14 E-bikes myths:

Myth busted for 2017

E bikes: 14 myths busted for 2017

Are e-bikes myth-understood?

E-bikes have been with us for longer than you think. It's thought that the first e-bike was revealed to the world as far back as 1897! Often clunky and uninspiring, the e-bikes of the past bear no resemblance to the sleek, powerful and beautifully designed machines we find on the market today. Regrettably, with such a chequered past comes a number of outdated and now unrecognisable myths and perceptions - an unfortunate byproduct of an awkward evolutionary process. In this article we're going to dispel some of these myths and set the record straight on a truly exciting and innovative new type of bike.

Find out more about e-bikes

Don't worry! E-bikes are completely street legal as long as they comply with some basic UK regulations (The Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles Regulations 2015). An e-bike is street legal as long as:

  • It is fitted with a motor with a power of 250 Watts or less
  • The maximum assisted speed (the speed at which the motor assistance is automatically cut off) is no more than 25kmph (roughly 15.5mph)
  • It does not have a full speed throttle that can work independently of the pedals (without the pedals being used). However, 'Start Up Assist' throttles are allowed (which assist up to 4mph approx.)

As long as an e-bike is compliant with the points above then there is no need for a license or any insurance. The only other pre-requisite is that the rider is aged 14 or above, so once you have your e-bike you're ready to get going!

AOne of the great myths about modern e-bikes! If you ask any of the major manufacturers of today's e-bikes they will explain, at great length, how their bikes are designed first and foremost as great bikes! This myth is so ‘out there' that we dedicated an entire article on it. Read about why e-bikes are simply great bikes (and you should get one) here.

This myth arises from the fact that energy needs to be used to manufacture e-bikes in the first place and that subsequent charging uses electricity from the grid - but this seems a little churlish. As a form of transport the e-bike gives off 0% emissions and when compared to travelling by heavy fuel burning transport such as cars, planes, trains etc. the e-bike seems positively sin free! According to recent stats (Read the facts here) 76% of UK journeys between 3 and 5 miles are by car and such short journeys are when cars are at their least efficient. So whilst e-bikes don't exactly take zero energy to use, they are still comparatively one of the most environmentally friendly forms of transport available.

This just isn't true! E-bikes can be serviced and fixed by almost any good bicycle repair shop. They are designed to be intuitive and easy to work with, and 75% of e-bikes on the market require no specialist tools or skills to fix (mechanically). The only time you might need a specialist is if something happens with the electronics specifically — the rest of the bike is accessible and fixable like any other bike.

All Rutland Cycling workshops are Authorised E-Bike Service Centres and can service and repair any make or model of electric bike, including electronics.

Modern e-bikes don't work by using a throttle. They use pedelec technology which automatically assists with the pedaling process. Typically you select the amount of assistance you want with your pedalling and the bike assists by making pedalling easier. The only throttles that appear on e-bikes sold after Jan 1st 2016 are known as 'Start Up Assist' throttles which are designed to help you get going from a standing start. These are restricted by regulation to operate at up to walking speed (around 4 mph).

An e-bike is as effective as a normal bike because with an e-bike you get to choose just how much assistance they provide. This gives you the ability to go for a full bike workout without any assistance or experience the same ride without as much exertion - perfect for injury rehabilitation. In addition, the assistance it provides can relieve pressure on the knee and hip joints, allowing for more exercise and flexibility instead of pure aerobic/cardio exercise!

Using an e-bike provides an excellent route back into cycling for people who might otherwise be unable to cycle due to injury, age, or any number of other reasons. Additionally, the amount of assistance you employ is entirely up to you. For example, a pro rider might use the assistance to allow easier riding back to the top of trails allowing for more fun and more time spent on the actual downhill element. Pedelec technology is there to assist and not to help you cheat.

Again, it is important to remember that first and foremost e-bikes are bikes and running out of charge simply means riding the bike as you would any other. Secondly, an e-bike's range can vary depending upon the amount of assistance you use and for how long you use it. Even so, the range today is still impressive! A good rule of thumb is:

  • A 300w Battery will average around 30 miles at full assistance
  • A 400w Battery will average around 40 miles at full assistance
  • A 500w Battery will average around 50 miles at full assistance

The average charging time for an e-bike is typically anywhere between 4 and 6 hours depending upon the amps that the charger is pulling. So you can easily charge your bike overnight if you're riding in the morning or charge in the morning if you're riding in the afternoon/evening.

Modern e-bikes, especially those sold at Rutland Cycling are rated between 3 and 5 on the IP scale (International Protection Marketing) which specifically relates to intrusive elements getting in to the product's casing including water. (Is this good or bad? What does it equate to?) For further information on the IP scale visit the Wikipedia page on International Protection Marketing.

E-bikes may have an upfront cost which doesn't make them as cheap as a mechanical bike, but the return on investment is astounding compared to other forms of transport. According to Philip Harper, E bike specialist at Rutland Cycling, the average cost of an e-bike can be as low as 1p to 5p per mile! Compared against the costs of running a car i.e. road tax, petrol, MOT, servicing etc. the costs of running an e-bike are extremely low. Do we have any independent stats here?

Today's e-bikes are beautifully designed bikes which look every bit as sleek and sexy as a standard mechanical bike. Many manufacturers have redesigned battery housing, some incorporating the battery into the frame itself. You need look no further than the Specialized Turbo Levo Comp 6Fattie to see just how far we've come in beautiful design. — link to the video blog

Pottering into town for some shopping isn't what e-bikes are about today. Today's e-bikes are chic, elegant, cooler and far more appealing to younger audiences than ever before. They're designed for extreme riding, tearing up trails, mountain biking and much more.

So hopefully with some of these myths dispelled it's time to start exploring the e-bike world. Why not begin by booking an e-bike demo/trial at one of our amazing locations and finding out for yourself just how great e-bikes are!