All you need to know about e-bikes
How to choose & maintain your bike
Making the leap into cycling can be daunting and tempting in equal measure. Perhaps you have looked on from the pavements as cyclists effortlessly glide by, crunching the mileage en route to work. You watch on as they’re inhaling lungfuls of fresh air, truly experiencing the joys of a sunny spring morning commute from the comfort of the saddle and all while getting a gentle workout. With the swell of numbers taking to the roads, the barriers to entry are constantly shrinking away. It can very often be that final hurdle - “what about the hills” or “what about my dishevelled look on entry to the office” - that can so often be the stumbling block.
For us Brits, the barriers to slinging a leg over come easily, but you’ll be surprised how most, with a little pre-ride preparation are easily surpassed. So let’s begin by taking down some of the most common predicaments with a handy new tool at our disposal – the modern electric bike.
Using one study from Cycling Scotland (which closely mirrors many others of its kind) as much as 35.9% of people in the relatively hilly territory are citing distance as their primary factor for not cycling. 6.3% add that the hills are proving prohibitive to their efforts.
Step in the electric bike’s motor to put the wind in your sails and take the burn from your thighs. When it comes to the hills a typical electric bike will give back what the rider puts in and thanks to torque sensors, understand when that input needs to kick up a gear.
Does the price tag put you off? For many it can; but let’s consider the cost against the aforementioned alternatives. The average petrol car is said to cost around 14.19 pence per mile in fuel costs alone. Then there’s tax, insurance, maintenance, parking and MOT, to name just a few extra weighty costs. You may be surprised to learn that modern electric bikes can run at just a fraction of this cost, generally costing around 0.13 of a penny per mile in associated electricity costs, or between 5 to 10 pence per charge. Above and beyond negligible charging costs, the electric bike shouldn’t set you back much more than your typical bicycle in servicing costs, barring a battery replacement at intervals ranging between 3 to 8 years, depending on your spec choice.
Besides, electric bikes are widely used by the Scandinavian people and they’re said to be the happiest in the world. Is there a link?
Well as it turns out electric bike sales are surging in Northern Europe, now making up around 10% of sales in Denmark. Slightly further south the trend has accelerated faster still. In the Netherlands around one in three new bikes sold now has motor assistance.
For countless people, cycling’s too often exaggerated presence in the press can create a perception that riding a bike on the roads can be dangerous. Depending on your local infrastructure there can be occasional moments of concern, but rarely to the extent you may be led to believe by the press and, with electric assistance, it’s that much easier to get ahead in traffic. Providing ample ammunition for your legs, a typical electric bike motor will take the sting out of acceleration, helping riders quickly get up to speed (15.5mph at top speed if in the UK). This nudge off the lights will enable the city cyclists to quickly get set on the pedals as the amber turns to green and thus quickly move clear of left hook dangers at junctions and into a comfortable and controlled stride alongside others on the road. In cities getting ahead of those exhaust fumes is, needless to say, a breath of fresh air.
Of course it’s not all about putting the power down and hitting new peaks, the bicycle is after all a form of transport and such things need to blend seamlessly with our routines. Many of us will seek to go about daily errands by bike, but is it right to assume you may struggle hauling larger loads, most e-Bikes will take the sting out here too. An increasing number of dedicated cargo bikes now come with motor assistance, in fact, many postal companies are turning to this means of transport for inner city deliveries citing improved efficiency and costs savings over vans.
But isn’t it cheating?
This is a common put down among seasoned cyclists and one that is poorly considered. In fact, research published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology has shown that, despite the assistance, electric bike users very often do see notable improvements in aerobic capacity and blood sugar levels. “Commuting with an electric bike can help individuals incorporate physical activity into their day without requiring them to set aside time specifically for exercise,” said James Peterman, a graduate researcher in the Department of Integrative Physiology at CU Boulder.
Furthering this study, researchers in Norway discovered through extensive tests on users ranging 23 to 54 years in age that, even with pedal assistance, riders experience physical exertion 95% of the time. In these tests, electric bike use was found to place users at 8.5 times more active over their resting state, while pedal power registered at 10.9 times more active, a closer margin than previously assumed. Just a 12% difference in lung output was recorded between pedal power alone and e-Bike users.
