What is an e-bike?
An electric bike is a normal bicycle that has been adapted or manufactured to include an electric motor, giving the rider a helping hand to tackle hills, or simply make the ride easier and more enjoyable.
Electric bikes come in all shapes and sizes - mountain bikes, folding bikes, racing bikes or town bikes. Apart from the motor, all the other parts of an electric bike work in just the same way as a normal bike.
Whether you are a regular cyclist looking for an easier option or considering taking up cycling for the first time, an e-bike could be the best solution to get on two wheels as an alternative to driving or taking public transport - helping to improve your health and cut pollution.
With an e-bike you control the level of exercise you're doing. If you need a push simply engage the motor to help you along! As you gain fitness, you can choose to use the assistance less, perhaps only on the steepest hills.
Even if you already cycle a little, an electric bike could help you to go even further - maybe giving you the opportunity to commute or go to places you didn't think possible on two wheels.
How much does it cost?
Electric bikes generally cost more than a non-power assisted bike, with prices starting as low as £500 up to a few thousand. Expect to pay £600 - £1000 for a really solid, reliable, quality electric bike. Whilst they may seem expensive, by replacing short car journeys or public transport you will soon recoup your money back in petrol, parking and congestion charges alone.
You may also wish to consider the cost of replacing the battery, although this should last for several years depending on how much you use it!
Electric bikes are available to purchase on cycle to work schemes (up to £1000) and via the Ride it away retail finance (up to £15,000)- just the same as a normal bicycle purchase.
How much do they weigh?
Another thing to consider is that an electric bike will usually be heavier than a non-electric one because of the battery and the motor - typically the whole bike weighs between 24-30kg. However, the added benefit of the electrical assistance will still make it very easy to ride.
How fast can an e-bike go?
With an e-bike, the motor must legally stop assisting you at 15.5mph - however there is nothing stopping you from powering yourself faster than that through pedalling alone - especially downhill!