Is this common with all e-bikes?

Floyd

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I've got an Aventon Level 2, and for the most part I love it. I'm an old dude who bought an e-bike to help me with hills and wind. When there are no hills or wind, I'd like to ride the bike without any assist, just as a good ol' fashion bicycle. But when I switch off any assist (Power set to zero), pedaling the bike is very difficult. It's like the brakes are set to about 50%. There's a lot of drag, I'm guessing from the hub. For some reason I thought when the power was turned off on an e-bike it would ride like a non-e-bike. Is there something wrong with my bike? Did I set it up improperly? Or is this typical of all e-bikes? Do mid-drive bikes have this drag when not in any power assist mode?

Sorry if this is a "duh" question.
 
My wife’s hub drive is like what you are describing and my mid drive pedals like a acoustic bike with the power off
 
All three of my hub bikes are exactly as you describe. It is the "Tibetan test of manhood" to climb an even modest incline at 10 MPH at PAS 0.
Meanwhile, at PAS 5, if the shadow of the foot passes over the pedals, 28 MPH or faster is a breeze.
 
Thanks for the responses! I guess I feel better knowing there's nothing wrong with the bike, but I'm disappointed I won't be able to ride it without the assist. Maybe a mid-drive bike is in my not-too-distant future!
 
Yes besides the extra weight of your motor and battery a mid drive bike offers very little extra resistance when off or on level 0. I often ride level 0 when on very slight inclines and flats. When you get caught out with a dead battery it's not much harder to get home than on an ordinary bike, I just don't have the same gearing as you do on a normal mountain bike, so getting up big hills is not great without power.
 
I have an Aventon Level.2 as well. You can check for drag on the rear wheel by leaning the bike to the left on its kickstand and just spin the rear wheel. It should be very friction-free. There is VERY little extra drag caused by the wheel causing the planetary gear drive to turn inside the rear hub motor.

The front, you will have to lift the front of the bike briefly to check for brake drag.

I think what you're experiencing is just the extra energy required to get such a relatively heavy bike moving. It's 65 lbs. out of the box, and then we tend to add luggage, water bottles, bells and other accessories. Mine is probably over 70 lbs. now. A typical unpowered bike of the same style would weigh closer to 30 lbs.

You'll notice it when you pedal from a stop or when you're pedaling uphill. But once you get it moving on flat ground, it should not be any more effort than a regular bike.

The solution is to set level 1 assistance when you're starting from a stop or going uphill or into a headwind. When you're on the flat cruising along and you're OK going a bit slower speed, just turn it to 0.

If you're curious, you can see my complete thoughts on the bike in this thread:
 
I've got an Aventon Level 2, and for the most part I love it. I'm an old dude who bought an e-bike to help me with hills and wind. When there are no hills or wind, I'd like to ride the bike without any assist, just as a good ol' fashion bicycle. But when I switch off any assist (Power set to zero), pedaling the bike is very difficult. It's like the brakes are set to about 50%. There's a lot of drag, I'm guessing from the hub. For some reason I thought when the power was turned off on an e-bike it would ride like a non-e-bike. Is there something wrong with my bike? Did I set it up improperly? Or is this typical of all e-bikes? Do mid-drive bikes have this drag when not in any power assist mode?

Sorry if this is a "duh" question.
It's the weight of the bike you are feeling not drag. E-bikes typically are more than 70 lbs when non e-bike are less than 30 lbs.
 
My ebike has no more drag than an average bike but is much heavier so need a lower gear to take off. But rides normally at steady speed on a level grade. Just like others posted.
 
I'm getting the impression that "drag" is somewhat dependent on the motor or hub. Here is why I think that.
I've been test riding several e-bikes all stock with no weigh adding accessories. So I've far ridden three.

All four have been relatively light (Aventon Soltera.2 @ 46 lbs, Propella C9 - V2 @ 44 lbs, & Trek Dual Spot +2 @ 38 lbs).

I noticed on one (Trek I think, -- the lightest of the three) that as soon as I stopped pedalling there seemed to be a "drag"; almost like that of a ICE engine vs a "free wheeling" sense - like being in neutral in a car. I don't recall sensing that on the other two.
The Propella specifically refers to its motor as "zero resistance", while the others do not. I'm getting the impression that "drag" is somewhat dependent on the motor or hub.

Curious if anyone else has noticed such a difference on bikes of similar weight.
 
I purchased a used bike from a family member that had the Bafang 620 mid-drive motor that I really wanted. I say motor because the bike was a full suspension fatbike and I really wanted a mountain bike (but that was the exact motor that I wanted). The bike with battery weighs around 80 pounds. Once I got everything working correctly after it had been neglected by my cousin, I was very surprised and disappointed at how difficult it was to ride up my very steep driveway. It had 36 teeth on the largest cog in the rear cluster. I was worried that it was almost unrideable without at least level one assist up a steep hill. I imagined running out of battery and having to walk the bike back home and I did not like this. I purchased a Shimano Linkglide CS-LG700-11 which is an 11 speed cassette and the matching Deore XT shifter and derailleur as the new system needs to be a matched set due to the different spacing between the sprockets for older Shimano groupsets. The new 50 tooth and 43 tooth sprockets that I gained with the upgrade did the trick and it is so much better to use on hills than the 36 tooth sprocket that I had. The bike coasts very nicely with the tires aired up for the street but the extreme weight of the bike was just so hard to get moving up a hill.

