You’re out and about zipping through the city when you notice the battery light on your e-bike going off, signaling that it’s about to lose power.
In this scenario, you might start to panic, and then wonder what the fate of your e-bike will be without any battery to keep powering it on.
Can you ride an e-bike without the battery?
Yes, it is possible to keep riding your electric bike even when there’s no battery power left, so have no fear. However, just because it’s possible it doesn’t mean that it’s easier or good for the bike, so you should always aim to have it charged up and without enough battery before you take it out for a spin.
Electric bikes have certainly changed the way we cycle but with the addition of a battery powered motor to them, they’re also a little different to operate.
We’re going to delve into all of your questions about the batteries of e-bikes, whether you can (or should) ride without one, and how to ensure you’re doing the best for the performance and care of your electric bicycle.
- 1 So, Can You Ride an E-Bike Without the Battery?
- 2 A Harder Way to Ride
- 3 Why Would You Ride an E-Bike Without the Battery?
- 4 E-Bikes Without Pedals
- 5 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your E-Bike Battery
- 6 Related Questions
So, Can You Ride an E-Bike Without the Battery?
Before purchasing an electric bike, most people have a notion that it’s operated fully by the motor, making manual pedaling a thing of the past.
However, these bikes can still be ridden without the assistance of the motor, but that doesn’t always mean that they should be.
Say you’re out riding around and the battery of your bike goes flat before you can reach the charger, you’ll still be able to keep going.
Pedal-assist bikes don’t need a motor to work, but you may find it harder to pedal due to a few features that set them apart from regular bicycles.
Riding an e-bike with a flat battery also won’t do any damage to the bike itself or the battery or motor, contrary to popular belief.
Therefore, you should feel completely safe when riding your bike using your energy alone.
Although it will be more difficult to do get where you need to be, you won’t be doing any harm to your treasured e-bike in the process.
A Harder Way to Ride
We’ve established that it’s okay to ride an e-bike without a battery, but that doesn’t mean it should be done.
Without the assistance of the motor, you’ll notice that these bikes are significantly harder to pedal and move, and that’s due to two major difference in their construction:
The addition of a motor hub and battery, along with the other parts that make an electric bike different, will be obvious when you’re trying to move it without assistance.
Generally speaking, these parts can equate to over 30lbs of extra weight, which will be easy to feel when you try to pedal it on your own.
A standard e-bike weighs around 50lbs or more, whereas your regular road bike will only weigh 18lbs or so.
An e-bike without a battery will be harder to pedal because the motor is applying resistance even though it’s not on.
Bikes that use a direct drive or crank will be harder still because of how much resistance they apply, so it’s better to attempt on a hub drive e-bike instead if you have to.
Other factors will impact the ease of riding your e-bike with a battery, including your personal fitness level and the terrain or landscape you’re traveling on.
The style of bike can also make it harder or easier to move, with a standard road bike taking less energy to maneuver than something like a mountain bike, so all of this should be taken into consideration also.
Why Would You Ride an E-Bike Without the Battery?
After spending all of your money and time finding the perfect electric bike, and taking into account their extra weight and difficulty of riding it, you might wonder why you’d ever want to consider using it without the battery even if it didn’t go flat.
However, there are some legitimate scenarios where it might make sense to cycle without the help of the motor or battery, including:
- Riding where e-bikes are banned: Some trails have banned the use of e-bikes on them, but you might be allowed to remove the battery and still enjoy them. Keep in mind some trails will still ban access from an e-bike even without its battery, so a standard bicycle is a better idea.
- Traveling by air: You’ll be unable to take an e-bike’s battery on a plane, and so devoted riders might remove the battery and then hire one at their destination. In the meantime, you’ll have to ride without.
- Riding where chairlift access is needed: If you’re traveling somewhere with a chairlift that takes you to higher places, the battery can often impede you from getting on due to their weight. By removing the battery and leaving it somewhere safe, your bike will be within the allowed weight limit.
- Getting exercise: There may be times where you want to exercise and get the blood pumping, so would prefer not to ride with the motor. If you feel a surge of energy and don’t mind putting in the extra effort to compensate for the weight and motor resistance, go right ahead.
E-Bikes Without Pedals
Another type of e-bike to consider when discussing battery life is one without pedals.
If you ride one of these bikes that have no manual pedals and the battery goes flat or malfunctions, you’ll find it very difficult to get where you need to be going.
As there are no pedals for you to manually move the vehicle, unless you’re traveling on a decline where you want safely roll the bike, you won’t be able to go very far.
Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your E-Bike Battery
Part of being an electric bike owner is being able to manage their batteries as well.
Before you head out for a ride, it’s your responsibility to check that the battery is fully charged and have an idea of where you’re headed so you can be sure that it can be recharged once you reach your destination.
Keep these tips in mind for getting the most out of your e-bike’s battery:
- To converse battery power or if you’re worried you won’t make it home on the battery level you have, switch the bike to zero power or eco mode. This is the lowest setting that uses the least amount of battery, and it will enable you to get where you’re going with a small amount of pedal assistance.
- Make it part of your bike riding routine that you check the battery status before you leave the house, or before you leave anywhere that has a charging facility. Always pack the charger with you on the bike so you can be ready to go.
- Keep the battery compartment clean to ensure that no debris gets in, and ensure that it’s kept out of the rain. Although most batteries are weatherproof, they aren’t always waterproof, so you want to keep them protected as much as possible.
Nothing is stopping you from enjoying your e-bike without a battery, and considering their cost and how long it probably took you to find the perfect one, nobody would blame you.
If you’re a new owner of an electric bike and still have more questions you need to be answered, check out these FAQs for some helpful beginner information.
How Long Does It Take to Charge an Electric Bike?
Most electric bikes today operate with a lithium-ion battery that is ideal for recharging.
A standard electric bike should take a few hours to charge fully, but this range can differ depending on the size of the battery and the quality of the bike.
You should give yourself between 3.5 to 6 hours to charge a lithium-ion battery completely, or at least a couple of hours to top it up.
How Many Miles Does an Electric Bike Go?
The battery range of every electric bike is different and the distance they’re able to travel on a single charge can vary quite a bit.
A standard electric bike can reach anywhere from 10 to 60 miles on a full battery, but you should also take into account the power mode you’re traveling on, the terrain, wind resistance, and what speed you’re riding.