Everything you need to know about buying an electric bike for Christmas

John Clark, Velospeed
John Clark 10.12.19

Electric bikes are great fun and gaining in popularity. They are this year’s must-have present, but what should you look for when spending your hard earned cash on one? It’s important to get it right and that sometimes involves a little bit of help!

What should you expect? How do electric bikes actually work?

Electric bikes (ebikes) work in a very intuitive way, though the details vary from model to model. Hop on board, like any bike. Switch on the motor, and start pedalling. Depending on how much assistance you fancy, when you start to pedal the bike will assist you, and it’s like having an invisible hand pushing you along. It’s invigorating, but not frightening. Get to a hill and don’t like the look of it? Change gear and turn that motor up. You’ll be at the top before you know it…what hill?

What are the rules and regulations for electric bikes?

The laws around ebikes are very simple. You must be 14 or older, and that’s it really. The motor isn’t allowed to help you after 25kph (which is 15.5 mph) but you can go as fast as you like without assistance – so the motor is there when you need it most! It’s advisory to wear a helmet, which is common sense, and you don’t need any sort of licence, tax, insurance etc. You can ride them anywhere you would ride a normal bicycle, which is pretty much anywhere except motorways. Again, pretty sensible to keep off those.

What style of ebike should you choose? 

There are as many different styles of ebike as there are non-assisted cycles. From very hi-tech electric Mountain Bikes to foldable commuter bikes, to touring bikes and hybrid bikes that are great for multi-purpose use. People use them to get to work, to get fit (on their own terms), to take on holidays and to hurtle down the side of mountains – and back up again. There are cargo bikes which whizz around the city delivering parcels, food, ice cream and anything else you can think of, and there are family bikes which are a great way to take the kids to school, shopping or off to their friends! It’s a cheap, environmentally friendly and clean way to get around, which is why everyone is getting excited about them.

What range can you get from an ebike?

They’re such fun you may not want to get off, so what sort of range can you expect? It does depend on various factors, such as rider weight, level of motor assistance and the terrain you’re riding over, but we are seeing an average of around 50 miles on ebikes with Bosch motors and batteries, with our current champion rider averaging nearly 90 miles per charge. Impressive stuff!

So, what do you do next? 

If you want to see how much difference an electric bike will make to your life, come and see us and try a few out. There is no substitute for getting on several different bikes to see how they feel, and you will know when you’ve found your ideal bike – there are many factors involved such as seating position, reach, and just how the bike feels when you’re riding it. It’s very personal, and at Velospeed we take the time to help you make your choice. It may change your life, so you need to make sure you get the choice right.