On your particular bake, could you go to a shop that sells the same bikes and make sure that there is not something wrong with yours. Sometimes that is the easiest way.
 
the wheel is probably turning the armature in the motor, making it a generator. I understand some controllers can harness that power and charge the battery.
 
I've got an Aventon Level 2, and for the most part I love it. I'm an old dude who bought an e-bike to help me with hills and wind. When there are no hills or wind, I'd like to ride the bike without any assist, just as a good ol' fashion bicycle. But when I switch off any assist (Power set to zero), pedaling the bike is very difficult. It's like the brakes are set to about 50%. There's a lot of drag, I'm guessing from the hub. For some reason I thought when the power was turned off on an e-bike it would ride like a non-e-bike. Is there something wrong with my bike? Did I set it up improperly? Or is this typical of all e-bikes? Do mid-drive bikes have this drag when not in any power assist mode?

Sorry if this is a "duh" question.
I have an Aventon Pace 500 (original version). It is lighter and I find I can ride it as a regular bike on fairly level paths. I have left my battery off to ride with my grandchildren at times. I also have an off-brand folding ebike. It seems to me that keeping the weight under 50 lbs is key though I don't completely understand why the weight of the bike makes so much difference considering the weight of the person is much more than the bike. I had a Radrover fat tire bike before this and there is no way I could ride that anywhere but downhill without using assist.
 
I've got an Aventon Level 2, and for the most part I love it. I'm an old dude who bought an e-bike to help me with hills and wind. When there are no hills or wind, I'd like to ride the bike without any assist, just as a good ol' fashion bicycle. But when I switch off any assist (Power set to zero), pedaling the bike is very difficult. It's like the brakes are set to about 50%. There's a lot of drag, I'm guessing from the hub. For some reason I thought when the power was turned off on an e-bike it would ride like a non-e-bike. Is there something wrong with my bike? Did I set it up improperly? Or is this typical of all e-bikes? Do mid-drive bikes have this drag when not in any power assist mode?

Sorry if this is a "duh" question.
Grin of canada makes hub motors with basically zero drag,as far as difficulty pedaling extra weight,i twisted the crank off an old western flyer doubling a brother up a steep hill,more weight basicay more effort,tires matter too.had a 250 watt 700c hyper that pedaled pretty easy unpowered.
 
Wife/I both have Aventon Level (1) and mostly ride with PAS at 0 with virtually no drag. I almost always use throttle to start moving because it is safer for me-balance; then, immediately switch to 0 with no drag. Wife and I have discussed this no drag before and she (younger and better shape) rides like an acoustic bike. These bikes are great cruisers; but, we now want more off road so are looking at duel suspension.
 
As said above, tires size and type (i.e. fatbike tires and aggressive mountain bike tires) and proper tire inflation can make a huge difference on how easy a bike is to pedal. Many moons ago, I used to ride a BMX style bike to school a couple of miles each way. I grew up in a household with a fully equipped garage and my dad had an air compressor, so I always kept my tires aired up. One day on the way to school I noticed how hard my bike was to pedal and its lack of coasting ability. My tire had a slow leak and was only about half inflated. Those knobby tires required about 3 times the effort to make the bike go when they were underinflated. Many of the bikes sold today have wider tires. fully inflate the tires and sacrifice a little comfort for easier pedaling on more range. With all that being said, you also have to be sure that there is nothing wrong with your bike and that your wheels spin freely. No brake drag, no motor drag, and smooth running bearings.
 
Geared hub motors should have little to no additional drag when pedaling. Direct drive hub motors have a small amount of magnetic drag. That being said, all my eBikes pedal like a tank.
 
I think a properly setup ebike can pedal just fine. Part of the problem is 98% of the people are never going to pedal the bike manually so they do not set it up for that. With my addition of a 50 and 43 tooth sprockets in the new rear cluster, I have achieved a bike that is easy to use without the motor. The Shimano Cues system is many times setup with a 30 or 32 tooth front chainring (sprocket). With the Bafang M620 motor and the Fatbike setup I have, the 42 tooth chainring is about as small as I can go while not rubbing the chain on the rear chain stay. The larger 43 and 50 tooth gears in the rear cluster make up for this and makes for a reasonably easy to pedal the bike. 26" Fatbike tires are a similar diameter to 29" mountain bike tires which also makes having lower gears more important. A larger tire circumference requires more effort to pedal given the same set of gears verses a smaller circumference tire.
 
My Himiway All Terrain Cruiser 2020 model pedals easy once up tp speed. I have used Pedal Assist level 0 a number of times. Maybe your bike doesn't totally turn off the motor when set to 0. Check with the customer service at Aventon to see if there is a setting you need to change.
 
For me pedals are a necessary, but redundant system mainly used as an emergency back up in case of power failure. Kind of like carrying oars in a motor boat. To a lesser degree they also help facilitate riding the loophole.
 
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