Do you need a license to ride an electric bike?

Do you need a license to ride an electric bike?

The popularity of electric bikes continues to rise in the UK.


Sales volumes show no sign of slowing in terms of year-on-year growth, with 2023 predicted to follow this trend. Indeed, e-bikes make up a significant, and increasing proportion of the total of all bicycles sold.


Private ownership of electric bikes is on the up, while rental e-bikes, such as the now ubiquitous Lime bikes and others, are commonplace on the streets of London and other UK towns and cities.


And there’s a good reason for this rapid uptake. Electric bikes present an eco-friendly and enjoyable way to travel. 


However, given their relative newness on the roads in the UK, there are still some misunderstandings about the rules and regulations when it comes to using a motor-powered bicycle.


At Eco Bike Co. HQ, the most common question we hear asked on this subject is, “do you need a license to ride an electric bike?”


In this blog, we will answer this question and look at some of the other important regulations to be aware of to ride safely and legally in the UK.


Do you need a license to ride an electric bike?


The short answer is no.


The slightly longer answer: it depends on the bike.


Lets first focus on the bikes we sell at Eco Bike Co. Our UK-manufactured electric bikes are all road-legal without a license. 


This is because they are classed as EAPCs, or ‘electrically assisted pedal cycles’. The UK Government has a handy guide to the criteria an e-bike must meet to fall into this category.


To summarise, an EAPC must show either its power output or the manufacturer's name on the motor. The battery’s voltage and or max speed should also be displayed, and crucially, the motor must have a maximum power output of 250 watts and should not be able to propel the bike when it’s travelling to speeds of more than 15.5mph or 25kph.


All of the bikes available on our online store meet these criteria and can therefore be ridden without a license.

The only additional stipulation to be aware of is you must be 14 years old or over to ride an electric bike in the UK.


What if my e-bike isn’t an EAPC?


Perhaps your electric bike has a more powerful motor than 250 watts and can reach speeds of more than 15.5mph. 


If this is the case, it cannot be considered an EAPC. Instead, the bike is referred to as a speed pedelec.


Your speed pedelec will need to be registered with the DVLA and taxed, and you’ll have to have a driving licence/CBT to use it on the road. You can often spot a speed pedelec as it will have a number plate, and often wing mirrors and a horn. 


Indeed, while it might look very much like a regular electric bike, you should think of it as a moped or motorcycle in the eyes of the law.


As such, you wouldn’t be able to ride it on cycle paths, and you must wear a motorcycle helmet.


Conventional cycling rules apply to e-bikes


When focusing on the technical classifications of EAPCs, it’s easy to overlook the rules of the road that apply to all bicycles, electric or otherwise.


Firstly, by law, your e-bike or traditional bicycle must have working front and rear brakes to be road legal. 


If you ride your bike on the road after dark, you must have working front and rear lights and reflectors on your bike. The front light should be white, while the rear light should be red.


As with any form of road use, cycling under the influence of drink and drugs is illegal. 


When we talk to new cyclists or those who have been out of the saddle for some time, we always suggest they refamiliarise themselves with the UK Highway Code. There are specific sections that apply to cyclists, but a good grasp of the rules of the road allows for safer journeys - for you and for other road users. A few hours of prep now could save a lot of stress and worry down the line.



Are electric bike laws universal?


Perhaps you are thinking about travelling with your e-bike - within the UK or further afield.

In the UK, the same electric bike laws apply across all of the home nations. Previously, in Northern Ireland, e-bike riders were obliged to have a CBT license or equivalent: this is no longer the case.


Electric bike laws in the EU are largely the same as in the UK - but given the newness of the technology, and ongoing shifts in public policy both there and at home, we would strongly advise you carry out your own research before travelling to ensure you can ride your e-bike safely and legally.




Riding an electric bike without a license


One of the many things we love about electric bikes is how accessible they are. 


The fact you can ride one without a license makes that purchase decision that bit easier! Are you ready to join the electric revolution?


Eco Bike Co. are proud to be one of the UK’s leading retailers of electric bikes. We offer a wider range of brands and models on our site and our friendly team of e-bike experts is on hand to help with any questions or queries you might have. Get in touch today.


Happy riding!

December 05, 2022
What's the Difference Between Women's and Men's Bikes?

What's the Difference Between Women's and Men's Bikes?

One thing we love about cycling is it is for everyone.


Young or old, male or female, fit or unfit: our beloved sport is widely accessible - and even more so when you opt to use an electric bike.


It won’t come as a huge surprise that the majority of bikes (e-bikes included) that you see on the road today are suitable for all cycling styles, and crucially, genders.


However, if you’ve already had a browse of our online electric bike store, you will see that we have a specific section for women’s e-bikes - as well as a section for men too.


On these pages you’ll find a wide variety of bikes, from foldable e-bikes to premium off-road mountain bikes as well as classic road cruisers. What groups them together is that they are adapted to be slightly better suited for female riders.


