Reprint from Halfords
This year Halfords has launched its biggest ever range of e-bikes, including models for mountain biking, e-bikes for teens and several folding e-bikes for commuting. More and more people are discovering how convenient they are for going out on longer rides, for exercising more and for helping to tackle air quality issues in cities.
E-bikes are fun too; with a top speed of 15.5 mph they are helping transform the cycling experience and widen its appeal to older riders and a younger audience – making far flung trips a possibility.
Chris Boardman says: “E-Bikes are capturing people’s imagination, specifically, they are capturing the imagination of people who don’t currently ride bikes and that’s exciting. They are taking away the fear of not being fit enough for many and offer a fun and attractive reason to leave the car at home, to try something different. It’s good for the individual and it’s good for the planet. What’s not to love?’
WHAT IS AN E-BIKE?
E-bikes feature both a motor and a battery. The motor provides additional power only when the rider is pedalling. There’s no ‘throttle’, but there are a number of levels of assistance to select, based on the type of ride or how energetic you feel. The law requires that the motor assistance stops once the bike reaches 15.5 mph, but you can pedal faster than that if you’ve got the energy.
WHY MANY PREFER AN E-BIKE
There is a growing appetite for e-bikes:
WHY E-BIKES COULD BE THE ANSWER
Some people are put off cycling for a variety of reasons but plenty believe e-bikes could be the solution to getting back on two wheels:
E-BIKE MYTHS THAT WILL SHOCK YOU
Although almost a third (30%) of those polled would consider buying an e-bike in the future, some are still reluctant, with a number of myths still holding them back from switching saddles.
WE DISPEL THE BIGGEST E-BIKE MYTHS
- Aren’t e-bikes cheating?
65% didn’t know that you still have to pedal when riding an e-bike
- Don’t you need insurance?
If you’re asking yourself, do e-bikes need insurance? You’re not alone – 20% think insurance is required to ride an e-bike, but you don’t require any insurance
- E-bike riders are subject to road tax
43% were unsure that e-bike riders have to pay road tax. E-bikes are not subject to road tax
- They can only be recharged at charging points
Some 37% would be put off buying one because they think they need a charging point. In fact nearly all e-bike batteries use a standard mains charger. You can find out more about charging your e-bike by reading our ‘how to charge your e-bike’ article
- E-bikes can’t be ridden in the rain
9% think e-bikes can’t be ridden in the rain. As they’re weatherproof and have been through rigorous safety testing, e-bikes can be used in the rain.
- E-bikes can be hacked
6% think that e-bikes are vulnerable to malicious hackers but luckily that’s not possible
- They get easily confused
11% said they would be worried their bike would get confused in an unexpected situation
- E-bikes are too expensive
36% think they are too expensive, but e-bike prices vary with models at Halfords starting at £398 and many are now available on the Cycle To Work scheme. Halfords currently has 15 models for under £1,000.
- Little control
15% said they would be scared that they would not have full control over their bike but they work in almost exactly the same way as a standard bike does
- E-bikes use lots of electricity
19% think their electricity bill would increase significantly, but e-bikes are charged through the mains and cost the normal rate of electricity
For more information on e-bike, head over to our e-bikes FAQs article.
THE UK’S E-BIKE MAP
Views and opinions on e-bikes vary considerably up and down the country – some use them to traverse hilly areas, while others are keen on their environmental credentials.
UK E-BIKE LAWS
Surprisingly 41% are unsure about whether you need a licence to use an e-bike on the road.
This surprising rule only applies in Northern Ireland where anyone riding an e-bike without a motorcycle licence currently faces a fine of £1,000 and a minimum of six penalty points – they must be insured, taxed and registered with the DVLA.
Darren Smith says: “Although relatively simple to fix this is just one of a number of small things that is putting the brake on the growth of e-bikes.”
The law also permits a ‘walk assistance’ mode, where the e-bike moves with you when walking alongside it. This is limited to 3.7 mph.
VICTORIA PENDLETON’S VIEW ON E-BIKES
Victoria Pendleton says: “I first tried riding an e-bike in California and found them so much fun that I wanted to design one for myself. Electric bikes are great for giving you an extra boost and a bit more zip for when you’ve run out of breath.
“E-bikes are a fantastic route into cycling for beginners, or for those returning to cycling, as these provide a helping hand when it comes to conquering physical fitness challenges that would have remained a barrier with a normal bike. They really are a game-changer. Lots more people and families will be able to get out and have fun on bikes, whether they’re for leisure, staycationing, or a more ambitious cycling challenge abroad.
“The great thing is that you still get the burn and benefit from cycling but now with an added boost. And for commuters, there’s no need to get sweaty or change your clothes, so it’s perfect for cycling to work.”
“There is still a lack of awareness of the benefits of electric bikes but there’s no shortage of reasons to consider using one, whether you’re an aspiring mountain biker, a silver cyclist looking for a bit of an extra boost or a commuter in a rush. Each bike comes with a variety of modes so you can control the level of assistance to best suit your requirements.”
COULD CYCLE TO WORK SPARK AN E-BIKE REVOLUTION?
The Government’s recent update to guidance on Cycle To Work means employers and colleagues can access bikes above the price ‘cap’ of £1,000 and save money and Halfords think this will unlock growth of e-bikes to even more commuters.
84% didn’t know e-bikes are available on the Cycle To Work salary sacrifice scheme and accessing it would encourage almost 20% to make the switch from public transport like buses and trains to e-bike .The previous cap would exclude most e-bikes as they generally tend to cost more than £1,000.
28% of those polled would be encouraged to get on theirs if cities begin introducing charges for motorists who drive non-electric cars, favouring it as a much more economical and attractive alternative.
In fact 54% would go as far as favouring Government discounts for e-bikes, in the same way that there are discounts for zero emission motorcycles and cars.
Halfords has also announced its Cycle2Work Premium Scheme which means employees can save up to 42% on the cost of a new bike and safety equipment above the original £1000 Cycle to Work scheme limit.
The new scheme will give employers the opportunity to choose a range of different price limits to cater for every type of cyclist in their workplace.
CAN YOU GET FIT ON AN E-BIKE?
Because they are so much fun, sometimes riding an e-bike doesn’t really feel much like fitness, but those who ride one are likely to cycle more often because it is a little less challenging.
In fact 47% of those polled think that an e-bike would encourage them to cycle more often and over a longer distance than if they were on a normal bike.
61% agree that you can still burn calories and stay fit with an e-bike, with the extra boost you receive when riding one helping them cycle more.
23% think owning an e-bike will help them begin cycling again.
55% of those surveyed like the fact that you can travel longer distances without breaking a sweat.
E-BIKES CAN HELP IMPROVE AIR QUALITY
E-Bikes can also help reduce air pollution and could be part of a bold vision to reduce congestion in most major cities. A report by the Steer Group found that Londoners could reduce CO2 emissions by 184 metric tons if e-bike use was more widely adopted.
And over 41% agree that switching from cars to e-bikes for shorter journeys and trips in cities will help the environment. Almost 61% think they have a role to play in helping to tackle air pollution.