Single Speed Electric Bikes Offer a Stripped Back Experience
Conventional single speed bikes have been around for over a century, and have long been synonymous with commuters and city riders due to their convenience, relatively low maintenance and quick speeds.
While the emergence of electric bikes have largely been equipped with on-board gear systems, single speed models still come with varying levels of pedal assistance which, in effect, creates a faux-gearing system regardless. Because of this, e-bikes have given the single-speed market a new lease of life and we will be looking at why they still remain a perfect choice for many cycling enthusiasts.
Single Speed on an Electric Bike
Fundamentally, a single speed bike is a model that possesses just one gear ratio. They are typically lightweight, speedy road style bikes with narrow tires and a racy riding position, with either drop or flat handlebars and absent of extra heavy features such as a kickstand.
They do not have derailleur gears, hub gearing or other methods for varying the gear ratio of the bicycle. In other words, a rider cannot shift gears on a single speed bike, meaning the bike itself it very simplistic in design and functionality. This makes them an attractive prospect for commuters, casual riders and beginners as you simply hop on and start pedalling without much further knowledge of the bike itself.
What Are Some of the Benefits?
- Riding made easier; having to worry about shifting gears can detract from casual rides or commutes, but not on a single speed bike – just get on and ride. Particularly for those in busy town and cities, there is no worries about being in the correct gear for an instant acceleration at traffic lights and zebra crossings.
- Typically more forgiving on your wallet; the lack of expensive components and manufacturing costs in comparison to conventional e-bikes usually result in cheaper, stripped back models that are more affordable for the average consumer. However, although there is certainly a difference in price, the derailleur system makes up for a fairly small amount of the total price.
- Lighter and low maintenance; as discussed single speed bikes are in nearly all cases lighter than conventional bikes, and the pedal assisted nature of the electric models means getting to your desired destination is incredibly forgiving. Not only this, but the absence of gear cables and derailleur mechanisms means less time cleaning and maintaining during the winter where built up grim and dirt can wreak havoc on conventional bikes.
- Belt drive models are even easier; they can only be used on e-bikes that don’t feature derailleurs which means hub geared models or single speed bikes are compatible. Belt drives don’t need oil and are typically reinforced with carbon fibre construction so they will last a for thousands of kilometres.
If you are after a relatively easy, cheap but still robust electric bike, single speed models are notoriously reliable. Although much has been made about the compatibility with commuters in this article, they can be used in nearly every situation due to the pedal assistance – even climbing is possible without gears due to the powerful forward thrust.