E-bikes are taking over the streets. The global e-bike market is projected to reach $38.6 billion by 2025, up from $21.1 billion in 2018. Particularly in 2020, cafes, restaurants, and other public spaces are closed or have limited service due to the pandemic. Public transportation comes with safety and social distancing concerns, and cities are closing streets to give pedestrians more room to navigate their cities. With this confluence of events, it is no wonder that e-bikes are becoming a favorite way to commute, explore and yes, exercise.
With the cost of electric bikes averaging $3,000 to $8,000, and some models going for as much as $10,000, e-bike safety and storage has become an important consideration. Insurance companies are offering e-bike theft insurance, and the first tip you will read is “invest in a good lock.” Whether you are an individual e-bike enthusiast, or the property manager of an apartment building, investing in secure e-bike storage is a must.
E-bikes require considerations that traditional bicycles do not, and their owners will be disappointed if their specific needs are not accommodated. ALPEN has some ideas about how to store a bike safely, with a special consideration for e-bikes.
What is the difference between a bike and an e-bike? An e-bike is a bicycle with a battery-powered augmentation. From pedaling (or sometimes via a throttle) a small motor is engaged which boosts the bike’s drive, enabling riders to tackle hills and other tough terrain without exhausting themselves. An e-bike’s motor is powered by a rechargeable battery. Light e-bikes are capable of 16-20mph top speeds, while the heavier versions are capable of speeds in excess of 28mph.
PARTS OF AN E-BIKE:
For the most part, electric bikes pedal and handle like any other bicycle, and use the same parts. The electric parts simply add to the pedal power provided by the rider, they don’t completely replace it. The goal of an e-bike is to make cycling a more practical travel option for hilly terrain, or longer journeys. E-bikes feature the following unique parts:
Battery: e-bike batteries are highly coveted by bicycle thieves, since many e-bikes feature batteries designed for easy removal, with aluminum or plastic cases that slide the batteries on or off the frame. With these models of e-bike, it is more important than ever to find a secure means of locking up your vehicle.
Motor: e-bike motors may be set up in a ‘rear-hub’ system or ‘mid-drive’ system. Rear-hub motors directly spin the bike’s rear wheel, while mid-drive motors are more versatile, generating power that moves the chain, making it more efficient with the bike’s gears. Most modern e-bike motors are brushless, offering a more durable and quieter experience while you ride your bike.
Drivetrain: traditional bikes have drivetrains to propel the bike by pedal power, but e-bike drivetrains are, necessarily, more sophisticated.
WINTER E-BIKE STORAGE TIPS AND TRICKS
In many areas, the coming of fall and especially winter can mean that it is impractical or unsafe to use a bicycle or electric bicycle every day. However, that only makes it more imperative that buildings provide dedicated storage options, as residents will quickly grow dissatisfied if storage in-home is their only practical option. Not to mention, the issue of lugging a wet or muddy bike indoors can compound cleaning costs and cause irritation to all residents. Would you store your e-bike in your corridor for weeks or months on end? What can be done to address the needs of your residents?
Before bikes and e-bikes are put away for an extended period of time, it’s important to make sure that the frame and components of the bike are clean. If dirt is left on the bike, it can corrode the frame over time. Make sure that the storage solution you choose has easy access to rags/paper towels and a basin, as well as a trash can.
Your storage solution should have access to multiple outlets for charging purposes. Similarly, since e-bike owners will likely want to come by at least once a month to charge the battery back up to this level, it should be easy to access these outlets.
E-BIKES AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS
How to store your e-bike is an issue that may bring you into conflict with unsympathetic property managers. Apartment residents want to keep their bikes secure, and for many keeping it in a shared garage or questionably safe outdoor bike rack will not suffice. At the same time, storing an e-bike in an apartment can cause tension with other tenants or property managers. There are multiple ways in which apartments, shared areas, elevators and lobbies can sustain unusual wear and tear from e-bikes:
Tread marks, chips, scuffs, or scrapes from pedals and handlebars striking the walls
Mud and grime from tires, mudguards etc. soiling the carpet or floor.
How to avoid this damage? There are alternatives. Secure bike storage in a garage or dedicated bike room does exist!
A GREAT WAY TO STORE YOUR E-BIKE
If you’re looking for the best way to store an electric bike in winter or fall, you should seriously consider ALPEN Bike Capsules for your residential building. Our Bike Capsules are made of roto-molded, UV-resistant polyethylene. They are highly durable, with all metal parts either stainless steel or aluminum and resistant to corrosion. They are also highly secure, featuring an integrated lock and key, optional Bluetooth connectivity, and the ability to bolt to the ground to prevent easy removal of the unit. There is ample space inside a capsule for maintenance and safety equipment, and even for leaving your battery inside to charge, with a small porthole for inserting charger cords. A far safer and more secure option to store your e-bike than a bike cover or wall rack.
Contact ALPEN today to enquire about our options for commercial units, or see if we’ve already answered your question in our commercial FAQ.