An electric bike, or ebike, looks like a normal bicycle, but there’s a difference. Ebikes are fitted with an electric motor to help you get from A to B. There are two classes of electric bike: pedal-assisted and power-on-demand. The most popular eBikes in the UK are pedal-assisted bikes, more commonly referred to as pedelecs, have an electric motor that is operated by the pedals. Pedelec eBikes are fitted with a sensor that detects the force put into the pedalling motion. As for the other type, power-on-demand bikes, are much less popular than pedelecs. Their motor is activated by a throttle, often fitted to the handlebars, like you would see on a motorbike or scooter.History of the eBike
While many think of the ebike as a recent invention, it has actually been around since the late 19th century. The first electric bike models appeared in the 1890s – various inventors patented different electric bicycle designs, such as Ogden Bolton battery powered bicycle in 1895. Other designs, including double motored bikes and electric motors with roller wheels, were also patented.
100 or so years later, power controls were developed, and by the mid-1990s, their popularity had really started to grow. By the mid-2000s, both eBike and pedelec were commonly used terms to refer to electric bicycles, and their popularity continues to grow today.
How do electric bikes work?
eBikes use the same technology you find in an electric car. You ride it like you would ride a normal bike, but you’ll feel a difference as soon as you start to pedal. When you pedal, it powers the generator in the rear wheel to give you a boost – especially useful when you’re going up hills! eBikes are fitted with a sensor which detects the amount of effort you put into pedalling.
Attached to the eBike’s frame is a battery. If you want your bike to do the work for you, it can! The battery will power the electric motor, and give you a boost up to around 15mph. How fast do electric bikes go? In the UK, electric bikes are limited to 15.5mph by law for road safety. Lightweight batteries, such as lithium-ion are best for eBikes, because heavier batteries might affect performance. You don’t need to have the battery on full power if you don’t want to, especially if you’re looking for more of a challenge.
Benefits of eBikes
Thinking about getting yourself an eBike? There are a number of benefits to buying an eBike:
- • Get fit: Fitness levels lacking? Looking for ways to improve them? eBikes are a great way to start. Build up your fitness by gradually reducing the amount you use the battery for a boost. Only use the battery when you’re really starting to struggle. Over time, you’ll find yourself using the battery boost less and less. With the eBike’s assistance, you can travel further and increase the amount of time you spend exercising.
- • Save money: If you replace short car journeys with cycling, you will save a considerable amount of money in petrol. An electric bike can travel around 30 miles on one charge, and their energy efficient nature means charging the battery uses very little electricity. What’s more, you don’t need a licence or insurance to ride your eBike, saving you money in the long run.
- • Time saving: Cycling to work? Say goodbye to traffic jams and nightmares trying to park. eBikes are great for riding through towns and cities with designated cycle lanes and bike racks. And with the extra boost you get compared to a regular bike, you can travel further and get to your destination quicker.
- • Environmental: The electricity consumption from electric bikes is far less than the most environmentally friendly cars. If the number of electric bikes on the road increases, with some replacing cars, total emissions will be reduced.
Electric bikes are gaining popularity all over the world. At Gtech, we have a range of eBikes available, perfect for different terrains. Whether you’re cycling through cities, heading off road or you want something in between, you’ll be sure to find the right eBike for you.