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The bicycle is the oldest, most ecological means of transportation with which you can move around the city.
Karl von Drais invented it in 1817, the first name chosen was “running machine” (Laufmachine).
The first bicycle was built entirely of wood, with two wheels and no pedals, to move you had to push it with your legs, there was no handlebar but a simple lever.
After a few years, the first evolution took place, transforming it into a velocipede, a bike with a very high solid rubber front wheel, about 1.5m from the ground, the saddle above the front wheel, and with pedals, but no shock absorber was present.
In 1885 the first model similar to a modern bicycle was made in England, designed by Sutton and Starley, implementing the chain transmission and reducing the size of the wheels.
The electric bicycle or e-bike is a bike with an electric engine that assists the cyclist while pedaling. E-bikes were invented more than one hundred and twenty years ago; in 1895 the American Odgen Bolton Jr. registered the first patent. His invention involved an engine mounted on the rear wheel. Subsequently, several Americans sought ways to refine what Odgen Bolton Jr had come up with.
The first was Hosea J. Libbey of Boston, who invented a bike with twin engines for uphill assistance; this also included the first example of a controller on an electric bike. Later, John Schnepf of New York invented a roller clutch system to drive the rear wheel. In 1946 the Californian Jesse D. Tucker patented a motor with internal gear, the freewheel, and therefore, the possibility of using the pedals with or without the electric motor. In 1992, a company called Vector Services invented an e-bike that he marketed as ‘The Zike’: with a nickel-cadmium battery, integrated into the frame, and a magnetic motor.
The torque sensor and power control were developed in the mid-1990s. Since 2001, the term ‘e-bike’ has been used commonly (as well as the term ‘pedelec’ and ‘power-assisted bicycle’).
The mid-drive motor is an electric motor that is installed in the frame, at the level of the pedals. It connects directly to the main transmission system which generally consists of a chain, chainring(s), and cassette. In rare cases, it is possible to find mid-drive motors in e-bikes with belts rather than chain transmissions.
Mid-drive motors are more expensive than hub motors. A mid-drive motor has the advantage of offering a more direct response. It is assistance for those who prefer more assistance, as well as for riders who use hybrid e-bikes for multiple purposes: daily commuting, recreational driving, or weekend excursions. Mid motors deliver more power than hub motors. They are particularly suitable for mountain bikes that need higher levels of assistance to tackle extremely difficult terrain.
A disadvantage of the mid-drive motor is the increased wear of the transmission caused by the high motor power and force applied to the pedals. As a result, some components may need to be replaced in the medium to long term more frequently. In addition, mid-drive motors are more powerful, but they need heavier batteries to provide good autonomy.
The hub motor is housed in the rear or front wheel hub. It is the type of electric motor most used in e-bikes. It is generally smaller and lighter than the mid-motor, but also less powerful. However, this has the advantage of installing smaller batteries that can be integrated into the frame, which requires good autonomy and a lighter e-bike. One of the advantages of hub motors is that little or no maintenance is required.
The rear hub motor is installed in the rear wheel; is an independent drive system whose components are contained in the motor case. It exerts power on the wheel and not on the drivetrain components, which consequently last longer.
The front hub motor is installed in the front wheel, facilitating the distribution of the total effort between the front wheel and the rear wheel. The front wheel takes on the front weight, and human weight regulates the rear. The front hub motor is an isolated system from the rest of the bicycle parts. This facilitates bicycle maintenance without interfering with the motor. However, the front hub motors are not very efficient in case of slippery asphalt, on dirt roads, or uphill, because the front wheel, having less load than the rear one, risks skidding.
The transmission is the set of components that consent to set the bicycle in motion. There are two types of transmission on the market: chain and belt.
The chain drive is the traditional transmission for bicycles and consists of:
Crankset: consisting of cranks and front chainrings; it can be a single crown, two double crowns, or even a triple crown, depending on the number of anterior crowns.
Cassettes: a set of rear sprockets that allow you to differ the ratio. It can consist of 6 to 12 gears. The amount of sprockets on the cassette refers to the speed of the gearbox.
Chain: the set of links and pins that connect the front crankset to the sprocket set, and sets in motion the rotation of the rear wheel.
