How to transport an ebike

A few weeks ago, the brakes on my ebike started making a scary sound. The sound was so scary, in fact, I wanted a mechanic to look at my bike before I rode it again. Because I didn’t want to ride the ebike to the bike shop, I needed another way to transport my ebike to the bike shop — somehow.

If my 20-pound mechanical bike couldn’t be ridden and needed service, I’d put it on the bike rack on my car and drive it to my local shop. But my 75-pound ebike is too heavy to go on the rack and too big to fit in the back of the car even with the back seats folded down and the front wheel off.

At Tempo, we hear about these kinds of ebike transport dilemmas a lot. Like so many other things related to bicycles, transportation options for ebikes, including bike racks, weren’t made for big, heavy, hard working ebikes. They were made for those lighter weight mechanical bikes that can easily fit on a rack or in the back of a carHere are a few ways we recommended transporting your ebike.

<span class="blog-step">Option 1</span>

Use an ebike transportation service

Not many riders know there are companies that can skillfully and safely transport your ebike. This is a great option for getting your ebike to a shop (or any location, really) quickly and conveniently.

When you download the free Tempo app, you get instant access to ebike transportation services at the best available prices. 

This route can save you a ton of time as well as the hassle of getting your bike to and from the shop.

<span class="blog-step">Option 2</span>

Have a mobile ebike mechanic come to you

What’s the easiest way to move an ebike that needs repairs? If we’re being honest — not move it at all.

As the popularity of ebikes surges, many bike mechanics and bike shops have started offering mobile ebike repairs. This is a great option not only for emergency fixes at home, but for annual tuneups. When you become a Tempo member and use the free Tempo app, you can access listings of mobile mechanics specific to the city where you live.

<span class="blog-step">Option 3</span>

Ebike roadside assistance

Sometimes you’re not at home when an emergency repair needs to happen. With ebike roadside service, a truck (sometimes a tow truck), can come to you and move you and your ebike. That means you could get home with your bike, where you might be able to do the fix on your own. Or you and your bike could make it to a bike shop together.

Either way, Tempo members can use the Tempo app to call for roadside assistance.

This is the option I chose when I realized my ebike wasn’t safe to ride home from the office. I contacted the company that’s now Tempo’s roadside assistance partner, and they sent a truck over to take me and my ebike to the shop to deal with my brakes. My ebike fit perfectly in the motorcycle attachment the tow truck had with them, and the driver strapped my bike on and we were ready to go in a few minutes.

Transport an ebike on a car

The good news: even though ebikes can be heavier and bulkier than mechanical bikes, there are lots of great racks that can move many, though not all, types of ebikes on a car.

The best racks are hitch racks, which attach to the back of a car on a tow hitch. Some of these “tray style” racks are ebike-rated: they’re ready for the bulk and weight of all but the largest ebikes, and some even come with ramps to help you get your bike onto the rack itself.

Ebike weights and sizes can vary, so take into account the specs of your bike before investing in any racks or transportation systems for your car. 

Unlike my ebike, which won’t fit in the back of my Toyota, smaller to medium size ebikes may be able to fit with the back seats folded down. Check your wheels to see if they have a quick release. That makes it easier to remove your front tire, so you can more easily get it into the car. If your bike has a hub motor, be careful when disconnecting the wires that connect the motor to the controller. Lay the bike with the drivetrain side up.

Transport your ebike in a van or pickup truck

If other ebike transport options aren’t available, consider using a van or pickup truck to move your ebike.

The key to safely moving your ebike in either of these types of vehicles is to make sure it won’t move while you’re driving. In the back of a van, that can mean using straps to keep your ebike in a secure position, or wedging bikes between seats.

Be extra careful with your bike’s components. For some people, it’s worth taking the time to remove things like the battery and the LCD display on the handlebars, so they won’t accidentally get knocked off or damaged.

In a pickup truck, consider putting your bikes on a tailgate pad, which mountain bikers often use to move their bikes to and from the trailhead. The trick with a heavy ebike is lifting it up into the bed of the truck — think about the weight of your bike and whether or not this lift is something you could do yourself or with a friend.

Be prepared — you’ll need ebike transport one day

Ebikes are amazing machines, but they do present some challenges, including moving them around when they can’t move themselves. Be prepared. If you ride long enough, you’ll inevitably experience a moment where you need to transport your ebike.

Tempo is here to help! Become a Tempo member and easily get the ebike transportation you need right from the app.

When our family bought an electric cargo bike earlier this year, one of my biggest fears was that this lovely and expensive new machine was going to get stolen. So I got the best lock money could buy, and I started to investigate: did I need ebike insurance?

First, I called my homeowners insurance provider to see if they would cover the bike if it were stolen. To my surprise, because it’s an electric bike, not only did my policy not cover it, they wouldn’t even add it for an additional fee or sell me a separate policy for it, the way they did for our family car.

Instead they referred me to an insurance company that specializes in bikes and ebikes. I bought a policy from them and sleep a little better for it.

I’ve heard similar stories from other ebike owners. And I’ve heard worse.

What can happen without ebike insurance

The saddest stories are the ones where someone assumed their homeowners or renters or car insurance covered their ebike, and after it was stolen or seriously damaged, it turned out it wasn’t covered.

And then there are the stories about people whose ebikes were covered by their homeowners policy, but their premium went way up when they made a claim for a stolen ebike.

Why it’s hard to insure an ebike

When it comes to insurance, ebikes land in a gray area outside standard homeowners insurance and auto insurance. Here’s why:

  • Ebikes are new in terms of the insurance industry. Most of the several million ebikes in the U.S. were purchased in the last two years. Insurers aren’t familiar with them, and insurers don’t like to be surprised by unfamiliar products.
  • Ebikes are more expensive than regular bikes. Policies that cover bikes, like most homeowners or renters policies, might have also covered ebikes until the insurer had to pay much larger claims than they expected to replace a damaged or stolen ebike. See above about insurers and surprise. So some policy terms got changed.
  • Finally, ebikes get stolen a lot, and not only from people’s homes. They are ridden and locked up outside all over the place, which makes them more vulnerable than other valuable household items.

Steps to take to properly insure your ebike

The odds that your ebike is covered by your existing insurance is lower than you may think. Here’s what to do to find out if you need ebike insurance:

  1. Call your insurance company and find out what they cover. Things to bring up: coverage of accidental damage, theft, and travel (like what would happen if you flew somewhere with your bike and the airline did a number on it). Does the insurance company consider your ebike a “luxury item”? If you’re happy with the coverage, great! You’re good to go.
  2. Consider bike-specific coverage. If you aren’t covered, or feel like the coverage you do have isn’t enough, here are some things to think about.

Bike insurance covers all kinds of bike specific things, not just theft. Think damage to the bike from a collision, medical payments if you are injured in a collision, insurance for the bike if you are traveling with it or racing it, or a bike rental while your bike is being repaired. Some policies even cover things like accessories (like bike lights and panniers) and riding clothes.

Bike claims won’t affect your other insurance premium. Should you need to make a claim on your ebike, your home insurance premium won’t change or get canceled.

We can help

Want to learn more about ebike insurance? Join Tempo and get easy access to insurance quotes, and other ways to protect your ebike right inside the app.

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Michael Keating
Founder & CEO
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