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Bikes Buying Guide Electric Bikes News

E-Bike Buyers Guide

Common questions asked when buying an e-bike.

Electricity is the future of transport, that’s a fact. It’s clean, affordable, efficient and reliable. E-bikes are the perfect example of this and with a range on offer that’s bigger than ever, at Hargroves Cycles we thought it would be useful to try and cover some of the basic questions people tend to have when considering stepping into the world of electrically assisted bicycles.

With motors becoming more discreet the chances are you’ll have seen an E-bike whizzing past you and not even realised. We think it’s great as it’s giving more people than ever confidence to get on a bike without the worry they might not be able to manage. It’s not to be mistaken for a free ride though, the best part is you still have to pedal. This means you can go further and do more than ever before on a bicycle while staying healthy.

How do E-bikes work?

The answer is a fairly simple one, they work exactly like a typical pedal-powered bicycle, but the electric motor powered by a battery assists as and when it is needed. This reduces the effort required and making your journey quicker and more efficient.

The UK has strict laws that currently govern exactly how much assistance the motor can deliver. The current law means any bike can have an additional 250W up to a maximum speed of 15.5mph. After that point the motor would cut out and traditional pedal power is required to go any faster.

Which e-bike is best for me?

Electric bikes are more diverse than ever, you can find just about every type of bicycle imaginable available with an electrical assist motor. Our current range includes road, MTB, gravel, city, hybrid and compact. When it comes to what might be the right fit for you it really comes down to the type of riding you’re likely to be doing and just how much assistance you might need.

Are there different Motor Types?

Frame: A frame-mounted motor is the more common higher-end e-bikes. These tend to be smarter as they can measure how hard you’re pedaling with each stroke. With this information, the motor can give a more accurate amount of assistance based on your effort. This means that the motor won’t deliver assistance when it’s not required, extending battery life and making sure everything is running as efficiently as possible.

Hub: A hub-mounted motor is more often found in bikes where a slightly more discrete approach is needed. These tend to be used in an e-road bike or city e-bike to keep things stylish.

What about the Batteries?

Battery technology is getting better all the time with some batteries now small and powerful enough to fit within the frame of the bike! Battery capacity tends to be the most important factor to consider when buying an e-bike. Especially if you intend to complete longer journeys in more hilly areas, in that case, bigger is definitely better. Capacity tends to be measured in amp-hours with the bigger the number meaning larger capacity and in turn, range.

How far can I ride it?

Just like your trusty mobile phone, the range of an e-bike is governed by battery life. The bike, however, will still be rideable long after the battery runs out however just without the battery assist. Factors such as which mode is selected and the terrain will run the battery down much faster so you should always account for this when looking at manufacturers quoted range.

What if the bike gets wet?

The electronic items on all of our e-bikes tend to be sealed units, including the motor, battery and head unit. They are designed for all-purpose use such as mountain biking, where occasionally there are deep puddles and rain. The bike will handle this without any issues. If possible, try not to completely submerge your e-bike but if you fall into a puddle for example, make sure the bike and yourself get out as quickly as possible. This would go for a normal bike too, water ingress can cause problems with more than just electronics! If you can, allow the bike to dry off before turning it back on.

How Heavy is it?
One of the most common questions we have about electric bicycles is “How heavy is it?” The truth is the weight can vary massively from bike to bike. Some modern e-bikes can weigh as little as 10-11kg and can range up to 25-26kg for some of the larger city e-bikes. This can lead to them being difficult to transport when not being ridden.

Cube Compact Hybrid Electric Bike

While buying an E-bike might seem like a big investment at Hargroves Cycles we certainly think it’s one worth making. With electric bikes to suit most riding styles and needs, you could certainly find a way of offsetting it against your current travel costs. Not to mention the health and environmental benefits.

Bergamont E-Revox 4 Electric MTB

Shop our range of e-bikes today and feel free to get in touch with us if you have any further questions!

