Electric bikes are great fun, and really useful too! Whether you want to get outside more but you don’t like the hills, or just want a practical way of riding around without getting sweaty, an electric bike (also known as an e-bike) can be the perfect choice.
An electric bike is like a normal bike, with the addition of an electric motor and battery. You still have to pedal, but the electric motor can kick in to give you some help. Most e-bikes have different settings, so you can decide how much of a boost you’re getting!
There are few regulations with electric bikes which are useful to know. You can use an e-bike anywhere that you’re able to ride a regular bike, and you only need the same safety equipment you’d wear on a normal bike, too. If you want to use one on a public road though, you have to be at least 14 years old.
Pay attention to the weight of the bike. Legally, e-bikes have to weigh less than 40kg. Ones with lightweight alloy frames are nice and easy to ride, and the help from the motor more than makes up for the extra weight!
E-bikes can power you along at up to 15.5 miles per hour. You can go faster than that if you want to of course, but you’ll need to put in the legwork! They make a huge difference when it comes to accelerating up to a good speed – perfect for stop-start urban cycling.
When you’re choosing an electric bike, you’ll normally see some figures for the electric motor to tell you how powerful it is. The first figure to look at should be the battery capacity in amp hours. This tells you how much energy the battery can store. A higher number means that the battery can go further!
Then, take a look at the voltage, which tells you how powerful the motor is. The amount of power an e-bike can produce is limited by law in the UK, so this is usually similar for different bikes. Of course, the more powerful your motor, the more quickly you can empty your battery!
A good e-bike will have a selection of different modes to choose from, depending on whether you need help getting up to cruising speed, or want more of a push up the hills. You can still ride around and get some exercise, but without getting too sweaty in the process! Being able to pick the right mode also means that your battery will last for longer.
When it’s time to charge the battery on your e-bike, just plug it into a household socket. You can buy e-bikes with different sizes of battery depending on how long your journey will be, but some bikes can get between 40 and 50 miles from a single charge! If you need to, you can just turn up the power to get more speed and help on the hills instead.
Features to look for
So, what e-bike features should you think about?
If you use public transport to get around, or you don’t have much space to store your bike, then consider getting a folding electric bike. These have all the benefits of e-bikes, but can be folded up to a small size and easily stowed away.
Want to head off onto the cycle paths and into the park? Try an e-bike with a suspension fork. Forks can take the bumps out of potholed roads, as well as letting you tackle the tracks with confidence!
Riding on an e-bike can save loads of money. An e-bike costs on average 0.4 pence per mile to run. Just compare this to a medium-sized diesel car, which costs 34 pence per mile! Of course, an e-bike is also much more eco-friendly than a car, so you can be kind to Mother Earth as well as your wallet!
Electric bikes are getting really popular with people who want to get around more easily and save some money.