For these reasons the electric bike can be a lifeline to a wide variety of people who may not otherwise ever get back in the saddle. As put by electric bike market researcher Ed Benjamin “I expect nearly everyone who can ride a bicycle to eventually be an electric bike rider for some purpose. That ranges from children to elders, from rich to poor, and includes many who are not strong enough, or perhaps have health issues that would limit them from using a manual bicycle.” Initially the demographic for electric bicycles was considered to be those in the over 50s age bracket and indeed there is greater interest here than in any other age bracket, but that tally is rapidly decreasing. With the advance of technology, electric bikes capable of off road jaunts have drawn in new and often younger blood. Some of Europe’s biggest bike makers even make electric bikes specifically for children now. For a taste in how an electric mountain bike could help you see the countryside in new ways check out the Haibike range, bikes that are truly capable of conquering even the most rugged terrain.
In short, the electric bike is a leveller for the family.
Is all of this really necessary? It certainly is if you’d like the entire family to see the very same sights and feel the very same long ride satisfaction. In short, the electric bike is a leveller for the family. Perhaps your clan is led by a keen road cyclist who waits at the top of each summit impatiently while the rest of the family follows with pained looks upon their faces and empty water bottles. It could be that an ailment or disability prevents a member of the family from experiencing the same joys as those more able. Those barriers are now entirely removable, meaning the experience and sense of accomplishment truly is achievable to all, even those who may previously have sworn never to have set the pedals in motion again having not met the pack leader’s enthusiasm previously.
Modern electric bikes have largely phased out the twist throttle of old and phased in the now commonplace mid-drive motor, something you’ll find a much more reliable and better handling solution. The vast majority of these systems require the user to begin with some gentle input very briefly before the assistance kicks in. Indeed, most riders will only find that firmer assistance comes into play when they are faced with hills, something determined by in-built torque sensors. As the technology progresses, so too is the intelligence of such systems. At the time of writing we have learned of new systems coming to market that link to heart rate monitors that will adapt output and make gear changes automatically based on a pre-determined comfortable strain level on the rider; perfect for those returning to exercise after a long period off the bike.
As with the electronics found within your pocket, or on your desk, the integrated technology has now developed beyond its infancy and is becoming ‘smart’. In the future we expect electric bike batteries to power such added benefits as immobilisers to prevent theft, integrated lighting and a cycle computer, as well as miniature cameras to record your adventures. It won’t become mandatory to buy in to this tech, but in the city many of these advances are welcomed.
And once you've experienced one, you will understand the "e-bike smile" everyone is talking about.
The most commonly chosen motors – made by Bosch, Yamaha, Brose, Bafang and Shimano – will link to a handlebar-mounted remote that determines the level of assistance required. To maximise your mileage, it is wise to choose Eco mode until assistance is essential, though many will be tempted to hit the boost away from traffic lights in the city.
It is very often the case that sceptics are won over once they experience the electric bike, with the phrase “e-Bike smile” coined to reference that moment of realisation of how an electric bike could change one’s life for the better. Tarmac-going electric bikes are not ‘for’ cyclists. They are instead for those who have a journey to make. Indeed, this notion has been capitalised upon by numerous outdoor hubs in Europe and in the UK where you’ll now be able to experience the pedal assistance tailwind as part of your holiday in the mountains or as part of taking in the sights during a city break. Realising that these vehicles will allow grandparents and even kids to summit the very same hills pedalled by the more athletic members of the family, demo hubs have become an economic boon for such outdoor spaces and should be experienced by anyone on the fence when it comes to buying their own bike.
Purists may still argue until they’re blue in the face, of course, but the electric bike is not for them; instead it is an opportunity for those who may have no intention of becoming ‘cyclists’ to try a new means to get from A to B, no matter how far their health or willpower will stretch. Here at Velorution we have electric bikes for all adventures, commutes and leisure activity, so if you have any questions, or would simply like to experience the natural tailwind and understand the phrase “the e-Bike smile”, then pop in and demo one of our e-bikes at your convenience.
Why you should get an e-bike
by our friend Richard Thorpe, Gocycle's designer
Why should people ride an electric bike?
Firstly, they are fun! There is nothing quite like the feeling of the extra boost and speed you get from an electric powered bicycle. I’ve been commuting and riding one for more than ten years and I still get a smile on my face every time I ride. Most people think that riding an electric bicycle will make you un-healthy or is “cheating”. But it is just not so. People ride and exercise based on their personality. As any ebike owner if they are in better shape after they bought an ebike – the answer will be yes!