Orbea Keram 10 29 Electric Bike

Categories
Buying Guide Commuting Electric Electric Bikes News

Our Guide to Buying an Electric Scooter

If you need a solution that makes getting from A to B quick, affordable, fun and easy then you need an E-scooter. Electric scooters are great fun and guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

We’re here to help make your decision on which electric scooter to buy as simple as possible.

At Hargroves we think the 6 most important features you should consider when choosing an electric scooter are:

Range

Your scooter needs to be ready to go whenever you may need it. There’s no fun in having a scooter if it can’t get you from A to B without running out of charge. A larger battery range means you can travel further between charges and you don’t have to worry about remembering to charge it every night. 

A scooter with a range of 25-30km is ideal for the majority of daily riders. This allows you to travel an average distance of 15 miles before needing to plug it in!

Top Speed

Speed is important for keeping things fun. Our Electric scooters start with top speeds of 20km/h which, for most is more than enough to keep you smiling. But if you really want to feel the buzz, we recommend you consider one of our higher level Electric Scooters. These can reach speeds of 30km/h with motor power of 500 watts or 800 watts peak!

Adventure E- Scooter
£495.00

Portability

We’ve tested a lot of electric scooter models and found that the most practical are 17kg or below. You want an electric scooter that’s practical for daily life, easy to carry, store and fold. The when it’s folded will determine if you can carry it with one hand, fit it in the car or tuck it neatly away under your desk. 

Brakes

Brakes are a key feature when you are looking for an electric scooter. Safety first!

Our scooters have different brake types and have varying levels of effectiveness. Foot brakes, drum brakes and disc brakes.  

Foot brakes are used by pushing your foot down on the rear mud guard. Drum brakes are enclosed inside the wheel hub and are used by operating a traditional brake lever. Disc brakes have the most stopping power and are again, used by a traditional brake lever.  

Walberg Egret 10 V3X 48V
£1,349.00

Wheel Type

Our scooters come with two varieties of tyre, air-filled and solid rubber (airless). Air-filled tyres have the advantage of in-built shock absorption and a better handling. They can however suffer punctures and require maintenance. Solid tyres require very little maintenance but aren’t as smooth and you will feel more bumps and vibrations. 

Walberg Urban Electric XH1 Scooter
£899.00

Lights

Seeing and being seen can be very important. All of our electric scooters have been carefully selected to include lights. Scooters, like bikes, have a white front light and a red rear light. If you ride after dark, it is worth making sure you and everyone around you are protected and it may be worth considering adding additional lighting.

Our range of electric scooters are available with FREE UK delivery. In all of our stores, located in Southampton, Winchester, Chichester and Swindon and can be purchased using our Click & Collect option.

Categories
Buying Guide Electric Bikes

E-Bikes Explained

 

E-Bikes, love them or hate them. They’re here to stay. Electronically assisted bikes are probably the most misunderstood topic within the cycling industry.

Why do people buy them? Who is buying them? How long does the battery last? Isn’t the weight an issue? How fast do they go?

Truth is there is no stereotypical E-biker. They are just like any other cyclist. Young, old. Experienced or inexperienced. Everyone can and does enjoy them which is part of their beauty!

E-bikes can broaden the horizon for you and smash your limitations to allow you to boldly go where you have never ridden before. For less experienced riders, it can allow them to go further. For more experienced riders, it also allows them to go further… Basically, you can ride further with less effort. That doesn’t mean it’s a free ride. You still have to pedal, all the E-bikes have a varying amount of assistance in which the ride can choose how much assistance they have. This can range from “off” to what some call “turbo”.

The battery life is a huge variable. Terrain, gear selection, rider effort, tyre choice and pressure, mode selection, rider weight and effort are just a few things that will effect the range of an E-Bike. Some brands like Shimano have got around this so called “range anxiety” by creating apps like their E-Tube Project which helps you fine tune what the motor is doing, much like a map for a car or motorcycle.

