10 Reasons You Should Try an Electric Bike

With cycling growing in popularity across the UK, could electric bikes be the bridge needed to convince motorists to ditch four wheels for two?

Some people love them, others loathe them. But for anyone considering following Bob Dylan’s lead and go electric, then we’ve rounded up 10 of the best reasons to try an electric bicycle.

And, if you’ve ridden electric before, leave us a message in the comment box at the bottom of the post to describe your experience.

1) Exercise

It’s a common misconception that on an electric bike you will sit there and let the motor do all the work. Of course the point of an electric bike is that you’re not relying solely on pedal power alone but the beauty of your new ride is that you have the option of either coasting or putting in the work yourself.

Image by Martin Tod

Image by Martin Tod

2) Perfect introduction

Because you have the option of either peddling or letting the bike do the work, many people view electric bikes as the ideal introduction to the world of cycling, especially if you are looking to ease yourself into a new fitness regime.

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3) Beat the hill/headwind

Some people love battling against the terrain and the elements, but, as satisfying as it may feel to conquer, you don’t always want to be a sweaty mess when you arrive at your destination. E-bikes can help make that hill or headwind a hell of a lot more manageable without the excess effort.

Image by Efilpera

Image by Efilpera

4) Eco-friendly

By giving up the car to make short journeys and stepping onto an electric bike, you will be reducing your carbon footprint hugely. The average Co2 emissions of a new car in 2013 was 128.3g/km and if you replace some of the journeys that you would usually hop in the car for then you can cut that figure massively and help the environment.

5) Faster travel

You may find on your new electric bike that you are able to get around faster than you could before. You have the benefit of an electric motor to power you along as well as being on a nimble bike instead of in a car stuck in traffic. Of course if you have the need for speed then there is an electric bike to suit you. EZRiders ‘Mega’ bike can reach speeds of 25kph without pedalling, so if you are in a hurry there is only one way to go.

6) Cheap

Think of how expensive being a motorist is, or how pricey public transport is. If you can replace your commute with an electric bike you will make huge savings – they require no tax, insurance or licensing. You just get up and go.

7) Fuel

On a similar note, think about how much petrol costs you. If your car is very economical then you might get, say, 50mpg. On some electric bikes you are looking at the equivalent of up to 2,000mpg in terms of watts used per-mile.

8) Style

You probably have a preconception about electric bikes. Well forget it. The new breed of bikes look completely different, and can give a few of their easy-on-the-eye road-racing cousins a run for their money. EZRiders are a good example of how good they can really look.

Electric Bike

9) Range

Another misconception is that you won’t be able to get very far between each charge of your bike. Wrong again. Most bikes will achieve around 30 miles between trips to the socket, a number which is extended by added pedal power. Perfect for commuting and short trips, then.

10) Use

This is interesting. According to atob.org.uk, 46% of conventional bikes are used just twice a week, with a further 30% used once every two weeks. However 81% of electric bike users use their bike at least once a week. Buy electric and you are more likely to use it rather than let it gather dust in the shed.

If you have ridden an electric bike, please let us know what your experience was like in the comment section below.

Pete Reynolds

Pete is the co-founder and editor of Discerning Cyclist. He commutes by bike daily from his home to his co-working space. Originally from Wirral, UK, Pete now lives in Spain. When visiting a new city, Pete loves nothing more than to explore it on two wheels. See Pete's Muck Rack profile

9 Responses

  1. Bob says:

    I have a Volt AlpineX electric bike that use 6 days a week traveling 14 miles a day. I live in Yorkshire so have some large hills on my travels the AlpineX plays with them does up to 80 miles on a charge but I charge mine everyday. Goes up some pretty big hills at 27kph with no problems. Before I got the AlpineX I did the same trip on an EBCO UCR30 not as powerful as the Volt but a great bike.
    I smoke and drink and these bikes make it easy for me to get around without getting knackered.
    A great way to cycle. I only use it for going to work and never need to get changed or have a shower.

  2. Patrick H says:

    New rules for UK sold e-bikes in January 2016 though, only pedelecs to be classed as bicycles, (difference is you have to pedal rather than just twist a throttle).

    Still very low adoption here in the UK compared to Germany or Holland, where ten percent of bikes sold are e-bikes.

    You need to dig deep into the wallet to get a European made bike and the Chinese are catching up fast and offer some great bikes but if something goes wrong with the electricals there isn’t any manufacturer support.

    I took the plunge and bought a Sparta RXS step thru, made in Holland, I winced at the base cost, then add a long range battery and wotnot and it was hard to justify but 500 miles in and I am a convert.

    It’s also quite cool in the classic ‘sit up and beg’ Dutch style, wind and hills become less of an issue. And if an experienced cyclist you can still have fun as the handling is rock solid.

    • Thanks for your comment Patrick. I hadn’t heard about the reclassification.
      Think there’s certainly still a stigma – especially in the UK – attached the e-bikes. Unnecessary really as they do make cycling a much more viable and enjoyable option to a much great segment of the population as you alluded to in your examples regarding wind and hills.
      Happy cycling,

      • Patrick H says:

        The problem in the UK, as I see it, is that e-bikes are seen as a novelty, and an expensive one at that, entry level bikes are £600, you can get a really nice human powered bike for that money.

        I still love normal cycling, I have had great fun on my other bikes, but I had the money and took the plunge, only downer is that it is heavy despite the claims. I’ve added panniers so load those up and it’s a serious workout getting it on a train!

        Would be great to see some more e-bike news and reviews here, it’s not for everyone, you zoom to the EU cut off limit at 15.5 mph whereas my previous setup (Giant Rapid), with a cycle computer indicated about 12 mph on a run.

        So basically I’m going a bit faster, more comfortably, The Giant was very light though, and multi tasking, took it down a steep road hill, in complete confidence, at speed, not sure I would do that with the e-bike, too heavy, too much momentum.

        However there is the option to switch on downhill braking, similar to kers F1 technology, but I can’t see it helping on the hills around here….

        Anyway, it’s all good fun!

  3. Lynn Ayling says:

    I love my electric bike! I have arthritis and was advised not to cycle uphill but, living in North Wales, it is tricky to avoid hills. Sorted, although I still need to cycle uphill the electric motor takes away most of the strain. The improvements in cycle paths in the area has also made cycling to work a much preferred option over the car.

  4. Carolyn says:

    I had a Giant Twist Esprit pedelec bike which I used to commute on a 13 mile round trip each day. A great bike for commuting but very heavy to move if you are not cycling. It did make commuting pleasurable and not a chore but I would still use my “normal” bike for any pleasure cycling at the weekend.

  5. Steven Smith says:

    Can any electric cycle supplier or manufacturer help, I’m looking at raising money for organ donation, my daughter had a double transplant late last yr and I want to raise money to thank them. But I need an electric cycle with spare battery as I want to cycle from Derby to Addenbrookes hospital in Cambridge, if any manufacturer can help please get in touch at s.smith401@btinternet.com

  6. Tone e says:

    I use a e-bike every day. I have evan made my own indicators and 12volt lights front and back and horn and a trickle charge soler cell to keep it topped up ..thery are a great way to get around i have had 2 bikes and on my 3rd now as i passed my old ones on to a charity to give to disabled people

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