You might look at the photos, and wonder “what’s the difference between women’s and men’s bikes?” Sometimes the differences are subtle, and we’ll look at them more closely in this blog.



A “woman’s bike” is any bike that fits her


First and foremost, this is a principal we stand by at Eco Bike Co.


Many female cyclists, including members of our team, find that “men’s” - or perhaps better labelled as “unisex” - bikes suit them just fine, even better than women-specific models.


If you get a chance to give a bike a test ride, that’s always going to be beneficial. Failing that, speak to an expert.


We have a really experienced team of e-bike experts on hand at Eco Bike Co. to support you with choosing the perfect electric bike for your cycling needs and physique. 


Don’t hesitate to get in touch by either phone, email, or live chat.



Differences between men’s and women’s bikes


Once upon a time, women’s bikes might simply have differed from men’s aesthetically. Thankfully, those days are behind us, and women’s bikes are designed simply to provide a better fitting ride.


The fundamental difference between men’s and women’s bikes tends to be the size of the frame. Now, this doesn’t mean a women’s bike is simply a smaller version of the men’s bike. No, there is more precision to it than that.


To suit the average woman’s build, you will often see that a women’s bike has a shorter stack height. Note: the stack is the distance from the centre of the bottom bracket to the top of the head tube.


You will also notice a shorter reach length (the horizontal distance from the centre of the bottom bracket to the top of the head tube) and quite possibly narrower handlebars as, typically, women have narrower shoulders than men.


Saddles may well be different between men’s and women’s bikes. In general, women’s saddles tend to be shorter and wider. That said, saddles are very much interchangeable and it comes down entirely to personal preference.


What about step through bikes?


A step through bike has previously been considered a women’s bike. This classic bike design features a downwards-sloping top tube and was built as such to accommodate the long skirts generally worn by women riders.


You’ll still see step through bikes today - for example on our website - but the design choice is an aesthetic one, rather than to provide a practical solution for long-skirt-wearing riders!


Indeed, you’ll see many male cyclists using step through bikes too, simply because of the appeal of the design. Curved elements on bikes are becoming increasingly popular - keep an eye out for them in the coming year



Choosing the right e-bike for you


When choosing the right e-bike for you, it’s not just a questions of whether it has been designated for men, or for women.


No, there’s a lot more to it than that.


The electric bikes you’ll find on our website are highly versatile and varied. Different frame styles, motors and batteries can be found across a broad selection of our e-bikes.


When talking to new customers, we often suggest they ask themselves these three questions:


  • Am I principally planning to use my electric bike on roads?
  • How is my fitness? What sort of power assist is appropriate?
  • Would a particular frame style e.g. “step through” be most practical?

For many of our customers, portability is also an important factor. Our wide range of foldable electric bikes are very popular with commuters as well as those with a little less storage space at home.


For some, style comes first. And we’ve got plenty to offer in that department. Check out our entire range of UK-manufactured electric bikes here.


Get the advice and insight you need


When buying a new bike, advice is always useful.


When buying a new electric bike, you should definitely be looking to discuss your potential choice with an expert.


There are a number of variables to consider and there’s no denying, e-bikes are advanced pieces of technology - you wouldn’t buy a new computer, television, or household applaince without duing some due diligence.


At Eco Bike Co. we massively pride ourselves in delivering the highest standards of customer service, both pre- and post-purchase. Our team are electric bike experts and cycling enthusiast. They’re also really friendly - just check out our reviews!


If you’re considering buying an e-bike and wondering what might be the best choice for you, and whether you should be looking at women’s frame, why not get in touch today.


Happy riding!

December 01, 2022
How much does it cost to charge an electric bike?

How much does it cost to charge an electric bike?

Rarely does a day pass without the cost-of-living crisis hitting the headlines in the UK. And for good reason: household finances haven’t been squeezed in such a manner since the 1950s.


There are a number of global factors influencing the economic difficulties being faced almost everywhere in the world, with one of the most significant being the steeply rising cost of energy.


With this in mind, UK residents are becoming increasingly cautious about the amount of electricity they use at home, while also looking for cost-savings elsewhere by adapting their lifestyles and routines. 


It is in this atmosphere of concern, that electric bike owners, as well as prospective buyers, are wondering how much it costs to charge an electric bike. 


There are a number of factors to consider - not least the price of electricity. That said, how much does it cost to charge an electric bike? Not a lot - and a whole lot less than filling up your petrol tank.


In this blog, we explain how you can work out the cost to charge an electric bike, and why, for us, it is one of the best modes of transport in terms of cost-to-run at this time.


How to calculate the cost of charging an e-bike


Ready for a formula? Okay, to work out the cost of charging your electric bike, you need to calculate:


  • (Battery capacity in kWh x 1.25) x cost of electricity per kWh

Hold on, I hear you cry out, what’s the 1.25 about? 


