Electric Bikes Guide
Electric bikes (sometimes referred to as E-Bikes or Pedalec) are similar to traditional bicycles, they have two wheels, a crankset, hubs, and all the other things you've come to love, but feature an electric motor to assist the rider allowing you to pedal Less and go further. If you would like power assistance with your pedalling then an electric bicycle is the perfect answer. Electric bikes typically cost more than a non-electric bike of the same spec, but this is of course expected as a large amount of technology is crammed into an electric bike. Prices usually start around £1000.
They typically come in two forms:
Pedal-Assist - The speed of the motor is determined by the pedalling. A sensor will detect the pedalling speed and/or force, and then assist the user accordingly.
Power-On-Demand - Here, the motor is activated by a throlle usually mounted on the handlbars, just like you would find on a motorcycle or moped.
The motor is normally found at the hub, with the battery pack being mounted either off the top tube or on pannier racks over the rear wheel. Most modern systems are also fairly discreet and compact.
Electric Bikes are zero-emission vehicles, as the electric motor produces no pollution because no combustion is happening, like in a traditional engine. While the environmental effects of manufacturing and shipping E-Bikes, as well as where the electricity the batteries are to be charged with is generated from and how the batteries are disposed of must be considered, they still have a much lower environmental impact than conventional automobiles.
When used in an urban environment, commuting becomes a breeze. All the benefits of a bicycle - easy storage, being able to filter through traffic and reach areas inaccessible by larger vehicles, but with the added bonus of extra power. Any hills become no more effort than flat ground, and higher speeds can be attained with almost no fatigue - perfect for when you have a day of work ahead of you.
For people who may have suffered an injury or be elderly and so not able to properly ride a traditional bike in the same way any more, an electric bike still offers a way for them to use a bicycle, especially if it used to be part of a routine.
The UK is about to adopt the EU standard BS EN 15194. This states: ‘The motor must only give 250 watts continuous assistance and a maximum speed (under electrical power or assistance) of 25kph (15.53mph). The bike has to weigh less then 40kg, and have pedals.’ Standard bike regulations also apply, along with a whole bunch of potential loopholes in ‘the law. The current UK law though, is 15mph max assistance speed, and 200 watts continuous motor power.