Can you ride an electric bike without a battery? Yep, you can, but it might not always be easy. And I understand why some people might be asking this question, too. Sometimes your battery is flat or you are looking to purchase a bike and want to use it more like a regular bike. Let’s address these different scenarios…
Can you ride an ebike without the battery? Yes, you can ride an ebike with the battery. Riding an ebike without the battery will not harm or damage the motor. However, riding an ebike with a flat or no battery will make the bike harder to pedal, especially during inclines.
Riding an Ebike With the Battery
Electric bikes are quite heavier compared to normal bikes, and they aren’t exactly cheap either. So why would someone want to ride an ebike without the battery?
Well, there are a few reasons:
- Travel on airlines – Airlines don’t like batteries, in this case, you can still travel with your bike and rent batteries from local bike shops.
- Riding trails with chairlift access – If your destination has a chairlift, a battery may exceed the chairlift max weight. By removing the battery from your bike, you can remain within safe weight limits.
- Forgotten or flat battery – Yep, you thought you charged your battery but didn’t, so now you have a drained battery. By removing the battery, it will make your ebike a little lighter and easier.
- Extra exercise – Some riders who are more fond of traditional bikes might want the extra exercise that comes with riding an ebike without the battery.
Whatever the reason is for not having a battery or a flat battery, riding without one will not harm the motor or the bike.
We also confirmed this with a few popular ebike manufactures:
Yes, all ebikes by Rad Power Bikes can be pedaled just like a pedal-only bike without any motor assistance.By turning the bike off, or switching to Pedal Assist Level 0, you are able to pedal and ride the bike as you would any normal pedal bike while shifting gears to accommodate terrain.Rad Power Bikes
And another electric bike manufacture:
Yes. If the electronics are turned completely off, the bike can be ridden as a normal bicycle. The electronics system does add weight, meaning that more effort is required when pedaling.Juiced Bikes
Will It Be Harder to Pedal?
No battery, no problem? Well, while you won’t harm the bike or motor, pedaling without motor assist or without a battery will be tougher for a couple of reasons.
The first reason is that electric bikes weigh a lot more than normal bicycles. The main items that weigh down ebikes are the motor and battery (see how much does an ebike battery weigh), which normal bikes don’t have. The typical weight of an ebike is over 50lbs, compared to a regular road bike that averages 18lbs. That’s a lot of extra weight.
While weight is less of a problem while going downhills or while you are already in motion on flat terrain, going uphill is going to be quite the extra workout.
The other reason why it might be harder to pedal is because of the motor resistance. Crank or direct drive hub motors, such as bosch, will provide more resistance, making it harder to pedal. If your bike has a hub drive, pedaling without pedal assist will be easier.
Keep in kind, how hard it will be pedal on an ebike without power will depend not only on the type of bike and the terrain, but also your personal fitness level. For some people, they have little issue pedaling without assistance or power, while others might be able to pedal only a few hundred feet.
While it may seem like a chore to pedal without the motor engaged, it can also be fun. On my Rad Mini, I often ride on trails without using the motor. Usually I keep it in 2nd gear and can get a steady pace of about 10MPH. Not bad!
Tips of Riding Without a Battery
One of the benefits of electric bikes is you can get as much of a workout you want. Here are some tips if you decide to remove your battery and battery saving tips:
- Experiment with different gears to find a good pace
- Make sure your battery space stays clean, especially if you are off-roading
- Get in the habit of making sure your battery is charged
- Riding with zero power, eco mode, or the lowest setting will help you squeeze out more miles.
So yes, you totally can use an electric bike without the battery. Keep in mind that pedaling will be harder than a typical bike due to the extra weight and motor resistance. How difficult pedaling will be all depends on the bike, the terrain, and your fitness level. And if you decide to remove your battery completely, make sure the battery compartment stays clean and batteries are stored in a cool place.