Skip to main content

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an electric bicycle?

An electric bicycle, or e-bike, is a bicycle with an electric motor integrated into the frame or wheel. They ride like bicycles, not motorbikes, and they ride where bicycles ride without need for license, registration or insurance. Electric bicycles can come in all the styles and sizes that regular bicycles do.

Check out our Beginner’s Guide to E-Bikes for a detailed rundown.

Where can I ride an E-Bike?

As long as your e-bike has a motor less than 1000w and is limited to 20mph (28mph with PAS!), then it is legally considered a bicycle by Oregon state statute 814.405.

This means as an e-bike rider you have all the same rights as other cyclists.

Unless specifically prohibited by signage or local statute, you can ride your e-bike anywhere you could ride a bicycle barring pedestrian sidewalks not on shared use paths.

For a quick guide, click here!

How do they work?

The bike senses when you pedal and provides motor assistance, either by helping turn the wheels or the pedals themselves. For the bikes with throttles: turn the throttle and the motor will move the bike forward.

Really, most bikes are as easy as:

Turn on the battery/display

Select PAS level

Ride your bike!

Can I take it in the bike lane?

Yes! Legally, e-bikes are still bicycles! You are subject to all the same benefits, restrictions, laws, and regulations, and right of ways as regular bicycles.

We do suggest using bike paths whenever possible to stay away from traffic. Please obey the speed limit on the local bike paths and alert pedestrians to your presence when you pass.

Do I have to pedal?

On bikes with throttle options, no.

Keep in mind that the throttle will drain your battery much faster than pedal assist. A throttle is most efficiently used for getting your bike moving from a stopped position.

We do suggest that any ride involves an effort to pedal your bike. With an e-bike you are not forced to struggle against the pedals, but instead may focus on just keeping your body moving, and letting the motor help!

Are E-Bikes waterproof?

No, but they are weather-proof.

The difference is that while they are perfectly safe to ride in any weather, we do not suggest submerging the components or washing them with a hose! We also do not recommend leaving an e-bike outside in the rain without a cover.

How long does the battery last?

A lithium-ion battery can have a charge cycle lifetime of anywhere between 300-2,000 cycles depending on chemistry, usage, and charging history. The batteries that we sell have an average of 500 cycles in their "cycle life.” A battery’s cycle is what happens when you drain the battery to show no charge on the controller.  The battery actually retains a 20-30% charge via the battery management system despite showing no charge on the controller. If the battery discharges completely it can be permanently damaged. We recommend keeping the battery charged at 30-80%.    

Lithium batteries maintain capacity for their entire life and tend to fail precipitously.

Simply put:

seasonal use, proper charging = 4-6+ years

regular use, proper charging = 3-4+ years

regular use, careless charging = 1-2+ years

What’s the big deal?

50% of all trips in the US are less than 3 miles, and currently 1% of all trips are by bicycle. If we could increase this by 0.5% (one out of every 200 trips!) across the country, we would save 462,000,000 gallons of gasoline annually.

Whether you are bicycling, or e-bicycling, getting your car off the road has enormous benefits for your health, your wallet, and the world around you.

The weekend of Los Angeles' "Carmageddon,” air quality improved 83%. Air pollution in the region dropped 25%. That was one weekend of 20-30% less traffic.

Check out some of the research on how e-bikes help in the fight against climate change.

University of Washington Conservation Mag.

Green America

Riding An E-bike to Save the World

How far do they go?

The range on an e-bike is primarily dependent on how you use it! If you use your throttle and do not pedal you will get significantly less range than if you use the PAS (Pedal-Assist). Most bikes will be labelled with a minimum and maximum range.

How do I keep my E-Bike safe from theft?

The main deterrent to bike theft is locking your bike up properly.  Most bike thieves will not spend the time (especially in the daylight) to cut through a properly locked u-lock and cable combination. If you have locked your bike in a well lit publicly visible area it's not worth the effort needed to steal it. We suggest getting a Kryptonite lock with an anti-theft guarantee. That way, even if a thief with tools has enough time to make away with your bike, you'll be reimbursed for it.

Check your homeowner’s policy. We also recommend a company called Velocare for e-bike specific insurance.

Read more about Kryptonite’s Anti-Theft Protection Offer.

Kryptonite also has a detailed guide to bike security.

How do I charge it?

All E-bikes come with chargers that look like laptop chargers. One end goes in the wall, one end goes in your bike. Many batteries can be charged away from the bike.

Charging time from empty will be 4-6 hours.

Does it charge when I pedal?

The short answer: No.

The long answer: Some E-Bikes do have a feature called Regenerative Braking that generates a small amount of charge upon braking. However, this only provides a marginal benefit over very long distances and can only be used with a direct drive motor.

We don’t usually carry direct drive motors as they have many disadvantages. Our bikes use a different kind of motor, called a geared motor. This allows you to pedal normally even when the motor is off, without any added resistance.

Why the $15 tax when I buy a new bike?

Oregon does not have a sales tax, but starting on January 1st 2018 the state implemented a $15 "bicycle excise tax" to be collected whenever a new bicycle is sold (over $200). We pay this tax for you to the state every quarter and provide info about this to every customer.

Health Benefits

Suprisingly, E-bikes are as beneficial as regular bicycles for maintaining health. Even though an E-bike has electric assist, E-bike owners generally travel further and more often by bicycle. Owning an E-bike, you will find that there are fewer excuses for not using your bike; hills and wind no longer have you at their mercy.

Here's a great article dismissing those who claim e-bikers are cheaters:

Many rides can be accomplished on an electric bike as quickly as in a car. Charging an electric bike costs only pennies a day, and parking, fuel and car insurance costs are eliminated. An electric bike allows you to travel farther than a conventional bike and requires no special training. One charge of the battery will let you ride for at least 20 miles on most bikes without pedaling and much further when you do, with some E-bikes touting ranges over 100 miles!

Check out some of the research and projects involving E-bikes and their health benefits around the world:

New York Times

Portland State University

European Journal of Applied Physiology

E-cycle Sharing Project

University of Tennessee

“I have trouble cycling. Why are E-bikes a better option?”

As long as you find an E-bike that fits you, and can balance while moving, an Electric Bicycle is an amazing way to get you moving. The extra power provided can be as little or as much as you need. If you are unsteady on 2 wheels, any trike or recumbent bicycle can be converted as well!

The average cyclist generates about 150w of power consistently- compare that to the available power of a 250w, 350w, or even 750w electric motor. This means that anyone can ride up a hill, through headwinds, or across long distances. The electric assist allows you to travel where you want undeterred by physical limitations.

Additionally, electric assist allows the stress of a bicycle commute to fade away. If you're tired, turn up your PAS, and if you're feeling frisky, turn it off and ride your bike normally!

“I'm already into bicycling, why do I need an E-bike?”

An electric bicycle opens up possibilities you might not consider on your bicycle, such as riding up hills, carrying groceries, going out to a movie, picking up the kids, or an extra 5 mile detour on the ride home.

E-bikes level the playing field, allowing people of all cycling levels to ride together. Be careful though; if you put your friend on an E-bike and you don't have one, you're in for a hard ride!

Lastly, E-bikes are just fun. Watching someone get on an E-bike for the first time is always a joy. E-bikes can be a replacement for your road bike or touring bike. They are bicycles that are practical enough to replace cars. An electric bicycle puts the human experience back into your commute.

We are a proud supporter of GEARS: