- What is VOLTAGE and which VOLTAGE is best?
Voltage can be thought of as the pressure or strength of electric power. All things being equal (see AMPS below), the higher the voltage the better, because high voltages pass more efficiently through wires and motors. Very high voltages (100+ volts) can give you a nasty shock because they also travel through people rather well but the sort of voltages found on electric bicycles (12 – 36 volts) are quite safe. As a rule, a 12 volt system is fine for low-powered motors but more powerful machines work better with 36 volts.
- What are AMPS?
Amps can be thought of as the volume or quantity of electric power. To aid this analogy, the flow of amps is called the current, as in the flow of a river. Unlike a river, though, the speed of the current is fixed – only the volume varies.
The maximum flow of amps in a bicycle drive system can vary from 10 to 60 or more. A current of 60 amps requires thick wiring and quite substantial switchgear.
- What are WATTS?
Once we know the voltage (or pressure) and current (or volume), we can calculate the power or wattage by multiplying the two figures together. The number of watts in a system is the most important figure of all because it defines the power output.
- How many WATTS do I need?
As a general rule, a cyclist can produce several hundred watts briefly and one hundred watts for a reasonable length of time. To be really useful, a motor needs to produce another 100 Watts on a continuous basis with peak power of at least 400 watts. Just to confuse things, our measurements are of power consumption – losses in the motor and drive system mean that the power output to the wheel can be much lower.
If you expect the motor to do most of the work, especially in a hilly area, you’ll want a peak consumption of 600 watts or more. On the other hand, if you prefer gentle assistance, a peak of 200 watts may be enough.
- Do electric bicycles recharge when you go downhill?
The answer is generally NO. Taking into account wind-resistance, road friction and so on, there’s surprisingly little energy left over for recharging the battery even before generator and battery losses are taken into account. In most systems the motor coasts when you ride downhill but those that don’t (mainly electric scooters) are capable of putting back only about 5% of the power absorbed climbing the hill. Regenerative systems are typically over-hyped and not worth the cost.
SQUEALING DISC BRAKES
- What causes disc brake squeal?
- Contamination of braking surfaces
- Weak initial break-in period
- Glazed pads / rotor
- Improper caliper alignment / pad adjustment
- Loose braking components / hardware
- Resonance / vibration of braking system / fork / frame
- How do I fix disc brake squeal?
1. Clean braking surfaces with isopropyl alcohol
2. Resurface the brake pads and rotor / follow the manufacturer’s break-in procedure
3. Adjust the caliper / pads to the manufacturer’s specifications
4. Check all fasteners for proper torque
5. Apply SwissStop Disc Brake Silencer
Required Tools / Supplies
- Clean Shop Towels
- Nitrile Gloves
- Isopropyl Alcohol 70%
- Sandpaper 120 or 220 Grit / Sanding Block
- T-25 Torx Wrench
- 5 mm Allen Key
- Needle Nose Pliers
- SwissStop Disc Brake Silencer
There are a number of factors that can cause disc brake squeal but the first and foremost culprit is contamination of the braking surfaces from chemicals and oil such as bike cleaners, chain lube or road and asphalt debris will cause disc brake squeal. You will generally feel a loss in braking power if your braking system is saturated with oil; the brake rotor can be degreased easily but the pads should be replaced if they have been compromised as there is not a reliable procedure to completely degrease brake pads.
Second to contamination is a weak initial break-in period of the rotor and pads. As the brake pads and rotors are new, they need to go through an initial break-in period before they start to stop with full power. This procedure deposits an even layer of brake material onto the rotor surface also referred to bedding-in brake pads. If this layer gets deposited unevenly or the pad cuts through this layer due to an improper break-in interval, the pad will jump when it hits the damaged area and then stick and this will continue over and over at such a high frequency, eventually leaving you with a "horn" for a brake. Think of a new rotor as a blank metal record which once it is programmed to squeal, it will continue to squeal until you remove the previous braking history from the rotor surface.