We multiply the battery capacity by 1.25 due to the imperfect nature of energy transfer. Not all the electricity coming from the socket will remain in the cells of your battery. Notice the transformer becoming warmer? There you have it.


For the purposes of this blog, we’re focusing on charging costs in the UK with a price of approximately £0.35 per kWh at the time of writing. We’re also going to pick a pretty sizeable bike battery of 500Wh as you might find on one of our low-step folding e-bikes.


So: (0.5kWh x 1.25) x £0.35 = £0.22


That’s right, just 22 pence to fully charge a 500Wh e-bike battery. That’s pretty reasonable if you ask us!


You might be wondering how often you need to charge an electric bike. This depends on how frequently you are riding it.


Your riding style also is a factor - some riders will make use of the motor more than others. Terrain too will come into. If your commute consists of hill after hill, your battery will drain more quickly.



Riding an e-bike is a low-cost method of travel


Even if you were to be fully charging your electric bike battery on a daily basis during the working week, you’re looking at not much over one pound spent on electricity by the time you reach the weekend.


Consider how much your commute might cost using another mode of transport.


While it is below the record highs seen in June 2022,  the price of petrol remains high and this is reflected in the number of road users opting to remain at home, certainly if that is feasible work-wise.


In London, 46% of respondents in a recent survey cited costly public transport fares as the reason they continued to work from home or only head into their centrally-based offices one or two times a week.


Indeed, for this author to travel to work in London via bus five times a week, I am looking at a cost of almost £25. Quite the difference between using an electric bike each day to reach the office.


Make the most of your battery by charging it correctly


Looking after your battery can mean longer rides, with fewer charges required - therefore saving you money.


There are several best practices to be aware of when it comes to charging your e-bike. 


Follow these tips to maintain battery health:


  • Temperature can have an impact on how a battery charges so make sure to charge your battery indoors, ideally somewhere with a moderate temperature of 10 to 20 degrees. 

  • We strongly recommend you use a charger approved by your e-bike’s manufacturer to avoid the risk of damage during charging. Note: Issues arising from using an unapproved charger could impact your warranty - get in touch with our team if you have any queries.

  • Don’t charge your battery immediately after finishing a ride - wait at least thirty minutes to let the battery cool down before plugging it in. This gives you an opportunity to give it a quick wipedown, too

  • Avoid charging your battery all the way to 100%, and likewise don’t regularly discharge it to zero. Reduce battery stress by keeping it between 20% - 85% charged. This will extend its life.

  • However, there is a quarterly exception to this final point. Every few months you will want to run your battery completely flat to keep the maximum charging capacity as high as possible.

The cost of riding an e-bike


After the initial outlay of buying your electric bike, they are generally very low-cost to run. 


Charging costs are low, and with a bit of battery care, you won’t be having to plug in too frequently.


Of course, ensuring you look after your bike will help keep costs down when it comes to maintenance. We’ve covered the essentials in this blog about keeping your bike on the road and running smoothly.


If you’re considering buying an e-bike and aren’t sure which is right for you, and whether there are additional costs to be aware of, get in touch with our friendly team of electric bike experts.


Contact us by email, phone, or live chat today,


Happy riding! 

November 25, 2022
How do electric bikes work on hills?

How do electric bikes work on hills?

What do you love about cycling? 


Ask a group of cyclists and you’ll get a range of answers. Some will say freedom, others the health benefits and others will say going downhill.


Fewer will cite going uphill as their favourite aspect of cycling.


Yes, hills are not always the friend of cyclists, certainly not for those new to the sport or recently back in the saddle. Hill climbing is tough, a proper workout.


However, for many, the Eco Bike Co. team included, electric bikes have revolutionised cycling uphill. Let’s just say, our relationship with steep slopes is in a great place nowadays!


In this blog, look at how electric bikes work on hills, both in terms of what makes them work, and how effective they are.


Read on for more!


How do electric bikes work on hills?


Let’s break this down into two parts. How do they technically perform on hills - and what one can expect from their performance.


At the heart of an electric bike is its motor. This is what differentiates it from a conventional or traditional cycle.


The motor generates torque when you use the pedals (we call this ‘pedal assist’) meaning less effort is required to propel the bike. 


And how does this work on a hill? Very well indeed, thanks!


Hills and headwinds that previously might have had you running for the bus or hopping into your car become more than manageable when you have an electric bike.


Climbing even a particularly steep hill with an e-bike requires significantly less effort than on a traditional bike thanks to its motor. Modern, high-end electric bikes such as the ones we sell in our online store will climb any hill with ease.


And this applies to our off-road bikes too. For example, our mountain electric bikes will help you reach the top of steep muddy trails, whatever the conditions.


Tips for cycling uphill


Whether or not you have an electric bike, there are a couple of cycling fundamentals that will make your climb more efficient (and less painful!)


