eBike Performance: How Watts, Volts & AMP Hours Affect your Ride

eBike Performance: How Watts, Volts & AMP Hours Affect your Ride

Whether you’re cruising down the street or coasting along the boardwalk our eBikes can provide you with a comfortable, efficient, and eco-friendly way to get from one spot to the next.  These popular rides are available in many styles and colors and also come with a variety of different motors that can and will affect your eBike’s performance.

Although all eBike motors have the same basic specifications and technology, they are categorized into different classes and types.  Looking for a speedy ride? One with endurance? High-level performance capabilities? These are all things to consider when building your eBike and picking a motor, and it only takes a little bit of simple math!

In this blog post, we are going to talk about the three measurements that are essential to determine the potential performance of your eBike: Watts, Volts, and Amp Hours.

WHAT ARE WATTS?

First off, you need to determine the watt rating you want for your bike. Watts are a way that a bike’s power level is measured, and can greatly make a difference in the performance of your bike, especially if you ride in a hilly area.

This is also the most important way to measure a bike’s performance. There are two-watt ratings to consider when buying an eBike: continue watt rating (describes how much energy consumed continuously) and peak watt rating (the maximum energy, say when you are biking up a steep hill).

If the watts aren’t listed on the description of your potential new bike, you can find this measurement with a simple mathematical equation: Amps(A) x Volts(V) = Watts(W).  

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VOLTS

Volts are the second measurement to consider when designing the mechanics of your eBike.  The first thing to remember is that volts mean horsepower! The more volts you have, the more power you have.

Essentially, volts are a way to determine how much pressure can be contained in a single battery.  This pressure or tension can help measure how powerful your battery is, and is usually measured in sequences of 12, 24, 36, and 48.  Volts can also measure the responsiveness of your eBike, as it is measuring how fast any amount of electricity is being pushed through from battery to motor.

The most popular voltage for a cruiser eBike would be 24 volts -- perfect for cruising around the neighborhood or beach.  If you are looking for a higher performance sport bike (let’s think Lamborghini versus Chevy) consider an eBike with 48 volts or more.

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AMP HOURS

Amp hours describes the amount of power your eBike’s battery can hold and can vary in size depending on its capacity.  Think of the number of amp hours representing the amount a bike’s “gas tank” can hold. The more amp hours you have, the more range you will also have in your bike -- this means the more range you have, they get better mileage you will get! However, there are also a lot of factors that affect range.

  • Climbing hills? Range goes down
  • Riding against a lot of headwinds? Range goes down
  • Heavy cargo? Range goes down

So let’s talk more about range… basically, all range explains is how far your eBike can go, and on how much charge it can operate. However, there are still a number of factors that can affect your eBike’s range including:

    • How much the rider weights
    • Hills and terrain
    • Cargo
    • Pedaling speed
    • Starts & stops
    • Overall speed

Similar to purchasing a car, it’s important to factor in what type of commuting/riding you will be doing, and understanding what can affect your engine (or battery and motor in this case). Also, it’s important to understand how these numbers could potentially impact your eBike’s performance.

COMPARING VOLTS/AMP HOURS

Both amp hours and voltage can determine the total energy your eBike will provide.  Higher voltage means an eBike will perform better (higher speeds, more endurance) but also means your eBike will use more energy in the process.  A higher amp hour rating means your battery can hold more energy, and will also determine the power rating of the battery pack.

To break this down, let’s think about your eBike as a car -- the higher the numbers, the more powerful it’ll be. So, if your ideal eBike is one that can accelerate quickly, climb steep hills, and can travel long distances then you need one with both a high voltage as well as one with high amp hours.

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MID-DRIVE MOTORS VERSUS HUB-MOTORS?

There is also a debate as to which motor is better — mid-drive or hub? Well, both are effective for commuting, cruising, or really any mode of transportation.  Hub-motors are placed at the most center post of the eBike and are most common, and operate and a lower speed yet higher torque gear (preferable for hill climbing).

Mid-drive motors allow the rider to operate at a lower gear up hills and can climb steep terrain during longer periods of time.  Mid-drive motors are also smaller in size and can be directly incorporated into an eBike’s frame.

Hub motors, however, have been on the market longer, and thus have a somewhat “bulletproof” reputation, and considered to be low-maintenance and more reliable.

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FINALLY

Now that you have an idea of what watts, volts, and amp hours you may need -- it’s time to take a ride! An easy way to figure out what type of eBike you need is to take one out on a test drive if possible. While it’s important to get an idea of the amount of commuting or riding you will be doing on a weekly basis, another thing to consider is what type of (if any) cargo you will be carrying.  A simple backpack for school or work shouldn’t make much of a difference, but a load of groceries might — consider bumping up the power just to be on the safe side.

Check out our Fat Tire eBike as well as the Cruiser eBike and find your perfect ride!