Your questions about electric bikes.

Does the bike need to be insured / licensed?

Because the motor is restricted to 15.5 mph (see below) it is classified as a bike and this means that it does not need to be insured, taxed, carry a number plate etc.

What range does the battery have?

This varies from bike to bike and also depends on the way that the bike is ridden. However the bikes that we sell have a range of 30 to 100 miles if ridden in the Eco mode. The range for the various bikes is given in the Specifications for each individual bike.

Bosch, for example, have three sizes of batteries – 300, 400 watt hour and for 2016 onwards the 500 watt hour. The latter will give a range of up to 100 miles depending on the level of assistance selected. For most people we recommend the 400 watt hour battery. This gives a range of 35 miles (using turbo) to about 75 miles (in Eco). The price difference is about £150 between the different options.

If you are in doubt, then go for the bigger battery, because over time the range will reduce, so the battery will last you longer if you start with a larger battery.  Having said that the mid-range battery (400 watt hours) is perfectly adequate for most people.

With some of the bikes it is possible to choose different battery sizes – with the Gazelle bikes you can choose from 3 different battery sizes.

There is no need to suffer from range anxiety!

How long does the battery take to recharge?

A full recharge will take between 3 and 5.5 hours, depending on the bike. Bikes supplied with Bosch motors take about 3.5 hours, If the battery is only partially used, which should be most of the time, then the recharge will take a lot less and will charge from flat to 80% in 2 hours.

How many times can I recharge the battery?

Again this depends on the battery. However Bosch warrant that the batteries can be fully recharged up to 500 times and can be recharged to 70% of full capacity or more up to 750 times. A recharge is for a full charge from flat, so more part recharges can be performed. To translate this into miles the battery can be used for between 15,000 and 50,000 miles! On that basis we do not recommend customers to invest in a second battery when they purchase the bike. On the other hand if in doubt go for a larger battery. This will ensure that you have the range you need and will lengthen the life of the battery.

How / where can I recharge the battery?

The bike is supplied with a charger which plugs into a normal mains socket. Many of the batteries can be recharged on or off the bike but if in doubt you should remove the battery to recharge it. The battery should only be charged outside in dry conditions and will not charge at temperatures below freezing or above 40 C.

For the Bosch batteries a Travel Charger is available for greater convenience on the go.

When should I recharge the battery?

You do not need to leave the battery to fully discharge before recharging. In fact it is best if you recharge it after every significant (more than a couple of miles) ride. If the battery level goes below 50% it is recommended to recharge it.

When should I remove the battery?

If in doubt the battery should be charged off the bike. If you are transporting the bike on a cycle carrier then it is also recommended to remove the battery. The battery should also be removed whenever you are working on the bike. If you are taking the bike on an airplane the carrier will not allow the battery on the plane and should be sent separately by a courier. You should pack the battery carefully and declare to the courier what it is.

How much do the battery and the motor weigh?

The Bosch motor weighs a little less than 4kg and the battery about 2.6kg – so the combined additional weight is about 6kg. In total our bikes weigh between just below 20kg and 26kg.

Can I ride the bike without the motor?

Yes with all the bikes you can turn the motor off; if you do not want the assistance or if you do happen to run out of battery power then you can pedal. The bike is a little heavier than normal bikes, because of the battery and motor, making the uphill climbs harder.

What type of motor is best?

The bikes come with motors on one of the wheels (front or back) or between the pedals, sometimes described as mid-mounted motors. The better motors and the best place for the motor are the mid-mounted ones. This is because the weight is in the middle of the bike and low down. It will not put stress on the wheel and the motor itself is less vulnerable than hub motors. The mid-mounted motors are torque driven. This means that the assistance from the motor is dependent on how much pressure the rider applies to the pedals. The advantages of this are:

  • The response is immediate. This means, for example, if you are starting on a hill, there will be no delay, which with an e-bike cam make starting difficult.
  • It is a more realistic cycling experience. If you press had then you will get a pleasing response from the bike. With non-torque motors as longs as the pedals are moving round then the motor – and hence the bike will not change speed.
  • It is more efficient for the battery. If you pedal lightly, because you are on the flat, then the motor will not be working hard. This can give you up to 40% more range than a non-torque motor.

How fast can I ride my bike?

