Electric bikes have helped the world take a step into the future of convenient, environmentally-friendly commuting. Their clean technology makes them great for running errands and leisurely cruising short distances.
They can easily be loaded into most cars or tied onto luggage racks, thanks to their intelligent designs. This easy transportability makes them even more attractive.
This article will cover the various ways how one can transport an e-bike. It will also discuss the factors that determine how to transport an electric bike.
How to Transport an Electric Bike?
Want to take your e-bike along on an adventure? Or do you want to transport your e-bike to another place during a move? There was a time when doing either of the two was a little challenging.
Engineers and manufacturers have greatly contributed in making these e-bikes popular among biking enthusiasts. Their designs and structures now allow them to be transported in multiple convenient ways.
The following factors will determine how an electric bike can be transported.
- Your electric bike’s frame and shape
- Your electric bike’s tires
- Your electric bike’s weight
- The transporting vehicle’s type, potential, limitations and bike racks
- The electric bike battery handling laws
These factors will determine which vehicle will be able to transport what kind of electric bike.
Factors Determining How an Electric Bike Will Be Transported
With the global boom of the e-bike market, thousands of e-bikes are sold every year. This has resulted in companies constantly innovating to make their electric bikes stand out.
Today we have numerous types of electric bikes available in the market. These electric bikes have unique shapes, frames, weights, and distinct structural strengths.
It is because of these differences that not all e-bikes can be transported the same way. Rather, an electric bike’s overall design will determine how it will be carried.
Keep reading below to learn about the factors determining an electric bike’s transportability.
Electric Bike’s Frame and Shape
Every electric bike model comes in different shapes and has unique frames. While some e-bikes have a longer body, while some do not. Some are designed to look bulky while some are known for their elegant shapes.
If an e-bike is too long and bulky, it can not be transported in most passenger cars. You would have to transport it via other means that allow a big e-bike to be carried.
Some electric bikes have bar handles designed to protrude out more. This bar handles also limit the choice of vehicle one has when transporting such an e-bike.
Some electric bikes have their batteries exposed to external environmental factors. When carried on racks, chances of the battery getting damaged during transport do exist.
On the other hand, some e-bike batteries are easily removable and well protected.
For example, the Brompton Electric e-bike comes with an easily detachable battery pack. The battery pack can be stored inside the car, allowing owners to load the e-bike onto a rack without worry.
Electric Bike’s Tires
Different transport vehicles have different tire mount racks. These tire mount racks limit the size of the tire than can be mounted.
Initially, rarely any mounting racks accommodate bulky electric bike tires. However, with the recent popularity of thicker electric bike tires, this has changed.
Now many bike rack manufacturers are designing their racks to accommodate larger tires.
Electric Bike’s Weight
One of the most important factors that determine an e-bike’s transportability and mobility is its weight. An electric bike is much heavier than a regular bike.
Different electric bike companies are manufacturing different e-bikes of unique sizes and weights.
The material that goes into making an e-bike decides how heavy it will be. Steel-framed e-bikes are the heaviest while carbon fiber e-bikes are lighter.
The heaviest electric bike in the market is almost 40kgs, while the lightest e-bike is just 8.5kgs.
The table below shows four electric bike brands, their e-bike types, and their subsequent weights.
|Electric Bike Brand||Electric Bike Type||Electric Bike Weight|
|Quiet Kat||Flat-tire e-bike||31.78 kgs|
|Blix Bike||Folding e-bike||23 kgs|
|Ride1up||Road e-bike||15 kgs|
|Brompton Electric||6 geared foldable e-bike||12 kgs|
Different types of vehicles have different weight carrying capabilities.
A small car’s roof rack might be great for carrying a lightweight Brompton bike. While a truck would be necessary to carry an electric bike that weighs above 30kgs.
The Transporting Vehicle’s Type, Potential, Limitations
An electric bike can be transported via cars, trucks, busses or trains, etc. However, every vehicle type has its own potentials and limitations.
Having a minivan or a truck means you can carry almost every kind of electric bike. Simply either remove the minivan’s seats or make space in the truck’s trunk. You will just have to secure and tie the e-bike to ensure its stability during transport.
However, if you have a base model sedan, not every e-bike would fit in its trunk. Even if you purchase a mounting rack, the sedan’s roof would have its weight limitations.
For transporting the e-bike in a car, light foldable electric bikes are a great option. One piece of equipment that often allows most vehicles to transport any e-bike is a receiver hitch. After checking its weight limit, a vehicle can transport any e-bike via a hitch mount rack.
Electric Bike Battery Handling Laws
Most electric bike batteries have lithium-ion cell chemistry. These batteries are able to store sufficient charge at the same time. However, their temperature sensitivity makes them dangerous.
If an electric bike battery is defective or damaged, it can get overheated quickly. It can also get overheated if left under the sun for too long. This poses a great threat as an overheated e-bike battery can catch fire and explode. This is why most countries have certain electric bike battery handling laws in place.
A lithium-ion 100Wh battery is considered a dangerous product and requires care and maintenance. This means higher-capacity e-bike batteries will not be allowed to travel on airplanes. Only electric bikes with smaller capacity batteries can be transported via airplanes.
Continue reading to learn about the different ways an electric bike can be transported.
