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Electric bikes or ‘electrically assisted pedal cycles’ (EAPCs) are similar to normal bicycles but they’re fitted with a battery powered electric motor that aids the rider’s pedalling efforts. Unlike a moped or electric scooter, EAPCs are not fitted with a twist and go throttle, the electric motor will only provide assistance when the bike is being pedalled. It must have: pedals that can be used to propel it, a maximum output of 250 watts and its speed limited to 15.5mph. Provided it meets these requirements, anyone 14 or over can ride one without the need to register, tax or insure it.
The reasons for using an e-bike vary, for some people an e-bike allows them to travel further than they are normally able to do so, or it may allow you to travel the same distance in less time. If your cycling has been restricted or you’ve had to stop due to physical limitations, an e-bike can get you back out there doing what you need or want to do. With the additional power, they allow you to carry more – ideal for doing the shopping run! E-bikes create new opportunities; the assistance offered can often be the difference between managing to ride with a friend or partner who is otherwise more capable. E-mountain bikes are one of the fastest growing areas in the industry, for many mountain bikers, the ride to the top is purely a means to an end – the descent back down! Climbing up is hard work and time consuming, not everyone’s idea of fun. E-mountain bikes allow you to get back to the top a lot quicker and with less effort, you can either do more riding in the same time or the same distance but in less time – it makes a lot of sense for those who simply ride for fun and for those that have limited amounts of time to go riding.
As with normal bicycles, e-bikes are available as e-hybrids, e-mountain bikes and e-road bikes (although these are not as popular). You would choose your bike using the same basic principles used to choose an e-bike. Hybrid bikes, as the name suggests, are a mix of bikes – imagine a road bike and mountain bike combined. Hybrids are popular thanks to their versatility, they can be ridden on road with better efficiency compared to a mountain bike and they’re also usable for (light) off-road riding. They are good for commuting, touring and general leisure cycling on mixed terrain (roads, dirt tracks, cycle paths). Road bikes are very good at one thing and that is moving quickly on smooth surfaces. They’re fitted with relatively narrow and fast rolling slick or semi-slick tyres and are geared for higher speeds. The standout feature of a road bike would be the drop shaped handlebars, these provide the rider with a variety of riding positions that are suited to different circumstances. Mountain bikes, like hybrids, are fitted with ‘flat’ handlebars and wide knobby tyres. They’re also fitted with lower gearing that helps riders through mud and over soft or steep terrain. In a way, mountain bikes are like SUVs, they’re good off-road but they can still be used on road.
Ebco UCL-30 With Wheel Motor E-bikes are available with two basic motor types; entry-level e-bikes usually have the motor fitted into a wheel (usually the front) and better quality e-bikes will have a motor built into the frame. The latter is generally considered a better option as the weight distribution is more evenly balanced with the heavy motor located in the middle of the bike rather than at one end. Another advantage of a frame mounted motor is that the motor drives the crank directly and it’s possible to fit a sensor that measures the rider’s input and can subsequently provide measured assistance based on the rider’s need.
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