Another useful resource is the range Calculator on Bosch’s website. It enables you to input information regarding your weight, riding style, terrain and riding mode and gives you an idea to how long the battery will last. This of course, is only really applicable to Bosch powered bikes.

The bikes vary in weight a lot, especially when looking at various disciplines. For example a full suspension mountain bike in comparison to a hard tail city type bike. Once you are riding the bike with any kind of assistance on the weight pretty much disappears and only becomes apparent during slow tight manoeuvres or super steep technical off-road terrain. The only time the weight can become an issue is lifting the bike over fences or putting it in or on your car. Some brands such as Thule, have remedied this issue by producing mini ramps to load your bike easier. Avoiding roof type racks would be good move for most people.

So enough of the boring stuff, how fast do these bad boys go? Well in the UK they are restricted to 15.9mph. Which off-road, is plenty. E-bikes must also be pedal assist to avoid being classed as a motor vehicle. This means the motor only kicks in whilst the rider is pedalling. Now do you see how it’s not cheating? Inevitably, some riders will be able to ride faster than this off their own steam. That’s fine too, you can ride beyond the speed restriction of the bike. You just won’t receive any more assistance from the bike. This is why so many brands are bragging about “zero drag” systems. Because once the motor cuts out, it’s beneficial to have as little friction as possible to help you push harder.

Still confused? Why not drop us an email, call us or visit one of our stores in the south. Visit our store locator for contact details.

Here’s some inspo for you courtesy of Specialized and World Champ Peter Sagan.

“Jack Explains”

Jack works in our Chichester store, is a fully qualified Retul Bike Fitter and whilst he rides all disciplines, it’s safe to say his heart belongs to mountain biking.

Check out Jack’s Instagram for more inspiration to get out on your bike.

Categories
Bikes Electric Electric Bikes Mountain News

Turbo Levo – Next gen eMTB tech from Specialized.

So, here it is. The E-bike that you’ve all been waiting for. Its lighter, more efficient and looks even more like a “normal” bike.

Specialized have made some dramatic changes to the bike this year. For starters, they are now using the new Brose 2.1 motor which is a dramatic 400 grams lighter and a fair whack more powerful than the previous unit. Specialized worked very closely with Brose to help develop this new unit. So much so that other manufacturers are having to work their bikes around Specialized’s preferred bottom bracket placement.

The new motor is now the most powerful on the market. Whatever the situation. Whatever the cadence. It either betters or equals the competition. Another change for this year is the mounting method of the motor within the bike. It now bolts straight into the frame of the bike instead of into a cradle which then bolts into the bike. The most obvious benefit of this is a weight saving but it could also help eliminate unwanted creaks by reducing the amount of hardware and points of contact.

[vls_gf_album id=”10840″]

Along with a new motor is of course a new battery, or two. The expert and S-Works models with be specced with a 700wh unit and everything else will have a 500wh version. And of course batteries are available to purchase aftermarket should you want to upgrade or just need more range. That’s not the only change to the battery, its now fully encased within the downtube of the frame giving better protection and allows for a stiffer, lighter frame design.

The brain of the bike is now situated on the top tube just behind the stem. Making quick glances at battery life and mode selection a lot easier. It now features a classy blue light system but in principal does exactly what the previous version did. This new unit also helps with updates and eliminates the need for a specific diagnostics tool as it has a port within it too.

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Although Specialized have insisted that a heads up display type computer is not essential on this type of bike. They have now brought an aftermarket screen to the line up. It provides stats including speed, cadence, power and also battery life.

The first thing that strikes you about the new Levo isn’t whats lying beneath but the aesthetics of it. It looks amazing. It incorporates the asymmetric “sidearm” of the latest Stumpjumper and reaps all the same rewards. Enabling Specialized to make the bike stiffer and lighter, thus giving a better riding and more efficient bike. The downtube diameter has also shrunk lending itself to a more traditional look. The new frame has made some huge advances in weight saving too. A massive 800 grams has been saved on the S-Works level frame and 600 grams on the alloy version.