Ways an Electric Bike Can be Transported
1. Car Trunk
Car trunks are best for when an e-bike is not too bulky. All you have to do is simply load the e-bike in the car’s trunk.
If it is proving to be a little hard to make room in your car, you can always remove the e-bike’s front tire and store it separately. If the e-bike still would not fit, just remove both the tires. Removing your e-bike’s tires could be both easy and difficult. This depends on the e-bike that you have.
Some e-bikes have a quick tire release mechanism that makes tire removal and re-attachment easy. If your e-bike has a disk brake, the tires will be removed easily. Doing so would allow a wide variety of e-bikes to be transported via your car’s trunk.
You also have the option of folding or removing your car’s back seats. This would also increase the total space and allow a bigger e-bike to be transported. Transporting your electric bike via your car’s trunk also has a few limitations.
The limitations of using your car’s trunk are as follows:
- If your e-bike is too big, it just would not fit;
- If you have to remove and reattach tires, more time would be wasted;
- Your bike’s frame design could damage the interior of your car;
- The e-bike would block you for seeing in your rear window and the rear-view mirror. This could be dangerous;
- You would not be able to take along friends if your back seats have been removed;
- You would not have enough luggage space.
The benefits of using the car’s trunk are as follows:
- It is safer than having an electric bike on a e-bike rack. The chances of your e-bike getting stolen are greatly reduced. Moreover, flying rocks or other dangerous objects would not damage your electric bike.
- Since you would not have to invest into a car rack, this method is cost effective.
- The racks that goes on a car’s roof affects the car’s aerodynamic drag. This results in more fuel or battery power being used during traveling.
Hence, loading the e-bike inside the car will be the most cost-effective method of transportation.
2. Roof Racks
Strap-on roof racks can be attached to the roofs of almost all kinds of vehicles. These racks allow your vehicle to carry one or even more e-bikes at a time.
The limitations of using a roof rack are as follows:
- Roof racks have their own weight. With the additional e-bike’s weight, not all cars would be able to carry them both. Your vehicle needs to be properly certified to qualify to carry an e-bike on its roof.
- Your electric bike is vulnerable to debris. A rock or other hard object could fly off the road and hit your electric bike. This could damage both the electric bike’s body as well as the battery. This exposure means that your e-bike has a higher chance of getting stolen.
- The electric bikes mounted on your car’s roof would increase the car’s total height. This means your car would have limitations regarding where it can travel. Some tunnels or underground bridges have a height limit for the vehicles that can go through. If your vehicle’s total height surpasses that limit, you would have to pick another route.
- Electric bikes are much heavier than regular bikes. When travelling alone, mounting and dismounting an e-bike from the roof rack could be very challenging.
- Having roof racks negatively affect your car’s aerodynamic drag. This way more fuel or battery power would go into transporting your e-bike.
Furthermore, buying a roof rack would also add to this total cost. This means, that a roof rack is not the most cost-effective method of transporting your e-bike.
- If your roof rack is defective, or if the e-bike isn’t attached properly, it might be dangerous. A road bump or a drastic halt could send your electric bike flying off the roof. This would damage your electric bike greatly. It could also be dangerous for other cars on the road.
The benefits of using a roof rack are as follows:
- Using a roof rack keeps your car’s interior from getting dirty and damaged.
- You can freely view from your car’s rear window and rear-view mirror. Being able to do so allows you to drive more vigilantly and safely.
- Since your back seats have not been removed, you can take along friends and family.
- Your car’s trunk can carry more luggage.
Also read, Can You Ride an Electric Bike on a Road?
3. Trunk Rack
Just like a roof rack, a trunk rack is attached to your car’s body. It can carry more than one e-bike at a time. Instead of the roof, as the name suggests, a trunk rack is attached to the back of your vehicle.
The benefits of using a trunk rack are as follows:
- Unlike roof racks, trunk racks do not affect your car’s aerodynamic drag. This makes them more fuel/battery efficient.
- The interior of your car is protected from damage and dirt
- Unlike roof racks, a trunk rack does not increase your vehicle’s total height. This means you can easily pass through tunnels and go under bridges.
- With available back seats and an empty trunk, you can take along your friends and luggage.
- heavier electric bikes can be transported via a trunk rack.
The limitations of using a trunk rack are as follows:
- You would have to firstly buy a trunk rack that is designed for electric bikes. Since e-bikes are heavier than regular bikes, not all trunk racks can carry them.
- Electric bikes attached onto your cars are exposed to damage from rocks and the sun. They are also at a higher risk of getting stolen.
- An e-bike on your trunk bike would reduce your rear window and rear-view mirror’s visibility.
- A defective trunk rack or improper attachment could result in your e-bike falling off. This could greatly damage your e-bike and would be dangerous for other cars.
Related electric bike articles:
- Can You Ride an Electric Bike on Beach?
- How Far Can You Go On an Electric Bike?
- Can You Use An Electric Bike Without A Battery?
- How Does an Electric Bike Motor Work?
- Will Electric Bikes Get Cheaper?
Electric bikes have become a consumer favorite all around the world. Their environment-friendly technology allows safe and fun traveling.
If you wish to take your e-bike along on a trip, you can absolutely do that. Just use your car’s trunk or invest in a roof or trunk rack. All three methods have their benefits and limitations. Your budget and your electric bike will determine which method is the best for you.
My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars & Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.