June 6, 2020

Words by Steve Ranger

South Downs Way 2 – The Battery Test

As social distancing made it more difficult to go riding with Rob, my co-rider in part one, I decided to continue in a slightly different way by starting at the end point from last time (my house in Lewes), and seeing how far one e-bike battery would take me.

From last time you may remember that we left Eastbourne on two ebikes but Rob kept his on ‘Turbo’ the whole way and ran out just before Lewes, whereas I conserved my battery and still had 15 miles left on the indicator. He still made me ride the last 2 miles on his dead bike though, as it was ‘your idea’. So to see just how good the batteries are, I thought I’d take two – run the first one into the ground, then use the second to get to the nearest road for a pickup.

Ebike battery test First issue – the spare battery weighed a ton. It was just OK to get into my pack, but even though it was a slightly smaller capacity battery it has to fit into the same hole in the bike, so physically was the same size. And carrying it all day really was pretty heavy on the shoulders. Some bikes have an extra bracket for a second battery, or a second battery in another part of the frame. Get one of those if you think you’ll be going a long way.

This was a windy day with the wind from the West, so against me – that may have had some influence on the battery usage, but it mainly seemed to drain when ascending. I used the battery as little as I could, a parameter which seemed to change as the day went on moving towards using it more on every little uphill – not sure why that was.

The results? One 625W battery  got me exactly 43km or just under 27 miles – this seemed a little disappointing to me until I checked on ViewRanger and saw that that had included an amazing 999 metres of ascent. As the main thing you want from an ebike is to cruise up hills, that seemed pretty good to me. But it did mean that I was only riding until lunchtime before the battery ran out, so I’d think that if you want to ride the whole day or have a longer trip planned, then two batteries is the way to go. Or not an ebike.

Here’s a little video for you…

 

I have a trip planned to Wales this autumn, crossing Wales in 3 days across the mountains, and I have booked a bike which has two batteries – don’t want to get caught out on the Welsh hills with a bike weighing 24kg…