The geometry of the new bike is also, well, new. Its now 20mm longer and 0.5 degree slacker. Making the Levo very much its own bike. Although it does borrow a lot of tech from the stumpy, Specialized have said the bike sits between the Stumpjumper and Enduro in terms of geometry.

6Fattie wheels are out and the humble 29er is in. Its hard to avoid it these days. But in most situations the wagons wheels are the best option. Most of the bikes we were able to see were running the in house Butcher tyres in a 2.6 with grid casing. A burley tyre for a burley bike. The bike is still 6fattie compatible for all you plus tyre lovers. And because the new Levo has the same flip chip as the stumpy you can adjust the bottom bracket height to help avoid pedal strikes.

Along with plenty of new hardware comes new software in the form of a new mode and app. The new mode is dubbed “Uplift mode”. As the name implies its for them boring, gruelling fire roads that give little reward. Putting the bike in uplift mode reduces the torque the motor puts out and gets it to focus on just pulling you up the hill with a very low amount of effort from the rider. The drawback is of course this drains the battery a lot quicker so its not a mode you’ll want to be using too often. The app is an updated version of mission control which is also backwards compatible with older Turbo models.

A bike is the sum of its parts. Lots of changes to the Turbo Levo, big and small have made it a completely different beast to what it was last year. This is what happens when the best gets better.

Available online now, click and collect in your nearest Hargroves store or have it delivered to your door. 

Words: Jack Ingram (Insta @jack.ingram4)

Categories
Bikes Buying Guide Electric Bikes News

High-Performance​ ​eBikes​ ​Explained

eBikes​ ​boost​ ​your​ ​efforts​ ​with​ ​hi-torque​ ​electric​ ​motors,​ ​letting​ ​you​ ​pedal​ ​further,​ ​higher​ ​and  harder​ ​than​ ​ever​ ​before.​ ​The​ ​benefits​ ​for​ ​commuters​ are​ ​obvious​ ​–​ ​but​ ​eBikes  aren’t​ ​just​ ​about​ ​getting​ ​to​ ​the​ ​office​ ​fresh,​ ​fast​ ​and​ ​fragrant!​ ​The​ ​ramifications​ ​for  cutting-edge​ ​mountain​ ​bikes​ ​are​ ​truly​ ​exciting.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​one​ ​area​ ​of​ ​cycling​ ​that​ ​we​ ​at  Hargroves​ ​Cycles​ ​get​ ​more​ ​and​ ​more​ ​questions​ ​about,​ ​so​ ​we’ve​ ​outlined​ ​some​ ​of​ ​the​ ​key  issues,​ ​features​ ​and​ ​examples​ ​here​ ​in​ ​our​ ​Performance​ ​eBikes​ ​Buyer’s​ ​Guide.

The​ ​climbing​ ​assistance​ ​eBikes​ ​generate​ ​is​ ​useful​ ​to​ ​everyone.​ ​Fit​ ​riders​ ​can​ ​go​ ​further​ ​and  faster​ ​than​ ​they​ ​ever​ ​could​ ​on​ ​a​ ​regular​ ​bike,​ ​while​ ​those​ ​with​ ​health​ ​or​ ​fitness​ ​issues​ ​can​ ​find  a​ ​whole​ ​new​ ​lease​ ​of​ ​life.​ ​In​ ​fact,​ ​they’re​ ​as​ ​ideal​ ​as​ ​a​ ​first​ ​mountain​ ​bike​ as  they​ ​are​ ​for​ ​veterans​ ​looking​ ​to​ ​discover​ ​the​ ​next​ ​level.​ ​Whoever​ ​you​ ​are,​ ​you​ ​find​ ​a​ ​bigger,  broader​ ​new​ ​network​ ​of​ ​trails​ ​opens​ ​up​ ​with​ ​an​ ​eBike. 

