The rise of the e-bike. An evolution of the bicycle some might say, many sit on the fence as to where it fits into society. We seem them as a welcomed addition to the cycling world, for those with mobility issues it's a brilliant aid whilst also encouraging others to ditch the car for those shorter journeys and pedal instead. There are some drawbacks though. They can be pricey to run and pricey to repair so is the electrical upgrade worth your time and money. Jennifer Connelly over at Fusion Unlimited dived a little deeper into the advantages and disadvantages of this electrical trend...
2019 has seen the biggest year for electric bike sales so far, and this is only expected to rise. According to Bike Europe, electric bike sales over the last few years have grown by around 30%. So, why are they becoming so popular and why are some people still reluctant to try them?
With an integrated battery and motor attached to give you extra assistance on your trip, it is easy to see why electric bikes have become so popular. The bike’s motor gives you an extra boost as you pedal, so you can accelerate your ride even more without tiring your legs. Approximately 50,000-60,000 electric bikes are sold each year in the UK in comparison to overall bike sales of over 3 million. According to an e-bike forecast from Halfords, e-bikes sales in the UK are predicted to reach a huge 1.5 million by the year 2050.
Cheaper in the long run
Using an e-bike for your commute gives you the added bonus of avoiding both parking costs, petrol and traffic, saving you time and money throughout the day.
Good for your health
E-bikes contribute greatly to improving your health and fitness. Using an e-bike will help you burn calories, whilst not breaking too much of a sweat on your way, as the motor takes enough strain off your legs, especially useful if you have a long or hilly commute. E-bikes are also great for those who might be looking to improve their overall fitness.
Good for the environment
Buying an electric bike is great news for the environment, reducing your carbon footprint by avoiding taking the car each day. There are lots of options available when it comes to choosing an e-bike to suit your riding style, including folding e-bikes and electric mountain bikes.
It needs charging
It should be noted that although electric bikes are quick and convenient, unlike normal bikes they need to be charged to reap the electric benefits. Pedalling for long journeys or uphill distances can become a challenge without a charged motor. You may also find that pedalling your uncharged e-bike is slightly tougher than an ordinary bike, that’s because you’re carrying the additional weight of the motor. Meaning it’s important to keep your e-bike fully charged before each use.
It can be costly to replace parts
Maintenance costs for electric bikes can be more costly that an ordinary bike. Batteries are usually available to buy separately, but can be expensive to replace or repair if they become broken.
They’re usually more expensive than an ordinary bike
An electric bike can be an expensive investment compared to an ordinary bike. Budget electric bikes are available for under £500 from high street retailers, however, if you’re looking for a good quality e-bike for frequent use, expect to pay around £1,500 or above. However, with the money saved on parking, petrol and public transport the savings usually add up. The future of e-bikes is optimistic, so it’s easy to see why they have become so popular over the past few years. It is expected that by the year 2050, e-bikes will be even cheaper, lighter and with longer lasting batteries – making them a worthy investment. There is also a lot of room for additional technology to enhance existing e-bikes such as sat navigation and safety features.