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Electric & Power Assisted Bikes

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What is an electric bike, or e-bike?

The simplest answer is that an e-bike is a bike with an electric motor and battery pack. The motor is usually in the form of a hub motor, mid-drive motor or belt drive connected to the rear wheel. The beauty of an e-bike is they give riders the choice to ride normally (unassisted, just using their own pedal power), or have the motor kick in to help make the riding that bit easier.

A pedelec

Most e-bikes are ‘pedelec’ meaning that they require the rider to engage in some degree of pedalling in order to be mobile.

Why buy an e-bike

You could be in the market for an e-bike for one or several reasons. They may include:

Riding flexibility

You might want a bike that ‘has your back’ when you no longer feel like doing that much exertion, but still want to be getting in some exercise.

Enabling cycling despite health considerations

Riding is great for your health, none of us need reminding of that. But perhaps you have a medical consideration that means you can’t overly exert yourself when riding, or your movement is in some way limited. Despite this you still want to get out and do as much riding as possible, and include some heavy hills and the like in the mix. E-bikes help make the riding easier on your body.

No sweat

Say you like to commute to work by bike, but it’s either that little bit too far, or you can’t pack a change of clothes and therefore can’t afford to work up too much of a sweat. An e-bike is a great enabler – you can get to work in less time, and having worked up less of a sweat as well!

Types of e-bikes

There is no singular style of e-bike, they might come in urban type bikes, mountain bike style bikes, recumbent touring bikes, folding bikes and/ or flat bar commuter bikes

How much do e-bikes weigh?

When e-bikes first came onto the market, keeping their weight down wasn’t top of the priority list. However, as e-bikes have continued to become more advanced, their weight has continued to drop. Some are now as low as 16kgs, while 18-20kg is a more common figure.

E-bikes still deliver a work-out

The motor assists by making the pedalling easier (so you can either go faster, or more with a lot less exertion), meaning you can still get your work-out.

Re-charging e-bikes

How frequently you need to charge your e-bike and how long it takes to charge depends on how much you use it and how big the battery is. As a really rough-and-ready guide assume that a 360wh battery, which is quite common in e-bikes, should get you about 50km down the road on the highest level of assistance, or double that distance if you’re only using the lowest level of assistance. The steeper the terrain, the stronger the headwind and the more load the bike is carrying all call on extra motor power.

Make sure your e-bike battery is compliant with the UK or Ireland.

Do you need a licence to ride an e-bike in the UK and Ireland?

If you’re over 14 and in the United Kingdom, then you won’t need a licence to ride what is defined as an electrically assisted pedal cycle (EAPC). According to Gov.UK:

• “The bike must have pedals that can be used to propel it

• the electric motor shouldn’t be able to propel the bike when it’s travelling more than 15.5mph

• the motor shouldn’t have a maximum power output of more than 250 watts

The bike must also have a plate with the details about the manufacturer. It must also display either:

• the motor’s power output or the manufacturer

• the voltage of the battery or maximum speed of the bike”

If your e-bike does not meet these requirements then it’s going to have to be registered as well as taxed and as the rider you will need a licence and a helmet.

If you’re in Ireland and in the market for an e-bike, then the following requirements would be imposed on you: When assisted by the motor, speed must not exceed 15mph

The motor has to stop when you stop pedalling

The motor must not have a continuous motor rating of more than 250w

The bike must weigh 40kg or less in total

You must be 14 years or older

Note information within is subject to change. This information should not be considered legal advice and you should consult your e-bike retailer for more information before you make a purchase.

Can you retro-fit your bike to become an e-bike

Yes, this is indeed possible although if you’re not electronically or IT-minded then you might want to take it to the experts! Just remember what you legally can and can’t define as an e-bike…

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