Third, pads and rotors can become glazed over if they are overheated prior to performing the initial break-in procedure. This is apparent when the braking surface of the rotor and the surface of the pads look glassy and the rotor arms near the braking surface have changed in color to almost a purple tone. Usually, the braking components can be resurfaced and brought back to good working condition but in some cases the pads and rotor must be replaced.
Fourth, improper caliper alignment or pad adjustment can cause excessive braking noise. Brake pads rubbing against the rotor constantly can cause a squeal as well. Check to make sure the caliper and pads are adjusted to the manufacturer’s specifications.
Finally, some disc brake and frame / fork combinations tend to resonate more than others, regardless of proper setup and break-in procedure. If you have tried cleaning the braking system to remove any contaminants and followed the manufacturer's recommended break-in procedure without success, we have found SwissStop Disc Brake Silencer will help change the resonant frequency of the brake eliminating squeal. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application available on their website.
Inspect the brake system to ensure it is setup properly according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Make sure the spokes are properly tensioned, axle nuts are properly secured, hub bearings do not have any play and all fasteners are properly torqued.
Removing Contamination Procedure
Apply a small amount of isopropyl alcohol to a clean shop towel and wipe down the braking surface of the rotor; you should see the contaminants transferred to the shop towel. Now move to a clean area of the shop towel and repeat the process until the shop towel looks fairly clean.
Resurfacing Brake Pads / Rotor Procedure
Remove both wheels from the bicycle and unbolt the rotors using a T-25 Allen key and set aside. Turn the brake pad adjustment knobs counter clockwise until they stop, squeeze the pad tabs together and pull both pads out of the caliper. You may need to use pliers if the pads are difficult to remove. Set the pad spring in a safe place and grab a clean sheet of sandpaper. Place the sandpaper on your workbench and lightly scuff the surface of the brake pads. You are looking to simply rough up the surface while removing a minimum amount of braking material. Now with your rotor laying flat on a clean workbench, take your sanding block with a fresh sheet of sandpaper and sand the braking surface of the rotor in a circular pattern overlapping the edges by an inch or so; continue to sand until almost all of the previous braking history is removed. Once your have resurfaced the rotor and pads, clean them liberally with isopropyl alcohol and reinstall the pads into the caliper. Torque the rotor bolts to the manufacturer’s specification and reinstall the wheels on the bicycle. Adjust the brake pads so that the gap between the inboard pad and rotor is twice the amount of gap at the outboard pad. Finally, perform the break-in procedure described below.
New Pads / Rotor Break-In Procedure
You can find the manufacturer’s recommended break-in procedure in the Avid service manual and the Magura workshop manual available on the attachments below.
1. Accelerate the bicycle to a moderate speed, about 15 mph, then firmly apply the brakes until you are at walking speed. Repeat approximately twenty times.
2. Accelerate the bicycle to a faster speed, about 20 mph, then firmly apply the brakes until you are at walking speed. Repeat approximately ten times.
3. Allow the brakes to cool prior to any additional riding.
4. *Do not lock up the wheels at any point during the bed-in procedure.
1. Accelerate the bicycle to about 20 mph.
2. Brake the bicycle to a stop.
3. Repeat 30-50 times.
We have found that it is best to bed-in both the front and rear disc brakes simultaneously which will avoid excessive loads on a single brake and minimize unwanted vibrations during the break-in period.
CLEANING CONTAMINATED DISC BRAKES
If you are experiencing a "screeching" or scratching sound when applying the brakes while riding your bike, it is most likely due to contamination. This is caused from foreign substances making contact with the rotor (disc), which can happen from touching the rotor with your hands to riding through a puddle and having water splash onto the braking unit.
The best way to resolve this issue is to clean the disc with Isopropyl Alcohol - 90% - with a paper towel or clean cloth. You will then need to set the pads with the rotor again, this can be done by riding the bicycle with the brakes engaged minimally so that the pad rubs against the rotor to deposit its braking compound.
