Electric Bike – Is it right for you?

With the long term effects of social distancing looking set to impact us for the foreseeable future, there’s no better time to look into journeying by bike. Electric bikes have advanced so far that they are now a viable alternative to other forms of transport for short to medium distance journeys. There continues to be much confusion and misinformation surrounding e-bikes. Questions abound about their uses, their functions, legality and just how they work. In this blog, we give you the lowdown on these cutting-edge machines and hopefully debunk some of those abiding myths. In doing so, we hope we can assist you in answering the question, an electric bike is it right for you?

What is an electric bike?

The most common version of electric bike uses a pedal-assisted motor system. Take the Ribble e-bike range as an example, to look at you would be hard-pressed to notice that they are electric bikes at all! For each utilises the minimalist and exceptionally lightweight MAHLE Ebikemotion X35 propulsion system. This system places a motor mounted in the hub of the rear wheel which is connected to a slimline Panasonic battery hidden within the downtube of the frame. You propel the bike by turning the pedals as you would with any non-electric bike.

Where it differs however, is in the power assistance that the motor system offers. At the push of a button mounted on the top tube, you have access to 3 levels of smooth power assistance. Level 1 offers you the least amount of assistance and Level 3 the highest so you can adjust what you need to suit the terrain or to conserve battery power.

The Ribble Hybrid AL e is great choice for relaxed, leisure rides and commuting.

Who rides e-bikes?

Let’s start with who can best benefit from riding an electric bike. They are a great choice for anyone looking to take up cycling, those looking to take up cycling again after a long break or existing cyclists who wish to continue cycling through injury, illness or simply the advancing years. The road to gaining fitness can be a painful one and the e-bike can be a valuable aid into achieving this goal at a pace that suits you. It is a far less daunting task when you know you have that extra assist when attempting that dreaded climb.

An e-bike is also a viable proposition for anyone wanting a more leisurely commute into work. If your workplace does not have shower facilities then changing out of sweaty kit and into your work attire was previously the only option. The e-bike allows you to make the commute a little more leisurely and you could potentially even ride into work whilst dressed in your work attire. The key to an e-bike is that the ride is as easy or as hard as you choose it to be!

The Endurance SL e looks and rides like a performance carbon road bike. To look at you’d be hard-pressed to tell it apart from its sibling the Endurance SL R. Which is which?


The biggest and most prohibitive factor facing most people considering the purchase of an e-bike is the price. Though prices have decreased you still reasonably expect to pay in the region of £1500 to £3000 for a good quality entry-level to a mid-ranged e-bike. For instance, our own range of Ribble electric bikes starts at £1899. For this, you are getting one of the most cutting-edge and reliable propulsion systems available market as well as the lightest range of e-bikes available worldwide.

The government have embraced the benefits that e-bikes offer and have lent their aid by making e-bikes more accessible, thanks to some welcome changes to the cycle to work scheme. Previously the scheme was capped at £1000 meaning you could only make savings of between 25-39% on this amount. However, in 2019 this changed and the previous £1000 limit was amended to include e-bikes. Effectively meaning that there is no longer a limit.

The Ribble CGR ALe is the ‘do it all’ all-terrain e-bike, it is as capable on tarmac as it is when off the beaten track.

Common myths debunked

Do you know how electric bikes work? If not then you’re not alone as fully 65% of people in a recent survey stated that they were unsure just how they operated. You may have read or been given incorrect information about electric bikes. Here we set the record straight about some of the most common myths surrounding e-bikes.

  • At the push of a button, the motor engages and you do not have to pedal – False: Virtually all e-bikes are a pedelec which means they employ a pedal-assisted motor system. When activated the motor provides an extra boost to your pedal stroke. If you stop pedalling it will come to a stop like any bike.
  • You need to have a licence to ride one – Again false, a pedal-assisted e-bike falls into the same category as any other bicycle so a licence is not required. (However, we do advise you to check your local laws /regulations).
  • You need insurance to ride one – False, there is no requirement to insure yourself for riding any bicycle. It’s probably not a bad idea to invest in third-party insurance from companies like Pedalsure or British Cycling but it is by no means a legal requirement.

Most frequently asked questions

Do I need to tax the bike?

Absolutely not, the tax you pay on your car (vehicle excise duty) is based on emissions and your bike has zero emissions.

Do electric bikes require specific charging points like cars?

No, they charge from any household mains power socket. Simply plug it in at home or work to recharge. If you wanted to you could even take your charger with you and ask to charge it at a cafe stop (with the owner’s permission of course!).

