Why we care about Torque in an e-bike?

Sep 17, 2020

When you look at the the specifications for the Keego e-bikes it says that the motor has for example 30 Nm torque, Nm meaning Newton Meters (Newton as in the guy with the apple). But what does it mean? Why is it important? For most people, the term “torque” has little or no meaning so let’s try to sort that out.

Torque is the ability to rotate the rear wheel. In a regular bicycle, this translates to the ability to rotate the pedals and crank arms. Higher torque will rotate the wheel easier and create more acceleration, especially from a stop. This means a bike with higher torque is easier to get going from a stop. You can also think of why we are using a wrench with a longer handle to make a stuck nut to move.

The general definition of torque is the force on an arm at a distance from a center of rotation. In the picture below, the distance is 1 Meter and the force is 50 Newtons, so the torque is 50 Newton Meters.

How torque works when you pedal a bike

The general equation for torque is: Torque = Force (F) x Distance (D)

In a standard bicycle the rider pushes on the pedal to create a “Force” and the length of the crank arm is the distance. Crank arms are typically 17 cm long. If the rider weighs 70 Kilograms and stands on the pedal, the the torque is (70 Kg x 17 cm =) 1190 Kilogram Centimeters.

So the 30 Nm torque of one of our electric motors is equivalent to about 306 Kilogram Centimeters. So very simply said, it is like you are having a whole lot of help getting your bike, yourself and your cargo up to speed. And who doesn’t appreciate help?

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