What is an electric bike?
There are many ways to look at the benefits of an electric bike. They either save you time or energy. Allow you to do more of the things you love or less of the things you hate ( slogging up hills ). To get somewhere faster or to ride further.
For those of you thinking about buying an electric bike and are wondering what they are and how they work, in this guide we clear out the confusion and break down the basics you need to know.
How electric bikes work
Electric bikes (E-Bikes) are just like normal bikes, except that when pedalling there is a motor that helps you out and makes the going easier.
The motors work harder the more you do, the harder you pedal the more assistance it provides. They will assist you up to 15.5 mph and then stop assisting above this, but you can pedal them as fast as you’d like.
They run off a battery mounted on the bike and the range you can ride on a charge will vary according to battery size, how much you’re using the motor, rider size and more.
Nowadays there is an electric bike for every type of rider. They come in all shapes and sizes and cater to all disciplines of cycling. From your lightweight road E-Bike to eclectic mountain bikes, heavy duty cargo e-bike and everything in between.
Are electric bikes legal to ride in the uk?
While there are lots of different types of E-Bikes, the ones we deal with don’t need to be taxed, insured or registered and you don’t need a licence to ride one. Legally, these bikes are known as ‘electrically assisted pedal cycles’ (EPAC’s).
To be legal the bike has to comply with the following rules:
- have the motor assistance limited to 15.5mph (25kph)
- only provide assistance while you are pedalling
- give no more than 250 watts from the motor
The two small exceptions to this are:
- there can be a “Walk Assist” mode where a button on the remote can move the bike by itself up to 4 mph (6 kph) to help with pushing the bike
- the motor can momentarily output up to 750+ watts, for example when starting on a steep hill
You can ride an electric bike in England, Scotland and Wales if you’re 14 or over. You can also take one anywhere a conventional bike can go.
The rules are different in Northern Ireland, and any motor-assisted bike counts as a moped and you will need a licence. You will also be unable to take it on cycle paths or bridleways legally.