Electric Bikes vs Regular Bikes
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People always have so many questions about e-bikes! They ask us what exactly they are and how they work. And one of the most common questions we get asked is how they’re different from regular bikes.
For your convenience, we offer a free home delivery service when you order an e-bike online, or you can choose to click & collect your e-bike in store. So to help you understand which type of bike is right for you, we’ve compared electric bikes to regular bikes so you can see how and why they’re different, and which bits are really the same.
Provides info on battery level, range, speed, distance, trip distance and assistance modes. More advanced e-bikes offer additional features, including fitness tracking and sat nav/GPS.
You charge an e-bike battery by plugging it in, just like a mobile phone. Recharge time is approx. 3 hours. Get tips to make your battery last longer.
With an e-bike, you are in control of the motor. It will adjust assistance according to how hard you pedal, to deliver just the right amount of power.
Appearance and mechanics
The first thing you’ll notice about electric bikes is that they look a lot like normal bikes. There’s a common myth that e-bikes are like scooters, but they’re actually just bicycles with added electric motors.
Electric bikes have the same wheels, handlebars and body geometry as regular mechanical bikes. The mechanical elements also all function in the same way, including the pedals and brakes.
The only difference in appearance is the addition of the electrical drive system. This includes an electric motor, a battery and a display screen or controller. The battery powers the motor, which provides assistance as you pedal, helping to propel the bike forward. Read our post on how e-bikes work for more information on their electric system.
Maintenance and repairs
As we’ve noted, all the standard components of an e-bike are the same as a regular bike. This means that looking after the bike is pretty much the same too. This includes maintenance, servicing and repairs.
If anything goes wrong with parts like wheels or brakes, you can take an electric bike to the same repair shop as a regular bike and they will be able to fix it. And the cost of these repairs should be the same too.
The only time this changes is if something goes wrong with the electric components – then you will need an e-bike specialist to look at it. But faults with the electrical system are very rare, and it comes with a warranty.
Here’s the big question for most people! How does it feel to ride an e-bike? And how is it different from a regular bike? The short answer is that cycling on an e-bike is a lot like any other bike.
You get on and start pedalling, and then the electric motor kicks in. Usually the transition is so smooth you will hardly notice. An electric bike doesn’t change the act of cycling – it just makes it feel much easier to do. You’ll be riding along just gently moving the pedals around. Setting off from a standing start becomes a breeze. You can glide up hills without getting out of breath and tackle strong headwinds with ease.
You can also dial up or down the pedal assistance provided by the motor, changing the way the e-bike feels to ride. If you reduce the power, your legs do most of the work. If you set it to maximum power, you can cycle along with your legs essentially going through the pedalling motions and still move quickly and easily.
With all that electrical assistance, does it mean e-bikes are faster for getting around than regular bikes? That question depends on how fast you usually ride.
In line with EU regulation, the e-bike motor will help you get up to 25 kmh (15.5 mph). If you want to go faster than this, the motor will cut out and you’ll need pure pedal power from your own legs.
This means if you want to go very fast, the electric motor will not help you. For example, electric bikes provide no assistance in a race, which is one of the .many reasons why riding an e-bike is not “cheating”
But if you’re not racing, e-bikes might make your ride faster. This is because they make pedalling feel effortless so you don’t get tired as quickly. And they make it easier to maintain a constant speed and get back up to speed after stopping, which may cut down your journey time. But essentially, e-bikes are built for easy cycling, not breaking speed records.
Rules and regulations
Another common concern people have is that e-bikes are limited by rules and regulation. It’s true that, unlike regular bikes, electric bikes are considered to be motorised transport. This means they are subject to some government regulations around their speed and power limits. But that won’t affect you as a rider.
The only regulation you need to know is that you must be 14 years old or over to ride an electric bike. Otherwise, the rules for electric bikes are the same as regular bikes. You don’t need a licence to ride one, they don’t need to be registered and they don’t require vehicle tax or insurance. You can ride e-bikes on all cycle paths and anywhere else you can ride a normal bike.
Which is right for me?
Choosing between a regular bike and an electric bike should take into account a lot of factors. The most important question to ask yourself is what you want the bike for.
If you’re using it for commuting or travelling long distances, you might want an electric bike to make the journey easier. Similarly, if you’re not as young or fit as you used to be, or your local area is filled with steep hills, electric bikes make cycling feel much easier and less daunting. E-bikes are perfect for those rides where you don’t want to push and exhaust yourself.
However, if you’re looking for a bike you can get out during the summar months to cycle around the park, or you won’t be travelling very far, a regular bike may be fine for you. There’s also cost to consider – electric bikes are more expensive to buy than regular bikes.
In short, choosing the right bike for you is personal. Why not take the time to demo both regular and electric bikes and see which you prefer? We offer test rides at our e-bike centres so you can try out the bikes for yourself.
Thinking of buying an e-bike? Read our handy buying guide here .