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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 Buying Guide Electric Bikes

A Beginners Guide To eBikes

We have read a lot of very complicated guides to eBikes and there are a lot of conflicting bits of advice around battery life, legal issues and basically the best e-bikes to buy. We decided to write this plain common sense guide to buying an electric bike to try and debunk some of the myths.

What is an eBike?

An eBike is a bicycle that uses a motor powered by electricity to aid with pedalling. They are also known sometimes by the term pedelec. Originally they were normal bicycles with motor’s added to the rear or front wheel and batteries bolted to the frame. Most modern e-bikes however are custom designed and have an electric motor that directly drives the pedals (crank driven) and integrated batteries.

Cube Reaction Hybrid HPA Pro 400 - 2016 Hybrid Bike

You don’t need any specialist equipment as all of our e-bikes will charge directly from a mains socket.

In the UK the motor is only allowed to help ease the burden of pedalling and cannot drive the wheels without the rider pedalling the bike. The assistance is also limited to a top speed of 15.5mph, you can pedal quicker than this but at this speed the motor assistance will cease.

As the power source, the battery is a critical component of your electric bike and an important criteria in your purchase choice.

What kind of batteries do e-bikes use?

Most modern ebikes use lithium Ion (Li-ion) batteries as they are super light and compact because of this can store a lot more power into a smaller space.You may find a few old lead acid (NiMH) batteries on older models (not on any of our bikes). These are cheaper but are also heavy, slow to charge and don’t last as long.

How far will a charge take me on an e-bike?

This is a real how long is a piece of string question as it depends on the size of the battery, the power of the motor and how much of the work you are doing vs the motor. A good rule of thumb is that an average rider on an average e-bike should get between 15 – 30 miles between charges. If you are in a hilly area then that number is more than likely to be closer to 15 than 30 miles as e-bikes really come into their own at helping you climb hills.

How often should I charge my battery?

Most people that ride their e-bike every day to work will simply charge the bike every evening and it doesn’t do the battery any harm. In short the time taken to charge the battery is related to how much charge it has left in the first place. Generally though the longest any battery will take to charge is around 5- 6 hours. Battery manufacturers (Li-ion) reccomend that to prolong battery life you should never let it fully discharge in fact for optimal performance you should recharge before charge drops below 50% capacity.

Where does the UK law stand on e-bikes?

There is a lot of misinformation from some disreputable sites out there but the law in the UK surrounding electric bikes is pretty simple.

The info below is taken directly from the UK Gov site…

“In Great Britain, if you’re 14 or over you don’t need a licence to ride electric bikes that meet certain requirements, and they don’t need to be registered, taxed or insured.
Electric bikes meeting the requirements are called ‘electrically assisted pedal cycles’ (EAPCs). They can be 2-wheeled bicycles, tandems or tricycles.”

EAPC requirements

  • The bike must have pedals that can be used to propel it
  • The electric motor shouldn’t be able to propel the bike when it’s travelling more than 15.5mph
  • The motor shouldn’t have a maximum power output of more than 250 watts
  • It must also display one item from each of the following:
    • The power output or manufacturer of the motor
    • The battery’s voltage or maximum speed of the bike

Where you can ride an EAPC

If a bike meets the EAPC requirements it’s classed as a normal pedal bike. This means you can ride it on cycle paths and anywhere else pedal bikes are allowed.

If you fancy making the most of the summer without breaking too much of a sweat why not have a look at our range of e-bikes all avalable at 0% finance.