The allure of E-bikes is that you can go faster than a normal, manually pedaled bicycle. Moreover, it’s the cleaner option that doesn’t hurt the environment and doesn’t produce byproducts like motorbikes. However, what if the battery dies? Does that mean your E-bike won’t let you pedal from your work to your home? Does it mean your stranded?
Can You Pedal an Electric Bike with a Dead Battery?
The answer is very simple. You can pedal an electric bike with a dead battery. The way electric bikes work is assisting you while you’re pedaling. Hence, think of them as tiny boosters to your own feet that help you pedal the bike faster. So it won’t much matter if the bike battery runs out of juice, you can still pedal.
Of course, you won’t be able to pedal as fast with your electric bike out of battery. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to ride your E-bike like a normal bike. Whether that’s on the road or at the park or in your back yard.
Will Pedaling an E-Bike Be Harder with a Dead Battery?
Will Pedaling an E-Bike Be Harder with a Dead Battery? The answer is yes. Without the special pedal assist that is characteristic of E-bikes, you’ll end up pedaling harder. You’ll get a better workout with that for sure, but you probably won’t get the speed you’ve gotten used to.
Riding E-bikes without a working battery will not harm or damage the motor either. However, riding an E-bike with a flat or no battery will make it much harder to pedal. This is especially true for steep paths like inclines.
E-Bikes are Heavier
Pedaling will be harder than on a regular bike for an E-bike without a battery too. The reason is that E-bikes are made to be heavier and more sturdy than normal bikes.
The typical weight of an E-bike is over 50 lbs or 22.7 kg.
The regular road bike weighs considerably less at an average of 18 lbs or 8.16 kg. That’s a lot of extra weight. Regular bikes can even be carried over one’s head. You can’t do that with an E-bike unless you’ve worked out considerably.
E-Bike Motors Offer Resistance
E-bike motor resistance is a real thing. Crank or direct-drive hub motors, including Bosch motors, provide greater resistance. This will make it harder for you to pedal, even when you’re not on inclines.
One the other hand, if your E-bike has a hub drive, it will allow you to pedal without much resistance.
Tips for Riding an E-Bike Without a Battery
A great benefit of an electric bike is that you can get as much of a workout as you want. When you pedal an electric bike with a dead battery you’re likely to get more of a workout.
However, it’s best to know your limits before you try this. Be ready for an emergency by preparing beforehand and pedaling your bike without an assist regularly.
Here are just a few tips for riding your electric bike without a battery.
- Experiment with different gears so you can find a good pace. This way, you’ll be able to speed up faster with or without a pedal assist. This can come in handy when you’re trying to reach a destination fast.
- If your battery space stays clean, especially if you’re off-roading, pedaling will be much easier without a battery. A clean battery space means that less junk will interfere with your pedaling.
- Make sure that your battery is charged every morning. Get into the habit of plugging it in every night if you’re a regular rider. Make sure that you’ve got a spare battery with you in your backpack as well. If you’re ever going on a long trip, it would pay to keep more than one extra battery with a full charge.
- If you’re riding with zero power, eco-mode, or at the lowest setting, you can squeeze out more miles. This way, you’ll get a better workout throughout the ride and save on power. Do this regularly if you want to make your battery last longer. It’ll make riding the last mile much easier when you crank up the juice.
- Get an E-bike with a mid-drive motor. These motors help get a better range for equivalent battery capacity. Hence, you get more efficiency by shifting gears. This will be great for those that are habitual of pedaling without pedal assist. It’ll help with the last mile of the ride. You can also get better hill climbing force with a mid-drive motor.
Changing rear tires is easier with a mid-drive motor as well.
How Does an Electric Bike Work?
Electric bikes rely on electrical energy translated into force that propels them forward. There are several components that make this possible.
Different placements exist for an electric bike motor. Three main placements include the front hub, the rear hub, and the mid-drive motor. The singular aim of this motor is to control the torque. More advanced electric motors offer greater torque and the greater the torque, the greater the speed.
When you ride an electric bike without pedaling, you’ll notice that the motor is still working to push you forward. If you pedal, this will result in the motor propelling you even further.
