E-bikes: You asked, we answered

Last Saturday, the Energise E-bikes team were out and about displaying the latest electric bikes at local events in Chipstead (near Coulsdon) and in Tunbridge Wells to answer questions that the general public had about electric bikes. Here were some of the most common questions we were asked:

 How much is a reliable electric bike for commuting? 

We were pleasantly surprised at how many people were considering switching from driving to electric bike commuting. Although, having seen the recent petrol prices, maybe this shouldn't have been such a shocker. Both men and women of all ages were up for two-wheeled commuting. 

We would say that an electric bike that is robust enough to survive daily usage in all-weathers is going to cost £2500 and above. Below this price, you would be sacrificing comfort and build quality.

A £1000 e-bike looks and rides great on day 1, but you need to be thinking about how well it will ride on day 729 - the day before the warranty runs out. A bike with a good motor system, strong frame and higher specification components will be leagues better than the £1000 bike on day 729 and beyond. 

Are electric bikes legal? 

A lot of people asked this, and we think there is a lot of confusion about these because of what they read about bike and scooter confiscations.

All the electric bikes that Energise E-bikes sell are under the EPAC legal category - electrically pedal-assisted cycles. This means they are legally classified as a bicycle and can go anywhere that a bicycle is allowed. 

Some so-called "electric bikes" can be illegal if:
- The motor is more powerful than 250w
- The motor can be activated without pedalling ie. with a throttle

Electric scooters are illegal to ride in public unless part of a designated hire scheme.  

Which electric bikes are the fastest? 

Electric biking isn't really about speed. It's more about distance, and carrying things. However the fastest ones will be the road and gravel style electric bikes

The weight of these electric bikes is very low, and so once you reach the 15.5mph limit of the motor - and are therefore relying on your leg power and gearing alone - it is easier to accelerate to higher speeds on this style of bike than on others. 

You've got to balance what is more important to you: speed, hill-climbing, or carrying? 

Do they do electric tricycles?  

Yes, they do, but they're not as rideable as you think. We did used to sell electric tricycles but on the road they can be quite unwieldy. Some people buy tricycles to be more stable, but they can actually be more unstable on a road with a camber. If your ride somewhere that's well maintained and very flat, then you might be OK with an e-trike. Otherwise, it's worth trying a two-wheel electric bike. 

Don't forget, e-bikes help you maintain momentum even if you aren't able to provide much power yourself. Plus they generally have a low centre of gravity compared to conventional bikes, so will feel more stable anyway.  

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