eBike FAQ

What is an eBike?

A bicycle, with pedals, brakes, etc., that also has an “electric drive system” (an electric motor, battery, and controller). The electric drive system propels you, at varying levels of assistance that you select – from no assistance, to a little, to a lot.  Modern, quality, eBikes are quiet, clean and incredibly fun to ride.  Come and try one (for free) for.  We dare you not to smile or laugh out loud when you do  🙂

Why would I want an eBike?

eBikes enable new capabilities for you;

  • Travel greater distances, with less effort.  Many users choose an eBike for commuting so they don’t perspire on their commutes, or because the eBike allows them to traverse hilly terrain with much less exertion.
  • Carry cargo. Electric cargo bikes can carry up to 400 lbs of people or things – eliminating the need for many car trips. Even standard eBikes carry more cargo with less effort.
  • Fun and recreation! eBikes are just plain fun to ride. They make getting outside a blast!
  • Overcome injury or physical limitation.  eBikes allow people who may have had to stop using a bike (perhaps due to an injury, or age, or disability), or maybe never used one, to access the great outdoors.
How can I know if I’ll like an eBike?

Current eBikes offers free test rides of eBikes.  We also offer rentals of some of our models.  These are the best ways to determine if an eBike is right for you.

How much does it cost to rent your eBikes?
eBikes can be reserved online, or by phone – $49 for 3 hrs, or $75 for 5-8 hours – please see our Rental page for more information.  Hourly rentals ($20/hr) are often available – phone ahead to check availability.
If I purchase an eBike, do I need a driver’s license, insurance or registration to use it?

Nope!  Per California law, all of our eBikes are legal bicycles – they are Class 1, 2, or 3 eBikes and are considered “bicycles”.

Where can I ride an eBike?

In California (and many other states), bicycles with pedals, drive systems of 750W or less, and maximum speeds of up to 20 MPH (Class 1 or Class 2 eBikes), are regulated like bicycles for use on paved surfaces – they don’t require a license, registration, or insurance.  Unless a local jurisdiction posts otherwise, these eBikes can go anywhere on pavement that a regular bike can go.  eBikes with pedals, a drive system of 750W or less, and a maximum speed up to 28 MPH are called a “Speed Pedelec” or a Class 3 eBike.  In California, these eBikes also do not require a license, registration, or insurance. But, they are typically restricted to use the road or bike lanes (and are restricted on multi-use pathways, etc.) For more information on eBike regulations, consult these bike advocacy links below.
PeopleForBikes – California Electric Bike Law – Info For Riders
PeopleForBikes – Main Page on Electric Bikes (loads of articles here)

Do you offer electric mountain bikes (eMTB’s)?

Yes, we offer probably the widest selection of eMTB’s in the area with over 40 different styles of electric mountain bikes (eMTBs) from Focus, Haibike, and Pedego.  We offer just about every style of MTB you can imagine – hard tails, full-suspension, plus sized tires, fat tires.  Today, the “all-mountain” style of eMTB (with 5-6″ of travel, front and rear, and relaxed frame geometry) are among the most popular – Current eBikes offers more than 15 configurations of this style bike – at a wide variety of prices.

Where can I ride an electric mountain bike or eMTB?

California State Parks (Wilder Ranch, Forest of Nisene Marks, etc.) allow eBikes on trails designated for bike use.  Santa Cruz City and County parks do the same.  UC Santa Cruz allow eBikes anywhere bikes are allowed.   The eMTB is a fairly new type of vehicle and regulations for their use off pavement are still evolving.  Many laws on the books were established decades ago in response to dirt bikes and land managers are just now re-assessing them.  As such, certain off pavement trails do not allow eBikes presently.  Check with your local land manager to get the latest guideline.  Many eMTB users ride their bikes around town, on private land, on dirt roads indicated for motor vehicles, or on Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs) trails, etc.  There are thousands of miles of OHV designated trails in the State.

Does using an eBike neutralize the health benefits of riding a bike?
Take a look at a recent study highlighted by the NY Times – showing how the fun factor of an eBike leads to improved health outcomes for many.
How much do eBikes cost?

Current eBikes offer a wide selection of bikes that start from around $2,000.  We also offer 12 Month No Interest Financing.  With over 90 models available from the brands we carry, we have a selection of modern, quality bikes as well as bikes with the very latest technology and high end components.  Candidly, you can acquire an electric bicycle for less, or you can “do it yourself” with various conversion kits.  Yet, the experience you have during purchase, set up and longer term support may not meet your expectations.  Every bike purchased from Current eBikes includes lifetime Standard Tune-ups to help keep your ownership costs down and your bike in tip top shape.