It doesn’t just come down to leg strength and fitness (while unsurprisingly, a bit of both is quite handy on challenging slopes).


Body position is important when riding uphill. The steepness of the hill is a factor here, as is the terrain. When climbing a gentle slope, a neutral position is fine. But when the going gets tough, you should look to shift your body weight forward in order to maintain traction on the back wheel.


Essentially, drop your chest down towards the handlebars, keeping your elbows bent.


When it comes to off-road hill climbing, you need to remain conscious of the line you are taking. Pedalling cadence is key when going uphill - stop pedalling and your momentum drops and the work gets a whole lot harder. By ensuring your gaze remains five or so metres ahead you’ll be able to spot tricky patches of terrain that need to be avoided to maintain a smooth ascent.


Take note of your tire pressure. Tires can have a major influence on how your bike performs on hills (and on the flat, too). The right air pressure for you will depend on the terrain, your bike, and your riding style.


The benefits of an e-bike for hills


There are a number of benefits of using an e-bike as opposed to a traditional cycle to climb hills.


Due to the reduced effort required, commuting on hilly routes becomes a lot more feasible. For example, if your cycle-to-work route features a steep hill which would either require you to dismount or take a significant amount of time, you might decide it’s not worth taking such a route travelling by bike. However, once pedal assist kicks in, you’ll be flying up that slope!


Furthermore, reduced effort means less sweating. If you’ve ever arrived at work for a 9 am meeting dripping in sweat, you may have regretted the fact you didn’t take the car that morning. Well, with an electric bike, those days are over!


If you’re part of a cycling group, or simply enjoy bike rides with family and friends, it can be disheartening if you lag behind on hills. You may even opt to skip the trip if you know it’s a particularly hilly route on which you are going to struggle.. 


With an electric bike, you will find it far easier to keep up with the rest of the group. Not only that, you’ll be a lot less worn out when you reach your destination, meaning you can make the most of the social aspect of riding with a group.


There are heaps of benefits to owning an e-bike and we discuss a number of them in our blog. Check it out here.


Finding the right e-bike for you


Unsurprisingly in such a fast-growing market, there is a wide range of e-bike models available. 


From practical, portable folding electric bikes, to vintage-style classics, to electric mountain bikes, you’ll find a wide range of styles and brands on our website.


It is worth considering what is the right type of electric bike for you. There are a range of factors to consider - one of which may be the terrain and gradients you will most frequently be riding on. 


Our recommendation is to talk to someone in the know. The team at Eco Bike Co. are keen cyclists and electric bike aficionados. We take a lot of pride and pleasure in helping our customers find the perfect e-bike for them.


If you’re considering buying an electric bike, but aren’t sure which is right for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch by phone, email, or live chat. Visit our contact us page here.


Happy riding!

November 20, 2022
Are electric bikes loud?

Are electric bikes loud?

Electric bikes are here to stay. 


Versatile, practical, and just plain fun, there’s no surprise that e-bike uptake is on the rise with huge numbers expected to be bought in 2023.


As a leading online retailer of electric bikes in the UK - and avid riders ourselves - we field a lot of practical questions about this popular and eco-friendly mode of transport.


One of which is “are electric bikes loud?” This is an interesting question - and while “loudness” is somewhat subjective, in this blog we look more closely at the noise levels of electric bikes.


Are electric bikes loud?


From this author’s perspective, no. Electric bikes are not loud.


Now, this isn’t to say they’re entirely quiet either. Keep in mind that all bikes, electric or otherwise, are not silent.


As you travel, you will hear noise from the rotations of the chain, pedals, and of course the brakes and tires. Of course, different bikes (models and styles) will have different noise levels - and don’t forget about levels of maintenance, too. This can be a factor in the amount of sound a bike makes.


The difference between an e-bike and a conventional bike is the motor. And yes, these motors are not silent. When ‘pedal assist’ kicks in, you’re going to hear it - as will others around you.


However, as electric bike technology has developed over the years, motors are increasingly quiet and you would have a hard time arguing that they were in fact noisy. 


From folding electric bikes to the wide range of other models in our online e-bike store, you will find that the e-bikes we sell are equipped with quality, quiet motors and are manufactured to the highest standards to ensure a smooth ride with minimal noise.


Different electric bike motors


In general, you’ll come across two types of electric bike motors: crank drive motors and hub motors.


Crank drive motors were first seen on electric bikes in the 1990s (yep - that’s right, electric bikes have been around longer than you might have imagined!)


A crank drive motor derives its energy from the crank part of the bicycle, between the two-foot pedals, which is where the activity of the pedals is converted into energy.


They’re a versatile choice of motor, and particularly impressive when it comes to hills. Lightweight and efficient, crank drive motors are not at all noisy. That said, they do have a tendency to become increasingly louder over time, so that is worth bearing in mind.


Hub motors are the other most frequently seen type of electric bike motor. 


