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Your One-Stop Shop for All Your E-Bike Questions

Posted on Thursday, January 27th, 2022

Story by: Ken Lovering | Travel Writer

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E-bikes are the latest rage in cycling. Between February 2019 and February 2021, sales in the United States alone skyrocketed from $18 million to $39 million – this according to the Wall Street Insider. We’re not surprised. More and more VBT guests have been taking advantage of their ease and convenience.

What’s not to love? With the assistance of a battery and motor, you can ride farther while exerting less effort. And we certainly can’t argue with a bicycle that helps you take in more of the great and glorious outdoors – whether in your own backyard or in a faraway land.

Your One-Stop Shop for All Your E-Bike Questions

Given all the e-bike buzz, we thought you might have questions. So here’s your official e-bike primer, addressing many of the questions we hear from our guests. 


How does an e-bike work? An e-bike (sometimes called an electric-assist bike) is equipped with a battery that powers a small motor integrated onto a retrofitted hub on your front tire. When you engage the battery, the motor increases your tire’s rotation, requiring less effort from you, whether on uphill climbs or just at the end of a long ride.


Where is the battery? On some models, the small battery rests in a compartment on the rear rack. VBT finds it more convenient to store yours on the down tube, the diagonal tube connecting the handlebar stem and the pedal shaft, or on the seat tube, which connects the seat to the pedal shaft. That leaves your rear rack free for your saddlebag.


Is the motor on an e-bike always on, like a car? On some models, yes. But VBT’s e-bikes are assisted (not powered) by a motor. That means you can activate the motor whenever you need help topping a hill, or whenever you just want to take a break from pedaling. There’s no need to come to a stop when you’re ready to engage the motor; just push the lever or button on the control panel that’s attached to your handlebars and it will kick on. You can increase or decrease the strength of the assist according to how much help you need.


Do I have to pedal to get the assistance? Yes. An e-bike doesn’t ride for you. Rather, it measures how much effort you’re putting in, then adjusts to match it in such a way that it doesn’t take over. Besides, if you didn’t have to pedal, you’d just be riding a moped!


Aren’t e-bikes heavier than regular bikes? You feel the weight of any bike most when you’re climbing hills. Our e-bikes weigh between 44 and 46 pounds. But the electric assist makes up for this additional heft many times over, especially when you’re climbing hills. Think of it this way: E-bikes are hard to lift, but so easy to ride.


How far can I get on a fully charged battery? It depends on how often you engage the motor. Relaxed pedaling can get you up to 50 miles or more, particularly if you only use the assist to help you climb hills. If you frequently use the assist to increase your speed on level surfaces, you’ll run out of juice sooner. You should also take into account the level of assistance you want from the motor. If you use it on a low setting, you’ll use less battery than if you engage the high setting. On VBT trips, we ensure that our routes don’t exceed the average battery life.

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