How To Extend Your Electric Bike's Range
Range anxiety is a real thing for electric bike riders. They are constantly working out how far they can ride before they need to recharge their battery. Nobody wants to pedal a heavy and dead electric bike back home if they can help it.
This becomes more of an issue as your e-bike battery ages, as its range will gradually reduce. But there are several things you can do to ride further between charges.
In this article, we'll give you lots of tips on how to extend your electric bike's range.
1. Consider The Tires Fitted To Your E-bike
Your tire choice significantly affects how far you can ride before you need to top up your battery. Therefore, you need to ensure your tires are suitable for the type of riding you do.
Wide tires with softer compounds give you lots of traction on all surfaces. This is why you'll find them on electric mountain bikes. However, these tires have high rolling resistance, so they are less efficient when it comes to pedaling, using more battery power.
Narrow tires with harder compounds roll much easier, so you use less energy, extending your electric bike's range.
So if you spend most of your time riding your e-bike on paved roads, wide tires are not the best choice if the ebike's range is a concern. Instead, go for narrow tires, specifically made for road riding. But, if you ride on mountain bike trails, it's best to choose wider tires for grip and safety.
2. Be Mindful Of Your Cadence
An ebike's electrical system monitors how fast you pedal to determine how much power to deliver to the motor. The systems work best when you select a lower gear and pedal at a higher cadence than you would with a regular bike.
This is because if you select a high gear, the motor has to work much harder to help you maintain your speed. When your electric bike motor has to work harder, it will drain its battery quickly, reducing how far you can ride with motor assistance.
Some electric bikes display your cadence on the LCD, so you can monitor how fast you're pedaling. For general riding, your cadence should be at around 70 rpm, as this is considered the optimum cadence to balance your effort with motor assistance.
3. Learn How To Use The Power Assistance Levels
When riding an electric bike, you need to manage your battery power to get the most range possible. It may be fun and easy to ride at the highest assistance level, but it will soon run your battery down, making your ride home much harder than anticipated.
To ride as far as possible, select the lowest assistance level. This is often called 'Eco mode" and will help you retain as much battery power as possible.
When you ride in Eco mode, it only feels like it assists your pedaling very slightly. So start off riding with the power turned off completely, then engage Eco mode. Doing this will remind you how much assistance the motor gives you, even at the lowest level.
4. Shed Some Weight
Weight dramatically contributes to how far you can ride your ebike before charging the battery. When you carry a heavy backpack or load up the cargo racks, the extra weight means that your ebike motor must work harder. The additional demand from the motor requires more energy from the battery, depleting it quicker.
With this in mind, you need to think about what you're carrying and if it's completely necessary. Of course, you can't leave everything at home, but look in your backpack and take out the things you don't need to shed some weight.
Some e-bike riders like to carry an extra battery to extend their range. But this may be the thing that reduces the range of the battery they're using.
5. Always Ride With The Correct Tire Pressures
When you ride with low tire pressures, your tires have a much greater rolling resistance that you and your motor have to overcome. Therefore, your motor will suck more energy from the battery if you ride with tires that are too soft.
Use a tire pressure gauge to ensure your tires are at the optimum pressure. Doing so will have a surprising effect on extending your electric bike's range.
6. Learn To Ride More Smoothly
Riding smoothly will extend your electric bike's range significantly. If you're new to riding electric bikes, you won't be riding smoothly just yet, as it is something that you pick up over time.
When you accelerate and brake hard, you're not riding as efficiently as you can, as you're constantly playing catch-up with yourself. So here are some tips for riding smoothly:
Read The Road Or Trail Ahead
Keep your eyes well ahead to spot anything that will cause you to slow down or stop. For example, if you spot traffic lights ahead or someone crossing the road in front of you, slow down well in advance. This will mean you may not have to stop when you reach them, allowing you to ride more smoothly.
When you're constantly stopping, you have to set off again and accelerate many times. This uses up valuable battery power, shortening your electric bike's range.
Don't Accelerate Too Hard If You Can Help It
We all know that riding at the highest assistance level is fun, especially thanks to the sensation of acceleration. But doing so runs your battery down quickly, and if you do it too often, you may not have enough battery power to get home.
So, when your electric bike's range is of concern, use a lower assistance level and accelerate smoothly to ride further.
Instead of pedaling hard to go as fast as possible downhill, stop pedaling and just coast. This way, you won't use any battery power, as you're letting gravity do all the work for you.
7. Be Aerodynamic
If you wear baggy clothes, you will have greater wind resistance, causing drag. Drag is another thing you and your electric bike motor must overcome. So if you can make yourself as slippery through the air as possible with tight-fitting clothes, the further you will be able to ride between charges.
Another simple way you can improve your aerodynamics is to duck down into a lower riding position. This will allow you to cut through the air much easier, extending your range.
If you're riding in a group, you can take turns to "draft" each other. By tucking in behind your friend, you can use their slipstream to reduce how hard the motor and your legs are working. By changing the lead rider at different intervals, you can collectively work as a team to extend your range.
8. Choose A Larger Battery
Most electric bike manufacturers offer options for their bike's batteries. Larger capacity batteries give you a much longer range than the smaller ones. So, selecting the larger battery is best if you're concerned about how far you can ride your electric bike.
9. Choose A Flatter Route
You can't always choose different routes to your destination, but it's worth doing some homework to find out if there's a flatter route. Riding a route with lots of hills can deplete your battery quicker than a flatter one, even if the flat route is slightly longer.
10. Store Your Battery Properly
If you store your battery at a temperature that's too hot or cold, you'll notice a significant reduction in your electric bike's range. It's best to keep your battery at room temperature until it's time to ride, as it will perform at its best.
So, don't leave your battery in direct sunlight or in a cold shed overnight, as it dramatically affects how it will perform and its lifespan.
11. Carry A Spare Charged Battery
Earlier, we discussed unnecessarily carrying an extra battery can reduce your electric bike's range. However, sometimes one battery won't cut it, especially if there are no options for charging it.
Therefore, you can carry a secondary battery in your backpack and swap it when it's dead. If you want to carry an extra battery, you may not need to take a high-capacity one. Instead, opt for a smaller, lighter battery with enough capacity to extend your range without being too heavy.
Final Thoughts On How To Extend Your Electric Bike's Range
As you can see, there are many things that will allow you to ride further on a single charge. However, doing just one of these things won't make much difference, so you may have to incorporate several to significantly extend your electric bike's range.
The most important way to get more battery life is to make your riding smoother. It takes a little more thought and getting used to. Still, you'll discover ways to ride less erratically and more efficiently after a few rides.
Don't forget that you can still ride an electric bike without power. It will feel heavy and require more effort, but you should still be able to pedal home if your battery dies before you get there.