9th of February, 2024
Q - When is an eBike wheel not an eBike wheel?
A - When it is not an eBike wheel!
Whilst this may sound contradictory, read on and all will be revealed . . .
What is so different with proper eBike wheels when compared to run of the mill bike wheels?
Well, in a word everything! The physical demands placed on eBike wheels are significantly more than the everyday bicycle wheels, in more ways than one.
Thinking about the eBike alone, it will be heavier than a standard bike as not only does it have to carry the additional weight of the motor and battery, the frame is also likely to be heavier. The other very important factor, especially the rear wheel, is the forces exerted by the eBike itself. This not only refers to the additional weight they need to bear, but also the torque (rotational forces) placed upon them from the motor driving the rear wheel to the braking forces, both of which are amplified by the additional weight.
The disappointing thing is, even with eBikes costing many thousands of pounds, to keep to certain price points and considering the increased cost and complexity of an eBike, manufacturers tend to skimp on things that may not be immediately apparent. In the case of wheels, they are often built on very average 2nd tier products and to compound the problem no different in spec to standard bike wheels. This in turn can lead to a ‘dull’ ride and premature wheel failure, most commonly spoke breakages and rear hub issues.
As wheel specialists, this is obvious to us, but to the average consumer it may be less so. We have a dedicated eBike wheel section on our website, with every component carefully selected to ensure they are fit for the intended purpose. Our eBike hubs are bespoke for this very reason e.g. Hope Pro 5e, DT Swiss Hybrid etc and where they share MTB specification, we ensure the manufacturer certifies them as suitable for eBike use. If you look at our rim offerings, the same applies. Our default spoke choice is Sapim Force, which has an increased thickness at the spoke elbow to cope with the additional forces they need to withstand. Finally, we use brass spoke nipples on our E MTB builds, for increased strength and durability. The only exception are the DT Swiss HX Hybrid rims (as DT Swiss supply them with aluminium nipples), where brass is an option that we would strongly recommend. Finally, our eBike wheels are all 32 hole with a 3 cross lacing on J bend hubs. So called factory wheels are often built on straight pull hubs with lower spoke counts as they are much easier to lace by machines.
Whilst weight may not be as important to an eBike rider, a proper hand built set of eBike wheels does not necessarily mean heavier and can often actually save weight over the stock wheels supplied with the bike.
Should you be looking for an upgrade to breathe new life into your eBike and would like to talk through the options, please feel free to contact us for a no obligation chat.
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