FAQ

Performance & Ride Experience

How many years will a battery pack last?
Our Lithium tri-metal batteries are spec’d by the manufacturer to last well over 1000 deep discharge cycles. That corresponds to years of normal use. Heavy use at high currents though can easily shorten the life to below rated. Your actual life will depend on how you ride, how large a battery you have, and other factors such as operating temperatures and charging practices. Larger batteries are generally stressed less and so last longer. Our EcoSpeed Velociraptor™ motor controller is designed to minimize stress on batteries and so maximize life with any battery system.

Customer Julia K. climbs a 15% grade with her EcoSpeed mid-drive.

How steep a hill can I climb?
It depends on your weight,the load on your bike, and how hard you can pedal. The EcoSpeed mid-drive will always out-climb a hub motor system of equivalent power though. Expect at least 15% grade climbing ability, with 30% or more possible.

Is the system waterproof?
The motor and controller are sealed and, though not designed for submersion, can withstand a pretty heavy blast of water, such as from going through a deep puddle. Lithium battery packs should never be submerged, though they are well protected from normal rainfall and splashes.

Does the motor put excessive stress on the bike drivetrain?
No. The motor actually puts less stress on the chain and gears than pedaling does. The reason is the the motor applies a moderate force to the chain over the full 360 degrees of sprocket rotation. Pedaling applies very high forces over the narrow range of sprocket positions where the pedals are near the top of their arc.  Bicycle drivetrain components will seem to wear out more quickly once you install the EMD. That’s not because of extra stress, however. It’s because you may suddenly find yourself riding thousands of miles per year.

Do electric bikes require special maintenance?
No. There is one extra chain in the system between the motor and the motor sprocket. It should be lubricated whenever you lubricate the other chains using the same lubricant. Otherwise, standard bike maintenance and tools are all that’s required.

Does the battery have a memory effect?
None of the batteries we use have any memory effect.

Can you pedal without using the motor or use the motor without pedaling?
Yes, the motor and the pedals are completely independent. The motor is fully disengaged when it’s not under power. Similarly, you can use the motor by itself and the pedals won’t rotate unless you choose to pedal. The bike will also coast normally with no part of the drivetrain in motion.

Do EcoSpeed systems use a throttle or do the motors just start when you pedal?

We use a simple, handlebar mounted, thumb or twist throttle. You ride your bike like you normally would until you want a boost. Then you push down or twist on the throttle. Our Velociraptor controller acts as a smart interface between the battery system, the throttle, and the motor and is the brain of the motor. However, it is the throttle that actually communicates how much power the motor produces similar to a gas pedal in a car. For example, half throttle means the motor is putting out half the power of the full throttle position.  This is different from a typical ebike controller which uses the throttle to set speed and doesn’t give you direct control over motor power.

Can the motor get hot enough to injure skin?
No. Our motors are highly efficient and normally run only slightly warm to the touch. Under heavy use they will warm up but cooling fins and thermal shutdown circuits keep them from getting so hot as to cause injury.

Legal

What is the legal status of electric bikes?
Electric bikes are considered to be the same as regular bikes under the laws of many states. They can be used in the same places as regular bikes unless the law explicitly states otherwise. Under federal law, any electric bike with a top speed of less than 20MPH under motor power alone falls under the jurisdiction of the Consumer Product Safety Commission instead of the Department of Transportation, just like regular bikes.

Electric bikes do not need to be registered and do not need to be insured. If you set your bike up to go faster than 20MPH under power, it may be considered a moped under state regulations and may then need to be registered and/or insured. It’s up to you to check on your state regulations. In practice though, no one’s likely to notice an electric bike that’s a few MPH faster than allowed. Also, some states do allow electric bikes that go faster than 20mph and the Federal standards allow higher speeds as long as the bike is also pedaled.

The long legal history of bicycles (they pre-date cars) confers multiple advantages on electric bikes. They are legal on almost any road, even rural interstates and major urban thoroughfares, as well as in bike lanes and on trails. Electric and gas scooters on the other hand, are usually much more restricted or have ambiguous legal status.

If you plan to use your bike off-road, then there are no restrictions.

Production Process
How long does it take to get my kit after ordering?
We build our kits and battery systems to order so it normally takes 6 to 8 weeks. It can take longer if one or more needed parts is out of stock or for custom projects. If the kit is going to take more than 4 weeks to ship, we ask for a 70% deposit, with the remainder due when we ship.