Electric bike batteries can be located in several places on the bike. They are often dependent on the frame type and size. Every battery with a separate model, make, and type needs to charge differently and for different time periods. Average charging times can range from 5-6 hours.
E-Bike batteries typically hold enough charge to go from 30-60 kilometers. If you’re lucky, you may have bought an E-bike that does considerably more than that.
Electric bike sensors are very important components of an electric bike. There are two basic types of sensors that are found on modern electric bikes.
The first is a speed sensor and the second is a torque sensor. The former ensures that the bike doesn’t exceed the mandated speed limit of the country where it was manufactured. For example, the maximum speed for E-bikes in the European Union is 25 km/h.
The speed sensor is engaged immediately after you begin pedaling. This gives pedal assistance and allows the bike to reach the top speed faster.
The torque sensor is much smarter than the speed sensor. It responds with a small amount of assistance to match your speed when you’re moving. That way, it’s much more responsive and helps with speed and maneuvers.
There is another sensor called a cadence sensor that is used in newer electric bikes. It is also called a crank-sensor. It delivers uniform assist force at each assist level. It doesn’t take into account the amount of pressure being applied.
It is activated when you get the crank turning. Since a cadence sensor doesn’t read pedal pressure, the power delivery isn’t as smooth. It will deliver a lot of jolts and jerks to your bike riding motion.
However, the cadence sensor is adaptable. You can make use of the controls to smooth out the power delivery. Certain people prefer cadence sensors since they tend to provide a huge sensation of power without applying pedal pressure.
The brakes of an electric bike are also powered by the electrical energy from the battery. Since there is pedal assist in E-bikes, there is also brake assist. Electric bikes are made heavier than non-electric bikes, hence, they require additional force to help move.
However, there’s no impact on how hard you have to use the brakes. Electrical energy powers the brakes and any pedal assistance is turned off when you stop pedaling.
To help remove the excess inertia from your body, the brakes ensure that you come to a stop as soon as possible. Some electric bikes also provide special brake assist which brings you to a stop gradually to avoid shocks, jerk, and jolts.
Careful when you pedal an electric bike with a dead battery. Along with the lack of pedal assist, you also won’t get the break assist you need for short braking distances.
The Components all Work Together
As with any electrical system, the electric bikes ensure that all the components work together. The battery, motor, brakes, and sensors act as receivers and transmitters to each other. They influence and somewhat control each other’s actions.
The battery provides power to the motor which runs the drivetrain and assists you while pedaling. This especially helps when you have to climb up steep hills or when you have to go down steep hills.
The display on E-bikes shows you all you need to know at a glance. It controls how much assistance is provided and how much power is sent from the motor to the drivetrain.
Can You Ride an Electric Bike Without Pedaling?
Can You Ride an Electric Bike Without Pedaling? Again, the answer is, yes you can. There are special E-bikes that work without you needing to pedal at all. However, the catch is that the bike will obviously run out of juice at a much faster rate.
Since the bike will be expending the energy all by itself, it will have to push you considerably further comparatively. While the standard is pedal assist, non-pedaling electric bike distance may be halved altogether.
“Twist and Go” Machines/Throttle E-Bikes
The Electric bikes you can ride without pedaling are called “Twist and Go” bikes. They don’t need to have their pedals in motion for the motor to be engaged. Certain manufacturers produce these bikes to work with a throttle. The throttle can be twisted to start the E-bike and move you forward without pedaling.
The name ‘Twist and Go’ bikes is derived from that twisting motion that is used to start the motor. Relatively new, these models are classified as L1e-A ‘powered cycles’ under the EU law. They are defined as “cycles designed to pedal, equipped with an auxiliary propulsion”. Again, the speed of the bicycles is limited to 25 km/h or 20 m/h like standard E-bikes in the EU.
The law applies to all E-bikes, including 2, 3, and 4-wheelers. The rated power for these E-bikes is also limited to normal E-bikes, at 1000W. E-bikes with a twist-and-go option that were purchased before the law was put into action remain legal. They can still be bought second-hand today.
