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Real World E-Bike Testing - Battery Life Part 1

Here at Cairn Cycles, we have been doing some real-world testing to try and help you understand some of those E-Bikes myths, questions and general misconceptions. Our first blog in this series is on battery life. 

FAQ No.1 for anything electric and battery-powered seems to be always how long can I use it before it runs out. Cars, E-bikes and phones, for most things its general inaccurate statement or lased with clauses like 'used in ideal conditions'. The bicycle industry has been a bit more open and if anything has gone in slightly more cautiously with their estimations on battery life. We wanted to take that one step further and provide examples of really how far your E-Bike can take you. first of all some background. 

So why is it so hard to predict battery life of you E-Bike? As with anything, there is a huge range of factors that affect the charge life of your E-Bike. For example: 

  • The rider's weight
  • Assistant levels
  • Luggage weight
  • How often you stop and start
  • The terrain - rolling hills, flat, uphill drags, mountains etc.
  • Drag from the road/track surface
  • Type of tyre, conditions you are in and pressure
  • The age of the battery
  • How well maintained the bike is
  • Average speed
  • Wind speed and direction

To name just a few. Basically, no two rides are the same. So, therefore, your battery life is going to be different. 

So what did we do in this first test? Cairn product manager Matt took his Adventure 1.0 out on his commute for 1 week, to see how far he could ride on 1 charge. 

The perimeters, he must every day only ride in the Fazua Evation highest assistance level (That is Pink LEDs or rocket mode). That sounds weird we know? However, this gives you your absolute minimum range. So on a bad day you know you can at least do 'X' Miles or KM's on similar parkour or conditions. He also had to always have a backpack with between 3 to 5 kgs in it, similar tyre pressure and use his normal commuting routes for accuracy and so we can compare it to him on his acoustic bike.

The headline numbers: 

  • Tyres used - 650 x 47c WTB Horizons at 40psi
  • Tyre Pressure - 40psi
  • Weight of rider - 90kg plus or minus lunch & break time biscuits
  • Distance travelled without recharging - 72.6 miles or 116.8 km
  • Elevation gained - 2727 feet or 831 metres
  • Time spent on Bike - 4 hours 24 minutes
  • Average journey time - 32 minutes
  • Average Speed over distance - 16.6 mph or 26.7 kph
  • LEDs left light up on Fazua remote - 1
  • Days rode in the rain - 3
  • Days insufficient clothing was worn - 4
  • Number of people that yelled E-Bikes are cheating - 1

The weather during the test: 

The conclusion:

Despite Matt's commute being flat and that his average speed clearly shows he was riding over the assistance level threshold of 15.5 mph a fair amount of the time. Even in full power mode, he was able to achieve a huge amount of distance and way more then most companies are advertising. 

Why is this significant data?

Last time it was measured the average UK commuter distance was around 8 miles which is similar to that of Matts commute. So ridden efficiently that means for most people you could ride an E-bike on similar parkour to and from work all week without having to charge it. Compare the average commute time and speed in London so 8 miles and the average time commuting is 57 mins. Matt has halved the average commuter time, obviously, there are other factors to take into account but that suggests significant time savings regardless. This is without even getting into the other benefits of cycling like cost or health. For the enthusiast cyclist, 70 to 80 miles is easily a good day out in the saddle, with no worries about being dropped by your mates or having to try and keep up riding a 15kg bike that has run out of charge.

So there you go. Test one done. Let us know your thoughts via email or social media. Why not let us know what real-world test you want us to do in the future?