Can You Ride an eBike Without the Battery?


Yes, you can ride an e-bike without a battery, but it isn’t easy.

Electric bikes are not only a convenient and economical mode of transportation, but they’re also safer and easier to use than normal bikes. With a small motor and a battery, electric bikes have multiple benefits that almost blind out their downside – anything electric needs to be charged.

Typically, a lithium-ion electric bike battery lasts 25 – 70 miles of travel, depending on how hard you ride it and how well you’ve maintained the battery.

Sooner or later, you’ll experience a flat battery, making you wonder, ‘Can you ride an ebike without the battery?’ There’s no need to panic in such a situation; it’s not the end of the world.

Can You Ride an eBike Without the Battery?

Yes! Simply because almost all electric bikes function like normal bicycles once their electronics turn off.

Neither will the motor get harmed or damaged, nor will the brakes suddenly lock or the wheels spin out of control.

What’s challenging in riding an e-bike without the battery is that it gets harder to pedal, especially on inclines or rugged terrain. The motor and battery make an electric bike heavier than a regular bike. And since a dead battery doesn’t provide the motor with electricity, with no pedal assistance, it’s much harder to ride.

Why Ride an e-Bike Without the Battery

At times, having to ride your e-bike without the battery could be unintentional, while it could be intentional at other times.

Your Battery Ran Out

A phone with a dead battery can make you feel like you’re stuck in no man’s land (metaphorically speaking), but it needn’t be so with your e-bike.

Female biker removing electric bike battery

There are chances you couldn’t manage to charge enough for a fully charged battery, or you embark on a ride that goes over the battery’s range. Either way, you will end up with a flat or dead battery and might be in a rush or a long way from home.

Thank goodness e-bikes can be used manually as well. The smart thing to do would be to remove the battery to make the remainder of your ride easy and light.

You’d Like the Extra Exercise

Even though electric bikes are great, they cannot compare to the cardio or weight loss you could attain with a traditional bike. The pedal assist and the electric motor end up making your life a lot easier and burning a lot fewer calories.

If you fancy some exercise using your electric bike, ride it without the battery; you’ll have to put in extra effort to pedal. With a heavy e-bike, the extra weight could help you shed a few pounds or get good cardio workouts.

Traveling on a Plane

Airplane cabin showing seats

The safety policy of airlines doesn’t allow passengers to carry large batteries on board. These are for safety purposes since on contact with other batteries or tools, there could be a short circuit. This includes electric bike batteries too.

As a result, if you’re traveling with your e-bike, you cannot bring along the battery. However, you can get your bike into the luggage area sans the battery.

Related post: Best ways to transport an ebike

Once you’ve reached your destination, you could look for some replacement, like renting batteries from any local bike shop.

Over the Weight Limits

Try weighing your electric bike with and without the battery. You’ll realize that the battery makes up for most of the weight.

At times, some services impose weight limits. If your destination has chairlift access, your electric bike’s battery may exceed the maximum permitted chairlift weight. You’ll need to remove the battery to ensure you’re within the safe weight limits.

Things to Consider Before Riding e-Bike Without Battery

Safety comes first; always pull off the road to a safe spot if your e-bike battery dies while riding. Check the battery for any damage – an overheated battery or a battery leaking acid or on fire must be dealt with sooner.

Rider removing Heybike electric battery from bike

However, if you’re intentionally riding your e-bike without a battery, here are a few things you need to keep in mind:

  • Regardless of where you’re riding, ensure your battery space is clean, especially if riding off-road.
  • Experiment with using different gears to find the pace that suits you.
  • Make it a habit to ensure your battery is fully charged.
  • Suppose there’s only a little battery power left, you could squeeze in extra miles if you ride in eco mode, the lowest setting, or zero power.

Getting the Most From Your Battery and Bike

With a charged battery, you could travel about 30 – 100 miles. The factors that influence this apart from your bike are your weight, the terrain’s gradient, riding speed, the battery’s capacity, the eBike’s weight, and the motor’s efficiency.

Man riding ebike point of view

If you would like your battery to last and get a longer range, here are a few tips to help:

DOS:

  • Reduce excess weight as the battery range gets affected. With heavy backpacks or an extra rider, the range gets limited; and the difference kicks in while riding uphill.
  • Keep a check on tire pressure. Reduced tire pressure increases friction, especially on rough surfaces, and you lose speed. To compensate, you end up using battery power.
  • Let the battery’s temperature get to room temperature before you start charging, especially during winters.
  • Experiment with various riding modes for better battery efficiency. Use lower settings for flat sections or downhill. Use turbo mode for climbs or a strong headwind.
  • Go easy on the pedals and shift gears according to the nature of the trail or road.
  • Get an electric contact cleaner to spray around the battery terminals to reduce corrosion and maintain proper energy transfer.

DONTS:

  • Never allow the battery to get to 0%. Maintain an optimal level of about 30-100%; with at least 30% or more before riding the bike. A full discharge impacts the battery’s lifetime negatively.
  • Avoid overcharging, as this could get the battery to discharge and lower its capacity. Multiple minor discharges create poor charging cycles that deteriorate the battery.
  • Avoid using extreme or turbo mode for prolonged periods when riding your bike.
  • Never jet wash the battery as it could adversely affect its performance.

Is Riding e-Bike Without Battery Bad?

No! Riding your e-bike without a battery isn’t bad, rather, it’s tough. Rest assured, your bike or the motor won’t get harmed.

Motor Resistance

With no power, pedaling gets harder owing to motor resistance. Apart from your fitness level, the type of bike and the terrain determine how hard it will be to pedal.

Some battery models, like Bosch, with crank or direct-drive hub motors, offer more resistance, making pedaling challenging.

Biker climbing uphill on ebike
You don’t want to try this on empty batteries

Additional Weight

You must’ve realized by now that an electric bike weighs much more than a normal bicycle. While a regular bike weighs about 18 lbs, the average weight of an e-bike is about 50 lbs. The added weight of the battery and motor range anywhere from 3 – 12 lbs each.

The higher the battery capacity, the more the battery weight. This additional weight isn’t a bother when riding on flat terrain or going downhill; it’s when you ride uphill that you’ll have to sweat it out.

Conclusion

So, there you have it – you can ride your e-bike without a battery. However, it would help if you remembered that it’d be hard to pedal because of the motor resistance and additional weight. Also, pedaling could be even more exhausting depending on your bike, your fitness level, and the terrain.

Your best bet would be to maintain your battery properly and if you prefer removing the battery, ensure you keep the battery compartment clean and store the batteries in a cool place.