- Mar 21, 2022
Ride smart. Don't throttle downhill. Don't ride up inclines without peddling. Don't, don't, don't try proving to someone how fast you are when it's range you are more concerned with. Don't chase someone just to catch up... regardless of how cute she is. For those that can use the Giant Green Button do so, it lets you peddle as hard as you want without engaging the motor (remember Newton's 1st law) much like ebike brake lever cut-outs do for those with standard gearing. Whenever possible let gravity do the work for you. You climbed up the hill, spent the energy to get there, enjoy the cruise back down. Range... not speed.
Any other suggestions?
- Shifting - Fully agree that shifting throught the gears helps maximize range. The problem is most mid-drives (especially high-performance) don't work and play well with gear clusters. Cut to the chase and get a Rohloff Speedhub.
- Settings - Only use the power necessary to be comfortable when riding. Don't splurge when you are focusing on maximum range.
- Cadence - Same rules apply as when riding a standard bike. Newton's 1st law.
- Proper bike setup - Suspension: I find there is little to no difference in range riding with the suspension locked or unlocked. On a standard bike the energy loss is from the riders weight compressing the shock over and over while peddling. On a ebike there is much less rider bounce using the motor to get the extra power. Tyres: Or Tires... should be designed and manufacturered for the additional weight and stress being applied.
- Battery - "Keep your battery fully charged whenever possible. Lithium batteries, like any battery, will obviously get the most range when they are completely topped off at 100% charge." AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Follow this advice and you will cut the number of rechage cycles by as much as 2/3rd. Don't charge the pack past 85% capacity and don't discharge past 20% capacity and you will be using the battery 3 times longer. WHEN you need to fully charge the pack only do so immeadieatly before riding. Don't let the pack sit fully charged it degraded the cells. Charge to 85% and if necessary just before riding top it off. Yes the battery powers the motor but it's also the most expensive single "disposable" componient... don't abuse it.
This is what I posted a few years ago on how to ride further and not cook the battery:
Maximizing range: (My main objective)
Using the minimum amount of assist necessary. - The BaFang BBSXX motors allow you to set 9 levels of assist. You can also set separate amounts of assist for both the throttle and the PAS for each of the 9 levels. Set the throttle with slightly higher assist than the PAS and at any time you need, an incline, a rest, need to speed up for any reason, have to come off the seat to fart... just thumb the throttle and you get an increased assist without going to the next highest power level. This lets me dial in the least amount of assist much better, I rarely go above level 3. Torque and ramp-up of the torque are also adjustable. Having the power come on slow and smooth helps save the drive train, saves power consumption, makes the ride smoother and more comfortable. I rode a top-dollar production ebike with a torque sensor and PAS sewn together so smooth and intuitively that if I wanted to ride faster it could sense it through the peddles. It was ok, but it didn't have a throttle and for how I ride I find one essential. That, the motor buried in the frame, and all the proprietary componentry made me happy I went the way I did. I haven't seen a production ebike I would buy yet.
Controlling speed. - Once you learn how to move a loaded ebike, how to best apply the addition power in a controlled manner, and want to extend the range you have to learn to control the "Need-Fer-Speed!". Think like an old-school tour-rider. Climbing a hill at 15 mph is easy even fully loaded but it uses double or more power than climbing the hill at 8 mph. Climbing at 25+ mph devastates range. Watching the watt usage on the 500C display (picture below) controller has helped me greatly. On level surfaces, I can watch the watt usage drop off to zero about 40% of the time. Once I hit a set speed the assist drops off, zero watt usage. Declines, peddling harder/faster, a stiff tailwind, and it doesn't need electricity to maintain momentum. Same goes with a standard bike, that's why avid bike riders like to ride fast, keep a high cadence, it's easier to maintain the momentum... less work. With a mid-drive, if it's hard for you to turn the cranks then the motor is using more power than necessary and less efficiently. Gear down and accelerate the mass more slowly, better yet accelerate the bike without using assist, and then just use it to maintain momentum. But I'm too damn old to do that all the time. It's also sometimes better to set a higher cruising speed, sacrificing the power to help get there, and then maintaining that speed rather than riding at a slower speed. Lots of factors to consider and they can change rapidly.
Pedaling, both amount and cadence: Pedal, pedal a lot. Don't climb without pedaling. Keep the cadence in your sweet spot using gearing. Don't use any assist when descending... having a motor cut-out is essential for this. The more you propel the bike the more charge you save and the farther you extend the range.
Use of a motor cut-out - A motor cut-off is great for putting torque into the chain and not using any power on both inclines and declines. The more you use the cut-out the more charge you save and the more you extend the range.
Wheel and tire choice - I went with old-school thinking but for other reasons. 26" wheels are strong and were easy to find for world riders, common the world around. I wanted a smaller diameter wheel so it's easier to turn even with 60 lbs, of baggage on the front of the bike. 2.5" width is larger than most tour riders use because they would choose a thinner tire over a wider more stable tire in a trade-off for better rolling resistance. I wanted the stability of a wide'ish tire and have the assist, so I went for a 2.5" wide higher-pressure tire (70 psi max) with some, but not too much tread. Designed specifically for touring on multiple surfaces. They aren't always perfect. At times I wish they were 1" and others I wish they were 4", but they are best all-around for me.
Drivetrain and gearing - USE IT. Gearing is how athletes have been touring on standard bikes for decades, there's a reason for that. High-quality components and a gear ratio that will let you climb. There always seems to be more uphill than down. If top speed is your desire, you are in the wrong place. I can't recommend the Rohloff Speed-hub enough. It costs more than many people seem to want to spend on an entire ebike and is worth every cent.
Use of a throttle - Having a throttle means I don't have to crank the peddles in precarious situations like starting uphill, at high-speeds, riding slowly in confined spaces, or amongst pedestrians. It also helps me with range in being able to feather the power on while riding at higher speeds. Very useful. Also, can be disconnected in about a minute should the need arise (complying with LSEB definition.).
Type of PAS - Many PAS give no options; you must use them in the way the designers think best. I don't seem to think like most people and most PAS aren't designed for touring... more for running around yelling, "Wahoooooo!" on an unloaded ebike. I like the flexibility that BaFang's "unrefined" mid-drives give when riding outside the box. PAS and throttle with the ability to set levels on each separately for 9 power levels.
My opinion has been formed by 37+K miles on my ebike, so take it for what it's worth.