Truth be told, riding an e-bike isn’t too different from riding any old bike. Sure, it is a little bit easier thanks to the assistance of the electric motor, but if you already know how to ride a standard bike, then effortless riding on an e-bike should be an absolute breeze.
That being said, we know that hopping onto an e-bike for the first time can be a rather daunting experience. So, we figured that we would share a couple of tips that (should) make your journey into e-bikes a little bit easier.
Read Your E-Bike’s Manual
Your e-bike has a lot of different settings on it. While some of them are fairly self-explanatory, others may need you to read up on them a bit. So, before you even so much as contemplate hopping on your e-bike, we suggest that you read through your e-bike’s manual. Learn every feature your e-bike has. Learn where the control buttons are. Note the maximum speed of your bike, etc.
The more familiar you are with how your e-bike works, the more effortless riding it will become.
While we did say that riding an e-bike isn’t too different from a traditional bike, there are a few things that you will need to get used to. This includes the speed, braking, and the weight of the bike. In fact, it is the weight that is probably going to have the biggest impact on new riders. Unless you have a bit of practice under your belt, chances are that you’ll find it terribly difficult to maneuver the e-bike around.
Before you plan on making an epic hill-laden journey on your e-bike, we suggest that you practice for a few hours in a flat location, preferably somewhere that has very little foot and vehicle traffic. Get used to the weight of the bike. Get used to the speed. Get used to braking. It is the only safe way to learn how to ride an e-bike!
Play With the Pedal Assist Settings
Note: Only Some e-bikes will have pedal assist settings. This is where the e-bike will ‘assist’ you with pedaling. Others have throttle settings, which we’ll talk about in the next section!
As you likely know, e-bikes come with various pedal assist settings. The higher the setting, the less effort you need when pedaling the bike. The bike will also travel a lot faster.
Now, we know that it can be rather tempting to jump straight into the highest pedal assist setting. You would think that this will give you the most effortless ride. It won’t. Sure, you won’t have to put too much effort into actually pedaling the bike, but when the bike is zipping along at a speed far faster than you have ever traveled on a bike before, it can be quite a challenging experience.
We suggest that you work your way up through the pedal assist settings on a flat location. Start with the lowest. This is the setting where you’ll likely need to do a bit of pedaling. Get used to that, and then crank it up a notch.
Once you have mastered riding your e-bike on a flat surface, learn how the assist controls can impact how you cycle in other situations. For example, note how it becomes far, far easier to pedal uphill when you have the pedal assist settings set to the maximum. It also becomes easier to traverse more uneven surfaces. Basically, just become familiar with your e-bike and everything that it can do.
The exact speed settings for your pedal assist controls will vary depending on your brand of e-bike. Read through your e-bike’s manual to get familiar with what your e-bike can do.
Get Used To Your E-Bike Throttle Settings (If It Has Them)
Riding an e-bike with throttle settings is a lot more difficult than a pedal assist bike. Obviously, riding a pedal-assist e-bike feels much more natural if you are used to riding a more traditional bike. After all, you need to pedal. That isn’t the case with an e-bike with throttle settings. So, you’ll need to get used to that.
If you have a throttle-driven e-bike, then there will be a throttle control on the handlebars. There will be various speed settings here. Again, start from the lowest setting and work your way up. You don’t want to be going full-speed from the get-go. You’ll cause an accident. Note how each speed setting impacts how fast you travel, how fast you brake, how fast you can turn corners, etc.
Learn How to Brake Properly
This is where the vast majority of new e-bike riders are going to trip up. They are not prepared for the sheer amount of power that their e-bike has. This means that they need to completely shake up their braking habits if they want to ride safely.
You have to remember that an e-bike will:
- Be faster than a standard bike.
- Be heavier than a standard bike.
This means that slowing down will take a good few seconds longer than you are used to. The only way that you can get used to how your e-bike works when you are braking is actually to practice braking. Once again, this is why you are highly encouraged to spend your time riding in a flat, less busy area. It means that if the braking goes a little bit wrong, you won’t be crashing into something or, worse, somebody.
In our opinion, if you really want to nail braking on an e-bike, you should, mostly, be traveling at a slow speed. You don’t need to overdo it. When you do need to stop, you should be slowing to a halt. You shouldn’t be rapidly braking. Not only is this going to be far safer to do, but it will also help to protect your brake pads, battery, and your e-bike’s tires.
Practice Proper Power Conservation
Firstly – never let your e-bike’s battery fully drain before you charge it. Without going into a scientific lecture on battery tech, know that this is a very bad thing to do. You may be able to get away with fully draining the battery once or twice, but your aim is to charge at around the 10-20% battery life mark to get the most out of your battery.
The following tips should also help increase your e-bike’s battery life (and this improves the range of your e-bike):
- Maintain proper tire pressure on your e-bike. It will not only make the battery last longer but will give you a much more enjoyable ride. Read through your e-bike’s manual to get an idea of the suggested PSI for your e-bike’s battery.
- Don’t stop and start the bike too often. It is much better to slow the bike down than it is to stop completely. This is why it is so important to master the art of braking.
- Use as little assistance as possible, particularly if you have a pedal-assist e-bike. The higher you crank up the settings, the faster that battery will drain.
- Tackle corners at speed, if safe to do so. The more you slow down at corners, the more effort your e-bike’s motor has to put into getting you up to the right speed again.
Final Thoughts – Beginner’s Tips for Effortless Riding
Honestly, learning how to ride an e-bike effortlessly is easy. A bit of practice will go a long way. For the most part, you’ll find it is the same as riding a traditional bike. The only thing you need to work on is the speed and the increased braking distances. Once you nail those, you’ll be cycling like a pro in no time at all!