These electric bikes can be used to pedal assist as well. However, the most common use for these bicycles is coasting and just relaxing during a ride.
Beware that you’ll need to pedal if you’re using the E-bike to pedal up a steep, inclined plane. That’s right, you can’t always ride an electric bike without pedaling even when it has a throttle. Think about it, even some motorcycles need pushing up hills. Throttle E-bikes don’t have enough power to push you up very steep hills. They’re simply not designed for it.
Rules About the Throttle E-Bike
There is confusion regarding the rules of the throttle E-bike or the twist and go E-bike. The rules were relaxed in 2016 regarding these bikes so that they could be used without pedaling.
Today, they can be used to go up to 4 miles per hour without pedaling. With pedal assist, you can expect speeds of up to 15.5 mph in the UK.
Some may think the throttle has been outlawed, but that’s not true. You can still use a throttle and get around to wherever you need. As for older bikes, if it predates the change in legislation, then the throttle without any pedaling required is legal.
Tips for Better Battery Range for Your Electric Bike
Lower the Tire Pressure
High tire pressures don’t lead to less rolling resistance. After you’re off road, this is very far from the truth. Correct tire pressure is crucial for climbs to transfer power to the ground. Traction loss and skidding will sap your range and take away from your speed too.
Open Your Suspension
Correctly setting up your suspension will enable your bike to roll over obstacles much more easily. You won’t even perceive them as obstacles if you do this right.
A traditional tube in your tire means a greater chance of puncturing. It also decreases the range. When you go tubeless tire, your tires may adapt to the terrain and soak up uneven trails. Hence, you can roll over bumps much better.
Choose the Right Mode
The right mode, or the right assist level can do wonders for battery life. Riding in Eco mode most of the way will help you conserve a lot of battery life. Don’t expect much range throughout the day if you ride full throttle though.
Take a Big Cassette With You
A large cassette with a 46t-48t sprocket will make your climbs more bearable. They will also nudge you towards a better cadence. This is a great tip to remember if you’re going to pedal an electric bike with a dead battery.
Keep Your Bike Well-Oiled
Remember that friction causes more energy loss than anything else. It reduces the energy that you have at your disposal, bit by bit. So oil up your bike chains.
Cadence is a very important element to E-biking. Several motors are their most efficient when you pedal at around 75 strokes a minute. The fewer the pedal strokes, the slower the cadence.
The slower the cadence, the earlier the ride will come to an end.
If this keeps happening, you may have to adjust your cadence to suit the cadence zones.
Pick Your Path Carefully
Picking your path while biking is very important. You should anticipate all the hits on the trail. It’s not just important for your safety, but for the battery range too. Make sure that every root and rock is accounted for. Don’t lose sight of the path.
It may take some time to read the terrain like a pro, but you’ll get the hang of it. As a rule, you should try to keep you gaze fixed on the trail. The front wheel holds no importance. With less bumps and swerves, your battery will serve you longer.
Hit Corners at High Speed
If you expend less energy when you hit road or street corners, then you can save a lot of power. When you’re speeding along at a steady rate, your battery will have to work less to push you forward.
Use a Circular Pedal Stroke
It’s a waste of your own energy if you keep pedaling all the time on a normal bike. That’s why you should be more consistent with your pedal stroke and even out the pressure. That way, you won’t be pushing down on the time and give more assistance to your bike’s battery.
This will give a more balanced signal to the motor since it measures the pressure directly on the pedal.
The less weight your bike will have to push forwards, backward, upwards, etc. the more range you’ll get. Over a long-range, the battery you’ll conserve by simply making your luggage lighter can astonish you. As you become leaner by regularly riding your bike, you will essentially squeeze more battery life out of your bike.
An electric bike is very versatile for any bike rider. Knowing how it works will help your ride be much more comfortable.
I hope you get an idea on can You Pedal an Electric Bike With a Dead Battery?
I am Michael, an avid rider and bike expert. I am here to provide, biking tips and expert advice on in-depth bike reviews covering features, capabilities, price range, and much more. Specially on electric bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, etc. I will provide honest product reviews, along with expert advice on purchasing, training, and maintenance. Check out my complete profile.