25 commonly asked questions about Electric bikes

25 commonly asked questions about Electric bikes

May 18, 2023Tim Fullbrook

Electric bikes are quite simply the best thing since sliced bread, and will remain the best thing until they find another way to slice bread that’s better than the previous way. They’re an amazing tool for getting people out of cars, trains and off their sofas and into the wide world.

But with that, they can seem daunting to new riders, or those just interested in what all the fuss is about. So here’s 25 commonly asked questions, answered!

Electric bikes are just like regular pedal bicycles but they use an electric motor to help propel the bike. They will feature a battery, pedal sensor, motor, and occasionally an independent throttle.

Electric bikes come in all shapes and sizes – from the standard road bike look, to folding bikes, to fat tyre cruisers. There’s no ‘one style fits all’ when it comes to electric bikes.

No – not all electric bikes have an independent throttle. Some electric bikes do, some manufacturers offer it as an add-on. It’s important to note that in some countries, riding an electric bike that does not require pedal-activated power delivery, i.e a motorbike style throttle, is illegal.

Pedal assist is the most common way electric bikes deploy their power. As you turn the pedals, a sensor detects how hard you are pedalling and tells the motor how much to help turn the wheels.

Most electric bikes have different pedal assist settings, allowing you to choose how much or how little help you want from the motor.

Electric bikes can go as fast as you can pedal, but in terms of the electric assistance that may be limited depending on where you are in the world.

In the UK electric bikes cannot provide assistance at speeds over 15.5mph on the roads if you want the bike to be subject to regular bicycle laws.

Yes – electric bikes are legal.

However, different parts of the world have different rules regarding things like speed, motor size, and independent throttles.

In the UK, for an electric bike to be considered under regular bicycle rules, the motor must be 250W and not provide assistance above 15.5mph, additionally the bike must not be powered by an independent throttle that can be activated without pedalling.

Electric bikes can be ridden anywhere above land – yep, don’t try and ride a submerged electric bike.

Electric bikes are great for riding around the city, along the beachfront, or for tackling off-road routes.

Electric bikes perform very similarly to regular bikes on the road, and as such the rider is largely responsible for how safe the bike is when riding.

In terms of the battery and concerns regarding fires, electric bikes are safe provided they are operated, charged, and maintained within the advice set out by the manufacturer… so like a normal bike or anything else for that matter.

In the UK you have to be 14 and older to ride an electric bike on the road; so always check your local legislation before riding.

Electric bikes are increasingly popular with older riders as they make riding less strenuous.

Electric bikes are typically more expensive than your average pedal bike – owing to the addition of the battery, motor, sensor and the systems to manage them.

Prices typically start from around £1,200 for a quality starter model that will last.

Electric bikes are typically heavier than your average pedal bike due to the addition of weighted components like the battery and motor.

Check out lightweight electric bikes.

No – electric bikes can cater for all heights, like regular pedal bikes. Most manufacturers provide a suggested height range to ensure you get a comfortable and enjoyable ride, so make sure to check these out before you purchase.

Electric bikes are as safe from thieves as regular pedal bikes, so ensuring you lock them safely when leaving the bike in public is important.

More expensive electric bikes come with in-built locking systems, PIN codes, tracking apps, and even alarms to help deter thieves from getting away with your two-wheeled friend.

In the UK you have to be 14 and older to ride an electric bike on the road; so always check your local legislation before riding.

Electric bikes are increasingly popular with older riders as they make riding less strenuous.

No – not all electric bikes have removable batteries, some are cased in the downtube of the bike frame and cannot be removed, therefore the whole bike has to be plugged in to charge.

We’re big fans of removable batteries as they help owners maintain safer and better charging habits.

When fully depleted, an electric bike battery can take anywhere from 3-6 hours to complete a full charge.

We advise that batteries are not allowed to discharge completely, and likewise are not left on charge when they have hit 100%.

You can ride an electric bike as far as your legs can manage, but the range of the electric assistance varies depending on the model of bike, the rider’s habits, and maintenance.

Typically you could expect upwards of 25 miles/40km from an entry level, good quality electric bike.

Bikes with larger batteries and more efficient systems will have more range, as will a bike that is maintained well and has properly inflated tyres, for example. Additionally if a rider uses high pedal assist settings they will deplete the charge faster.

Yes! It’s a straight up myth that electric bikes do not enhance fitness or provide any sort of health benefits.

You’re still getting the cardiovascular benefits of bike riding, and studies have shown that riding an electric bike qualifies as "moderate exercise."

Yes – you should look after an electric bike the same way you would a normal bike.

Ensure the tyres are inflated, the chain and gears are oiled and working (if the bike has them), the bike is clean, and so on.

If you have any concerns about specific maintenance involving the electric systems, then get in touch with your local bike shop, or if you’ve purchased through us then drop us an email at hello@electroheads.com and we’ll be happy to help!

No – generally you can’t take an electric bike on a plane owing to the size of the battery, but check with the airline for their individual rules.

Yes, riding an electric bike is fun and many enjoy it more than riding a normal bike owing to the electrical assistance enabling them to ride further, get their faster, and not break into a sweat like on a regular bike.

Electric bikes can be more expensive than your bog-standard pedal bike. At Electroheads we make sure we’re offering the best quality products at affordable prices, and we regularly run discounts on electric bikes of all styles.

One of the cheapest ways to get an electric bike is to install a conversion kit, check out the Boost kit which electrifies a regular bike for half the price.

The battery on an electric bike is like the fuel tank in a car, it’s where the electrical energy is stored. Therefore, the bigger the battery, the more charge it can hold.

Many bike brands offer different battery options depending on your riding habits and budget.

The main difference between power modes is the amount of “oomph” you feel when riding. Riding an electric bike can feel like you’ve got a tailwind pushing you along, and the pedal assist setting determines how strong that wind is.

Higher modes will be more helpful for riding uphills, or for help with cargo, or if just want to enjoy an easier ride along the flat – but this will all come at the expense of reducing the range on that charge.

Yes - Electric bikes have brakes just like a normal bike, some models have disc brakes others will have rim/pad brakes.

More articles