Have you joined the electric revolution and loving the effortless assistance an e-bike provides? Makes sense that you’d want to bring your new assisted steed with you everywhere right? The good news is that transporting an e-bike isn’t all that much different from transporting a traditional bike, however, there are some differences worth detailing before you set off travelling with your e-bike.
In this article, we’ll detail the different ways an e-bike can be transported and share some tips and tricks to make hauling your assisted steed a breeze.
- Related Reading: The Ultimate E-Bike Buyers Guide
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Best thought of as a traditional bike that provides its user with additional electrical assistance, e-bikes are one of the fastest growing categories in the bicycle industry and are quickly becoming the go-to for travellers wanting an easy way to see the sights on their travels.
Aside from riding your bike to the destination, a car is by far the most convenient method. However, for those wanting to transport their e-bike long distances, road or air transport may be the best solution, we cover four transportation methods below.
If space permits and your car/e-bike are both adequately sized, transporting an e-bike inside a car is no different from that of a traditional bicycle. Depending on the size of the vehicle, some components of the e-bike, such as the front wheel, handlebars, or seatpost may need to be removed or re-positioned in order for the bike to fit, but this is arguably the most convenient transportation method for most punters.
It’s worth noting that not all e-bike types will fit into a vehicle, so it’s worth considering the type fo e-bike you have before you plan your journey. For instance, a folding e-bike will pack down small, leaving ample room for additional luggage, whereas an e-MTB will take up considerably more room in the vehicle. As for the vehicle itself, SUV’s and station wagons are going to offer considerably more storage space than a sedan or a hatchback.
If you're looking to hitch-up the caravan and have more bikes than your racks can carry, bikes with a smaller footprint such as commuter and folding e-bikes are easily shoehorned inside a camper or caravan.
Regardless of what you're planning on hauling your e-bike with, much like e beloved pet, e-bikes don’t enjoy being left inside hot cars either, as the temperature extremes can cause premature system failure
If the space inside the vehicle is being taken up by luggage, passengers, pets or anything else that can’t be stored externally, a bike rack is your best bet. Given the additional heft of an e-bike over their traditionally powered siblings, a rear mounted rack is the most suitable solution. Roof mounted bike racks are fine for traditional bikes, however, tipping the scales in excess of 20kgs per bike, an e-bike is not only tough to lift up onto the roof, but users may also run the risk of damaging the roof should they choose to stick it up.
Fit as a fiddle and capable of lifting 25-30 kilograms worth of e-bike over your head with ease? Whilst your roof mounted bike rack may technically be able to hold the weight of your bike, another thing to consider is the increased surface area and wind resistance caused by a heavy e-bike fitted to the top of your car. Not only can the large surface area increase fuel consumption dramatically, but the increased weight of the bike combined with high winds may also cause the rack to fail.
With this in mind, it pays to make sure that the rear mounted rack is rated to take the weight of the bike/s you’re intending to carry. Thankfully, there are many heavy duty options that exist, capable of carrying in excess of 60 KG per rack, making them perfect for carrying a number of e-bikes at once. Examples include the Thule VeloSpace XT and Vertex, the Saris T-Bones hitch bike rack and the Kuat NV 2.0.
When mounting up your e-bike, it’s worth noting the majority of e-bike manufacturers recommend that if your bike is fitted with a removable battery, you remove it from the bike and place it inside of the vehicle during transportation. This ensures that your battery remains safe from temperature extremes, any water or dust ingress, and any potential impacts that may damage the battery itself.
Does your commute take in train travel part of the way, or ever wondered if the conductor will stop you from bringing your e-bike aboard? Fear not, in the eyes of the rail networks, e-bikes and bikes fit under the same category so if your train route allows you to take a bike aboard, feel free to wheel your e-bike on board!
For more information, check with your states rail network authority on what services allow the transportation of bicycles.
Looking to travel a little further than you’re willing to drive or ride? Thankfully packing up your ride for road freight or air travel isn’t all that dissimilar from transporting your analogue bike.
When packing an e-bike for travel, regardless of what you’re packing it into, it’s important to ensure that your bike is protected inside the bag or box. Be sure to cover the bike with sufficient padding and restrict any loose items in the box shifting around. Getting creative with bubble-wrap, foam tubing and zip ties so that the bike is secured together as one unit will go a long way to ensuring your bike is as safe as possible inside its temporary cardboard box, hard case or bike bag dwelling.
Unfortunately, the air transportation organisation IATA has forbidden the transportation of eBike batteries on passenger planes. As a result, if you want to enjoy your pedelec after a flight to your destination without hiring a buying a battery at the other end, you can send it by cargo aircraft, but do be warned, this can come with considerable cost. The best solution is to leave your battery at home, fly with your bike like normal and research battery hire options at the destination you are travelling to.