For more details, read our article on electric bikes here: Electric Bicycles!
Q: These electric bikes are basically just electric-powered motorcycles, right? I mean, James Dean would have raced these babies if they'd been around in his time, correct? They kick up a cloud of dust, leave tire streaks, and easily reach top speeds that'll get my adrenaline pumping... right? Right?
A: An emphatic no. None of our electric bikes surpass 20 miles per hour when riding solely with electric assistance. If you're looking for high speeds and raw power, your best bet would be to look elsewhere. Electric bikes are meant to augment human power, not to completely replace it. Do you want some extra help climbing hills? Then get an electric bike. Do you want to commute to work without breaking a sweat? Then get an electric bike. Do you want pedaling to become largely effortless? Then get an electric bicycle. But if you're looking for something that'll feed your need for speed, just pop in any action movie that came out in the 70's or 80's and receive vicarious enjoyment from the myriad of car chase scenes. We recommend The French Connection, as it has one of the penultimate chase scenes. Plus, young Gene Hackman!
Q: Do electric bikes require a license or registration?
A: No. They are legally treated like standard bicycles, with all of the laws surrounding standard bicycles applying to them. We wouldn't recommend them for anyone under 16 years of age, however.
Q: Can electric bikes be ridden with the electric assistance off?
A: Yes! Electric bikes come in different models and styles. Some weigh more, some weigh less. The lighter models (see the Giant Lite, the Giant Suede E, and the eZee Torq) can be ridden just like a regular bike when the power is off. Not to say that the heavier models can't be ridden without power... just expect to be doing a little bit more work than you would with a standard bike.
Q: Batteries. I hear there are different types. What gives?
A: Electric bikes and electric scooters use one of three types of batteries: Lead Acid (SLA), Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH), and Lithium Ion (Li Ion.) The current generation of electric bikes use mainly NiMH and Lithium batteries, with the heavier SLA batteries having been largely phased out (the exception would be electric scooters, which still predominantly use SLA batteries.) Here's the breakdown:
Lead Acid (SLA) batteries:
They're the heaviest of the three with the shortest overall lifetime. A Lead Acid battery will last about 300 full charge cycles before it needs to be replaced. Their only advantage is the fact that they're relatively commonplace and the least expensive to replace.
Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries:
A big jump up from SLA batteries, they're much lighter and have a better overall lifetime. A NiMH battery will last about 500 full charge cycles before it needs to be replaced.
Lithium Ion (Li Ion) batteries:
The newest technology in batteries. They're pretty comparable to NiMH batteries, with the exception of these two differences: Lithium Ion batteries are a little bit lighter, and a Lithium Ion battery will last about 800 full charge cycles before it needs to be replaced. Lithium Ion batteries are the most expensive of the three.
Q: How far will an electric bike go on a single charge?
A: That depends on a lot of things, including rider weight, how much pedaling you're doing, how much of the ride occurs on an incline and the severity of the aforementioned incline, so on and so forth. On flat ground, a rider of average weight can travel about 10 to 15 miles per charge on a throttle-based bike (with little to no pedaling), and on a pedal assisted bike that same rider can travel up to 30 miles per charge.
Q: Are electric bikes affected by adverse weather?
A: They'll handle the rain just fine, but you'll experience a decrease in range when riding in severely cold weather.
Q: I don't live in the United States. Will the bike's charger work with my voltage? Will I need an adaptor?
A: Most chargers are set to handle either 120 or 240 volts, with a switch on the back to select between the two. Before you plug it in, make sure it's set to the right one! 120 is usually the default.
Q: Are electric bikes awesome?
A: Totally awesome. Some would even say righteous.
Q: Why would I want a folding bike?
A: For ease of storage, so that you can take them with you wherever you go without having to lock them up outside, so you can integrate your bike riding with other forms of transportation, and so you can impress members of the opposite sex. Dude, come on, we wrote those articles for a reason. For the full scoop, click here: Folding Bikes!
Q: How long does it take to fold a folding bike? Is it hard? Is it going to make me look like an idiot?
A: That depends on the folding bike, but generally they're simple and quick to fold. Take the Brompton, for instance. It can be completely folded in ten seconds and with such great ease that each public display of its folding will sell at least another two Bromptons. As such, we encourage you to fold them in front of friends and family, on busy street corners, at the entrances of train stations, and in town squares.
Q: Are folding bicycles safe?
A: Completely. 100%. The integrity of a folding bike is the same as that of a standard bike.
Q: Dude. Dude. Dude!
A: We know! We get to work in a shop full of these bikes, so trust us, we know. Please feel free to stop by and share high fives (both up high and down low) and tears of joy with us.
Giant. You think it'd be pretty straight forward, right? It's just the word 'giant.' But no. We get the occassional customer that tries to pin a more cultured sound on the name, pronouncing it with a hard 'G' as such: Gee-aunt. Francophiles, perhaps?
BionX. It's pronounced like "Bionics." This one is a bit more understanding. Our favorite mispronunciation is still "Boinks."
eZee, the easy bike. Pronounced as "easy." That was eZee enough, right? Oh, how we love bad puns here at NYCEWheels! (Note: Our relationship with bad puns is strictly one-way. We enjoy making bad puns, but we do not enjoy hearing them. Please don't offer any of your own, or we'll have to document them on our website to shame future customers out of undertaking the act in the future.)
Xootr. Pronounced as "Zooter." We've gotten everything from "X-Ooter," "X-Zooter," and "X-Scooter" to just blank stares and awkward silence.