Electric Bicycles (Ebikes) are a fast growing part of the bicycle industry. E-bikes are generally similar to a regular bicycle but with the addition of an electric motor and battery that provide boost either by a hand throttle or by pedal assist. Pedal assist works by adding power when a bike is ridden. As pedaling motion is sensed the electric motor amplifies the power input from the rider.
The fast growth of the Ebike industry has brought problems and concerns about bike safety. An electric bike can be thought of as having three main parts, the bicycle itself, motor and battery. All these parts must work together and be compatible and safe to make a good Ebike. The biggest concern with Ebikes is the fire hazard from the lithium ion batteries. Damaged or poorly built lithium battery cells can result in failure and start a dangerous fire that is hard to extinguish. It is most likely for this to occur when the battery is plugged into a charger. Although battery failure happens in other ways as well. Faulty wiring on an ebike could be a cause, or a crash that damages the battery internally. A battery is more likely to have a catastrophic failure if it has not undergone and passed electrical testing standards. UL is an organization widely known for their product testing and electrical standard, they test and certify everything electrical from light bulbs to Electric Bicycles. A UL certification is the first thing to look for when deciding on an Ebike. When UL tests an Ebike they test the complete electrical system. This is very important as when they certify an Ebike drive system they are saying the motor, battery and wiring are all built to their standards when used together. The other important aspect is the bicycle components, buying from a reputable manufacturer means you will get better quality parts and it will be more serviceable. Many low priced Ebikes are built with substandard parts and often are not designed or able to be serviced, this means when one part fails the whole bike is unusable.
At Cordova Gear we sell bikes equipped with Bosch drive systems, and they are built with quality bicycle components. Bosch builds the motor, battery and controller, and the entire system is UL certified, so we know that they have undergone rigorous testing. The advantage of a bosch system is knowing that the components are designed to work together. When combined with high quality and serviceable components you get a bike that will last. Unfortunately too many low quality Ebikes are coming into the market with little or no testing and as a result components are failing prematurely, sometimes in catastrophic ways.