An e- bike, also known as a ‘pedalec’, has jumped in popularity in recent times and can be seen in both urban and rural areas.
The e-bike is a bicycle with a battery-powered ‘assist’ which means every time you pedal you get a boost. Once you start pedalling an e-bike a small motor engages and gives you a boost in acceleration. Great for cruising along at a good pace and especially beneficial for climbing hills.
You do need to pedal on an electric bike, pedal assist electric bikes do not move on their own, the motor only works when you pedal, thus you are getting exercise. Electric bikes that move on their own, or have a throttle are essentially mopeds or motorcycles and a licence may be required.
In Ireland the speed limit for a pedal assist e-bike is 25km per hour. This is the maximum speed allowed by law i.e. this is as fast as the motor will go. Generally the motor switches off when you reach 25km per hour, you can go faster than that yourself but will require more effort on your part.
Electric bikes are a great entry level bike and also great for anyone getting back to cycling after some time away, the motor will help you pedal which means less effort and a more comfortable and pleasant cycle. No arriving at your destination all sweaty!
Electric bikes are also great commuter bikes, especially for anyone travelling that bit further to work or possible via some hilly terrain. Travelling at an average speed of 25km you will arrive in no time at all (especially when you consider the average speed of a car during rush hour commuting is 9.6km in Dublin city).
Battery range can vary typically between 35 – 80km, in terms of price the higher the range the higher the price. Charging time can take anything from 2.5 – 8 hours to fully charge you bike battery. If the battery runs out of charge whilst you are out for a cycle you can continue to pedal to get you to your destination it will just feel heavier without the battery assist. Not ideal but it will get you there.
Features of an e-Bike.
- The range of electric bikes available matches, or even surpasses, the range of non-electric bikes. All categories are catered for, from road bikes, sports hybrids, city bikes to multiple variations of e-cargo bikes designed specifically for delivery bikes or from taking the kids to school with multiple seating options available.
- Electric bikes are usually heavier than normal bikes and can weigh up to 25kg or more! You will need to take this into consideration if you have to haul your bike up any steps.
- Electric bikes are more expensive than non-electric bike The Bike to Work scheme upper limit was increased in recent times to reflect this with €1,500 now being the upper limit for the purchase of an e-bike and from the 1st of January €3,000 being the upper limit for the purchase of an e-cargo bike.
- E-bikes are environmentally friendly, they run on electricity rather than the harmful emissions produced by a car.
- They make a great substitute to a second family car
- Ideal for commuting, especially if your commute is longer than average.
- Great inclusive bike for all fitness levels and ability.
- You can cycle further on an electric bike, for example you can travel between 40 – 80kms on one battery charge for less effort than it would have taken on an ordinary bike.
Now for the Pros and Cons
- Less effort required than a regular bike
- Access for all levels of fitness
- Good overall exercise without arriving sweaty
- If the battery runs out you can still cycle
- Pedal assist up to 25kms per hour
- Easy to climb hills
- More expensive than a regular bike
- A heavier bike – up to 25kg
- Heavy to cycle if the battery runs out
- Very popular and highly sought after so a high target for thieves.
E-bikes are trending right now, as the focus on sustainable transport gains traction e-bikes are a viable eco-friendly alternative to taking the car.
With the main advantage of any electric bike over a regular one being the electric motor, which helps you pedal and makes it easier to cycle the e-bikes make ideal commuter bikes but also ideal for any short journey. E-cargo bikes are also great for last mile deliveries (look at the new An Post fleet) and of course a fun way to get the kids to school!