable than the others.
Pedal-Assist or Throttle Feature
Electric bikes can be equipped with either a pedal-assist system or a throttle. Pedal assist systems, which require the rider to pedal to activate the motor, tend to be lighter than throttle-based systems, which can be started without pedaling.
An electric bike with a throttle allows the rider to control the amount of power the electric motor provides by twisting a throttle grip on the handlebars. On the other hand, a pedal-assist electric bike provides power to the pedals only when the rider is pedaling. The energy supplied by the electric motor is proportional to the rider's pedal effort, so the harder the rider pedals, the more power is provided. This means that a throttle-controlled electric bike may be easier for riders unable or unwilling to pedal. A pedal-assist electric bike may give a more natural and efficient riding experience for riders who are able and willing to pedal.
The Battery Type
The type of battery used in the electric bike can also affect its weight. Generally, the two common batteries are lithium-ion and lead-acid types. Meanwhile, lithium-ion batteries are usually lighter than lead-acid batteries. This can significantly influence the overall weight of an electric bike. They also have a higher energy density, meaning they can store more energy in a smaller space than lead-acid batteries. This means that a Li-ion battery of a given size will typically have a more extended range than a lead-acid battery of the same size.
Electric bike batteries that use the lithium-ion type also last longer than their lead-acid counterpart. However, a particular user maintenance routine will also affect the durability or lifespan of the electric bike battery. Since lithium-ion takes faster to charge than lead-acid batteries, it is less prone to electrical damage. More so, you should know the charging duration for your ebike battery, which is usually indicated in the user manual or guideline.
The only drawback to a lithium-ion battery is the high cost. It is generally more expensive than lead-acid batteries due to the improved technology used in production. Nevertheless, it has a greater weight, flexibility, and durability advantage.
The Motor Type
Another factor that can influence the size of your electric bike is the motor type. The two major motor types are hub motor and mid-drive motors, which mainly differs by their location in the electric bike. Mid-drive motors are located in the middle of the bike, usually near the pedals. They are connected to the bike's chain, which allows them to use the bike's gears to amplify their power. This makes mid-drive motors well-suited for climbing hills and tackling challenging terrain. However, they can be more expensive and require more maintenance.
Hub motors are located in the hub of a bike's wheels (usually the rear wheel). They are simpler and easier to maintain than mid-drive motors and tend to be less expensive. However, they do not offer the same level of performance as mid-drive motors, as they do not have access to the bike's gears.
In terms of weight, the mid-drive is heavier than the hub motors. Thus, modern manufacturers instead use the hub motor type and improve its attributes to increase usage efficiency; this way, hub motors can perform effectively as med-drive motors and are considered a perfect option for average or typical commuters.
The Added Accessories
The volume and type of accessories added to your electric bike can influence its weight. These include racks, lights, baskets, fenders, and many others. These accessories can range in weight from a few ounces to several pounds, depending on the specific item. For example, a basket or rack can weigh anywhere from a few ounces to a couple of pounds, depending on the size and material. Meanwhile, these accessories are essential in an electric bike, as some serve a protective function. For instance, fenders protect riders from mud and water, and lights improve visibility and safety. You may still choose the lightweight version of these accessories, and they will perform optimally.
The Wheel Size
The wheel is an integral part of an electric bike. It contributes to the speed rate of an electric bike while in motion. Generally speaking, larger wheels may be slightly heavier than smaller wheels due to their size, but the difference in weight is usually not significant. On the other hand, the material of the wheels can have a more substantial impact on the weight of the electric bike. For example, aluminum or carbon fiber wheels may be lighter than steel.
A Light-Weight or Heavy-Weight Electric Bike?
You have to think about how your e-bike will be used to answer that question. If you need to take your e-bike to the office or to an apartment without a lift, it is usually recommended to buy a lightweight or foldable e-bike.
If you need to cycling long distances on an e-bike, weight is not as important as range and speed. Therefore, buying a long range electric bike should be your first choice.
Therefore, if you are very concerned about the weight of electric bicycles, the above factors can be used as your purchase reference. But most importantly, follow your needs. Either way, an e-bike is a tool that can add power to your ride for a simple and easy ride.