Will I have full control over the bike?

Absolutely, you might say it’s just like riding a bike… because it is! You can activate the assistance or deactivate it at the push of a button. And, because it is a pedal assist system even if you stop pedalling the bike will come to a stop just like any other bike.   

Can I ride it in the rain?

All models of electric bikes must be weatherproof and can be ridden in all conditions*.

*Subject to guidelines being followed in the user manual; this includes closing the charging port cover, not power washing the bike, submerging the bike during rides etc.

If you would like to read more FAQ’s about our e-bikes then simply click here and scroll to the bottom of the product page for a comprehensive list of product questions.

What are the differences between the Ribble ebikes? Find out here.

Interested in Cycle To Work but unsure how it works? Find out everything you need to know here.

  1. Interesting bike and very tempting……especially with such a light weight

    Having been round eBikes the several years, and having had a Bosch bike which was stolen in London, and now a Yamaha powered Haibike my personal feelings are that this power system really needs a remote control on the handlebars .

    Having to reach down with the right hand to the top tube for the power button, can be a dodgy manoeuvre. Especially as the need for power can be a more critical moment, very different to when one is switching the power off
    The button is recessed to, making it harder to assess what power setting has been dialled in. Having a plus button, and minus button gives far more definite iinformation in my experience

    Having come off of the Brompton when one hand was off the bars, and an unseen pothole intervened, I think a thumb drive for the left hand is really necessary

    Otherwise its all very nice indeed

  2. In Norway we have 240 V power system in house, is there a plugg for that system?
    The tax inn Norway is very high depending of retail price is there something you can do about that. I have bout a TT bike from you a couple of years ago and is very satisfied .


  3. I’ve bought the Ribble ebike with a 105 group set. I have a permanent injury and just can’t up my fitness as much as I need to. I love cycling and didn’t want to give it up. This bike is the answer to my prayers! I’m currently on a weeks tour with my club around Somerset, I’m loving it and keeping up with the big boys!! We are doing about 50 miles a day with plenty of climbs and the bike is a godsend just perfect !

  4. No license required??? Are you a solicitor? That may be true in the UK, but you gave this legal opinion to the whole world. Better to tell people to check their local laws and regulations.

  5. Why do my club mates and other cyclists think you are not a club cyclist. I am 85 and it keeps me cycling. As the limit is 15.5 k the club members tend to go faster than that, so you get left behind or they keep waiting for you. So I tend to go out on my own.

  6. Hi,
    The advisory on the battery is that it will last for 500 charging cycles. It is replaced by removing the bottom bracket and sliding it out through the BB shell.
    Team Ribble

  7. Hi Dawn,
    We are delighted to hear that you like the ebike and are getting plenty of use out of it!
    Team Ribble

  8. I am moving to the us where the legal limit for a pegged assist e bike is 20mph. I want to up the max speed to 20mph. is this possible?

  9. Is the battery detachable and can you charge it separately from the bike I.e. can you lock your bike up and bring the battery indoors to charge overnight? Thanks.

  10. Are these e-bikes permitted to be taken in the hold of an aircraft to go on a cycling holiday? Normally Lithium batteries are not permitted in the hold of an aircraft.

  11. Does the charger work for both 110/120 and 220/240 volt countries? What type of plug comes with the system?

  12. I think your “Common Myths Debunked” is potentially dangerous as there are strict limits on ebikes. From the Cycling Weekly website:

    “Your steed is an “electrically assisted pedal cycle” (or EAPC, or ebike, or Pedelec) if: the bike has pedals that propel it; the electric motor won’t assist you when you’re travelling more than 25 km/h (15.5mph); and the power doesn’t exceed 250 watts.”

    If it does not meet these requiements then it is in law a motorbike, so you would need a motorcycle licence and insurance to ride it on the road (and I think cannot ride it legally on bridleways).

    I presume that Ribble only offers bikes which meet the lgal definition. I suggest that you amend the article to point out that there are limits and that you comply.

