Touring by E-bike offers many great benefits. It can help you ride faster, cover longer distances, and climb hills with less effort. But one thing you always should be aware of is your battery. Over the course of our trip, we have had many questions about our batteries. Typical questions are about how long they last, how often they need to be charged, and what is their range.
It is actually very difficult to give exact answers to these questions. Range varies, depending on many different factors. For instance, we now know after weeks of riding with our heavily packed Giant Explorers that our range is around 100km on one battery. But before we started this journey, it was mostly just guessing, and a lot of testing, before we had a good understanding about range for our personal riding styles and preferences. We have noted our own findings and gathered some additional information to provide you with some helpful tips regarding E-bikes and riding range.
Know your E-bike
The best way to understand your E-bike’s capabilities is to test it, then test it again (and again). Try to become familiar with the various riding modes, and load it with the bags that you will use on your trip. What range can you do on Eco, Normal and Power? When we ride in normal conditions, we stay in Eco mode most of the time. This saves battery power, which you can use when you have to climb big hills. The weight of the additional baggage is a major factor concerning battery range, and it is very important to take this into account before setting off on your journey.
Charge whenever you can
Many times we were eating at a restaurant and afterwards we thought: Hey, we could have charged our battery over the past hour. If you are traveling with an E-bike, it is important to be aware of the battery you have on your bike and charge it whenever you can. When you stop for a coffee or lunch break, ask the owner if it is possible to charge your battery. We've never had anyone say no to this request.
Balance your Route
Try to plan your route when riding in mountainous areas. Climbing mountains uses lots of energy from the battery. The best way to balance your route is to check if it has similar stats for the climbs and descents. The climbs will drain your battery quickly, but the descents most-likely won't use much, if any, of your battery. If you choose a route that has more uphill meters, check for charging locations so you don’t end up with an empty battery.
Do your maintenance
If you're riding daily, some routine maintenance seems obvious, but can easily be overlooked. Always make sure your tires have the correct pressure. This creates less rolling resistance, resulting in better efficiency. Check the label on the side of your tire for the recommended pressure. It is also very important to clean and lube your chain often, at least every few days (especially in bad weather conditions). This will greatly improve your pedaling efficiency, preserve your chain, and keep your E-bike rolling quietly and smoothly.
Bring an extra EnergyPak
If you are planning long-distance tours with your E-bike, it is highly recommended that you bring an extra battery. Yes it adds weight, but the benefits far outweigh the added load. Besides doubling your range, an extra battery gives you more freedom and confidence. It’s nice to not have to worry about getting stuck with an empty battery.
Follow more of Gijs and Annebeth's bikepacking adventure on www.biketrotters.com