Rear derailleur: which has the function of moving the chain from one sprocket to another. It consists of a parallelogram structure that is operated by acting on the gearshift controls, putting tension on the cable thanks to a register spring that is activated based on the deformation of the parallelogram. The chain is kept in tension by the cage, where two return pulleys are housed.
Front derailleur: present in case of the crankset with the double or triple chainrings. By operating the rear derailleur, the front derailleur moves to one or the other chainrings, consequently moving the chain as well.
Shifters: which are used to move the derailleurs. there are two types of controls: those with a grip and those with a double lever.
The belt transmission or bel drive is equipped with a carbon-toothed belt, which replaces the traditional chain, installed on special gears. This is a quieter and more durable drive system than the chain: on average, a belt can last up to 4 times longer. The strap is reinforced with carbon fibers, making it lighter than the chain. The belt transmission requires little or no maintenance: unlike the chain, it does not need to be lubricated; you just have to be careful to remove the dirt with a cloth, using simple water.
There are two types of belts: closed or open. A closed belt needs a specific frame, equipped with an opening that allows you to insert the belt, but which makes the frame weaker. An open belt, such as the VEER Split-Belt mounted on NOKO e-bikes, allows for a closed frame that is therefore more resistant. In this case, the belt is positioned on the special gears, and only subsequently, is it closed with special ultra-strong rivets.
There have been different types of batteries used for electric bicycles, many years ago lead or nickel ones were often used, but given the weight and low autonomy, they were subsequently replaced with the current best choice on the market, lithium batteries.
Lithium e-bike batteries are currently among the most widespread, so much so that they are mounted on 90% of electric bicycles. But what is the reason? They produce more power, energy, and autonomy than other types of batteries, but more important is that they are very lightweight. They are absolutely resistant to shocks and have a prolonged duration over time.
We can divide lithium batteries into three main categories, lithium manganese batteries which are the most recent and have an even longer duration in terms of autonomy.
Lithium-cobalt batteries, with a higher energy density than the others, are able to offer maximum power and are among the lightest and most reliable.
Lithium polymer batteries, do not differ from the other batteries in terms of weight and autonomy, but thanks to the different polymer printing techniques these batteries can take very different shapes, and also do not contain any type of liquid.
There are also specific batteries for electric bicycles: the first are packet batteries that are usually placed under the top tube, above or behind the saddle. Very easy to disassemble, they can be quickly removed and can be installed in other locations on the frame without problems.
The second format on the market is bottle batteries for electric bicycles, they have a very elongated shape and are placed inside the aluminum bottle cage. They are usually auxiliary, additional, range extender batteries to be used as an additional battery to duplicate the capacity and range of the e-bike.
The third format is the rear rack batteries, which are mounted above the rear fender, they are usually larger and more powerful than the standard batteries used, it is also possible to remove them a charge them aside.
Before getting on the saddle and starting to pedal, you must always check that the battery is charged. Depending on the model, the batteries can be removed from the bike and recharged easily at home. Most e-bikes need to be activated via a switch or button. At this point, a charge indicator should light up and indicate the level and state of charge of the battery.
Very important is the wattage of the batteries, that is the energy capacity that is supplied in Watt hours (Wh). The higher the value, the more kilometers you can travel on a single charge. However, a higher capacity value almost always corresponds to higher battery weight.
But how long do these batteries last? Unfortunately, the life cycle of the batteries also ends, on average an approximate number of 500 or 1000 complete charge cycles is reported, calculated assuming that the battery is always recharged when totally discharged.
On average, therefore, depending on the manufacturer, capacity, and use made, a battery can last from 2 to 5 years, after which it must be disposed of correctly and replaced with a new one.
Some fundamental precautions for battery protection can be:
Always keep the e-bike in dry places, at a constant temperature between 0 and 20 degrees.
Never leave your bike parked outside when the temperature drops below freezing.
Always use the manufacturer’s original charger, if possible recharge the battery when totally discharged to carry out a complete recharge cycle.
Charge the battery at least once every 6 months, do not immerse the bicycle in water or clean the bicycle with strong jets of water.
There are some special features that allow you to increase the autonomy of the battery by covering a greater number of kilometers on a single charge!
Use the maximum level of assistance from the engine only uphill or when strictly necessary, start with a minimum level of assistance, or even muscularly if the road allows it.
Check tire pressure regularly to avoid excessive friction.
Avoid excessive loads and weights, each additional kg involves a greater expenditure of energy, making greater use of the assistance provided by the electric bicycle motor.
Where possible, especially downhill, pedal faster than 25 km/h without the help of pedal assistance, thus reducing consumption and increasing the range that can be covered.
We have two different types of e-bikes, bicycles with electric motors that develop totally different sustainable mobility experiences.
Pedelec models are pedal-assisted e-bikes, so you need to pedal to take advantage of the support of the electric motor, both mid-drive and at the rear hub, with a maximum power of 250 Watts.
The sensors placed on the pedals, on the bottom bracket, or inside the motor limit the speed up to a maximum of 25 km / h and require continuous pedaling to maintain that speed or even exceed it.
Due to the limited power of the motor and the weight of the frame, which can be made of carbon, aluminum, titanium or iron, they are subject to fewer traffic restrictions.
They are perfectly regulated by European laws and can travel on any urban route without restrictions.
The S-Pedelec, better known as Speed
In this specific e-bike type, it is not necessary to pedal as the motor can push even without the use of the pedals, like a normal moped.
Therefore, those who ride an S-Pedalec bicycle are forced to comply with the provisions issued by the highway code, as it can only be driven by those who have reached 16 years of age, those who have a license, and those who wear the mandatory helmet.
In addition, just like a moped or scooter, registration, license plate, and vehicle insurance are required.
Pedaling an electric bicycle is also a choice related to sustainable mobility; for normal city use, a pedelec e-bike is recommended for amateur cyclists, therefore with standard pedal assistance.
For a sportier use, on the other hand, off-piste and for professionals who want unique and demanding excursions, it may be worth pedaling an S-Pedelec bicycle.
When you buy an S-Pedelec, ask the dealer to issue the certificate of conformity, which makes it legal to approve the vehicle to reach 45 kilometers per hour.
Pedal-assisted bicycles are suitable for everyone! People of any age can enjoy and benefit from riding an e-bike. In fact, thanks to the assistance provided by the engine, even those who are out of practice or not in perfect shape can travel kilometers on a bicycle. Without getting tired and without sweating! Thanks to the assistance provided by the engine of an e-bike you will finally be able to travel that route that used to scare you, or those climbs that are a little too steep and demanding.
Getting around town on an e-bike is a good way to keep fit and add exercise to your daily routine, without even realizing it. Pedal-assisted bicycles are equipped with a motor that operates only while pedaling. This will allow you to control and balance your pedaling depending on whether it is a leisure or exercise outing! You decide the intensity of the effort: you can increase or reduce the degree of assistance according to your needs, the type of path chosen and the goal you intend to achieve. The most powerful, usually referred to as boost mode, allows your e-bike to go full power with minimal effort; the ECO level, on the other hand, relies more on your pedaling power than on motor assistance.
An e-bike takes you from one point to another without the stress of urban traffic and parking! The fun aspect of e-bikes is that there is no limit of use. In fact, nowadays the market has grown exponentially, offering many models to choose from. Consequently, you can find an e-bike for every occasion: whether it is for commuting from home to work, for a healthy ride in the open air or to venture out on paths surrounded by nature.
In addition, getting around by e-bike is eco-friendly: by replacing the car with an e-bike you will eliminate CO2 emissions. You no longer have to worry about additional expenses like petrol and diesel, or finding and paying for parking, effectively saving time and money. Simply recharge your e-bike from home at a decidedly ephemeral cost. In fact, e-bike batteries generally have an autonomy ranging from 28 km to 100 km on a single charge, depending on the level of assistance used.
Cycling every day is an excellent “gym” for the mind. Riding a bicycle is a method that helps you to focus on yourself and to better manage situations of high stress. Over time you will realize that you have become a more resilient and positive person.
When buying a bicycle, choosing the correct frame size is a fundamental aspect to take into consideration for a comfortable, fun, and healthy ride. An incorrect choice of frame size can lead to obvious discomfort while cycling, and therefore problems in terms of “performance”, including physical problems such as back pain, tingling, and muscle aches.
If you buy a bicycle online, it is advisable to consult the size guide on the site or request customer service support. Generally, sizes are indicated as…