The Ultimate Electric Bike
Frequently Asked Questions: Kalkhoffs inspire curiosity as well as passion.
Jump to FAQ TopicsGeneral
Range
Motor
Battery

General

What is a pedelec?Pedelec is short for pedal electric bicycle. A pedelec bicycle is an electric bike that is driven by a combination of pedal and electric power. Pedelec is often used synonymously with e-bike and power-assist bike.
Do I need a license to ride an e-bike?No. Kalkhoff electric bikes meet the definition of a low speed electric bicycle under federal law. This means they are subject to the same laws as regular bicycles. The legal stuff can be read here. Check your local and state laws as they may vary.
Can I ride an e-bike in bike paths and in bike lanes?Yes, in most, if not all states, all Kalkhoff e-bikes are treated just like conventional bikes. Check your local and or state laws for additional details.
Where can I get my electric bicycle repaired or maintained?Because Kalkhoff e-bikes do not use front- or rear-driven hubs, our e-bikes are very similar in design and components to non-electric bikes. Your local bike shop should be able to handle nearly all issues. Although unlikely, you may need repairs or maintenance on your motor, battery or charger. In this case, please contact Customer Service for a repair or replacement.
How is the Kalkhoff electric bike different from other e-bike models available in the US?We encourage our customers to shop around for the right e-bike for them. Here are some questions we suggest they ask: (1) is the drive-train in the center, front or rear? (2) is the bike a pedal-assist or a throttle-based system? (3) does the bike come in a the right frame size? (4) how durable and reliable are the components, especially the brakes? (5) do the bikes come with the essentials for safe and clean transportation such as bright lights, a rack, fenders, chainguard? (6) would you enjoy riding the bike without the using the motor?
How much energy do Kalkhoff e-bikes use and how much does it cost to charge the battery?Electric bikes are an excellent form of alternative transportation and are extremely inexpensive to operate. Kalkhoff e-bikes rely on a combination of rider power and electric power for propulsion. They require a tiny fraction of the energy required to move an automobile, motorcycle or scooter. A full charging cycle of the battery uses approximately .30 Kwh of electricity. At an average price of $0.12 per Kwh (U.S. Department of Energy, July 2009), a full charge costs less than $0.04! That is about 8 cents of energy costs for every 100 miles of riding.
Is it difficult to learn to ride a Kalkhoff Electric bicycle?Nope. If you know how to ride a regular bicycle you already know how to ride a Kalkhoff e-bike. They are operated in exactly the same way.
Where can I try a bike?Please refer to our Demo A Bike page for the latest on our demo centers and events.
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Range

What is the range of a Kalkhoff Electric Bike?With a fully charged battery a Kalkhoff E-Bike can cover a distance of approximately 50 miles, under normal conditions. Factors affecting range include assist mode used (low-medium-high), outside temperature, number of stops/starts, gears used, speed, rider weight and number of hills climbed. Keeping your bike well tuned and the tires properly inflated will also help to maximize battery efficiency.
Do Kalkhoffs have regenerative braking?(Using the motor in a reverse mode to slow the bike and put the energy produced back into the battery)Not at this time. It's a good idea in principle, but it's hard to do in a way that actually has a worthwhile benefit on a bicycle. There is an interesting analysis here. There are good ways to do it for an electric train or car, and we hope that what gets learned there will apply to e-bikes eventually.

Some of the features that make a Kalkhoff a great e-bike also make it less suitable for regenerative braking:

Center drive: Doesn't have the coasting drag that a hub motor has, but more difficult to tie into a braking system.

Battery: The battery is designed for the most power at the lightest weight, and likes to be charged slowly, more slowly than regenerative braking would. We could use a larger or less efficient battery, but that would have an adverse effect on everything but the braking.

It's also a normal bicycle: Outside of the motor system everything on a Kalkhoff is no different than a conventional bicycle. Regenerative braking could add a lot of complicated and non-standard equipment that could be difficult to maintain and repair.

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Motor

What do the power levels mean?The 250 Watt Panasonic Motor offers the rider three levels of assist: Choose between Low (1:0.5 = motor adds 50% power to your output ), Medium (1:1 = motor doubles your output) and High (1:1.3 = motor adds 130% to your output). That means that if you are pedaling with 150 watts of power, you are getting 345 watts out of the bike on the high setting. Hill climbs will have never seemed so easy!
Can I use the bike without power?The maintenance free, brushless Panasonic motor is both highly efficient and long lasting. Thanks to its patented Torque-Sensing Technology, you will feel a smooth boost of assistance every time you push the pedals. Additionally, even with the motor turned off, you will find pedaling as easy as conventional bike.
What is a Pedelec?An E-bike is short for electric bike and is the general term for all bicycles with electric motor systems. There are two forms of electric motor power: a drivetrain that is controlled by a throttle which works without pedaling – similar to an electric moped. And the drivetrain that will only provide electric assist when you pedal – which is the case of a Pedelec (Pedal Electric Cycle).

Kalkhoff Pedelecs are equipped with everything a good e-bike needs. The durable central motor is discretely integrated behind the bottom bracket, the high-capacity battery above the drive train. In these positions, the technology is hardly noticeable and the low center of gravity creates the optimal riding conditions. You can choose from three levels of power-assist for great acceleration and as you increase your cadence or pedaling speed, you will experience a fun, floating feeling.

How does a Pedelec work? There is a torque sensor in the bottom bracket that measures the pedaling power of the rider and provides assistance according to the chosen assist level. The higher the gear and the harder the rider pedals the more push the motor provides – up to 26 mph for the Pro Connect Sport and 16mph for all other models at which point the motor disengages. A more detailed description is provided here: Panasonic Motor System
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Battery

How long does a battery charge last?The battery charge lasts from 25-50 miles depending on a number of factors including the terrain, power modes, weight and speed.
How long does the battery last?The battery lasts approximately 3-4 years and can be recharged about 500 times. This translates to more that 12,000 motor-assisted miles. It’s best not to run the motor completely down between charges; more frequent charges will maximize battery life.
How long does it take to charge the battery?It takes approximately 5-6 hours to fully charge the Kalkhoff E-Bike battery.
Can the battery only be charged when it's completely empty?No. In fact, it's better not to the let battery run all the way down. Simply put your battery on its charger when not in use. Thanks to advanced battery technology, the battery won't be damaged by being charged frequently, nor is there any issue with so-called 'memory effect'.
How should the battery be stored?If you’re not going to use your Kalkhoff E-Bike for an extended period, the battery should be stored with approximately a 75% charge at 60 degrees Fahrenheit. After three to four months of non-use, the battery should be recharged if it’s going to be stored longer.
What is sleep mode?Sleep Mode prevents a complete emptying of the battery during prolonged periods of non-use, which would eventually cause the battery to degrade. In order to 'reawaken' the battery, simply put it on the charging stand for a full charging cycle.
What influence does temperature have on battery performance?All batteries are affected by extreme temperatures. Battery range may be reduced in extremely cold weather.
How much does it cost to charge the battery?A full charging cycle of the battery uses approximately .30 Kwh of electricity. At an average price of $0.12 per Kwh (U.S. Department of Energy, July 2009), a full charge costs less than $0.04 ! That is about 8 cents of energy costs for every 100 miles of riding.
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