How can an electric bike impact positively on your life?
Electric bikes can change your life. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. They are genuinely a transformative product. They will help you become more active and stay healthy. E-bikes are not like fad diets or a new gym membership that you stop using, they become part of your life, sustainable and continuing to provide you pleasure and health benefit over the long term.
What is driving the electric bike market and how does Gocycle fit into those forces?
By 2030, urban areas will be home to more than 60% of the projected world population of 8 billion people. This will put tremendous pressure on the environment, as well as public infrastructure that is already struggling to meet the growing demand for transportation and basic services. Congestion, lack of parking space and poor air quality are rendering today’s automobiles, and the internal combustion engine in particular, unsustainable as the core of personal urban transportation. Inevitable pressure on urban populations and health is driving a paradigm shift in awareness and adoption of sustainable personal electric urban transport. And that’s where Gocycle comes in!
Why does a Gocycle feel and ride so comfortably when it looks so different?
Bicycles are for people, not orangutans. Many bicycles and designers just don’t get that point – take a look at any futuristic bike design and you will see that the designers are contemplating a customer that is a new species of humanoid usually with extremely long arms, super short legs, and a very supple back. There are some things you just can’t change, like the way people are made! Bicycles need to be comfortable and so the touch points – handlebars, seat, pedals, front wheel, and rear wheel all need to fit the human body!
Laws & Regulations about e-bikes
Rules in England, Scotland and Wales
You can ride an electric bike in England, Scotland and Wales if you’re 14 or over, as long as it meets certain requirements.
Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles (EAPC)
These bikes are known as ‘electrically assisted pedal cycles’ (EAPCs). You do not need a licence to ride one and it does not need to be registered, taxed or insured.
All our bikes are EAPC which means they follow certain specifications to qualify.
The current speed limit for EAPC bikes is 15.5mph (25km/h), after which the pedal assist will stop.
Where you can ride
If a bike meets the EAPC requirements it’s classed as a normal pedal bike. This means you can ride it on cycle paths and anywhere else pedal bikes are allowed.
E-Bike Battery Golden Rules
by our friends at Gazelle
Read the documentation
The life of a battery is particularly influenced by the nature and duration of the use. All lithium-ion batteries age naturally, even when not being used.
Factors that shorten battery life
- intensive use
- storage at ambient temperatures > 30 degrees
- lengthy storage in a completely charged or discharged state
- parking electric bike in direct sunlight
Factors that increase battery life
- limited load
- storage at ambient temperatures between 0 and 20 degrees > 30 degrees
- storage at a charge status between 30 and 60%
Always remove the battery from the bike before cleaning it. Do not get any electrical components wet and do not allow any direct water spray on them. Occasionally clean and lightly lubricate the plug pins.
Store battery at temperatures between 0 and 20 degrees. If a battery is completely empty this will cause more wear. The ideal charge status for storing the battery is between 30 and 60%.
Temperatures below -10 degrees and higher than 60 degrees should be avoided.
In the winter (particularly when it is below 0 degrees) connect the battery that has been stored at room temperature onto the electric bike shortly before departure. If cycling regularly in the cold it is recommended to use thermal protective covers.
When transporting the bike, always remove the battery from the bike and transport this safely.
The dealer can check the condition of the battery using a diagnosis device.
What systems are available on our e-bikes
Bosch Performance Line
- Sporty dynamic support of up to 63 Nm provides more power during start-up, aiding powerful riding in any situation.
- The drive unit provides strong support at low cadences, for example for more power on hill starts.
- Sporty dynamic support in two variants: Cruise (25 km/h) and Speed (45 km/h).
Whether trekking, all-mountain riding or commuting: The sporty Performance Line is the perfect choice for ambitious eBikers. The finely balanced, high-performance system with a maximum torque of 63 Nm transforms eBikers into explorers and adventurers and provides the required power at any moment. Look forward to even more fun in the saddle – up to 25 km/h with the Performance Cruise drive unit or up to 45 km/h with the Speed model.
With a torque of up to 63 Nm, full support is available even at a low cadence, This ensures powerful riding behaviour, especially when starting.
Three sensors measure the torque, speed and acceleration more than 1,000 times per second. ensuring perfect interaction between rider and eBike.
Precise motor control and fast processing of the sensor signals minimise noise and vibration. The safe chain run prevents chain derailment and incorrect loading and also reduces wear.
