Electric bikes offer the perfect helping hand to those wishing to enjoy the benefits of cycling without some of its admitted drawbacks. If you are daunted by the prospect of tackling steep hills or wary of turning up to work every morning tired and perspiring, an electric bike could well be the answer.
Essentially conventional bicycles that use an electric motor to provide assistance where needed, electric bike technology has developed to make them a viable alternative for the car commuter as well as the perfect cycling solution for those recovering from injury or those who want to increase their ride length without the recovery pains the day after.
Which Electric Bike is right for you?
As with most things bike-related, it does depend on what type of riding you want to do, but the range of electric bikes available is somewhat narrower than with other bike types.
Electric Folding Bikes - Small, lightweight and portable bikes. Perfect for storing in small spaces.
Electric Hybrid Bikes - Suitable for light off-road use and on-road use.
Electric Mountain Bikes - Ideal for all off-road environments.
The types of motors and batteries used will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but electrically-assisted bicycles are restricted by EU law from using motors with a continuous power output of more than 250 watts (200w in the UK). This is to avoid them being classed as motor vehicles and therefore subject to insurance and licence requirements in the same way as motorcycles and mopeds.
Motor technology is too complex a subject to enter into detail here, but it is worth noting that the latest generation of Electric Bikes are generally specified with lightweight, efficient and compact brushless motors, which offer performance and longevity advantages over older brushed motors and are also maintenance-free.
Batteries will also vary according to model and manufacturer, whatever battery type, recharging is a simple matter of plugging directly into the mains. Recharge times will vary according to battery, but 4-6 hours should be about right.
Again, how long your battery will last per charge will depend on a number of factors, including not only the type of battery used but the level of pedal assistance provided and the type of terrain encountered. The more work you do (I.E. the more you pedal) the less work the battery will have to do, and the longer each charge will last.
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