The Electric bike continues to be the source of much confusion and misinformation. Questions abound about their uses, their functions, legality and just how they work. In this blog we give you the lowdown on who can benefit from riding these bikes and hopefully debunk some of those abiding myths that surround these incredible machines. Is an e-bike the right machine for you?
What is an electric bike?
The most common version of the electric bike uses a pedal assisted motor system. Take the Ribble e-bikes as an example, to look at them you would be hard-pressed to notice that they are electric bikes at all! For each utilises the minimalist ebikemotion X35 propulsion system. This lightweight system has a motor built into the rear hub and the battery is hidden within the downtube. When you set off on a ride you pedal as you would on any non-ebike. In terms of ride and performance it feels just like any normal bicycle.
Where it differs however is in the power assistance that it offers. At the push of a button mounted on the top tube you have access to 3 levels of 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 save battery power.
Who rides e-bikes?
Let’s start with who can best benefit from riding an electric bike. They are a great choice for beginner cyclists, those looking to take up cycling again or those looking to prolong their cycling career. The road to gaining fitness can be a painful one and the e-bike can be a valuable aid into achieving this goal. 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 biggest and most prohibitive factor facing most people considering the purchase of an e-bike is the price. You can reasonably expect to pay in the region of £1500 to £2000 for a good quality mid-ranged e-bike. For instance, our own range of Ribble e-bikes start at £1899. For this you are getting one of the best propulsion systems around and the lightest range of ebikes available.
The government have lent their aid to 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, a recent amendment to this limit has resulted in there effectively being no limit. It is worth noting this is a revision specifically related to electric bikes.
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 use a pedal assist 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 (pedelec) 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 a third-party insurance from British Cycling or the like but it is by no means a legal requirement.
Most 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.
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.
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.