Using an electric bike as a commuter bike is a great idea. The pedal-assist motor helps tackle hills easily, and there is no risk of sweating through work clothes. However, many people worry about using an electric bicycle daily because they look much more attractive to a bicycle thief than a standard, pedal-powered bicycle. It's common knowledge that, in New York City especially, bicycle theft is a rampant problem. Even if a lock is enough protection against frame theft, other attractive parts such as seats and handlebars will sometimes get swiped. How can you protect your electric bike, with an expensive battery and motor, against these sorts of problems?
Electric Bike Battery Locks
Luckily, most manufacturers of electric bikes thought of this problem before they put the bikes together. On eZee electric bikes, for example, a keyed lock actually bolts the battery to the bike frame. This same key acts as the ignitions for the bike, so after turning the bike off, simply remove the key and the battery is secure. Other bikes, like the Sanyo Eneloop electric bike, have an automatic lock on the battery. The key must be used to take the battery off the bike to charge, but when it is attached to the bike, it cannot be removed. This sort of battery security is vital for electric bike commuters that are worried about their investments.
A great security measure on the BionX electric bike kit, in addition to the keyed battery lock, is the security alarm built into the control console. Just program a numeric code, similar to a cell phone, and this electric bike cannot be turned on without the rider's permission. It's a reliable feature on a versatile electric bike conversion kit.
Of course, for those riders who like to charge their batteries while they work, most electric bike batteries can be removed and charged apart from the bike frame. Taking the battery off the bike removes an enticing and expensive object from the frame, and also allows for a longer battery life on the way home. Some commuters travel over fifteen miles to work, so a four or five hour charge will help to fully recharge the battery so it can make the return trip.
Locking an Electric Bike
Other than the battery, what are some other ways to ensure your electric bike will not be ripped off while parked on the street? For the utmost security, a Kryptonite chain lock cannot be beat. Though it weighs in at approximately twenty pounds, this lock provides the best level of security, and is practically impossible to cut. Don't want to carry around all that extra weight? Try a U-Lock. The Kryptonite U-Lock has a big clearance for larger frames, while the Abus U-Lock conveniently fits into the back pocket of your jeans. Used in conjunction with a braided cable through the wheels, the U-Lock can be just as secure as a heavy chain.
With the new Bikes in Buildings bill in effect in New York City, every workplace now allows for indoor bicycle parking. This is great news for bike commuters who want a secure room to put their bike. However, many people still would like a small measure of security, even in a bike room. The combination bike cable is a lightweight lock that can stretch through the frame and wheels. Though not really suitable for outdoor city locking, it's the perfect bike room security.
Electric Motor Security
Many people lock their bicycle wheels when they use a quick-release axle. This is a lever that simply uses tension to keep the wheel attached to the bike. Flip it the other way and the wheel pops right off. It's a quick steal for a bike thief, so these wheels should be locked using a chain or braided cable. Luckily, electric bikes use bolt-on wheels, which means a wrench is necessary to remove the wheel. On a high-torque motor wheel, a bolt-on wheel is much more reliable than a quick-release, because of the large amount of power exerted on the axle.
Though a bolt-on wheel is usually deterrent enough for most thieves, running a chain or cable through the motor wheel is not a bad idea for added security. Many delivery guys in New York use electric bikes and park them on the street. The lock of choice? The New York Fahgettaboudit Kryptonite chain lock. Also, wrapping the bikes in cardboard and duct tape doesn't hurt to make the bike less appealing.
More and more people are using electric bikes as everyday commuter vehicles. Ditch your car for some electric power!