It's 2020 and ebikes are here to stay.

I'm trying to retrain my initial urge to consider electronics questions as off topic (which may be because I don't have strong electronics knowledge); if they relate to bicycles even quite loosely, then bicycles.se is a legitimate place to ask them.

We are going to have to accept as on topic, questions about electronics for ebikes, questions about fault finding on ebikes, questions about software for gadgets and power meters, questions about wiring a home-built ebike, questions about charging ebikes at home and on the move, etc etc.

This meta question is prompted by the question Is it possible to charge an ebike from a 12V solar powered battery? which has been warmly received already, gaining upvotes and two good answers so far. Whilst it is about wiring up a camper van, the target is charging up the ebike for cycling's sake and is therefore a long way from programming on a boat. I propose that we become/remain quite permissive about this kind of question, and answers here could discuss what is and isn't on topic for bicycles.se going forwards.

Have at it!

  • 1
    I don't have strong knowledge of suspension or disk brakes or MTB technique, just means I don't answer the harder questions in those areas.
    – Criggie Mod
    Jun 16, 2020 at 5:00
  • 2
    Yeah, I think Criggie gets at the point I wanted to make: it's not that e-bikes are necessarily off-topic, but there will be less expertise on the subject, at least for the time being. Perhaps in a parallel universe a similar debate is taking place about whether to allow questions about bikes with derailleurs.
    – Adam Rice
    Aug 20, 2020 at 16:23

3 Answers 3


Ebikes have been here to stay for a while. I see them as a gateway into cycling, lowering the entry bar for effort, while raising the cost. That would lead to two broad distinctions of question:

How to Use vs How to Make

I suspect the distinction line is somewhere about building/modifying circuits. Here's a rough spectrum as I see it:

  • Grey-area
    How do I build an ebike from misc parts like drills/window wipers/starter motor? (diy maybe, perhaps electronics)
    My battery doesn't work any more - what do I do ?
    I had an accident on an ebike - who is at fault (law)
    I had an accident on an ebike - what are my legal obligations (law)
    Is it cheating to race on an ebike with a hidden motor ?

NEW How to modify an ebike to exceed speed/assist restrictions Any tuned E-bike with good support at high cadence high speed?

  • Off topic
    How do I use a bike battery in something other than a bike? (electronics)
    How do I build a battery from components - to be used on a bike. (electronics)
    I did xx km/h on my ebike - how fast can you go? (poll)
    I was hit by an ebike and they're dangerous. (rant)
    Where can I buy a hidden motor for cheating (shopping)

So Using/Riding is on topic, Building/modifying the electronic parts is better on Electronics.


To answer this, we need to clearly know what an Bike is, and what it is not.

In my mind, an E-Bike is:

Likely it looks like a bicycle - traditional and non traditional, but has the characteristics like pedals and handle bars, probably two wheels (although one and three could be the topic of valid question). Would we include electric recumbent tricycles? Probably.

A small motor - i.e. the motor does not define the vehicle. Legal definitions in many jurisdictions limit an E-Bike to something like 250-350W. While 500 W probably is an EBike, 5000 is an electric motorbike.

Primarily its motor assisted - if the motor does all the work, its a motor vehicle - i.e. moped or motorbike. If the design is not primarily that of assistance, it should be off topic.

For on topic questions - the kinds of things that a cycle specific - e.g. motor types used on E-Bikes with pros and cons, but finer details of how a brush-less electric motor works probably belong elsewhere. There is going to be a lot of overlap with other web pages, but just like fitness, health and legal questions, if we are careful we can manage those boundary questions.


An ebike.stackexchange site would be worthwhile, if enough users can be found to participate.

There seem to be a lot of ebike-related questions that involve information about not only bicycles, but also electrical engineering, and even mechanical engineering. I'm not much on social marketing though, & have never considered proposing that a new stack be launched... aaaand: The area51 site for proposing new stack sites, says "If you do not yet have a community organized, ready and eager to build your site, please do not submit this proposal."

So, I don't know how many stack users might follow a proposal to create an ebikes.stackexchange site!?
I don't know how many people from other forums or other SE sites, would participate right away, but I feel certain it would be good to give ebikes their own site, if we can.

Searching within bicycles.stackexchange.com, I find 301 direct results for "ebike".
The electronics stackexchange, has 97.
Stackoverflow, has 36, though many of these are purely code-related.

Questions like "How do I come up with a list of requirements for a microcontroller for my [ebike] project?" hinge upon factors far beyond electrical engineering alone; the OP is asking how to evaluate factors specific to ebikes in particular.
"Forwarding / passthrough UART from one to another port" is a coding question, & probably(?) belongs on stackoverflow, but anyone with experience configuring a variety of "UART programmable" controllers, might know details about coding & components specifically relevant to their (ebike) project in particular.
"Why do the majority of people on an ebike ride at a fairly low cadence?" is a question that really can't be answered empirically, without comparing the results of riding ebikes against manual bicycles.

Hypothetically, a question such as "What criteria are highly significant, when selecting an ebike motor?" has no suitable home I could find on stack sites, right now.

Certainly, any bicycle-focused site may be frequented by some ebike users & technicians, but having a site to pose ebike questions directly to ebike people, seems preferable. (Plus, manual bicycle "purists" might appreciate it, if ebike questions had somewhere else to go?)

I don't think it makes sense to potentially have questions about ebike components get directed to sites that are primarily about manual bicycles, then redirected to the site for electrical (or mechanical) engineering; while datum germane specifically to ebikes in particular, could have a site of its own.

I am happy to follow a proposal to create a new ebikes stackexchange, & would look forward to contributing

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