The battery attached to an electric bike enables you to ride longer distances than you may previously have dreamed possible on a traditional bicycle. For this reason, it’s common to see e-bike manufacturers provide a guide “range” that their models can achieve.
The riding range of an e-bike is a critical consideration when deciding which model you want to purchase. And the distance you’ll be able to cover on two wheels will be essential to how much enjoyment you get from your e-bike.
What Is E-Bike Range?
Put simply, e-bike range refers to the distance that the bike’s battery is capable of covering before it runs out of juice and needs to be charged again. However, the figure manufacturers provide will likely be the maximum the battery can achieve. You can maximize that e-bike range by ensuring it’s well-maintained, cycling in ideal weather conditions, and traveling light.
E-bikes use lithium-ion batteries, which are also used to power devices like phones and laptops. And, just like these devices, e-bikes need to be charged regularly to ensure they have enough juice to power your ride. But the average new e-bike battery has a range of about one mile per 20-watt-hour.
As an example, let’s consider the Aventon Level.2 Commuter. The e-bike has a removable internal lithium-ion 672-watt-hour battery, divided by the 20wh range, which delivers rides of 33.6 miles on a single charge.
However, the range that an e-bike can truly achieve will be affected by both its components and the conditions you ride in.
Mechanical Factors Affecting E-Bike Range
The distance you’ll be able to travel on your e-bike will be affected by other components on the bike. For example:
The amount of hard work you demand from the e-bike will affect its range. Using the throttle to deliver an extra kick up a hill will consume the power more quickly, while pedal assist will provide extended range. Furthermore, when traveling at high speed, the e-bike requires more power to maintain that velocity, which in turn may diminish your range capacity. In other words, by cycling slowly, you can achieve a greater riding range.
Efficient gear usage can help you use pedal assist more effectively and significantly impacts your e-bike’s potential range. Using a gear that’s too high for the conditions will force the motor to work harder and use more watt-hours. But by using more suitable gear, you can maximize the range of your e-bike.
Tire Quality and Pressure
The type of tire attached to your e-bike also has a role to play in how far it will travel. Smooth, slim tires, such as road bike tires, are more effective at converting energy into forward movement and speed, which helps you maximize range. You must also be wary of tire pressure, as underinflated tires demand more effort and potentially lower the e-bike’s potential distance.
Material Factors Affecting E-Bike Range
The range of your e-bike will also be affected by how and where you ride it. This includes factors like:
Bike and Load Weight
A simple understanding of physics tells us that the heavier an object is, the more difficult it is to move. Therefore, heavier e-bikes demand more effort from the battery and motor, which reduces the distance you’ll be able to cover. This also includes the weight of the rider and the cargo you’re carrying, so the more weight loaded onto the bike will impact the riding range.
The type of terrain you travel on also affects the distance you can travel. Climbing hills will diminish your range as moving uphill demands more energy from the motor, as do trickier terrains like dirt paths, gravel, and muddy paths. So the more power the motor needs to provide to help tackle these terrains will affect how far you can ride.
The weather you’re riding in directly impacts an e-bike’s range. A tailwind can push you along and boost the battery’s range, whereas a headwind does the opposite, making the e-bike work harder to offer assistance and lowering your riding range.
Wet, rain-covered surfaces provide less grip than a dry road, which demands more energy from the battery. Likewise, muddy roads, snow-covered surfaces, and paved roads require extra assistance from the e-bike to propel you forward.
The range your e-bike can achieve is also affected by how much you’re willing to put in. The harder you pedal, the less assistance the battery needs to provide, which extends the range you’ll be able to cover. But if you’re feeling a little lazier and ask the e-bike to put more work in, it’ll be countered by delivering a lower range.
Another critical factor is how frequently the e-bike battery has been used. Like your phone or laptop, the battery capacity of your e-bike will decrease the more it’s used. Lithium-ion batteries won’t significantly decrease, but they typically don’t reach their maximum capacity after around 1,000 charges. But this smaller capacity can result in less power, meaning shorter riding ranges, therefore, likely having to replace the battery.
How Far Can E-Bikes Go?
The riding range that an e-bike can cover largely depends on the battery quality it comes with. Most e-bikes can cover anywhere between 20 and 50 miles on a single charge, but a top-quality battery will enable rides of up to 100 miles.
For example, manufacturer Optibike claims its R22 Everest will travel up to 300 miles on a single charge when used in pedal assist mode at 15mph by a 160lb rider. That said, the E22 Everest offers a top speed of 36mph, so it can be barely considered an e-bike, would be ‘out of class’ in most states, and is illegal for public road use.
However, getting an impressive range of roadworthy e-bikes is possible. A good example is the Fiido L3 Long Range, which delivers precisely what its name promises, with a battery capacity of up to 120 miles on a single charge. However, you’d have to ride at half power on largely flat routes with minimal cargo packed onto the bike to achieve such a lofty range. But the Fiido e-bike is available for less than $1,000.
E-bikes like the Riese & Muller Load 75 can cover up to 100 miles on a single charge, and this model also offers 120 miles of range with the dual-battery version. While the Himiway Zebra can manage 80 miles on a single charge, it’s worth noting the e-bike has a top speed of 15.5mph.
Reach New Ranges With An E-Bike
An e-bike can help you travel further than ever before on two wheels. The battery and motor packed into your e-bike can help you sail over steep hills that previously seemed insurmountable. They can also help you venture out on longer rides than you may have considered, which delivers additional health and fitness benefits.
However, the range your e-bike can cover will be affected by the quality of the battery, the type of e-bike you purchase, and how and where you plan to use the bike. Learn more about how your bike usage affects the distance you can cover by reading our tips on maximizing your e-bike range.
Intrigued to discover just how far an e-bike can go? Check out our guide to the electric bikes with the longest range!