DISC BRAKE QUICK ADJUST
A rubbing disc brake rotor can range from minor annoyance to safety issue. Luckily, there's a quick fix that works on hydraulic and mechanical disc brakes alike. This clever technique uses the caliper to center itself around the rotor, letting you continue your ride in peace.
1. Make sure your wheel is square and secure in the dropouts and that your rotor is true, before making any adjustments.
2. Loosen the two 5MM caliper mounting bolts so the caliper is free to move.
3. Squeeze and hold the brake lever as you re-tighten the caliper bolts.
4. Give the wheel a spin and marvel at your silent brake!
Where can I ride an electric bike?
Treat an electric bike just the same as a normal bike. You can ride an electric assisted bike anywhere you can ride your regular bike. Be it on the road commuting to work or at your local trail center, electric bikes & regular bikes are governed the same.
- Do I need a license to ride an electric bike on the road?
No not at all, again treat it the same as a regular bike. You will only ever need a license if you exceed the specified specification of EU law. All of ourelectric bikes can be used anywhere without the need for a licenseand are conform to EU law.
- Does the electric bike recharge whilst I am pedaling?
No it does not. Some manufacturers do advertise that the bikes regenerate whilst braking or going down hill. To be honest this is mainly marketing talk, we looked into this a while back, you generally have to add resistance to generate extra energy, you also have to add weight to the bike for the regenerative components. The gains are minimal and not worth the extra cost / weight / resistance.
- How long does it take to recharge the battery?
All our electric bikes use lithium ion battery packs. These packs recharge very quickly compared to others on the market. In general, our battery-packswill take about 4-5hours to recharge 100% from flat.
- How should I look after my battery?
Generally speaking as long as you don't leave your battery for long periods of time completely empty and you top the battery up after each ride, this is all you need to do.
- Should I completely drain the battery before charging?
On some cheaper bikes with different style cells, this is necessary. However, all of our electric bikes feature high tech Samsung-batteries so this is not required. It is in fact, best to always top up our batteries, even if you have only travelled 10kms, just top it up.
- I have seen cheaper electric bikes, what's the difference?
Its the same old saying - You pay for what you get. At Voltaway, we have chosen to not deal with cheaper, more "rattly" models. In fact, we only deal with quality machines that are built to perform the task in hand. Buy cheap, buy twice is our policy.
- Will your bikes move without pedaling or have a throttle?
None of our bikes are fitted with a throttle. If this is what you are after, we suggest to look at a cheaper Chinese model eBike or alternatively a moped. All of our electric bikes feature crank drive motors, a throttle cannot be added on to any of our bikes. You may wish to try a crank drive bike as you'd be surprised how easy you can move in a high assistance mode with very little effort.
It's worth noting that EU law means most "self propelled" bikes are classed as motor vehicles and thus need licensing, taxing and insuring to use on public roads.
Our bikes do have the walk-assist-function, to make it easier to push your bike, especially up a hill. Please refer to user manual to find out more details about it.
- How fast will electric bikes go?
All electric bikes are governed by law to an assisted speed of 25km/h. You, can of course, pedal the bike faster, however you will be using your own pedal power as the assistance will drop off at 25km/h, according to EU regulations.
- Which electric bike is best for me?
We offer a variety of electric bikes for different uses, our wide range ensures there is always a perfect model for each individual riders needs. You may already have some idea of what bike will suit you best. You can view the full range here.
- Why should I ride electric bikes?
Electric bikes are many things to many people, some use them as a vital tool for commuting, saving fuel, cutting transport costs and time. Whilst some people enjoy recreational rides, where you can go out traveling all day without the aggravation of steep hills. On the other extreme, we have hardcore mountain bikers using an electric bike to beat up lifts. Of course whatever you ride up you get to hurtle back down. Generally, you can get a lot more use in a day and cover more ground on an electric bike.
Remember with an eBike you get to do everything you are doing already but - Longer, harder & faster.
- How should I clean my electric bike?
