Your Ultimate Guide To E-Bikes

E-bikes, or electric bicycles, have taken the world by storm by revolutionising cycling. Its design is simple; it has an electric motor that assists with propelling which comes in handy for routes that have hills or difficult terrain. It offers the convenience of avoiding traffic but you can still get to your destination on time with the bikes reaching speeds of 28 miles per hour.

So what makes these e-bikes stand out compared to other forms of transport, and where do they fall short? Here is your guide on everything you need to know before making a purchase.


The Benefits Of E-Bikes


Electric bicycles, also known as electrically assisted pedal cycles (EAPCs) have a variety of benefits to make your daily commutes easier and more cost-effective. It has an easy-to-use design for anyone over the age of 14 in the UK and unlike motor cycles, does not require a license.


1. Environmentally Friendly


An alternative option to vehicles and motor cycles, e-bikes do not produce any carbon emissions. According to The European Cycling Federation, utilising an e-bike can reduce carbon emissions of approximately 500 pounds annually. The damaging effects of climate change is already being experienced, so the use of electric bicycles can significantly contribute to a decrease in air pollution.


2. Health Benefits


E-bikes still require pedalling, which makes it a form of physical activity. But at the same time, it doesn’t require a high level of fitness so it’s a great option if you are new to exercising or if you have existing cardiovascular issues and need to maintain a moderate level of fitness. If you use it for a leisurely cycle, it can also become a relaxing hobby for overall well-being and reduced stress.


3. Convenience


The daily commute to work can become much easier with electric bicycles. You can park almost anywhere and you don’t need to spend hours stuck in traffic, saving you plenty of time and stress if there is an accident on the road or you’re running late for a meeting.


4. Cost-Effective


E-bikes are a more affordable option compared to vehicles or motor cycles, making it a popular budget-friendly choice for transport. It provides a major saving on fuel and is relatively low-maintenance. Additionally, a case-study conducted by the Urban Transport Group showed that the UK population have used e-bikes two to three times more than standard pedalling bikes since 2021.



The Limitations Of E-Bikes


E-bikes have their shortfalls too, especially when compared to traditional pedal bikes. It is recommended to do thorough research on the brands available in the market to see which one could be the right fit for you.


1. The Initial Cost


While cheaper than other modes of transport, electric bicycles are more costly than standard bicycles. Its electrical components push the price up and there will be maintenance costs involved too if the motor breaks. Their prices start from £425, therefore it is more of a commitment and investment compared to a pedal bike.


2. Battery Life


E-bikes can take anywhere between 3.5 to 6 hours to recharge if the battery is completely drained, the higher-capacity models can require up to 8. Each charge can travel approximately 20 – 100 miles which can be limiting and charging-time can become an inconvenience.


3. Regulations And Restrictions


Accidents and collisions are a possibility when utilising the e-bike’s motor. For this reason, UK laws stipulate that the motor can only assist you up to a speed of 15.5 miles per hour, so you cannot rely solely on it.

E-bikes are not allowed to be ridden on sidewalks and are confined to bike lanes or roads. You should have your bike insured, although not required, in case of accidents.


4. Weight


An electric bicycle is significantly heavier than a standard pedalling bike because of its motor and battery, especially when the motor is not in use or the battery is dead. This can make it difficult to transport the bike or store it. Likewise, its bulkiness does not always make for a comfortable trip compared to being in a car and if you are stuck with a depleted battery, it can be a long trip home.


Successful UK Start-Ups In The E-Bike Industry


The popularity of these electrical bicycles have resulted in the rise of a few successful start-ups. These companies have capitalised on the e-bike trend with promising growth ahead.


1. GIN E-Bikes


GIN E-Bikes Logo


Founded in 2022, GIN e-bikes focuses on designing hybrid models to accommodate long distance travels. Sporting an integrated display screen on the handlebar, you can purchase one at a starting price of £1190.

As of January 2024, the company has accumulated £510,000 in investments for new models with the goal of creating 200 monthly units by the end of the year.


2. Swytch


Swytch E-Bikes Logo

Swytch, a London-based start-up, has secured £3.4 million in funding for its conversion kits that are used to convert a standard bicycle into an electric one. It controls the majority of the e-bike industry in the UK, selling 12,300 kits in the last year.

The company is well on its way to achieving its target of 100,000 customers when the year ends, and has expanded its presence internationally.


3. Volt


Volt E-Bikes Logo

Located in Milton Keynes, Volt’s new 20 000 square feet premises provides ample space for its 25 000 units produced per year. Additionally, they have also created 30 jobs since opening in their new location and plan to extend even more.

Their Cycle2Work scheme offers a discounted price if you purchase an e-bike for your daily work commute, further enticing potential buyers.


4. Forest


Forest E-Bike Logo


Forest is a shared e-bike service in London, offering free 10 minute daily rides. It has a competitive edge of using only renewable energy for its fleet and service fleet, unlike competitors.

The company prides itself on having zero scope 1 and 2 emissions, and is currently offsetting its scope 3 emissions by supporting a UK-based Giant Sequoia Tree plantation which means they are contributing to growing a forest.