What is an e-bike?
An e-bike, is a standard pedal bike fitted with a battery and electric motor. They can be a good option if you want to cycle further, negotiate hills, or just make your ride easier. Most e-bikes have a range of power settings so that you can adjust the level of assistance you receive. Charging equipment is generally sold with the bike and they can be charged at home in 3-4 hours. You don't need a special licence to use an e-bike but you need to be at least 14 years old to ride one, third party insurance is recommended. An e-bike can be ridden anywhere that a regular pedal cycle can.
Types of e-bikes
E-bikes are available in a range of styles, from folding cycles, mountain and road bikes, to step-through designs and cargo bikes.
Try before you buy
To help you decide which type of e-bike to buy, try out a bike before committing to a purchase. Find your nearest free test ride and a list of retailers at e-bikeslondon. Park Cycle, in Richmond Park, hires out e-bikes.
How much do e-bikes cost?
E-bikes tend to cost more than regular bikes because of the battery and motor, and are typically priced between £500 and £2,500. On June 9th 2019, the Department for Transport announced its' "refreshed rules" on workplace "Cycle to Work" schemes, to remove the £1,000 price cap and to include E-bikes.
Running costs are low, costing between 5 and 10 pence per charge and, as you do not need a licence, MOT or Vehicle Excise Duty, e-bikes are a cheaper alternative to using a motor vehicle.
The law and e-bikes
- You must be at least 14 years old to ride an e-bike
- E-bikes have a legal maximum motor power output of 250 watts and a power-assisted speed of up to 15.5 mph (25 kph)
- You must follow the rules of the road, as you would if you were using any other vehicle on the UK's roads.
E-bike case study
Senior Project Engineer Younes Hamade has been trialling an electric bike through the council’s bike to work scheme.
He’s now parked his car and is regularly using the electric bike to get him around the borough to site visits and meetings.
“I used to cycle before but I gave it up as I had to travel 8 miles and the hills were becoming too much for me. I decided I wanted to give it another go and I thought I would try an electric bike as it would make it more comfortable for me and help to enjoy cycling again,” he said.
“I applied for the council’s bike to work scheme, they approved the application and I went to the relevant store who sells the electric bike and I got one.
“I used to take the car, now I take the electric bike. It’s practical and it’s easier and it’s better for me. I don’t have to worry about finding spaces to park. It’s good and it’s healthier for me.”
Younes said because the bikes are power assisted, you don’t work up as much of a sweat, so there’s no need to worry about carrying a change of exercise clothes.
“For people who want to take up cycling but they are worried about it being too much exercise, the electric bike is a good option. You don’t need to get changed, you can take it easy and cycle at your own pace. It’s really good to have all the pleasure and work altogether.”
If you want to find out more about electric bikes get in touch with the sustainable transport team: [email protected]
Transport for London
Transport for London has recently developed an e-bikes webpage which provides a lot of information, including test rides, offers and bike security.