Why would I want to invest in an eBike?
A quality eBike has been designed to be used frequently.  Its components will work well, day in day out, and it will come with support to keep it that way.  Premium models offer additional features, and corresponding benefits – like longer range batteries, lights, cargo racks or bags, reduced weight, and even integration with your smartphone!
What activates the electric motor – pedaling the bike, or a throttle?
Most of our bikes offer “pedal assist” technology. This means the electric assistance from the motor activates only when you pedal the bike. Some of our bikes offer a twist throttle in addition to pedal assist. Finally, a small number of our bikes have twist throttle activation only. The bikes with pedal assist have an easy to use controller to adjust how much assistance you get. On the fly (while riding), you can adjust the assistance from zero assistance to a lot. If you want to get more exercise and/or conserve your battery capacity, select a low level of assistance. If you’re approaching a hill and/or your tired, select a high level of assistance.
How how far can I go on a full battery charge?

Quality eBikes can go from 25 to over 100+ miles on a full charge.  The variables are the bike, the battery, how much pedal assistance you select, the terrain, rider weight, etc.

How do I know when the battery is low?

The bicycles have an indicator to show the amount of charge remaining.  Many of them have a distance estimator to estimate how many miles you can go on the remaining charge.

Do I have to wait for the battery to empty before I charge it?

No, the batteries we use are lithium-ion batteries which do not suffer from ‘memory effect’. This means that there is no need to discharge a battery completely before you recharge it again. Most people recharge the battery after every use, regardless of how far you rode.

How long does it take to fully charge the battery?

If the battery were full discharged, it may take 4-5 hours to completely re-charge it.

What is the cost to charge?
All our bikes use standard household electricity. The average cost per full charge is about 10 cents.  If you charge the battery every single day for a year, it would cost you about $35 per year.
What happens if I get a flat tire?
The tires on our bikes are the same as conventional bicycles. Simply replace the tube with a tube of the right size and inflate it. No special tires or parts will be needed.
Can I put an eBike on an automobile bike rack?

Yes, just ensure the rack is rated for the weight of the eBike.  It is recommended to remove the battery when transporting eBikes on a rack.

What maintenance is required for an eBike?

If you purchase your bike from Current eBikes, lifetime Standard Tune-ups are included – saving you perhaps as much as $450 in three years.

eBike electric drive systems are essentially mainteance free.  So that leaves you pretty much with standard bike maintenance.  The one rule for battery care is to ensure that the battery is not left in a highly dis-charged state for a long period of time (many weeks).

I see Pedego offers 4 different batteries. How do they compare?

Pedego offers four different batteries that are classified by their voltage and amp-hour ratings. The voltage determines how powerful the bike will feel and the amp-hours determine how far you can go on a single charge. Choosing the right battery for you depends on your individual needs and budget.

36V 48V
10AH Experience shows that most people are completely satisfied with the standard 36V 10Ah battery. It usually provides more than enough power and range, and it’s the most affordable option. The more powerful 48V 10Ah battery is best for riders over 200 pounds and for overcoming steep hills or strong headwinds. The extra power makes it more fun and exciting to ride.
15AH The extended range 36V 15Ah battery is best for trips over 20 miles or if you plan to pedal very little (or not at all). It can really come in handy to have excess capacity. The 48V 15Ah battery is the best of both worlds, and it’s the most popular option. It has all the power of the 48V 10Ah battery and the extended range of the 36V 15Ah.
How far will these batteries take me on a single charge?

All batteries have both a Voltage and Amp Hour rating. If you multiply the two together, you get Watt Hours. Watt Hours is an objective measurement of the actual amount of energy stored in a battery. Volts x Amp Hours = Watt Hours This is where it gets tricky, because there are so many variables. On average, you can expect to use between 12-24 watt hours per mile. This number fluctuates so much because of differences in terrain, rider weight, weather, speed, and most importantly how much you pedal. Below is a table with all the facts about each Pedego battery and the estimated range for an average rider.

VOLTS AMP HOURS WATT HOURS ESTIMATED RANGE (12-24 WH/MILE)
STANDARD 36 10 360 15 – 30 miles (12-24 wh/mile)
LONG RANGE 36 15 540 22 – 45 miles
POWERFUL 48 10 480 20-40 miles
PREMIUM 48 15 750 31-62 miles
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