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.
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 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.
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.