  13. hi I have a rare blood problem. my rbc count has not been above 3.7 for quite a few years while I can get a low 18mph ave on the flat on steep climbs I suffer really bad. would love to go too the alps do you think this bike would enable this,

  14. Im 70 with lung problems. Bought a carbon bike in 2013 and over the last 4 years have had to lower the gearing each year to compensate for decline in health. In November 19 i bought an e- bike, with bosch motor.. and haven,t looked back! I pedal around the 130 heart rate for a good workout, but when i came to steep hill the rate would go up to 150 and i would need time to recover, and always would wonder if I would get back home without walking.. its uphill home. The difference the e- bike makes is amazing. Effectively I get assistance on the hills so heartbeat remains at 130 or lower if i choose, so I have doubled the length of time i’m out I usually do 20-30 miles. Average speed is 14-15 mph the help switches off at 15.4mph. I am able to select no electric help, eco range around 100 miles, touring range 65 miles, Sport Around 50 miles and turbo about 40, on a 400 battery. Since I started cycling in 2013, my lung infections have decreased from 4-6 per year to 1 every 18 months.
    I have an amateur racing background from the 1970s, and have always thought E was cheating and I only switched to E as a last resort. Cycling has improved my health, and I didn’t want it to go pear shaped again. In fact an E bike puts fun back into cycling, the same sort of fun as I had 50 years ago under my own efforts. Going to the supermarket takes me 23 minutes longer than in the car, but I go backroads, have seen Stoats, a Buzzard with a snake, Dragon flies and when climbing i notice wildlife because i no longer have to concentrate on being in the zone to make sure I can get up the hills. If you are thinking of getting an ebike you won’t look back., especially if you have a health issue.. just take advice, try one out, and buy the best you can afford that meets your needs. For instance, I have a very low gear so that in the unlikely event of a flat battery, i can still pedal it home up the hills.

  15. I have recently bought a CGR ALe in Red which I think is great. I’m no longer the old boy at the back on hills. Everyone around thinks it looks like a normal bike and are very envious.
    The only comment I would make is that it needs a control on the handlebars as looking down at the assistance changing button can be a bit distracting especially as it can be a bit hit and miss as to what level you go to. Is there any chance this could be an upgrade feature.
    Thanks for a great bike.

  16. I fully agree with the comment from Barry Collins, about the need for a thumb operated control on the handlebar, for changing the power level on the Ribble ebike. It’s presence on the Orbea FX35 is the reason why I bought mine. Its ebikemotion system has an iWOC trio controller on the handlebar.

  17. Hi Roger,
    Thanks for posting your comment, such a button does exist. It is called the iWoc Trio and we will be in a position to offer it as an optional upgrade on new bike orders in 2021.
    [email protected]

  18. I bought an Endurance SLe from Ribble earlier this year as an 80th birthday present to myself. Delighted. It can’t perform time travel and make me what I was up to 30 years ago but does enable me to plough up the Surrey hills. The 25 km/h assistance cutoff has no relevance to most mortals when the gradient hits much over 5%.
    To business. I’m interested in getting a retrofit of the IWok Trio handlebar control sometime in 2021. Would this be possible at say your Bluewater facility and if so what is a rough estimate of the cost?

  19. Hi Brian,
    Many thanks for getting in touch and we’re happy to hear that you are loving your e-bike. I have asked the powers that be about whether we will be in a position to offer a retrofit of the trio control unit in the future. In regards to your query, however, there are a couple of problems (aside from the fact that I don’t yet know if we will be offering retrofits of course). Firstly our showrooms are not equipped to with workshop facilities so cannot perform anything other than the simplest of tasks and such a retrofit would definitely be beyond their capabilities. Secondly, you mention that you have an SL e and at present, the Trio is not compatible with drop handlebars and can only be fitted to flat bars. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news on this.
    [email protected]

  20. I am 73 and this year 2020 have completed 4600 miles consisting many climbs, not quite ready for an e bike but very intrigued about the spec on the Ribble bikes especially regards the light weight which good be ideal bike to gradually shoe me in to e biking as seems realistic for the future.
    I would appreciate any information on updates etcetera.

  21. Hi Don, it’s great to hear that you are racking up the miles. We have no information on any future e-bikes at this time we’re sorry to say. Such things are always hush-hush until it is close to their release time. Best Regards, Team Ribble

  22. Do the 2021 Ribble e bikes have the latest Mahle x35+ motor and if so, how does this motor differentiate from the previous version?


    Harvey from Devon

  23. Hi Harvey,
    Thanks for getting in touch and yes, we can confirm that our range of electric bikes is now equipped with the X35 system. Though in truth, this does not differ greatly to its predecessor, the only noticeable differences being greater Ant+ connectivity and the motor assembly design has been tweaked slightly to allow for greater compatibility with higher spoke tension. Best Regards Team Ribble

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