Before purchasing a great electric bike, consumers may wonder just how loud these machines can be during use. These customers can be concerned that the bike will end up frustrating neighbors and roommates.
- Modern electric bikes are not very loud, with decibel levels in line with traditional bicycles.
- Direct-drive motors tend to be louder than mid-drive motors, friction motors, and geared-hub motors.
- Motor malfunction and overall wear-and-tear can contribute to an electric bike’s noise output.
How Loud is an eBike?
Generally speaking, e-bikes are not extremely loud, even when the motor is being accessed. The overall sound output is typically just slightly higher than what would be heard with a traditional bicycle. The noise level is much lower than what can be heard from a motorcycle or other forms of personal transport. This is why it’s important to understand the pros and cons of electric bikes and how electric bikes work, as well.
As a rule, direct-drive motors are louder than mid-drive motors, friction motors, and geared-hub motors.
Electric Bike Noise Levels Explained
Though most electric bikes do not produce too much noise, there can be exceptions. Here are a number of factors that can determine the sound level output of an eBike.
Certain types of e-bike motors can be louder than others. As a rule, direct-drive motors output a higher level of noise than mid-drive motors, friction motors, and geared-hub motors. This is due to the overall weight of the direct-drive motor and where it has been placed within the frame of the bicycle. To reduce a direct-drive motor’s noise output, we recommend avoiding bikes with a direct-drive motor installed to a front wheel. Choose those with a rear-wheel direct-drive motor instead. Having the right motor is also key to understanding how to increase your e-bike’s speed.
We recommend installing one of these electric bike kits on the rear wheel of a traditional bicycle, as motors that have been affixed to the front wheel tend to be noisier.
There are a number of electric bike kits available that allow for traditional bikes to transform into eBikes. These kits can be an economical option, as they do not include the actual components of a bicycle. However, the motors included with these kits can be noisier than purpose-built electric bikes, due to friction and installation error. We recommend installing one of these electric bike kits on the rear wheel of a traditional bicycle, as motors that have been affixed to the front wheel tend to be noisier. Additionally, if you need help with this, we have a great guide on how to install an electric motor on a bike.
To reduce a direct-drive motor’s noise output, we recommend avoiding bikes with a direct-drive motor installed to a front wheel.
Malfunction and Wear-and-tear
As electric bikes age and experience overall wear-and-tear, the model’s internal components can begin to rust or experience a wide variety of malfunctions. This can cause the overall noise output to significantly increase. Be sure to perform regular maintenance on your electric bike, so as to reduce the risk of malfunction. Also, if you are purchasing a used eBike, be sure to give it a test ride and listen to the noise of the motor. If it is louder-than-average, you should probably pass on purchasing that bicycle, as a loud motor can be a precursor to bigger problems down the line.
STAT: In March 2020, sales of e-bikes jumped 85 percent from a year earlier, according to the NPD Group, a research firm. (source)
Can you ride an eBike if the battery runs out?
This depends on what type of electric bike you have. Pedal-assist bikes can still be used when the battery has died, though the operation must be done manually.
How much pedaling assistance does an ebike motor have?
This depends entirely on the make and model of each particular electric bike. There is a wide array of pedal assistance options available.
What makes a good motor?
A good electric bicycle motor should be made with high-grade components and designed to last for many years without experiencing a major malfunction.