The motor will stop assisting at 15.5 mph (25 kph). This is because of European law. However you can continue to pedal faster than this, so there is no limit to the speed that you can go.

We do not recommend derestricting the bike so that this speed is exceeded – this applies to off road and on road. The only place that a derestricted bikes is legal is on private land. Some retailers do not make this clear.

How do I dispose of the battery?

Batteries should be disposed of carefully and not with general rubbish. Expired batteries can be brought into the store for us to dispose of.

When I pedal does it put energy back into the battery?

A lot of people ask this question. While the technology exists (and has been used in some bikes) none of the main manufacturers’ bikes do this. This is because 1) It is an added complication – and therefore expensive; 2) It adds very little energy back to the battery because the bikes are not going that fast or generate much momentum. The most you will add to the range is about 10% and as the range on the bikes is so much this additional 10% is not worthwhile.

Can I ride the bike without pedalling?

Most of the bikes we sell do not have a throttle. The assistance that you have with the motor is so much that in the vast majority of cases a throttle is not needed – even if you have bad knees, hips etc.

Some of the bikes have a throttle which you can use either to supplement your pedalling or indeed you can use it on its own. The bikes that have this in our range are the Freego and Wisper bikes.

The rules in the UK have changed from the start of 2016. On any bikes sold since then the throttle can only be used without pedalling up to a maximum speed of about 4 mph. However, if you pedal, even very lightly then you can use the throttle to assist you up to the normal speed of 15.5 mph.

We suggest that you try the bikes with and without a throttle if you are in doubt. You can do this at our shop.

Can I have a test ride?

Absolutely! We do bike demos every day from the shop. If you do not want to go out in the traffic, there is a car park behind the shop that is quiet and a good spot to try the bike out. On Saturdays the car park is empty (as it is an office car park) and if you come call us from the barrier, we can come out and let you in. If you want to go a bit further the roads behind the shop are quiet. If you want to try the bike on a hill we can arrange this, either from the shop or you can meet one of us at our home near Merrow downs.

What is the best bike for me?

You should think how you are likely to be using the bike.We sell mountain bikes, urban commuter style bike and hybrids. Many people like to use mountain bikes, even if they cycle mainly on the roads. There is no problem with that. You are likely to feel very secure on the bike and the tyres are often more puncture resistant. Because of the fatter tyres there will be more rolling resistance and therefore for the same effort the bike will be slower; however because of the motor you can still travel at very satisfactory speed. Some mountain bikes come with front and back suspension; there is no point having the rear suspension if you will be using it mainly on the roads, especially as it is more expensive. We answer this question in more detail here.

Can I still get fit on an electric bike?

The answer is a resounding yes. You get 80% of the health benefits on an electric bike compared to a conventional bike and you are far more likely to use it, so in fact you will quite likely get fitter. Low intensity exercise is very good for you and for a lot of people works better than extreme forms of exercise, like, for example, struggling up steep hills on a conventional bike.

Does an electric bike defeat the object of having a bike?

There are a few myths to dispel here:

  1. You still need to pedal the bikes. You can choose how much assistance you want.
  2. Having an electric bike means that you can go out further and for longer. This means that you can keep your heart beat higher for longer without having large surges in your heart rate when you come to a large hill. This is a more controlled and safer way to exercise.
  3. You are more likely to use an electric bike rather than see it collect dust in the shed. It is estimated that you are up to 10 times more likely to use an electric bike rather than a normal bike.

Finally, there is more to cycling than using it to get fit. Cycling is a more convenient and socially responsible way to travel, costs less (by far) and is good fun. Like any exercise, especially outdoors, it is very good for your well-being.

Can I buy an electric bike for my child?

Unfortunately, the law currently states that children under the age of 14 are not allowed to ride an electric bike in the UK.

Do you Service the Bikes?

Yes, we service the bikes here. We are qualified in Bosch, Shimano and the other major e-bike systems. We have diagnostic tools in the very unlikely event that you have an issue with the bike; more often these are used to update the software and to produce a report from you on the state of the battery, motor and computer for your peace of mind.

Will the price of Electric Bikes come down?

In the short term we do not expect this to happen. Prices have been adversely affected by the fall in the value of the pound.

Do you sell second hand bikes?

Yes, we do occasionally we will have second hand bikes of the brands that we sell. Normally these will be bikes we have sold from new, so we can vouch for their history. We will advertise these on the website.