What is an electric bike, how do they work, who can ride them, what about the legalities?
In this article we aim to cover these questions and to get you in the know about all things electric-bikey!
1. Electric bike / E-Bike / Pedelec...
Firstly, let's clarify terminology! Electric bikes are sometimes given different names... An electric bike may be called an e-bike, or perhaps a pedelec - but these terms all refer to the same thing.
As electric bikes grow in popularity in the UK, these names will no doubt become commonplace.
2. What are they and how do they work?
An electric bike is NOT a motorbike or moped. It is a power assisted bicycle. There is a battery attached to the bike (this can be in different positions around the bike), and there is a motor hooked up to the battery (again, this can be attached to the front or rear wheel - depending on the model).
As electric bikes are 'power-assisted', the motor only kicks in when the rider is pedalling... basically it assists normal cycling.
3. Who can ride them?
Electric bikes are suitable for a whole range of people, and the different models offer something for almost anyone! For example...
a) Some electric bikes have a very low step-through, which is ideal for people with knee or hip problems. These offer an ideal leisure bike solution.
b) There is a fantastic range of electric mountain bikes on the market. These provide that extra boost to get up more hills (so the rider can enjoy a few more downhills!).
c) There are lots of electric bikes that have been designed to make commuting comfortable and practical. These vary in style, size and spec... but they are designed for daily use in towns and cities.
d) There are now electric road bikes on the market which look incredibly slick, have a very discrete, aerodynamic battery, and are designed to cover long distances. These enhance existing ability, or are great for people that want to cover longer distances with a bit of a boost!
4. The Legal part
There are a few laws governing electric bikes in the UK.
For an electric bike to be legal in the UK, the following must apply:
1. The maximum power output is 250 watts.
2. The maximum speed with assisted pedalling is 15.5mph
3. The rider must be at least 14 years old
A road-legal electric bike does not require a licence or road fund tax. BUT if any of the above specifications are broken/exceded, the bike becomes more than a bicycle (i.e. it becomes a moped in the eyes of the law - meaning a licence, tax and insurance must be in place).
5. The I Cycle part...
At I Cycle Electric, we offer a huge range of electric bikes (commuter, leisure, folding, mountain); all of which are road-legal.
Please visit us to take an electric bike for a test ride..
Also, please don't hesitate to ask if you have further questions about electric bikes.