As the name suggests, it is located on the wheel hub. As well as working nicely design-wise, there is a practical benefit to this positioning. The location of the motor also creates ease in performing simple repairs and also removing the motor itself without damaging or changing the structure of the bicycle. 


A hub motor will make a little more noise than a crank drive motor - but certainly, nothing to write home about.


How to quieten an electric bike


A motor is going to make a certain amount of sound, that’s a given. But if you feel the noise your e-bike’s motor is emitting is unusual or excessively loud, it’s worth speaking to a specialist to get it checked out.


As we have noted, no bike - electric or otherwise is noiseless. Where there are moving parts, there is always going to be noise.


If you are finding your bike is noisier than you would like you might need to consider carrying out some maintenance. We have actually put together a handy guide for looking after your e-bike which you can check out here.


Common culprits when it comes to noise are the brakes and the chain.


Squeaky breaks often result from dirt, oil and grease on the wheel rim (when using rim brakes), or as a result of the brake pad or rotor misalignment which may cause a squealing sound. 


In some cases, brakes may need replacing, but a bit of TLC is generally enough to deal with the noise. A regular cleaning routine is central to this - and you can buy specific disc break cleaning kits. If you’re at all unsure about how to look after your brakes, pop into your local bike shop.


When it comes to the chain, consistent squeaking could be caused by a couple of different issues, but each involves making sure moving parts are well-lubricated or greased. This should be your first port of call.


Find out if an electric bike is loud


Perhaps you’ve been eyeing up an electric bike online and aren’t sure if it is loud or not. 


Well, simply ask! 


At Eco Bike Co, our team is made up of e-bike specialists and we have close relationships with all the manufacturers we work with.


If you have a question about any aspect of one of the electric bikes on our website, including motor noise, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team by phone, email, or live chat. 


Head over to our contact page here.


Our range of electric bikes


We are hugely proud of the wide range and quality of the e-bikes that we sell online.


All the UK-based brands we work with can be considered best-in-class, and we are supremely confident that whichever bike you choose to purchase, you’re going to be delighted with the product. Indeed, don’t listen to us - check out our reviews.


As an authorised dealer for each of the top-of-the-range brands listed on our website, Eco Bike Co. are able to offer full manufacturer warranties on all our orders.


Check out our online shop today, featuring e-mountain bikes, folding e-bikes, and other classic models or visit our blog for more background and information.


We hope to hear from you soon.


Happy riding!

November 17, 2022
How to transport electric bikes

How to transport electric bikes

Loving riding your e-bike? Join the club!


In fact, many of us enjoy e-bikes rides so much, sticking to our local areas just isn’t enough.


At Eco Bike Co. HQ we’ve got trail enthusiasts who regularly head out to find the most thrilling (and generally, muddiest) trails around, while others escape the city to find the steepest climbs - or even head abroad to enjoy the picturesque cycle routes of Northern Europe.


Unsurprisingly, we often discuss how to transport electric bikes. It’s an important subject, given e-bikes are technical pieces of equipment, that need to be handled with care and attention should you want to avoid breakages and malfunctions, or simply to extend their lifespan.


Without further ado, let’s look at best practices for transporting e-bikes.



Safety first: Electric bikes can be on the heavier side


It’s worth noting that e-bikes are heavier than their conventional counterparts. 


This is due to the increased number of components, such as the motor system, which in general will add about eight kilograms to the total weight.


What’s more, to support the extra weight of components while allowing for stability at speed, e-bike frames also tend to be on the heavier side.


With this in mind, pay attention to how you are carrying your electric bike when loading it on or off a vehicle. Seek support if it is too much to lift on your own - for your own safety, and for that of the bike (e-bikes are sturdy pieces of kit, but we wouldn’t advise dropping them needlessly!)


Travelling by car with an electric bike


Perhaps the most common way to transport an electric bike is by car.


Some cars will have sufficient boot space with the seats down to fit an electric bike. However, you may need to remove some parts such as tyres or handlebars which adds time at both ends of your journey.


Furthermore, you lose the option of travelling with additional passengers in the back seats.


However, in terms of safety and security, it’s a great option and for some, preferable to using an external bike rack or roof rack. Indeed, when driving with bikes stored externally, they’re always going to be at risk of damage from flying debris.


In spite of this, bike racks are highly practical when it comes to travelling with an electric bike.


If you do opt to attach a bike rack to the boot of your car make sure your bike(s) do not exceed the width of your vehicle by more than 20 cm on each side. Bikes must not obscure your vehicle’s brake lights or license plate, either. Check out the regulations here.


In terms of rear window visibility, a roof rack can be a better option but do keep in mind the impact on your vehicle’s aerodynamics (increasingly worth noting with the current high price of petrol) and the potential weight of the bike(s) on the roof of your car.


