Imagine you are cycling through a beautiful wood; it’s in the morning, quiet, still a bit cold but bright. You come round a corner to be confronted by a lovely looking track with spring flowers on either side.
The only problem is that it is steeply uphill; a few years ago you may have relished the challenge but now you’re not sure you will even make it half way. You start to climb and amazingly the effort is no more than going on the flat. The reason? Your bike is electric.
‘No more hills’
Electric bikes are still relatively unusual in the UK but they are growing rapidly in popularity and if the experience of other countries is anything to go by will you will soon see many more and they could go a long way in helping our traffic and congestion problems. There are also now electric mountain bikes from top brands like Scott and KTM. In Germany sales of electric bikes increased over five times between 2007 and 2012 from 70,000 per year to 380,000 and have now reached around half a million per year. Sales in the UK in 2014 were a fraction of that at about 30,000.
There are many benefits of electric bikes:
They open up cycling to more people – to the less fit, the elderly or those suffering with a weakness or injury. Cycling is a great form of exercise, raising the heart rate with no impact and is a very enjoyable past-time evidenced by the massive increase in recreational cycling in recent years.
Commuters can cycle longer distances and travel more quickly. For recreational sport electric mountain bikes are incredible fun. You still get to exercise and can choose how hard you want to pedal. The greatest fun is being able to quickly get up all hills and to be able to cover much more distance than on a conventional mountain bike.
Electric bike facts:
- Most electric bikes are pedal assist so you pedal and the motor kicks in and assists you according to the mode you have chosen. For example with a Bosch motor there are four levels. In Eco (the lowest level of assistance) the motor will give you 50% of the work that you are putting in. In the top level, Turbo, you get 275%. You can also turn the motor off so that there is no assistance at all. The bike is then just a normal bike, but a bit heavier. On the flat the extra weight is not an issue but will, of course, be more difficult going up a steep hill.
- The distance that you can travel is extensive. The batteries have come a long way in event years. The new Lithium – Ion batteries are lighter, more environmentally friendly and can enable you to travel 30 to 40 miles and on the more expensive bikes up to about 80 miles or even more.
- They are very reliable with leading manufacturers such as Bosch Yamaha, Panasonic and Shimano entering the market and teaming up with the top bike manufacturers (like Scott) the quality is excellent. The Bosch system enables the supplier to connect a computer to the bike so that the motor, battery and on board computer and display unit can all be tested and will produce a report.
- There is now a full range of bikes available including full suspension mountain bikes, folding bikes and even road bikes. The batteries and motors have been incorporated into the design of the bike so that they are barely recognisable as electric bikes. The electric mountain bikes are the most fun that you can have outside without getting on skis!
Electric bikes have now come of age and are the next must-haves. Age no longer needs to be a limiting factor in getting out and rediscovering your surroundings in a very healthy way.
Electric Bikes Guildford is an independent shop opened by cycling enthusiasts Chris and Annie Ogle in the centre of Guildford (on Woodbridge road between Bo Concept and The Lighting Centre) and has an extensive range of quality electric bikes for all types of users – see electricbikesguildford.com or call us on 01483 808765.