500W vs. 750W e-bike: Is wattage on the hills important?

Is Size Important or quality?  Depending on who you ask and in what situation this is an old question, it offers a wide and potentially colourful range of answers.

In the less colourful electric bikes, the size of the motor (for most people) seems to be very important.  The common consensus is that stronger and  bigger is best.  More watts equals more power;  Equals more speed;  Climbing hills is an easy time.  But is bigger always better, or can a carefully tuned smaller motor compete with the full wattage?

We are going to investigate this question with an easy test: the brand claims that the head-to-head race between the powerful 750W rear hub motor e-bike and the 500W rear hub motor e-bike is specifically tuned for climbing.  .

The result of that test was exactly what we expected, a more powerful bike winning our race, but the relationship between motor size and climbing ability is more complicated than power.

Testing: How we did it and why

In the wake of the Electric Bike report’s September, 2021, the brand reached out to us that their bike, which uses a 500W rear hub motor, has gone faster or faster than some on our test hill.  We reviewed 750W e-bikes.

Tower Beach Bum Electric Bike Analysis Riding Stopped

According to the tower’s founders, the 500W Tower Beach Bum 2 features a motor tuned specifically for climbing.

Even better, the brand’s founder, Stephen Arstall, points out in an email that the Beach Bum Electric Cruiser Bike has risen faster than many Class 3 750W e-bikes, but is limited to the 500W Tower Class 2 speed.  In fact, he said, the Beach Bum was at the top of our Hill Test leaderboard all the time (at the time).

Arstol wondered if we had unlocked the Beach Bum to Class 3 speed, which would not be one of the fastest bikes on our test hill.  He explained that his bike had a motor tuned specifically to climb the hills quickly.

So, to test the claim of Arstol and to answer the question of whether the bigger the better, we devised a plan to pit the beach bum against a similar but higher wattage e-bike.

Travelling past trees on the Blix Soul Eclipse Beach Cruiser paved trail

The Blix Soul uses the Eclipse 750W rear hub motor and performed exceptionally well on our test hill when we reviewed the bike in 2021.

The place is the same;  We use our test hill, Hell Hole, about a third of a mile long section of bike path with an average gradient of 12 percent.  To keep the playing field relatively level, we chose the Blix Soul Eclipse Electric Cruiser Bike as the most powerful challenger.  The bike is similarly priced, has the same spec and tower style, but uses a more powerful 750W rear hub motor.  This is an electric cruiser and we put an extraordinary amount of time on our test hill when we checked it out last year.

As with our standard review process, we run two time laps in Hell Hole on each bike.  One lap uses just the throttle and the other uses the PAS 5.

The results: Blix Beats Tower, where most watts dominate

Alas, for those rooting for the underdog, Goliath has prevailed and at least in this limited test, has added evidence to the argument that size is really important (at least when it comes to e-bike motors).

In the PAS 5 test, the 750W Blix Soul Eclipse improved the 500W Tower Beach Bum 2 by 10 seconds with a time of 1: 01.00 compared to the tower’s 1: 11.00.  Ten seconds may not seem like a big difference, but a few seconds at one-third of a mile equals a significant difference in speed.  For example, the Blix had an average speed during the PAS 5 test of 17.8 mph and the tower had an average speed of 15.3 mph.

Blix Soul Eclipse Beach Cruiser Hill Test Half on the hill

Blix was confirmed to be the best climber of the two.

Although the Class 3 accelerates from the Beach Bum 2, it does not seem to compete with the more powerful 750W e-bikes.

We saw similar results in the throttle-only test, with Blix defeating the tower from 1: 19.00 to 1: 35.00, but we expected that a change in the speed setting of the beach bum would affect the pedal assist and not the throttle performance.

At least in this test, the more powerful 750W Blix performed well despite the tower’s carefully tuned motor and high pedal assist speed.  You go, little rockstar.

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Some context: Why power is not always everything

In this instance the authority has ruled the king, but this test is far from an end-all-all.  In fact, there are more factors than just the size of the motor when it comes to determining the upside potential of an e-bike.

Arguably the biggest factor is weight, and any size motor needs to be pushed uphill.  Rider weight is probably the biggest variable, and obviously heavier e-bikes need more power to climb as fast as lighter e-bikes.

You should also consider the type of motor.  In this test, we compared the head-to-head comparison of two Gear rear hub motors of different wattages.  If we repeat this test to include a mid-drive motor, a mid-drive driven bike may need fewer watts to go faster or faster than a Blix or tower.

QuietKat Apex Electat Bike Analysis Bafang Mid Drive Engine 

750W Mid-Drive Motor In QuietKat Jeep Full Suspension Electric Fat Bike.  The Jeep is one of the most powerful e-bikes we have ever ridden and analysed.

Mid-drive motors generate more power from less wattage by controlling the bike’s drivetrain, which means the performance, torque and speed of the bike will vary depending on which gear you choose.  The rear hub motor is a direct-drive system that applies power directly to the wheel.

More about mid-drive motors: Does the 250W have enough power for an electric bike?

Finally torque is a factor to consider, especially when talking about uphill performance.  Too much torque is usually equivalent to good climbing, so a very high torque 500W motor is more likely to beat a more tuned 750W motor – it just depends on the bike and the rider.

FAQ

Are Blix bikes any better?

If you want an entry-level eBike with plenty of power, the Blix Aveny is definitely a good option to consider.  The charger and battery configuration are not very impressive, but they still provide satisfactory performance considering the eBike price.

Is Blix a good brand?

The Blix Packa is a highly sensitive electric cargo bike that costs less than half of its primary competitors such as the Turn GSD and the Yuba Spicy Curry Bosch.  The mid-tail bike is a bit longer than a regular bike, and thanks to 24-inch tires, it’s easy to whip around town despite the weight of about 80 pounds.

How fast is Blix Soul going?

(Acceleration / Speed,) The Blix Soul Eclipse is a Class 2 electric cruiser bike that can reach speeds of up to 20 mph on both pedal assist and throttle.

Where are Blix electric bikes made?

Santa Cruz, CA.,Combining sleek design, powerful performance and smart utility features, Blix makes user-friendly electric bicycles for everyday life. 

source Blix

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