It’s vital you carry out proper due diligence prior to purchasing a bike rack to ensure it is suitable for your model of electric bike. Should your bike fall off while driving not only is it likely to be severely damaged, but other road users may be put at significant risk. 


If you do transport your electric bike using a car bike rack, it is well worth removing the battery and transporting it inside your vehicle. Although e-bike batteries are hardy pieces of kit, were it to become detached from the bike due to road conditions or a loose fitting, there is a risk of damage.



The advantages of folding electric bikes


When talking about transporting e-bikes, it’s impossible not to discuss folding electric bikes.


Non-electric folding bikes have been commuter staples for a number of years, given their portability and the fact that they can be taken on public transport during peak times.


At Eco Bike Co. we pride ourselves in selling a range of high-end foldable electric bikes, that pack a punch akin to a regular electric bike in terms of power, whilst retaining all the benefits of portability.


Indeed, these ergonomic little wonders combine powerful motors, and long-lasting batteries, with light weights, making them the perfect travel companion.  Transporting an electric bike has never been easier, whether you’re putting it in the boot of your car, on a train, or even hopping on a bus.


Can you take an electric bike on a plane?


This question comes up frequently when discussing travelling with an electric bike. 


The short answer is no. This comes down to e-bike batteries. 


There are strict regulations surrounding air travel and lithium batteries. They are considered a potential fire hazard and any rechargeable lithium battery with a capacity of more than 100Wh cannot be taken onto a plane. 


Electric bike batteries tend to be well in excess of this, so if you want to take your electric bike on a plane, you’ll need to leave the battery at home - or send it on ahead of you.


Our preferred option? Rent a battery on arrival. This is increasingly possible across a range of popular cycling destinations.



Storing an electric bike in transit


If you’re taking your bike on a plane (without its battery), shipping it when moving house, or storing it on an overnight train, you will likely want to look at options for protecting it from damage.


There are a number of different types of bike cases available, from hard bike cases (which offer the best protection, but are more cumbersome), to cardboard boxes (lightweight, but typically only suited for one-way journeys.


It generally comes down to personal preference as to which storage solution you choose, but do factor in the fragility of your bike, the length of the journey, and the type of transport you are taking. All will need to be considered when you make your choice.



How to transport electric bikes


There are a variety of ways you can transport electric bikes. And we highly recommend taking your bike further afield to maximise the pleasure and benefit you can derive from it.


Although they are increasingly more portable, there are a range of considerations to take when travelling with your e-bike, depending on the type of transport you opt for.


Safety should always come first, both for you, and your bike - be sure to plan your journey in advance and ensure you’ve taken enough care to secure your bike prior to travel.


If you have any questions or queries about travelling with an electric bike, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Eco Bike Co. team. We would be delighted to answer any questions - get in touch today.


Happy riding!

November 14, 2022
8 Reasons to Invest in a Fat Tyre Electric Bike

8 Reasons to Invest in a Fat Tyre Electric Bike

With advances in technology, electric bikes are becoming more and more popular. But why should you choose a fat tyre electric bike over a standard one? There are many benefits to investing in a fat tire electric bike from the improved traction and stability on various terrain, enhanced comfort and smoother ride, better off-road capability and increased load carrying capacity. Let's explore these benefits in more detail. 

Improved Traction and Stability on Various Terrains

Fat tyres provide superior grip on wet surfaces, as well as loose surfaces such as gravel or sand. This extra grip makes it easier to control your bike, no matter what surface you're riding on. Additionally, the increased contact patch of the fat tires gives you better balance when riding over uneven terrain or pot holes. 

Enhanced Comfort and Smoother Ride

The wider surface area of the fat tyres also helps to absorb shocks from bumps and potholes, making for an incredibly comfortable ride. The added cushioning also reduces vibrations which can be uncomfortable over long distances. 

Better Off-Road Capability

Fat tyres are designed with deep treads which give them superior traction on off-road trails compared to standard tires. This allows you to take your electric bike further than ever before without worrying about getting stuck or having difficulty navigating difficult terrain. 

Increased Load Carrying Capacity

If you're planning to use your electric bike for transporting goods or carrying heavy loads, then a fat tire electric bike is definitely worth considering. The increased contact patch of the tires gives them better grip on rough roads which makes carrying heavier loads much easier and safer. Additionally, the thicker treads help reduce wear-and-tear caused by heavy loads over time meaning that your tyres will last longer too! 

Lower Resistance On Sand And Snow

Fat tyres provide less resistance when riding on soft surfaces like snow or sand because they spread out the weight of the rider over a larger surface area. This means that you can travel further with less effort compared to standard tyres which would sink into soft ground easily due to their narrow profile.

Reduced Risk Of Punctures

A thicker tread pattern also means that there is less risk of punctures due to sharp objects such as thorns or stones being embedded into the tyre while you ride. This makes fat tyre e-bikes ideal for those who plan on taking their bikes off-road regularly as they won't need to worry about unexpected punctures ruining their day! 

