Driving along the highways, it’s easy to see many RV enthusiasts are also bicycling enthusiasts. Bicycles adorn racks at the rear of countless RVs, and increasingly, those bicycles are electric models. If you’d like to add an e-bike to your RV gear, take a look at this e-bike guide for RV enthusiasts.
Read on to learn what e-bikes are, what they can do, and how they can improve your RV camping experience.
An Introduction to E-bikes
If your first thought when you hear “e-bike” is a scooter-type vehicle that does all the work of propelling you, you have a bit of rethinking to do. An e-bike is almost indistinguishable from a regular bicycle, with a battery-powered motor that is designed to assist, rather than replace, pedaling as locomotion.
Particularly where hills and/or long distances are factors, an e-bike is a great way to explore your surroundings while RV camping. But there are a lot of things to consider before making any decision on adding an e-bike to your RV camping gear.
As a next step in this e-bike guide, we’ll explore variables like motor options, battery charging, and more. We’ll then take a look at some riding tips. Finally, this e-bike guide for RV enthusiasts will consider some of the more frequently asked questions about e-bikes.
Choosing the Best E-bike Motor
To get started, let’s look at the three types of e-bike motors — mid-drive, direct-drive, and geared-hub.
The mid-drive motor is placed at the bottom of the bike frame, while the direct-drive motor is connected directly to the e-bike’s rear hub. The geared-hub motor connects the motor to the rear hub through a series of gears.
Mid-drive motors offer the smoothest ride and the easiest handling, but they are also the most expensive e-bike option. Direct-drive motors offer lots of sustained power, but they are heavy, and their location at the rear of the bike may present some handling challenges.
Finally, geared hub motors are small, light, and affordable, and they produce significant torque, which is important for acceleration and handling. However, they produce less speed than might be available in the other two types of e-bike motors.
Charging Options for E-bike Batteries
Your best bet for safely and effectively charging your e-bike is to use the charging equipment supplied with your e-bike. If you lose that equipment or it becomes damaged or worn out, there are many replacement e-bike chargers on the market.
But be careful when selecting a new e-bike battery charger. They come in a variety of configurations, and you’ll need to select a new charger that exactly matches the specifications and connections of your original charger.
E-bike Riding Techniques and Tips
Obviously, the reason for an RV lover to have an e-bike is to make it easier and more pleasant to extend the range for exploration. To make sure that’s what happens, let’s talk about some riding techniques and tips.
The first rule for pleasant e-bike riding is to remember that e-bikes are more powerful than fully human-powered bicycles. As a result, keep a careful watch on your speed until you are comfortable with how your e-bike feels underneath you.
Braking can also be tricky for e-bike riding. Remember that braking heavily will sap energy from your e-bike battery, reducing your e-bike’s range. Whenever possible, such as when approaching a stop sign, let your e-bike slow down naturally before applying brakes.
Turning can also be a problem for novice e-bike riders. To avoid damaging your e-bike, always be sure that the pedal on the inside of any turn is at the topmost position. That will keep the pedal from striking pavement, potentially causing a spill or damage to the e-bike.
Frequently Asked Questions
As you’ve considered the information presented in this e-bike guide for RV camping, it’s almost certain that you’ve come up with some questions of your own. Read on for answers to some of the more frequently asked questions about e-bikes.
What factors control how long an e-bike battery charge will last?
The average new e-bike battery provides a range of about 1 mile per watt-hour. An upper range for outdoor uses, such as road riding or mountain biking, is 500 watt-hours.
Technically, an e-bike battery for RV-related uses could last for 500 miles. However, many factors contribute to the actual life of an e-bike battery. For example, using your e-bike to get up steep hills will consume more battery life than just using your e-bike for pedaling assistance.
Similarly, carrying heavy camping gear on your e-bike will use more battery power. Also, if your tires are underinflated, your e-bike will have to work harder.
Finally, be aware that as your battery ages, it won’t hold the full charge for which it is rated, meaning that your range will be further limited.
What are some maintenance tips to keep an e-bike operating smoothly?
Because your e-bike is, after all, a bicycle, maintaining it will, in large part, parallel the maintenance of a regular bicycle. Primarily, that means that you should “tune” your E-bike annually. Tuning your e-bike should include cleaning both its frame and drivetrain, for which you can use common dish soap.
Also, check the wheel rims for any wobbling or other irregularities, and make sure moving parts are properly lubricated.
One thing to be sure to do to keep your e-bike in top running order is to top off its battery charge regularly.
What is the best way to transport an e-bike on an RV?
The best way to take your e-bike along on your RV adventures is to use a bike rack specifically designed for carrying e-bikes. Another helpful tip is to remove the battery from your e-bike for transporting to protect the battery from potential damage from road bumps.
Also, use bungee cords as extra assurance for keeping your e-bike safely loaded onto its rack. If you’re transporting your e-bike inside your RV, bungee cords are a must for keeping it secure.
Wrapping up a Complete Guide to Electric Biking for RV Lovers
With the guidance offered in this e-bike guide for RV camping, you are well on your way to choosing the best e-bike for enhancing your outdoor adventures.
As a final suggestion, if you plan to use your e-bike to haul gear, augment this e-bike guide for RVing by visiting the Beyond The Tent post on the five best bicycle trailers for camping.
- About the Author
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Jim Thompson grew up tent camping with his family, and was introduced to backpacking with the Boy Scouts. He attended a military college, where he was introduced to rappelling, an outdoor activity which he has not pursued.
Jim holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Georgia, and spent 35 years as a newspaper writer and editor before become a writer for Apple Pie Media.
Jim can be reached at email@example.com