How to ride an electric bike
21 May 2010 15:48
We recently rode the Mavizen TTX02, the world¹s first production electric superbike. Here's what it taught us about future adjustments we'll need to make to our riding - and things we can keep doing the same.
First and foremost, it's as simple to ride as a scooter; there's no clutch or gearbox - just twist the throttle and off you go.
There are a few things to be wary of the first time you ride an electric bike though.
With it switched on and 'armed' the bike is completely silent, so you need to be careful not to accidently twist the throttle or else the bike will fly off without you.
You also have to bear in mind that the second you pull away the electric motor will give you 100% torque instantly, unlike a petrol engine, which takes a bit of time to get going.
After this instant surge of acceleration the power is superbly linear and controllable, as you would expect from an electric motor.
There's next to zero engine braking on a standard electric bike, although regeneration systems are being developed to act as an engine brake, which will also recharge the battery.
The bike 'floats' around corners to and doesn¹t feel as dug in as a petrol engine machine, which uses the gyroscopic stability conferred by the spinning cracnk to lend stability and a sense of composure and grip.
On the electric bike, it's like cornering downhill on a pushbike.
Perhaps the next biggest thing to get used to is the lack of the expected aural and physical cues.
It's completely stress-free thanks to the lack of vibes and the hectoring bray of a petrol engine but its silent running (save for wind and tyre noise) means you can often find yourself going faster than you realise and the risk of someone pulling or walking out on you is that much greater too.
Take care, space cadets.