The ultimate electric bike guide
Written by Rachel Penn
Transport accounts for roughly 23% of all the UK’s carbon emissions. Folding electric bikes and electric push bikes are also known as E-bikes, and they’re the perfect alternative to cars. They offer the same benefits as normal bikes such as exercise, money-saving, energy-efficiency and emission-free transport but with added speed and innovative technology.
The average car produces 0.28kg of carbon per mile and even more for diesel cars. But if you travelled by electric bike just four miles every day of the year, you’d save enough carbon dioxide to fill half a decker bus.
Other advantages of electric bikes include their range, meaning you can ride for longer between charges, they’re built to assist climbing hills and it makes cycling in bad weather conditions easier. Additionally, they can help individuals that need a little more help, perhaps due to asthma, knee pain or heart conditions.
Whether you commute to work, cycle to school or collect your food shopping – electric bikes can make your journeys easier. Most cities in the UK now have air zones to combat climate change and transport pollution. With cycle lanes and cycle schemes, electric bikes are more affordable and likely to change the face of transport in the years to come.
A report conducted by Mintel found that the UK bicycle market rose by 44% in 2020 reaching nearly £1.2 billion, up from £825 million in 2019. Mintel also estimate that 170,000 electric bikes were sold in 2020 which is a 70% rise year-to-year. This may be partly due to the pandemic but Halfords believes this number will only rise.
We’ve covered the benefits of electric bikes but before we dive into the best electric bikes for sale, let’s answer all of your FAQs!
Are electric bikes legal in the UK?
Yes, electric bikes are legal in the UK for those over the age of 14. However, according to gov.uk, to be classified as an Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle (EPAC), the motor must have a maximum power output of 250W and should not be able to propel the bike when it’s travelling more than 15.5mph.
It must show either the power output or the manufacturer of the motor. It must also show either the battery’s voltage or the maximum speed of the bike.
Any electric bike that does not meet this rule is classed as a motorcycle or moped which needs to be registered and taxed. You’ll also need a driving license and you must wear a crash helmet.
How do electric bikes work?
Electric bikes are just like normal bikes except they have an electric motor fitted to assist with peddling and a rechargeable battery. This means you still reap the benefit of exercise, but with some added help.
The battery is usually attached to the frame and simply needs to be plugged into the mains like an electric car or mobile phone to charge it between rides. The great thing is that even if you run out of charge on your journey, you can use it like a regular bike! Batteries can last for 25 miles to 100 miles, depending on what settings you cycle, if it’s fully charged and how powerful the motor is.
On average, one of our Axon bikes takes 3.5 hours to fully charge.
Motors can be fitted in various places such as within the front hub or rear hub. The main purpose of the motor is to provide more torque as you pedal. In simple terms, the fancier the motor, the more torque it offers and the more torque you have, the more powerful the bike is.
How much are electric bikes?
It’s evident that electric bikes are more expensive than traditional bikes, but their innovative technology means you’re paying for what you get!
Generally, electric bikes start at £700 and can range all the way up to £10,000. But you certainly don’t need to spend that much to find a decent model. Our electric bikes for sale range from £759 to £2,280 but they’re all great options for your commute to work and reducing carbon emissions.
How fast do electric bikes go?
As we covered earlier, electric bikes cannot go faster than 15.5mph otherwise you would need a license. However, you can increase the speed by peddling faster yourself!
Do you need a license for an electric bike?
No, you don’t need a license to ride an electric bike and it doesn’t need to be registered, taxed or insured. Just like normal bikes, electric bikes are subject to the same rules such as it’s legal to use cycle paths or cycle on the road. Similarly, it’s not legal to ride an electric bike on the pavement.
Electric bikes give you the extra oomph you need to get to your destination without the effort. No more arriving to work a hot mess dripping in sweat! By taking advantage of the assisted peddling and traffic-free cycle lanes, you can arrive quickly and safely.
All of our bikes are insulated for protection against rain and damp, and they feature safety measures. For example, the Inmotion P2 Electric Mini E-bike has a key switch, speed control activation and powerful dual headlights and brake light for visibility at night.
Swap your short car journey for an electric bike
Electric bikes are estimated to play a huge role in our future. Although cycling was largely forgotten about during the COP26 discussion in Glasgow, organisations all over the world are working to highlight its importance. For example, the European Cycling Foundation wrote an open letter to governments at COP26 which says “World leaders must commit to boosting cycling levels to reduce carbon emissions and reach global climate goals quickly and effectively”.