Ebikes and the 25km per hour cutoffApril 9, 2021
Have you been thinking about an eBike ? Spent days browsing the internet for the best bike? Well let me give you a tip.
Stop looking at the internet and head to your Local Bike Shop and try an ebike. Then go to a different store and try some more. Make sure you actually go out on a path and give it a decent ride. Does the store have a rent for a day plan. Take advantage of it.
The thing you will not notice much when you look online is the 25km per hour cut-off speed. (16 mph) The thing about this limit is that different bikes feel different at this speed and above it. Mostly that feeling ranges from very heavy to just heavy in the legs though the very latest engines have mostly addressed this issue.
“The 25km speed limit is a very important to understand if you want a happy bike.”
I encountered this when reviewing the difference between a Bosch Gen 3 engine and a Bosch Gen 4 engine on almost the same bike, the Cube Reaction Hybrid 500. On the older bike (Gen 3), going over the 25km per hour was quite annoying/hard work so I just kept the engine running at 24. This consumes a lot more battery. On the Gen 4 Bosch engine, I drift higher than 25 to 27km a lot and this saves a lot of battery as it only engages a bit. It is comfortable doing this.
So comparing my two Bosch eBikes, the Gen 4 Pictured above is lighter and it performs better under normal eBike engine riding but not so much as to warrant an upgrade. The Gen 3 (seen below) is almost the same in terms of speed but it just feels heavier at the cut-off speed. That is why I upgraded.
See a video of a rider on an Ebike verses a pro cyclist up a steep hill
Is it faster to ride an ebike on hills than the flat ?
That brings me to the challenge, is it faster to ride an ebike over hills or on the flat ?
To solve this I went to the famous Centennial Park where I know I can keep the bike near the 25km per hour limit for a decent amount of time. I first rode the loop and included a climb to the Paddington Gates and then east to a great run down the hill. I did this 3 times and timed the ride on Strava. Then I set a timer and rode around the loop which is reasonably flat for the same 38 minutes. Guess what: I rode 750m further on the hill route than the flat route. So if you want to keep up with your normal fast riding buddies, make sure you find a hilly course.
Note: I used the Bosch Gen 4 Cube Reaction ebike from 99 Bikes for this experiment. I use my own Schwabe Marathon 2.3 inch tyres pumped to 50 psi and I turn off the front shock. I simply ride to just above the 25km cut-off and mostly freerun on the steeper downhills. The ebike does not feel heavy on downhills at all.