The number one question that we are asked about an ebike is: "How far will it go?".
First of all we have to define what is meant by “How far it will go.” Life of the battery or "how far", could be a question asking how many full charging cycles will the battery take, or what is the distance that the bike can travel on one full charge?
The discussion today is about the latter. Distance on a full charge.
The cheeky answer is "how long is a piece of string".
The standard eBike shop answer is "up to ____ (fill in blank here) kms".
The honest answer though is: "it depends".
Over the past couple of years the range on ebikes has increased dramatically. Particularly with products built by companies that use quality motors, like Bosch and Brose.
First of all, a little background:
The eBike industry is not regulated like the car industry. Automobiles use the same parameters for testing fuel mileage, and although some have been caught cheating, their estimates are generally within the ballpark of what you should actually get.
Not so in the bike industry. An answer to the question that begins "Up to" or or perhaps even a definitive number thrown out by a salesperson, is just a short cut answer and likely not near to what you will actually get.
Your weight, the terrain, the wind, tire pressure, your effort, mode that you are riding in, elevation gain, ground pack, temperature, which gear(s) you use, are just some of the considerations that will determine how far you can go. It's all relative!
So okay its relative, but you still want to know if the bike is going to go far enough to make the investment worthwhile.
Here is what we have found:
A 100lb person will go a lot further than a 269lb person. Mountain elevation gain takes a lot more juice than cruising inner city.
We have also found that when riding with other ebike riders your average speed is greater than if you were riding with friends who don't have ebikes. Thus more battery used when riding with other ebike riders. (this is a topic for another discussion)
You just want a straight answer right?
Okay these are based on actual results of our own testing:
An average person riding in Eco mode with non-ebike riders around the Calgary pathway system: 110km plus.
The same group in the same mode in the mountains, probably 80-90kms.
Now let's say you are up in the mountains climbing in "Sport Mode" and in that mode you are also riding at your maximum effort. (Dropping all your buddies on their regular Amish like bikes!) The harder you ride the more assist the ebike kicks in.
With more assist by the motor, there is a greater drain on the Battery.
When I say mountain climbing, I mean West Bragg or something similar, with a lot of steep ups.
Steep ups + hard effort = greater drain on battery.
Going hard as we can in West Bragg, we have been achieving 40-60kms, (again for an average sized person) on a Bulls Bosch equipped bike, and 60-80kms on a Bulls Brose equipped bike.
A 100lb person would go beat those distances, and a 269lb man sized person would achieve less.
The answer we like to give when we are asked: how far can the battery go on a Bulls Bosch or Brose equipped ebike is:
Usually farther than the rider! :)