Obviously,​ ​there’s​ ​no​ ​point​ ​gaining​ ​access​ ​to​ ​miles​ ​of​ ​challenging​ ​new​ ​trails​ ​if​ ​the​ ​bike’s​ ​no  fun​ ​once​ ​you’re​ ​there.​ ​Happily,​ ​progress​ ​has​ ​been​ ​extremely​ ​rapid​ ​in​ ​the​ ​performance​ ​area:  today’s​ ​eBikes​ ​represent​ ​some​ ​of​ ​the​ ​most​ ​forward-thinking​ ​design​ ​in​ ​the​ ​sport,​ ​using​ ​highly  advanced​ ​materials,​ ​layouts,​ ​geometry​ ​and​ ​components.​ ​High-performance​ ​eBikes​ ​offer​ ​the  very​ ​latest​ ​in​ ​electrical​ ​systems,​ ​app-based​ ​tuning,​ ​wheel​ ​and​ ​tyre​ ​versatility,​ ​suspension  design​ ​and​ ​sheer​ ​rugged​ ​toughness.​ ​Add​ ​in​ ​increasingly​ ​fast​ ​charging,​ ​integrated  frame/motor​ ​design​ ​and​ ​highly​ ​progressive​ ​geometries​ ​and​ ​you​ ​get​ ​some​ ​astonishingly  capable​ ​bikes,​ ​with​ ​performance​ ​that’s​ ​more​ ​accessible​ ​than​ ​ever​ ​before.

THE​ ​FUTURE​ ​IS​ ​HERE!
The​ ​addition​ ​of​ ​a​ ​power​ ​source​ ​has​ ​some​ ​exciting​ ​knock-on​ ​effects.​ ​Electronic​ ​shifting​ ​has  already​ ​made​ ​the​ ​jump​ ​from​ ​road​ ​to​ ​mountain​ ​bikes,​ ​bringing​ ​with​ ​it​ ​wires​ ​that​ ​are​ ​unaffected  by​ ​mud​ ​and​ ​water,​ ​and​ ​mechs​ ​that​ ​constantly​ ​‘trim’​ ​themselves​ ​into​ ​perfect​ ​alignment.​ ​These  usually​ ​standalone​ ​systems​ ​are​ ​easily​ ​integrated​ ​with​ ​eBike​ ​drivetrains,​ ​along​ ​with  computer-style​ ​head​ ​units,​ ​power​ ​meters​ ​and​ ​even​ ​suspension​ ​travel​ ​adjustment.

Other​ ​electronic​ ​tweaks​ ​–​ ​such​ ​as​ ​suspension​ ​damping,​ ​dropper​ ​posts​ ​or​ ​even​ ​ABS​ ​braking​ ​–  will​ ​rapidly​ ​find​ ​ways​ ​into​ ​these​ ​new​ ​systems.​ ​Electronics​ ​are​ ​how​ ​today’s​ ​technology​ ​makes  its​ ​most​ ​amazing​ ​advances.​ ​eBikes,​ ​in​ ​short,​ ​are​ ​where​ ​it’s​ ​at!

WHAT​ ​ARE​ ​MY​ ​OPTIONS?
Money​ ​no​ ​object?​ ​The​Scott​ ​E-Genius​ ​700​ ​Tuned​ ​(£6,799)​ ​is​ ​a​ ​perfect  example​ ​of​ ​what’s​ ​possible​ ​when​ ​a​ ​manufacturer​ ​goes​ ​all-out.​ ​It’s​ ​a​ ​150mm-travel​ ​trail​ ​bike  with​ ​top-drawer​ ​Fox​ ​suspension​ ​and​ ​dropper​ ​post,​ ​Shimano’s​ ​electronic-shift​ ​Di2​ ​gearing,​ ​and  Shimano’s​ ​super-powerful​ ​twin-piston​ ​Zee​ ​brakes.