Clean your Voltaway FatBike like you would clean your regular bike. Use a hose, sponge and preferably a decent cleaner like. If you can, then clean it after every ride to keep it in tip top condition. Also remember after cleaning to re apply lubrication to the chain with a decent dry lube. Please resist from using pressure washers on your bike. Not because of the electrics, but high pressure water can push factory grease from the internal bearings leaving them dry for the next ride.
- Does it matter if the electronics get wet?
Generally speaking the electronic items on all of our electric bikes are sealed units, from the motor to battery to head unit. They are all splash proof and have been designed for all purpose use. Your eBike is expected to be able to handle this without any issues. However, the eBike should not be submerged completely. If it gets too wet, allow the bike to dry off before turning back on and returning to the trail.
- What are the running costs of owning an electric bike?
The running costs of owning an electric bike are very low compared to other modes of transport. Generally, good quality electric bikes use better components that last longer compared to cheap bikes. Its the same old saying again - You pay for what you get.
- Where should I get my electric bike serviced?
All of our electric fatbikes use standard components so any cycle shop in the world should be able to service the bike.
- How often should I have my electric bike serviced?
You should have your eBike serviced just the same as your regular bike. Just because it is electric assisted doesn't mean it requires more frequent servicing. In most instances an annual service is enough, however customers using their bikes more frequently or in more extreme environments may require more frequent servicing. Generally, you can feel when your bike needs a look over.
- Where can I buy spare parts for my electric bike?
Remember all of the components are regular cycle components so you can pick up spares e.g inner tubes, tyres brake pads etc from any good cycle shop. The electrical components are a little more niche but you should be able to find the standard parts at our retailers. Still looking for something more specific? Do not hesitate to drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- How far can I go on a single battery charge?
The short answer to this question is far enough! Generally speaking, any Voltaway battery should last longer than you. We don’t hear many stories of people running out of juice.
With that said, this can be a complicated question because there isn’t a "standard" and everybody makes vastly different claims about range. We generally say that the autonomy is a range between 45-60km. The range fluctuates so much because of differences in terrain, rider weight, weather, speed and most importantly how much you pedal.
- How long until a battery needs to be replaced?
You can expect your battery to last about 2-4 years.
Lithium batteries usually don’t just stop working altogether, what happens is they gradually lose their capacity over time.
- How long does the battery take to charge?
A battery will charge is between 4-5hours with a standard wall outlet.
The battery is equipped with a battery management system (BMS) so you don’t have to worry about overcharging it and it’s best to recharge it after each use.
NOTE : If you do discharge your battery completely, the concern becomes leaving the battery in an "empty" state for an extended period of time. We suggest that if you do fully discharge the battery, charge the battery as promptly as possible.
It uses very little energy- usually about ten cents worth.
And it includes a smart charger that will automatically shut off when it’s done.
- Can I charge the battery by pedaling?
The battery is charged by plugging it into the wall and the more you pedal the farther you can go. Your pedaling conserves the battery but it doesn’t actually charge it.
The technology does exist that would allow you to charge your bike by pedaling but we’ve found that it just doesn’t make sense in the real world.
The problem is that it makes it hard to pedal, and that’s not fun! Even under the most ideal conditions, like riding downhill, the amount of energy you would get back is negligible.
- How fast can I go?
All Voltaway eFatBikes are governed at 25kmH in accordance with federal and state regulations.
- What maintenance is required?
Aside from keeping your battery charged, maintaining a Voltaway Electric Bike is the same as any bicycle.
After the bike’s been ridden about 100 km, you’ll need a basic tune-up. This is standard procedure for all new bikes as they’re broken in.
The most important (and simple) thing you can do is check your tire pressure regularly and keep them inflated as indicated on the tire.
If you’re riding in wet conditions, you’ll want to take extra care and make sure you keep your drivetrain clean and well-lubed.
Other than that, you’re likely to need minor adjustments from time to time and even the best parts do eventually wear out. We suggest that you bring your bike to your local dealer for a check-up at least once or twice a year to ensure the most safe and pleasant riding experience.