As previously stated in some of our articles, an e-bike is not an innovation, but rather an evolution of the regular bike. The history of an e-bike cannot be complete without an in-depth reference and discussion of the regular bicycle. Karl Drais traveled to Mannheim for the first time on his running machine on June 12, 1817. His discovery served as the foundation for the development of the bicycle, the world's most famous means of transportation. The desire to make daily commute easier and achieve the goal of a healthier lifestyle contributed to the development of e-bikes. These innovators have seen their idealistic projects fail repeatedly, sometimes fatally, yet they never stopped trying.
E-bikes are almost 150 years old. They have not always been acknowledged, with many dismissing them as a silly idea. However, e-bike popularity has skyrocketed in the last decade, with more people using e-bikes than ever before. Interestingly, the origins of motorcycles and e-bikes are intertwined since they are of the same mechanical concept. Motorcycles and e-bikes, on the other hand, are now distinct, with e-bikes being more adaptable and accessible. They are also less expensive. You can check out our post on Electric bikes VS Motorcycles and Moped bikes, to read more about their differences and similarities.
In this post, we will be checking out the evolution of the bicycle, starting from the crazy guys who first began to the new guys making it as comfortable as it can be.
Karl Drais, a German inventor, designed the Laufmaschine (running machine) in 1817, which was later known as the velocipede, draisine (English), or draisienne (French). He rode his running machine to Mannheim for the first time on June 12, 1817. His invention laid the groundwork for the evolution of the bicycle, the world's most well-known mode of mobility. This featured the two-wheeler idea, which is fundamental to bicycles and motorcycles, thus marked the beginning of motorized private transport. Drais took his first known trip on the Laufmachine from Mannheim to Rheinau, currently a suburb of Mannheim. There were two wheels on the dandy horse, and it moved when the rider pushed his feet along the ground. Like he would do when walking or jogging. Steering was possible by pivoting the front wheel and handlebar assembly. Several manufacturers in France and England created their dandy-horses following its brief popularity in the summer of 1817. The most notable was Denis Johnson of London, who used an elegantly curved wooden frame that accommodated wider tires. Riders liked to drive on smooth pavements rather than rocky roads, but their encounters with people prompted many authorities to pass regulations restricting their use.
Toward the close of the nineteenth century, the first generation of bicycles with electric motor installations appeared. However, the challenges that inventors faced at the time were e-bike batteries. Even until today, the most tricky issue that engineers and designers have encountered with e-bikes has been the battery. Ogden Bolton Jr. received U.S. Patent 552,271 in December 1895 for a battery-powered bicycle having a 6-pole brush-and-commutator direct current hub motor installed in the rear wheel. The bicycle motor had no gears and could draw up to 100 amps from a 10-volt battery. Hosea W. Libbey of Boston invented an electric bicycle (U.S. Patent 596,272) propelled by a double electric motor two years later, in 1897. Libbey built the engine within the crankset axle's hub. On a flat surface, just one battery would function, but when climbing a rise, the second would activate. The first rear-wheeled electric bike, patented in 1898 by Mathew J. Steffens, employed a belt along the exterior to generate power. In the years that followed, inventors made improvements on the components of the design, but these took a backseat as the creation of the automobile took the spotlight. The Pedelec, which stands for Pedal Electric Cycle, was designed by Michael Kutter in 1989 and is one of the most vital advancements in the modern world of electric bikes. This component is now known as pedal assist, and his concept was to have the motor start working as soon as the rider started pedaling, eliminating the need for a throttle.
Vector Services Limited developed and sold an electric bicycle called Zike in 1992. The Zike used nickel-cadmium batteries incorporated into a frame section as well as an 850g permanent-magnet motor. Despite the Zike, there were few commercial electric bicycles on the market in 1992.
Torque sensors and power controls were created in the mid-1990s, and manufacturing increased by an estimated 35% between 1993 and 2004. By 2001, the e-bike was known by many names, including power bike, Pedelec, pedal-assisted, and power-assisted bicycle. They used the name electric motorcycle or e-motorbike to distinguish between more powerful models capable of reaching speeds of up to 50 mph. Between 2002 and 2004, electric bike production grew by 40 percent. In countries like China, the market boosted as a result of other factors like air pollution. It is estimated that there are over 120 million e-bikes on the highways of the United States, a significant increase from just 56,000 in 1998.
The e-bike is the only mode of transportation that has succeeded in taking a sizable chunk of the bicycle market share in the previous 20 years. Its simple design, which closely resembles a regular bicycle, tiny and efficient electric motor, and simple control methods aided it to achieve rapid sales growth. The Electric bike has found a way to connect the past and the future by building on the foundation principles of two-wheeled vehicles that were laid down by those who came before them. Many companies are making improvements daily to make a bicycle as ergonomic as possible. As regards battery technology, more recent motorcycles used lighter, denser batteries than older, less expensive models, which tended to use heavier lead-acid batteries. The functionality of the various batteries varied, but on average, the newer, lighter batteries functioned better. They were able to increase both range and speed.
The new design features a standard bicycle frame and a small electric motor (up to 750 watts) powered by light rechargeable batteries (lead-acid, NiCd, NiMH, and Li-ion). The maximum speeds of the motors are limited to 24 to 32 km/h (15 to 20 mph). Direct-drive and geared motors are the most common types of motors now in use. Chain drive, belt drive, hub motors, and friction drive are all techniques for getting power to the wheels. According to market research, e-bikes will likely capture 65 percent of the vehicle market, a greater proportion of the world's economies. The main reason is the health benefits. People's growing concern for the environment and global warming are other reasons why more and more people are turning to e-bikes in recent years.
What’s different now from when we started.
With more years of material science study, manufacturers use lightweight alloy materials to build, thereby making them easier for the rider to maneuver. Some bike companies have foldable bikes, hereby making them more compatible.
Cycling should be both simple and effective. Cyclists may easily switch from pedaling for exercise to simply throttling away. To reduce the tension on their knees while keeping a good speed with the pedal-assist option on e-bikes. The Shimano 7-speed gear shifter and 5-level pedal aid option on the KBO Breeze allow it to reach speeds of 25 mph when the rider is pedaling and 21 mph with just the throttle.
Back then, E-bike batteries were too weighty and generated insufficient power. The new stronger batteries provide more range per single charge. NiCd or Li-ion batteries replaced heavy and bulky lead-acid batteries.
Improved saddles, easy-to-access handlebar controls, better suspension, etc. ensure comfortability even on rough roads and long-distance rides. With the new e-bikes featuring an aluminum alloy front suspension fork with 80 mm of travel, preload adjustment, and adjustable lockout for a unique damping effect when riding on bumpy surfaces.
E-bikes are significantly more environmentally and economically friendly than other modes of road mobility. It's 15-20 times more efficient than a motorcycle and eight times more efficient than rail travel. The cost of maintenance is really low, compared to using a motorbike or a car.
At KBO bikes we provide you with the most recent advancement in the electric bicycle world, at a very affordable rate. Our commuter bikes are designed to give you the best experience of two-wheel modern commuting. Visit our site to explore and select the e-bike that best suits your need.