Scott’s​ ​switch​ ​to​ ​a​ ​Shimano​ ​motor​ ​kicked​ ​off​ ​a​ ​huge​ ​redesign​ ​for​ ​2018,​ ​with​ ​a​ ​shorter​ ​back  end​ ​for​ ​greater​ ​agility,​ ​massive​ ​tyre​ ​clearance,​ ​and​ ​geometry​ ​that​ ​embraces​ ​slacker​ ​head​ ​and  steeper​ ​seat​ ​angles.​ ​These​ ​combine​ ​to​ ​give​ ​greater​ ​descending​ ​stability,​ ​and​ ​more​ ​precise  climbing​ ​too.

Tyre​ ​clearance​ ​is​ ​good​ ​enough​ ​not​ ​just​ ​for​ ​the​ ​standard​ ​27.5​ ​Plus​ ​wheels​ ​with​ ​their​ ​2.8in​ ​wide  tyres,​ ​but​ ​29in​ ​wheels​ ​running​ ​the​ ​latest​ ​2.6in​ ​rubber.​ ​Flipping​ ​a​ ​chip​ ​in​ ​the​ ​shock​ ​mount  corrects​ ​the​ ​bottom​ ​bracket​ ​height​ ​for​ ​the​ ​bigger​ ​wheels​ ​–​ ​clever.

Shimano’s​ ​STEPS​ ​E8000​ ​motor​ ​kicks​ ​out​ ​70Nm​ ​of​ ​torque​ ​and​ ​250W​ ​of​ ​power,​ ​and​ ​is​ ​coupled  to​ ​a​ ​higher-capacity​ ​500Wh​ ​battery​ ​for​ ​maximum​ ​range.​ ​Three​ ​switchable​ ​modes​ ​(Eco,​ ​Trail  and​ ​Boost)​ ​let​ ​you​ ​manage​ ​power​ ​use,​ ​while​ ​Trail​ ​and​ ​Boost​ ​performance​ ​can​ ​even​ ​be  customised​ ​via​ ​smartphone​ ​–​ ​as​ ​can​ ​the​ ​shifter​ ​button​ ​functions​ ​–​ ​it’s​ ​all​ ​integrated!​ ​There’s  even​ ​a​ ​Walk​ ​mode​ ​for​ ​when​ ​you’re​ ​pushing​ ​somewhere​ ​too​ ​steep​ ​to​ ​ride.

MONEY​ ​​SOME ​ ​ ​OBJECT?
You​ ​can​ ​get​ ​most​ ​of​ ​these​ ​benefits​ ​for​ ​less​ ​with​ ​the​ ​full​ ​suspension​ Scott​ ​E-Genius​ ​720  (£4,499).​ ​​It’s​ ​the​ ​same​ ​as​ ​the​ ​700​ ​Tuned,​ ​but​ ​with​ ​suspension​ ​from​ ​RockShox  and​ ​X-Fusion,​ ​mechanical​ ​SRAM​ ​NX1​ ​shifters​ ​on​ ​a​ ​1×11​ ​drivetrain,​ ​and​ ​a​ ​Synchros​ ​dropper  post.​ ​Overall​ ​fork​ ​travel​ ​is​ ​10mm​ ​lower​ ​at​ ​140mm,​ ​but​ ​you​ ​still​ ​get​ ​the​ ​remotely-adjustable  suspension​ ​system​ ​of​ ​the​ ​flagship​ ​model.​ ​Travel​ ​and​ ​Lockout​ ​settings​ ​are​ ​altered​ ​via​ ​a  TwinLoc​ ​bar​ ​lever.