The five riding modes available on the Performance Line offer sporty dynamic support.
Innovative gear shifting concepts
The eShift solutions from enviolo, Rohloff and Shimano shift gear on the Performance Line electronically, while the automatic hub gear system from NuVinci or Rohloff provides support up to 45 km/h.
The Performance Line Speed variant provides support up to 45 km/h to allow commuters to arrive at their destination even quicker.
Bosch Performance CX
- With a torque of up to 75 Nm. For sporty acceleration even in alpine terrain, without changing gear.
- Lasting support for riders enables powerful drive, fast sprints and a very sporty riding style.
- Support up to 25 km/hr. Does not overheat even on long mountain trips.
With a maximum torque of 75 Nm, the Performance Line CX is the ideal drive for ambitious and demanding eBikers. In eMTB mode, you always receive the required power – from Tour to Turbo. Up to 300% of perfectly delivered support, incredible dynamism and unique grip provide the best possible support on all terrains, as well as improved start-up behaviour. The progressive motor support automatically adapts to the individual's riding style, so there is no need to change support modes in eMTB mode.
Perfect support as soon as you step onto the pedals means that starting on steep slopes is significantly easier.
Thanks to the new eMTB mode, there is no need to change support modes, so the rider can concentrate fully on the trail.
Enables effortless riding and optimal traction thanks to improved control, even on challenging uphill sections or when encountering difficult obstacles.
A torque of up to 75 Nm ensures sporty acceleration even in alpine terrain, without changing gear.
More walk-assistance power
Stronger support up to speeds of 6 km/h makes pushing your bike much easier. Available from autumn 2018 and backwards compatible for all Performance Line CX systems.
For a powerful start uphill and in rough terrain. Improved moving-off behaviour guarantees optimal support in all terrains and on any trail. Noticeably easier, sporty starting as soon as you step onto the pedals.
Bosch Active Line
- A maximum torque of up to 40 Nm ensures gentle supporting acceleration.
- Maximum drive: gentle support, perfect for city trips.
- Moderate support for greater mobility in everyday use up to a maximum of 25 km/h.
The Active Line is the drive for anyone who places great value on an elegant appearance. Due to its compact size, the Drive Unit can be integrated optimally into the bicycle frame. Its reduced weight and low centre of gravity provide for safe handling. Without any disturbing extraneous noises, you can experience pure riding enjoyment with gentle support up to 25 km/h. And anyone who wants to go faster will benefit from minimal pedal resistance above 25 km/h.
A lightweight, quiet Bosch motor provides even more riding enjoyment without annoying extraneous noises.
The innovative drive concept allows for a very light drive unit, weighing only 2.9 kg.
Cleaner eBike Look
The new Active Line drive unit is 25% smaller than before and, thanks to its compact size, allows improved integration within the bicycle frame.
Relaxation on tour
The intelligent 3-sensor concept takes more than 1,000 measurements per second to ensure a harmonious power characteristic.
Harmonious riding experience
Experience harmonious acceleration with minimum pedal resistance when switched off or at over 25 km/h.
Bosch sets new standards with flowing shapes and harmonious lines. The new Active Line has already won a Red Dot Design Award.
Bosch Active Line Plus
- Maximum torque of up to 50 Nm ensures harmonious, agile acceleration.
- Maximum drive: sufficient support, perfect for city trips or relaxed tours.
- Perfectly measured support for increased mobility in everyday life up to a maximum of 25 km/hour.
The versatile Active Line Plus provides optimal support when you are discovering new areas and want to take eBike excursions outside the city boundaries. The quiet, small yet powerful drive unit weighs in at just 3.2 kg and offers gentle acceleration up to 25 km/h. The light weight and reduced size ensure improved handling in all riding situations.
Carefree riding experience
The innovative drive concept impresses with its very light weight of only 3.2 kg.
Pure riding enjoyment
The quiet, reliable Bosch motor provides gentle support on all rides.
Agile riding sensation
The drive unit provides gentle and reliable support for the rider through harmoniously balanced acceleration.
Unique riding experience
Experience harmonious acceleration with minimum pedal resistance when switched off or at over 25 km/h.
The intelligent 3-sensor concept of the drive unit takes more than 1,000 measurements per second to ensure a harmonious power characteristic.
Bosch sets new standards with flowing shapes and harmonious lines. The Active Line Plus has already won the Red Dot Design Award.