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 is an electric bike and how do they work?

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 very 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
size.

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 great for getting you to work without a sweat, or cruising the country roads and trails. Hybrid e-bikes have front suspension and thicker tires than electric road bikes, making them a great ride on gentle tracks and trails. They are also superb on the road – they come in men’s and women’s frame styles and are built for 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.

 

Foldable Electric bikes

Foldable electric bikes can be taken on the train, making them ideal for commuting. They can also fit neatly into the boot of your car, or your camper van, meaning you can explore further afield, take them on holiday, on the boat, etc. Foldable electric bikes are built to be light, comfortable to ride, and have surprisingly good range on the batteries as a result.

 

Electric Mountain Bikes

The Cycle Company stock a range of e-mountain Bikes or E-MTBs, from hard tail electric mountain bikes, to top of the range, full-suspension e-mtbs. A hard tail electric mountain bike means that the suspension is only on the front forks – this means the ride isn’t quite as comfortable on more bumpy/ rutted off-road trails. However, electric hard tails are a bit quicker on the road as they have less bounce. So, these are suited to riders looking to do some off-road, but mix it up with some road riding too.

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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.