A Beginner's Guide to E-bikes

Whether you want to ditch your car on your commute, or you want to tackle those steep hills or go off terrain, electric bikes are making cycling more accessible. There are many reasons to choose an electric bike but if you are a novice or a beginner to electric bikes, you might be wondering what an electric bike is and how it works.

What is an electric bike?

An electric bike, or e-bike, is a bicycle equipped with an electric motor to assist you when you’re pedalling. The motor will get its power from a rechargeable battery mounted on the bike. e-bikes are bicycles with a battery-powered “assist” that comes via pedalling – they do not have a throttle. When you push the pedals on a pedal-assisted e-bike, a small motor engages and gives you a boost, so you can zip up hills and cruise over tough terrain.

There are three main components of an electric bike

The motor

This provides the torque when you pedal. There is a range of motors from different manufacturers that vary in terms of their size, the amount of power they provide, how they are maintained, and their reliability.

The battery

The battery on an electric bike can be located in varying places on the bike, often dependent on frame type and

The sensor

The sensor on an electric bike is a highly important component that senses how much assistance to provide while you are riding. There are two types of sensors used on e-bikes; a speed sensor and a torque sensor.

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Are there different variations of electric bikes?

Just like regular bikes, there are many different kinds of bikes. These include:

Hybrids/commuter e-bikes

Hybrid electric bikes are an excellent choice for commuting to work or exploring country roads and trails. These versatile e-bikes feature front suspension and wider tires compared to electric road bikes, ensuring a comfortable ride on smooth tracks and gentle trails. Additionally, they perform exceptionally well on the road, offering both men's and women's frame styles designed for optimal comfort.

Road or commuter electric bikes

Road or commuter electric bikes are often similar to hybrid e-bikes, but several are built for speed. Fast commuter or road e-bikes have flat or drop handlebars, thinner tyres, and a frame style built for speed. Most are a bit lighter, but some manufacturers have just gone for a more powerful electric motor.

Folding or Foldable Electric bikes

Road or commuter electric bikes often share similarities with hybrid e-bikes, but some models are specifically engineered for speed. High-performance commuter or road e-bikes feature flat or drop handlebars, sleeker tires, and a frame design optimised for velocity. While most are relatively lighter, certain manufacturers have prioritised equipping them with more powerful electric motors.

Electric Mountain Bikes

The Cycle Company offers a diverse selection of e-mountain bikes or E-MTBs, ranging from hardtail electric mountain bikes to high-end full-suspension e-MTBs. A hardtail electric mountain bike features suspension solely on the front forks, resulting in slightly less comfort on rough and rutted off-road trails. However, these electric hardtails provide a faster road experience due to reduced bouncing. As a result, they are ideal for riders seeking a combination of off-road adventures and occasional road riding.

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e-gravel bikes vs e-mountain bikes  FAQs on Electric Hybrid Bikes

What rules are related to e-bikes?

In the UK you must be over 14 years old to ride an electric bike but you don’t need a licence, nor do you need to register it or pay vehicle tax. E-bikes are all limited to 15.5 mph; if you adapt your e-bike to go faster than this then it is illegal on the road without a license and number plates, the warranty becomes void and your insurance is invalid if you have an accident.

There are some recent changes to the highway code that have affected cyclists and it’s important to be aware of these before you hit the road.