Cheaper​ ​still​ ​is​ ​the​ ​Cube​ ​Stereo​ ​Hybrid​ ​140​ ​SL​ ​500​27.5​ ​(£3,899),​ another  incredible​ ​trail​ ​bike​ ​that’s​ ​been​ ​completely​ ​redesigned​ ​for​ ​2018.​ ​Its​ ​140mm​ ​travel​ ​frame​ ​uses  highly-manipulated​ ​aluminium​ ​for​ ​very​ ​low​ ​weight,​ ​and​ ​features​ ​Bosch​ ​power,​ ​Fox  suspension,​ ​and​ ​high-end​ ​Shimano​ ​XT​ ​gears​ ​and​ ​brakes.​ ​The​ ​27.5in​ ​wheels​ ​and​ ​2.6in​ ​wide  Schwalbe​ ​tyres​ ​use​ ​the​ ​extra-wide​ ​Boost​ ​standard​ ​for​ ​increased​ ​strength​ ​and​ ​stiffness.​ ​Vital  when​ ​the​ ​Performance​ ​CX​ ​motor​ ​kicks​ ​out​ ​75Nm​ ​and​ ​250W!

At​ ​Hargroves​ ​we​ ​still​ ​love​ ​a​ ​good​ ​hardtail,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​latest​ ​advances​ ​in​ ​eBiking​ ​hasn’t​ ​ignored  them.​ ​The​ ​Specialized​ ​Turbo​ ​Levo​ ​Hardtail​ ​Comp​ ​6Fattie​ ​(£3,250)​ ​​is​ ​a​ ​great  example,​ ​offering​ ​trail-ready​ ​geometry,​ ​a​ ​120mm​ ​RockShox​ ​fork,​ ​huge​ ​3in-wide​ ​tyres​ ​on  27.5in​ ​rims,​ ​and​ ​a​ ​1×11​ ​Shimano​ ​SLX​ ​drivetrain.​ ​Power​ ​comes​ ​from​ ​a​ ​250W​ ​motor​ ​and​ ​a  504Wh​ ​battery,​ ​and​ ​is​ ​accessible​ ​via​ ​a​ ​smartphone​ ​app.​ ​There’s​ ​a​ ​women’s​ ​specific​ ​Turbo  Levo​ ​too​ ​​with​ ​different​ ​geometry​ ​and​ ​women-specific​ ​saddle​ ​and​ ​grips  amongst​ ​other​ ​tailorings.

Whatever​ ​your​ ​preference​ ​and​ ​your​ ​budget,​ ​there’s​ ​a​ ​massive​ ​world​ ​to​ ​explore​ ​out​ ​there,​ ​and  you​ ​can​ ​see,​ ​and​ ​tame,​ ​more​ ​of​ ​it​ ​with​ ​a​ ​high​ ​performance​ ​eBike.

Categories
Bikes Buying Guide Electric Bikes News

eBikes – A Guide To Buying An Electric Bike

Electric bikes are the future! At Hargroves Cycles we’re getting more and more demand for – and more and more questions about – electric bicycles than ever before, so we’ve prepared this guide to help you get to grips with what’s what. At Hargroves we stock all kinds of eBikes, from step-through tourers and commuters with excellent luggage capacity, to urban-ready hybrids and full-on mountain bikes. Whatever your style of riding, there’s an eBike tailored to it.

Let’s first dispel an unhelpful myth: eBikes are definitely bicycles – you still have to pedal them. But with an electric motor topping up your efforts, they’re a huge benefit once the world starts tilting upwards. Whether you’re commuting to work, heading out for a weekend ride or even hitting the trails off-road, eBikes are easy – and great fun.

EBIKES AND THE LAW

Because the law considers them bicycles (except in Northern Ireland), you can ride eBikes anywhere you’d ride a traditional bicycle, wearing what you’d normally wear. The power boost kicks in as you pedal (there’s no separate ‘throttle’), and the assistance is limited to 15.5mph. Of course you can go faster but unlike in some other countries, beyond 15.5mph it’s over to you and your legs, because you won’t get any more help!

The assistance makes them ideal for stop-start urban traffic and really takes the sting out of hills, making them just as good for commuters who don’t want to get sweaty as those looking to boost fitness and mobility. Recharging is a simple case of plugging into a regular wall plug, as you would a mobile phone or laptop.

