The pure freedom and fun of an electric mountain bike is nearly unmatched. What really sets it apart, for us, is that it’s equal parts simplicity and adventure. True, we love a four-stroke as much as the next person, but e-bikes are easy to transport, can explore far deeper into national parks and forests than gas-guzzlers, and they’re fun for the whole crew.
Part of leaning all the way into the fun is learning about all of the different parts of your electric mountain bike. Not only is it fascinating to learn the nuances of a powerful e-bike motor, how a high-quality battery works, and more, but it’s critical to the upkeep and maintenance that you at least have a working knowledge of all of the components of your e-bike. By working to understand each piece of the proverbial puzzle, you can get the best performance out of your e-bike for years and years of adventure. We outline four of the most critical below.
The Importance of Understanding Components of your E-Bike
While it wholly depends on how often you use it, you should still ensure you’re maintaining your e-bike on a seasonal or yearly basis. But, when you really start to hone in on a more nuanced understanding of the components of your e-bike, you can find a tune-up schedule that’s more catered to your particular bike. This is because although your whole e-bike could certainly use holistic maintenance every year or so, you can significantly prolong the lifetime and performance of some of the components by performing more regular maintenance on individual parts.
The battery is where all the get up and go of your e-bike comes from; understanding what the battery is capable of gives you a direct understanding of how much responsiveness you’ll get from your bike.
In the first e-bikes to market, batteries were typically made of lead acid, Nickel Cadmium, or NiMH, but there’s an overwhelming likelihood yours is a lithium-ion (if it’s not, you might want to consider upgrading). This is because lithium batteries are lighter, more powerful, more reliable, and have increasingly long life cycles. When properly taken care of, you can expect your battery to provide well over five to six years of regular use.
There are several metrics to pay attention to when you’re looking at different e-bike batteries.
Watts: This helps you understand how much energy your battery can continuously consume. Make note that you’re differentiating between continuous watt rating and peak rating.
Amp: Equate e-bike amps with the horsepower of your car. This stat tells you what your bike’s max output is.
Amp Hours: If amps are like horsepower, amp hours is like your fuel tank. The higher the amp hours, the more life your battery has.
Volts: Volts indicate how much pressure can be contained within the system. E-bikes typically have volts in sequences of 12, going up incrementally to 48. When it comes down to it, volts basically equate to power.
The motor is the e-bike component that will take the power your battery contains and convert it to forward momentum. Most modern e-bikes like ours feature hub motors—it’s a practical placement that’s relatively easy to access and maintain.
You’d be hard pressed to find an e-bike on the market today that didn’t feature a brushless DC motor (BLDC). This indicates they don’t use brushes to alternate the current direction like older motors did. Those types were notably less efficient and wore out over time. Bosch—a company renowned for e-bike motor innovation—breaks down the history here.
The type of motor and whether or not it features geared or direct drive and is large and powerful or smaller and lighter wholly depends on application or whether you’re planning on cruising the flat streets or hauling heavy gear up steep, rugged hillsides. You can see for yourself that we’ve equipped bikes like the QuietKat 2020 Ridgerunner with a large, powerful motor built to go anywhere.
Chargers are a critical component of your e-bike kit. Knowing when and where to use them and how often to charge is paramount to not only finding yourself safely back at home without e-grinding (that’s a real term for when you’re attempting to pedal a dead e-bike!), but also ensuring your battery continues to exhibit high performance throughout its expected lifestyle. We break this all down here in Electric Bike Chargers, Explained.
With the time, speed, trip distance, mode indicator, battery life, and more featured on the display of most QuietKat e-bikes, the display is a convenient way to keep an eye on what’s going on with your e-bike at all times. There’s even a way to adjust the speed and the power of your QuietKat e-bike.
With a simple programming change on the display screen on the handlebars, the speed and power can be increased or decreased based on rider preference. Refer to the QuietKat Assembly YouTube page for a short video tutorial on how to adjust settings.