In the cycling community, much debate has been on what size is best for an electric bicycle. These wheels keep you moving and are integral to the structure of your bike. More importantly, they are the first component of the bike to experience surface defects, changes in terrain, and road vibrations.
For such an essential part, it is only important to take careful deliberations before choosing one. Here, we review all the vital details about electric bike wheels and which size is best for you.
Sizes of Electric Bicycle Wheels
Currently, 16 inches, 20 inches, 26 inches and 29 inches of e-bike wheels are available. The most common being the 26-inch wheel size.
Folding ebikes, for example, use 16 and 20 inches wheels. They're perfect for such bikes as they're not very large and will fit their lightweight and ultra-portable nature.
On the other hand, non-folding electric bikes use a 26 inches wheel. This wheel size is typical for both road bikes, mountain bikes, and hybrid bikes.
Particularly, most hybrid e-bikes feature a 26 inches wheel since they are to work on on-road and off-road terrains. Their large size ensures a smooth and comfortable ride.
Electric bicycles with 29 inches wheels are also available. However, such wheel size is exclusive to mountain bikes, designated for serious trail drives.
How Wheel Sizes Affect Ride Quality
Undoubtedly, the size of your ebike wheel significantly affects the ride quality. Specifically, it determines how rough or smooth the ride will be.
The best wheel size on an electric bike is a large one. Anything over 22 inches will suffice, which makes a 26 inches wheel a perfect fit.
With a 26-inch wheel electric bike, you can easily ride across potholes and ditches, which are common with cross-country terrains, unlike smaller wheels that offer less control.
A large wheel maintains more contact with the ground you're riding on than a small wheel. As a result, it offers greater traction, allowing the bike to stay stable at high speeds. More contact means more grip, which is an asset when climbing high surfaces.
When dealing with an ebike, preserving your battery is one of the most important things. Large wheels help preserve your battery life far more than small wheels. That is because they're better at maintaining momentum.
You can constantly ride at a convenient speed, and a large wheel will require less power from your battery to maintain it.
Nevertheless, large wheels also have their cons. Large wheels take longer to accelerate than smaller wheels. Hence, you would hit top speed faster with a small wheel.
Furthermore, broken spokes occur more frequently with larger wheels since they stretch farther from the hub. However, large wheels are typically built with hardy spokes.
Are E Bike Wheels Different From That of Traditional Bikes?
Ebike wheels are not different from that of traditional bikes. In terms of appearance, there is not much difference between an electric bike and a traditional bike.
Also, the wheels, frame, handlebars, pedals, brakes, and seats of e-bikes are similar to that of conventional bikes.
The significant difference between an ebike and a traditional bike is that the former features an electric motor and battery. The electric motor or battery does not greatly affect an electric bike's design.
When Should E-Bike Wheels Be Changed?
How long your ebike wheel lasts and how soon you have to change it depends on many factors. These factors include the bike model, tyre type, commuting route, and how often you commute. Generally, a bike wheel should work efficiently for 1,000 to 3,000 miles.
Notably, your commuting route has the most effect on the wheel's lifespan. For example, your road ebike's wheels will quickly wear out and need replacing if you regularly commute on off-road terrains. That is why you should purchase the right bike type.
Usually, bike wheels feature a wear line on the rim. It's recommended to change your wheel once the wear line is no longer visible. However, changing the rim rather than the entire wheel is not a bad option.
You can maximize the life of your ebike wheel by purchasing the right tyres and using them for their intended purposes. Even if you have an off-road bike, you should avoid extremely rough terrain as they impact the most on the wheels.
Is a Front Wheel or Rear Wheel Hub Motor Better?
Generally, vehicles usually feature a front-wheel or rear-wheel drive mechanism. The front wheels power a front-wheel-drive mechanism while the rear wheels roll along. On the other hand, the rear wheels power a rear-wheel-drive mechanism and the front wheel steers.
With electric bikes, it's not much different, except that the focus is on the electric motor. The ebike's electric motor hub can be mounted on the front or rear wheel. Where it's mounted affects the bike's power, weight, and acceleration, among other things.
An electric bike with the motor hub mounted on the front wheel is considered safer than those mounted on the rear wheel. Too much weight on the rear wheel significantly impacts acceleration, leading to an accident.
However, an ebike with the motor hub mounted on the front wheel can also be challenging to control, especially on uneven roads.
Overall, the best options are ebikes with mid-drive motors. On such bikes, the electric motor is mounted in the middle, and no direct pressure is on the rear or front wheels, which creates a balance between the two wheels, making the bike more powerful and efficient.
Without a doubt, ebike wheels are extremely important to your ride quality. Using the right wheel size for your bike makes your rides smoother and more efficient.