08/03/2021
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Electric Bikes - FAQs

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  Electric Bikes: The Ultimate Guide

Frequently Asked Questions about Electric Bikes

Here are the most common questions we get asked about electric bikes. The answers are brief and intended to provide quick answers to your frequentely asked questions.

FAQs

  1. What types of bikes are electric?
  2. How do electric bikes work?
  3. How much are electric bikes?
  4. How much do electric bikes weigh?
  5. How fast do electric bikes go?
  6. How do you ride an electric bike?
  7. Are electric bikes good for hills?
  8. Are electric bikes legal in UK?
  9. Do you need a licence for an electric bike?
  10. How far can electric bikes go?
  11. How much does it cost to charge a electric bike?
  12. How do you mend a puncture on an electric bike?
 


Q1: What types of bikes are electric?

A: Electric bikes are available in just about any style that regular bikes are, from leisure hybrids to mountain bikes and there are even a few road racing bikes with electric assist out there. Almost any type of bike can be converted to an electric bike with a conversion kit.


Q2: How do electric bikes work?

A: Very simply - it is pretty much like riding a regular bike but with a helping hand, or rather some extra helping legs. E-bikes are just bikes with a small motor and battery added. You need to pedal to get the motor to work and the e-bike senses when you pedal and supplies power accordingly.


Q3: How much are electric bikes?

A: The cheapest e-bikes start around £500 but there will be big compromises at this price – think less motor power, small battery and basic spec of equipment. They top out at many thousands of pounds for superbly engineered and highly sophisticated machines.


Q4: How much do electric bikes weigh?

A: Anything from 10kg (usually very expensive if very light like this) to 30kg plus for a big electric cargo bike. Typical weight is around 20kg.


Q5: How fast do electric bikes go?

A: In UK law e-bikes are motor assisted up to 15.5mph / 25kmh. Of course you can carry on pedalling above this speed but the motor will cut out and it will be harder work.


Q6: How do you ride an electric bike?

A: All legal e-bikes require you to pedal. With the vast majority this is all you need to do but a small percentage have a throttle too but, however this actually works on any particular e-bike, you will still need to be pedalling to get the full power of the motor. Most e-bikes have different power settings allowing the motor to supply more or less power when you pedal (depending on how much you require) and these are usually controlled by buttons on the handlebars.    


Q7: Are electric bikes good for hills?

A: Yes! Most motors on e-bikes are rated in Newton metres (Nm) of torque and the higher the rating the better at hill climbing it normally is. 40Nm is OK and above 60Nm is starting to get into very good hillclimbing territory. Just about all e-bikes make climbing hills considerably easier.


Q8: Are electric bikes legal in UK?

A: Yes but motor assistance is limited to 15.5mph / 25kmh and motor power must be rated at 250watts continuous power. They must also be made in accordance with CE 15194 safety standard and the bike marked with the appropriate marking (for bikes made after Brexit this will be replaced with a UKCA marking but at the time of writing it represented exactly the same safety standard).   


Q9: Do you need a licence for an electric bike?

A: No, you can ride them just like a normal bike with the exception that the rider needs to be at least 14 years of age to ride on the road or on bike paths. Although we highly recommend that you use a helmet on any bike.


Q10: How far can electric bikes go?

A: It depends on the battery capacity and how power hungry the motor is and many other factors (including weight of the rider and what power settings they use) Around 15 miles is the very lowest you might expect from a small battery whilst the very biggest batteries might be able to take you over 100 miles.


Q11: How much does it cost to charge a electric bike?

A: A full charge, even on a big capacity battery should cost a matter of pence. At the time of writing the average electricity price was around 16p per kilowatt hour (Wh). So a typical capacity 500Wh would cost 8 pence to charge from empty to full. In comparison, it costs about 2.5p to boil a kettle, or 30p to run a washing machine on a 40 degree cycle.


Q12: How do you mend a puncture on an electric bike?

A: This depends where the motor is, but it whatever kind of e-bike you have it is usually pretty easy. If the motor is located around the pedal axle (a ‘mid-drive’) then the wheels are removed just as on a normal bike. If the motor is in the wheel hub you will have to disconnect the motor but this is usually easily done via a small plug connector that pulls apart and plus back together. Bear in mind some e-bikes can be heavy so actually handling the e-bike may be the main problem when changing a puncture.


Post by Richard Peace who also contributes to electricbikereport.com, which has hundreds of e-bike reviews and guides

Finished Reading?

If you have finished reading our Electric Bike FAQs, return to our 'Electric Bike Ultimate Guide'.

  Electric Bikes: The Ultimate Guide

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