Electric Bikes Experts explain the benefits of electric bikes, and help you decide if they're any good. This is the first part of our four-part video buyers guide.
The big benefits of electric bikes come from the electric motor. The extra power makes the problem of hills and headwinds a thing of the past, as well as letting you carry a full load of shopping on your bike without effecting performance. The standard 250 Watt motor is like to having a fit athlete pedaling at the same time as you.
"What Makes a Quality Electric Bike?" - Electric Bikes Experts explain.
The extra power allows you to do things other bicycles can’t - the extra speed and acceleration means you can get away from junctions at traffic lights easily, perfect for the stop-start-stop-start city commute, and match the speed of surrounding traffic reducing the chances of an accident.
The power means you can also concentrate on the traffic around you more, and stay safe. That’s why its used by polices forces, couriers and other heavy cyclist users.
For commuters in particular, the motor halves the effort it takes to cycle to work. This means you don’t arrive a sweaty mess at work, don’t have to pack a spare change of clothes (since a suit can’t really be kept flat anyway on a bike) and don’t have to shower at either end. This saves you a lot of time and hassle.
On longer journeys, an electric bike means you don’t tire nearly as easily so you’re more alert, and it also gets you to where you want to go quicker, and arrive more awake and ready to do work without the effort that makes you sweat. No one likes to arrive at work or at a meeting tired, late and sweaty!
Compared with petrol, electric bikes can be easily charged from any ordinary socket at the cost of standard electricity, costing just a few pennies per charge rather than £80-90 each time you visit the pumps. The savings will quickly mount up so you can spend more elsewhere.
That’s not the only major savings. MOTs, insurance, maintenence and road tax can all be stripped away. An electric bike is an ideal replacement for a second car which sees little useful use but just piles onto your bills.
Funnily, statistics show you’re more likely to use an electric bike than a traditional bicycle because its less effort and you can do so much more; some say up to 7 times as often. So using an electric bike is a smart way to get in shape.
The current and future generation of electric bike batteries are lithium-based, much like you get in a mobile phone or a laptop. Lithium is the most durable, energy-efficient and long-lasting type of battery available.
Ranges of more than 50 miles are not unrealistic at all when you get the right model, enabling a roundtrip journey to be perfectly possible. Batteries can be recharged like your mobile phone or laptop, in a few hours overnight, or in the office so you’re always ready to go.
What’s more, you can travel at a nearly constant speed of 15mph in a city. That might not sound a lot, but you’ll beat the stop-start city traffic anyway by going more directly, travelling around or through traffic. And that’s just a really good feeling!
You can even convert your existing bike with the help of an electric bike kit, if your the DIY type - so if you've already got a bike, but aren't using it as much as you'd like to, you can electrify it and enjoy it more.
The next chapter introduces some of the specific electric bike parts, and how they deliver all these incredible benefits.
David Henshaw of A to B Magazine, and cycling author Richard Peace have co-written an excellent book on the history, best practices and technology all in one handy book. Available on Amazon for a very reasonable price.
Did you know you can convert your existing bike to an electric bike using a conversion kit? Watch this video where experts argue the pros and cons of conversion kits.
Wondering where you can go to try out and buy electric bikes? Here's our list of recommended dealers.