With the rising popularity of electric bikes comes new challenges surrounding them. The most common of these challenges is the question of transport.
However, it is not as straightforward as transporting a normal bike, because e-bikes have a few fundamental differences that you have to put into consideration.
- E-bikes are heavy. Each can weigh close to, if not more, than 20kg. That is twice as much as an average bike.
- They carry a battery. There are special rules that you have to follow when handling them.
- They have electronic components. These can be vulnerable if not handled with care.
Keeping these three important aspects in mind you have to decide the best way to carry your e-bike to your preferred track.
In this article we will be discussing two methods that you can follow:
- Load it in the back of your vehicle.
- Use a bike rack.
We will be looking into the requirements, limitations and also give you some tips along the way to help you to keep on your toes.
Let’s get started.
1. Load It Up
Perhaps the simplest way to carry your e-bike is to load it up inside the trunk of your vehicle. If you own a hatchback or a car with a lot of trunk space, you can just put it there.
➥ Also, you can carry your e-bike by Hatchback racks.
It is also the safest, keeping in mind the features that the e-bike has over a regular bicycle. Your e-bike will be shielded from the outside elements like dust or rain that might potentially contaminate it.
You only have to follow a few simple steps to get your e-bike stored in the trunk of your vehicle:
- Remove the front wheel and secure the axle.
- Slide the bike in and lay it flat.
- Make sure the handlebar controls and the gear cage is on top, we don’t want to put pressure on them.
- Cover the bike up with a bunch of soft blankets, a foam blanket or soft cardboards. We want as much cushioning on the bike as possible.
- Place the front wheel on the top of the cushioning.
- And we are good to go!
This method is easy and also the most secure of all the others we will be discussing today, as the bike stays locked inside your vehicle the entire time that you are driving. It makes this method the best if you are travelling long distances.
2) Bike Racks
While bike racks may be the best way to transport a regular bike, the situation changes when e-bikes are involved.
Due to an e-bike’s added features, you need to make certain considerations for your bike rack. Here are some tips:
Tip 1. Remove the battery and keep it inside the car. This will keep the battery safe from the elements as well as boost longevity.
Tip 2. Always consider security. Put in extra locks if you have to. E-bikes don’t come cheap. Good security is always worth it.
Tip 3. Consider carrying an extra battery. You never know when the need arises!
Tip 4. Consider covering your e-bike. Using racks means your bike is carried on the outside of the vehicle and thus is exposed to the elements. Cover your bike up if possible, a horse blanket works wonders!
That said, keep in mind that all types of racks are not suited for carrying e-bikes. Some are better than the others.
Tow Bar Mounted Rack (Hitch Rack)
Hitch racks are very popular in the cycling world, and with good reason.
- It is very easy to load and unload your bike on them.
- They have good carry capacity.
- You only need a hitch/tow to have it installed.
- They can have a lot of quality-of-life features, like being able to be folded to give access to the trunk or added security with extra locks.
- They are also well spaced, which minimizes the probability of your bike damaging your car.
All of these advantages are carried over for the e-bike as well. But any regular hitch rack won’t do. You have to pay attention to certain aspects if you plan on transporting your e-bike on them.
- They need to be e-bike specific. The added weight plays a big factor into transportation. E-bike hitch racks need to be specifically designed to carry this weight. The added durability and materials will add to the cos however, and it might be an upward of $100 at least.
- Platform racks are preferable. While hitch racks are of two types, hanging and tray (platform), the latter is much better for e-bikes for its better distribution of weight and added stability.
But still, you can get away with using a normal bike rack as well, but do not put more than 2 e-bikes at a time. Even that amount you should be careful of as their weight limits are usually around the 40kg mark at maximum.
Even though manufacturers have created e-bike specific models of these types, some issues cannot be overcome with design and better materials alone.
For example, loading and unloading your bike on a rooftop rack is always physically challenging. This challenge is amplified with the added weight the e-bike has.
Even if you are very fit physically and lifting an e-bike is not an issue for you, any small mishap in the process of loading and unloading will still see noticeable damages to your car due to higher forces generated by the weight.
On the other hand, if we are talking about trunk racks, we can see some potential issues there as well. The trunk mounted rack relies heavily on being correctly strapped on to the trunk or hitch door of the car. The added weight of the e-bike will only put more stress on the rear door.
Not to mention, trunk mounted racks have the lightest frame among all types by design. You really don’t want to leave your precious e-bike a few miles behind in the middle of the road, if you get my meaning.
Either way, you can obviously take steps to make the best out of the situation.
- Reduce the weight. Remove the battery and front wheel to significantly reduce the weight of your e-bike.
- Go on shorter drives. The less time your e-bike spends on the roof or trunk of your vehicle, the better.
Alternatives (Top Vehicles to Carry Your E-Bikes)
You can retrofit the back of your van to make more carriage space to carry your bikes. After doing so, you only need a couple of straps to keep your e-bike fixed and upright on the back of your van, and you might also need a blanket to cover it.
Vans are high powered vehicles, and are able to easily carry multiple e-bikes, if you happen to have that many.
Speaking of high powered vehicles, the pickup truck is our favorite.
It has great carry potential, easily fitting 4 bikes at a time. Just remember to get yourself a tailgate pad to protect the tailgate from scratches, covers for your bikes and some locks for much needed security.
Transporting an electric bike may seem like a challenge at first, but the answers to these challenges are as simple and easy as it can get. All it requires is your patience and knowledge of both your vehicle and your coveted e-bike.
While bike racks are the go-to for transporting any type of bike, there are other, if not simpler, options available to you.
So we hope that by going through our article you have been able to decide for yourself the best method to transport your e-bike.
F. A. Q.s
Q1) How long does it take to charge an e-bike battery?
Ans.: The time period an e-bike takes to fully charge up depends on its battery capacity. In the US, with battery powers ranging from 250-750 watts, it might take 3-6 hours to fully charge the battery.
You don’t always have to sit around while your bike is charging however. Some e-bikes offer ‘charge while you pedal’ feature. As the name suggests, you can ride all the while charging your batteries at the same time.
Q2) Can I get any exercise on an e-bike?
Ans.: Yes, definitely. An e-bike, contrary to what many think, does not turn the pedals for you. It only assists you in certain aspects of cycling.
You can always lower the assist settings to feel like you are pedaling on a regular bike. Any form of cycling can be considered a cardio exercise, as long as you get your BPM to a certain point (around the 120 mark, higher if you are younger and fitter).