More Efficient Energy Usage

Due to its larger surface area contacting with the ground, a fat tire electric bike requires less energy per mile compared to its slimmer counterparts making it an ideal choice if you're looking for an eco friendly option for your daily commute! 

Increased Battery Range Due To Reduced Rolling Resistance

The wider profile of a fat tire reduces rolling resistance which in turn increases battery range per charge! This means that if you plan on using your e-bike for long distance rides then this type of wheel could be perfect for you as it has been proven to offer up to 25% more range than regular tyres!  

If you're looking for an electric bike that will provide superior traction and stability across various terrains, enhanced comfort and smoother ride, better off-road capability, increased load carrying capacity, lower resistance on sand and snow, reduced risk of punctures, more efficient energy usage and increased battery range then investing in a fat tyre electric bike could be just what you need! Not only will it provide all these fantastic benefits but it could even save you money in the long run due to its reduced rolling resistance! So what are you waiting for? Take a look at our curated list of fat tyre e-bikes.

November 07, 2022
Can you take an electric bike on the plane?

Can you take an electric bike on the plane?

As the nights draw in and winter is indeed on the horizon, cycling enthusiasts are beginning to ask whether you can take an electric bike on the plane.


Okay, let’s be upfront. We love a wet and windy cycle. Sometimes, you just can’t beat a muddy trail ride, especially if you have the appropriate equipment to stay safe and warm. 


However, we’re human, and cycling in fairer climes (particularly at this time of year) certainly has its appeal. What’s more, variety is the spice of life, and there are some fantastic cycling trips to be had on the continent and further afield.


Owners of folding electric bikes are often particularly keen to travel with their e-bikes, for obvious reasons, but similarly are those who own electric mountain bikes, or more classic models given their utility and fun factor.


We hate to break it to you, though. You aren’t able to take an electric bike on a plane. Panic not, though, this doesn’t mean electric bike rides abroad are impossible. 


In this blog, we’ll explain why you can’t take your e-bike on a flight, and explain alternative options and workarounds.



The issue of the battery


The reason why you can’t take an e-bike on a plane comes down to its battery. 


Lithium batteries are a potential hazard and any rechargeable lithium battery with a capacity of more than 100Wh cannot be taken onto a plane. 


Should a lithium battery be damaged or overheat, it could cause a fire. Now, modern electric-bike batteries are made to the highest safety standards to avoid such situations - indeed, most modern batteries are.


However, given the enormous potential impact of a fire on an aircraft, aviation authorities will not take that risk.


Although some airlines will allow batteries on board with a 160Wh rating (with prior consultation), it’s unlikely you’ll find an e-bike that has a battery with a watt-hour rating as low as that in order for it to be suitable to take on a plane, thus you’ll have to look at other options to travel with your electric bike.



How do I know the specifications of my battery?


Generally, battery specifications will be provided by the retailer on the purchase of your electric bike. Indeed, should you buy an e-bike from Eco Bike Co., our team of experts will ensure that all key information is detailed with your bike.


However, it isn’t impossible that some bikes will be sold without all primary energy parameters provided. 


When it comes to flying with a battery, you’ll need to know its watt-hour rating. To calculate this you can multiply the battery’s voltage by its amp-hour rating. For example, a 40V e-bike battery with a 10Ah rating will have a 400Wh rating (well in excess of the maximum limit to be taken on a plane).



Taking electric bike batteries abroad


As mentioned above, although you cannot take an e-bike battery on a plane, it doesn’t mean that electric bike rides are off the table when in foreign countries.


The popularity of e-bike riding is a global phenomenon. That means it is often popular to find e-bike retailers abroad who will rent batteries.


This means you can travel with your e-bike, as you would with a conventional bike, but simply leave your battery at home. 


Of course, should you prefer to leave your entire bike at home, it is quite possible to rent an e-bike abroad, rather than just the battery.


Another option is to carry multiple smaller batteries that can be combined into a larger, e-bike-ready, battery on arrival at your destination. Of course, this may be considered a slightly more costly option, and it’s vitally important that you pay attention to all best practices when it comes to taking them on a plane. Check your airline's specific regulations as well as global and regional aviation laws.


Some e-cyclists opt to ship their battery to their destination. While this may well allow you to take a bigger battery abroad, do ensure that all appropriate safety measures are adhered to and documentation provided. It can also be a costly option as e-bike batteries are considered a “dangerous good” when shipped and surcharges will apply. 

 

Alternative travel options

 

Arguably, the simplest way to benefit from your eclectic bike abroad is to avoid flying entirely. 

 

Many cyclists take advantage of expanded Eurostar routes, the channel tunnel, or ferries to Northern Europe. There are multiple popular cycle routes in Northern France, Belgium, and Holland, suitable to all abilities and experience levels.

