Can You Use an E-Bike Without the Battery?


Did you know that the E-bike market is projected to grow by 9.01% by 2025 to reach $38.6 billion? E-bikes are designed to provide electrical assistance through the battery and a small motor. However, what happens when the battery runs out? Can one still use the e-bike?

The e-bike can be used without the battery and not damage the motor. Nevertheless, riding the electric bike without a battery will make it more challenging to pedal, particularly when riding through inclines or tough terrain.

Read on to learn more about how long an e-bike battery lasts, what would necessitate riding without the battery, and what to expect while riding an electric bike without its battery.

Reasons to Ride an E-Bike Without the Battery

Electric bikes make one’s work easier by having a small motor that gives you a boost. The inclusion of a battery ensures that you can ride for a long time without getting tired, which helps build endurance. However, in some cases, you may have to ride the e-bike without the battery. Those instances include:

When You Need to Exercise

If you’re used to a traditional bike with pedals and getting a fair amount of exercise, you may find the e-bike reduces the amount of exercise you’d like to get due to the pedal-assist feature. Removing the battery, even occasionally, would allow you to cycle more under your own power and get that extra exercise without any assistance.

Flat Battery

Sometimes you may forget to charge the battery, which means you now have a flat battery and may need to rush somewhere. In this case, you can remove the battery and rush to work or run and do your errands. Removing the battery makes the bike easier and lighter to ride. Sometimes, you may forget to attach the battery after charging. That means having to ride without it.

Weight Limits

You may need to remove the battery from your bike if you have places that require you to be within safe weight limits. A good example is going to a place with a chairlift, which means the battery may be heavier than the maximum chairlift weight. In that case, you’ll need to remove the battery to be within safe weight limits.

Getting on a Flight

Airlines don’t allow one to carry larger batteries on board for safety reasons. Batteries could short-circuit if they come into contact with tools or other batteries. The best thing is that one can still travel by bike and get batteries at the destination.  Learn more on how to take your ebike on a plane.

Travel with an electric bike on a plane

Will Using an E-Bike Without the Battery Affect The Bike?

The above reasons may result in one riding the e-bike without a battery. Fortunately, this won’t affect the bike in any way or damage the motor. Nonetheless, one needs to be prepared for hard work.

Some of the reasons why riding an e-bike without the battery will be tough include:

Weight of the Electric Bike

A typical electric bike weighs close to 50 pounds, while a regular bike weighs 18 pounds. That’s extra weight that one has to deal with. The battery and motor also add weight to the e-bike, with some weighing three pounds and others close to 12 pounds. The battery capacity dictates battery weight.

Electric Bike Weight Ranges - Including the Battery
Electric Bike Weights (lbs) Including the Battery
Electric Bike Weight Ranges - Without the Battery
Electric Bike Weights (lbs) Without the Battery

While you don’t have to worry about weight when going downhill, it can become an issue when going uphill.

Motor Resistance

Another reason why you may find it difficult to use an e-bike without the battery is the motor resistance. Some models like Bosch have direct or crank drive hub motors that offer some resistance when no power is present. That makes pedaling challenging. Pedaling may be easier if the bike has a direct drive hub.

Although riding an e-bike without the battery is likely to make pedaling challenging, this will depend on the terrain and type of electric bike one has. Moreover, an individual’s fitness levels will play a role in how difficult, or easy pedaling will be. Some fit people have no problem pedaling without power or motor assistance.

How to Ride an E-Bike Without a Battery

Anyone can ride the electric bike without the battery, but there are some tips on how to do this safely. It’s essential to ensure that the battery space stays clean, particularly when one is going off-road. If there is only a bit of battery life left, it’s possible to get extra miles when riding in Eco mode, zero power, or switch to the lowest setting.

Tips to Prolong the Range of an Electric Bike

A charged e-bike battery can last from 30 miles to over 100 miles depending on the electric bike, and some may commute over 50 miles. The actual range of an electric bike is determined by the rider’s weight, the speed at which the bike is traveling, the battery’s energy capacity, the grade of the terrain, the efficiency of the motor drive system, among other factors.

You may find yourself with a drained battery in some cases, which means you may need to ride without the battery. Below are some tips that will help you achieve a longer range and get your battery to last.

Never Let the Battery Get to 0%

Batteries work at their optimal levels at 20-100%. Battery life reduces when the battery life decreases. One needs to charge the battery to about 20% power before riding. Remember, the outdoor temperature needs to be right for the power stores to charge correctly. Don’t start charging the battery until it has reached room temperature, especially during winter.

Avoid overcharging the battery as this can make it discharge, leaving it at a lower capacity. Having too many minor discharges creates poor charging cycles, which can be detrimental to the battery in the long run.

Always Check the Tire Pressure

The bike’s tire pressure also influences the range of your electric bike battery. Little air in the tires only increases friction when cycling on hard surfaces. That means you may end up losing speed. Having enough pressure in the tires transfers power from the drive to the ground, which means you don’t lose speed when cycling.

Reduce Excess Weight

An electric bike weight affects the battery range. Any extra rider weight only limits the range. If you have any heavy backpacks, you need to remove them to reduce the weight. You’ll notice the difference when going uphill.

Switch Between the Different Modes When Cycling

Riding an e-bike in turbo mode all day means that the battery won’t last all day. If one is looking to get more out of the battery, they need to experiment with the various modes available to get battery efficiency.

Opt for low and mid settings when cycling on faster sections of trail and roads. However, using the turbo mode when handling climbs and other complicated roads works better. Some bikes have on-screen power output readings.

Never Jet Wash the Battery

Although pointing a mesh wash on the battery may not seem like a big deal, it could affect your battery performance. What you can do is to get an electrical contact cleaner and spray near the battery terminals. That ensures that you get to maintain energy transfer and reduce corrosion.

Ride Smoothly

Using the right pedaling technique could help prolong the battery range. Stamping hard on the pedal and using wrong gears will only make the battery run out faster than expected. To avoid this, select the right gears and pedal continuously to further the range.

Avoid hammering in through turns; instead, flow through them. When you accelerate from zero, it only puts work on the battery and drains it more quickly.

Experiment With Different Terrain

Experimenting with different terrain is another way to prolong the range of the battery. Single tracks and steep climbs only drain the battery after a few kilometers. Opt for flowing turns and gentle gradients if you want to get the most out of your battery.

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