Northern Irish law is the exception, currently considering eBikes to be mopeds, and as a result you need a license, tax, insurance, a motorcycle helmet and even a DVLA registration to ride one there.

THE BENEFITS

While eBikes offer the same simple freedoms as regular bicycles, you can expect various high-tech options. Better bikes offer several power modes, ranging from a battery-friendly gentle push to a powerful shove. Such modes really help you get the most in both performance and range. A good system will also have a clear battery life indicator – all the eBikes we sell at Hargroves Cycles do – with the most advanced incorporating these into a bar-mounted, computer-like head unit with extra functions.

There’s an obvious reason for needing a battery indicator – you really don’t want to run out of juice. Because of their motors and in particular the batteries, eBikes are considerably heavier than regular unassisted models. Under power they more than compensate for their extra mass – and offroad they can actually have an advantage in grip and suspension performance – but they’re significantly hard to ride without power.

Today’s systems are well capable of a whole day’s hard riding – or several days commuting – and are extremely reliable. Advanced models even have a ‘walk’ mode to aid pushing, too. If you want a good idea of the range you’ll get/need, Bosch, a leading supplier of eBike systems, offer a detailed range calculator here.

WHAT DO ALL THE NUMBERS MEAN?

There are two main measurements to look out for when choosing an eBike: the wattage and the watt-hours. The wattage tells you how powerful the motor is. The watt-hour number, meanwhile, basically says how big the fuel tank is.

Figuring out the other specs can sometimes feel like a job for an electrician, but it’s actually not that complicated. You just need to know what the units actually mean. Here’s a quick overview.

Watts (W) This shows the maximum continuous power a motor can give, though short-burst peak power may be higher. 250W motors (the UK legal maximum) are common.

Watt-hours (Wh)This tells you how much energy the battery can supply for one hour: a 500Wh battery puts out 500 watts before going flat after exactly 60 mins. Connected to a 250W motor, it will last two hours. (Note, this is two hours at full power – which you are highly unlikely to ever be able to use, and in the real world the flow varies hugely and battery life is far longer).

Amp-hours (Ah) This is another measure of energy supply. To convert to the more common watt-hours, multiply amp hours by the voltage of the battery.

Voltage (V) Voltage is a little like horsepower, though legal limitations mean there’s not actually much call for variation. 36V is common, with 24V at the lower end and 48V emerging at the higher.

Newton Metres (Nm) This tells you how much twisting force (torque) the motor generates, which you feel in how strongly it can accelerate. More torque means stronger acceleration – and with it, higher battery drain. 75Nm is a common benchmark to look out for.

WHICH ONE’S RIGHT FOR ME?

Looking for a high-value bargain with great spec? The Cube Cross Hybrid One 500 (£1,799) features the very efficient 2018 Bosch Activ Line Plus 50Nm motor and a 500W battery. It also has hydraulic disc brakes, an excellent feature on eBikes, given their extra weight.

Cube Cross Hybrid One 500.

For a bit more power and serious all-round usability, we love the Cube Reaction Hybrid HPA Pro 500 (£2,199). This gets the 75Nm Bosch CX motor, a semi-integrated 500W battery for smooth looks, and big knobbly Schwalbe tyres for grip and comfort on all surfaces. The quality drivetrain is 10-speed Shimano.

Cube Reaction Hybrid HPA Pro 500.

For serious trail use, there’s little more capable than Specialized’s Turbo Levo FSR 6FATTIE /29 (£3,500).  A 650b ‘Plus’ bike that’s fully compatible with 29in wheels, it offers 150mm full suspension, huge 2.8in-wide tyres, a high-end drivetrain, massive 200mm disc brakes, and stealthy looks. With a built-in power meter (to measure your own efforts versus the motor), a bar-mounted mode switch and app-based connectivity for your phone, it’s right out there on the cutting edge.

Specialized Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie

Check out the range of electric bikes at Hargroves Cycles, and don’t be shy about giving us a call to help understand the numbers.