 

Should you be driving with your bike (via ferry or channel tunnel) it is worth reminding yourself of the regulations when travelling with a bike using a car or van. Make sure your bike(s) do not exceed the width of your vehicle by more than 20 cm on each side. It also must not obscure your vehicle’s brake lights or license plate.


If taking your e-bike by train, do remember to ensure it is securely packaged and stored. The last thing you want is to arrive at your destination and find your bike damaged. Of course, the same applies if taking your e-bike on a plane (without a battery). There are a range of travel cases available to ensure your e-bike arrives in good condition so that you can travel with peace of mind.



Can you take an electric bike on the plane? 

In this blog, we’ve asked the question: “Can you take an electric bike on the plane?”


Should you be wanting to take your e-bike with its battery, as you might well do, you’ll find this impossible due to aviation regulations surrounding lithium batteries.


However, you are able to take your e-bike frame (as you would a conventional cycle) on a flight.


You may be better off looking to rent an e-bike battery abroad, or simply look at other travel options such as trains or ferries - certainly appropriate for cycle adventures in Europe.


For more information about travelling with an e-bike, or for any general electric bike questions and queries, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Eco Bike Co. team. 


We would be more than happy to advise you on how to maximise your next e-bike trip. 

Happy riding!

November 02, 2022
Can you ride an electric bike without pedalling?

Can you ride an electric bike without pedalling?

Although they are increasingly ubiquitous, sometimes we come across misconceptions about how eclectic bikes work. 

This is hardly surprising, given their relative newness and fast-rising popularity.

One of the principal questions we hear at Eco Bike Co. HQ is ‘can you ride an electric bike without pedalling?’

And the answer isn’t quite a simple ‘yes or no’.

In this blog, we will talk about ‘pedal assist’ and what that means when it comes to pedalling, as well as e-bike classifications.


How does an electric bike work?

Let’s start with some background.

In terms of appearance, there’s not a lot to differentiate an electric bike from a conventional bicycle. 

Indeed, increasingly, modern electric bike design means that sometimes you’ll have to look twice to notice whether a bike is an e-bike or not.

Electric bikes feature a small electrically-powered motor which tends to be part of the chain drive alongside the pedals or is sometimes built into the front or rear wheel hub.

The motor is powered by a rechargeable lithium battery which is mounted on the bike’s frame. Batteries are becoming more often than not streamlined and subtly built into the bike’s design, so that you may not even notice it is there.

Electric bikes are predominantly pedal assist, although some may feature a throttle. And this is a key factor in answering whether you need to pedal an electric bike.

 

Do you have to pedal an electric bike?

Yes… and no. 

Some e-bikes may feature throttles which allow you to begin your ride without pedalling up to a certain speed. In the UK, legislation brought in on January 1st 2016 means that e-bike throttles can only assist the rider up to a maximum speed of 3.7 miles per hour. 

Any speed greater than that will change the specification of the e-bike. It will be classified as a speed pedelec and as such will require DVLA registration and be taxed appropriately. Such bikes cannot be used on cycle paths and cannot be included in the EAPC classification (electric-assisted pedal cycles).

So, while, electric bikes can be ridden without pedalling via a throttle, should the speed exceed the legal limit, it will not in fact be considered an EAPC or e-bike in the most common understanding of the term - and as are sold on the Eco Bike Co. website.

Typically, electric bikes make use of pedal assist to allow for a more effortless cycle experience. Pedal assist kicks in once the cyclist begins to pedal and will provide an extra boost - particularly useful when tackling hills, or taking off at a green light.

Therefore, with this type of electric bike, pedalling is essential. 

Do remember, that even without a throttle, speed regulations are important to be aware of. Pedal assist should not propel an e-bike beyond 15.5 miles per hour. If it does so, even though pedalling is involved, it will no longer meet the EAPC regulations and will be considered a speed pedelec.


Be aware of electric bike regulations

As we’ve touched on above, there are a number of regulations to be aware of when riding an electric bike in the UK. 

Should your electric bike fail to meet these regulations, it can not be legally classified as an EAPC - and this can have a significant impact on how it can be used.

Indeed, non-EAPC means no riding on cycle paths, plus a requirement for DVLA registration, CBT or appropriate driving license, and road tax.

If your e-bike can be ridden comfortably without pedalling at all, we’d suggest speaking to an expert or carrying out appropriate due diligence to ensure it can be legally ridden as an electric bike (EAPC).

 

Choosing the right electric bike for you

The range of e-bikes available in the UK continues to grow, and we recommend taking time to research your options.

It’s important you choose an e-bike that is appropriate to your cycling ability and fitness, as well as your circumstances and requirements.

Three questions that we normally advise at the outset are:

  1. Am I looking to take my bike off-road?
  2. What degree of power assist would be suitable for me? And is a throttle necessary?
  3. How lightweight or portable does my e-bike need to be to make it practical?

At Eco Bike Co. we offer a wide range of e-bikes, from mountain bikes to foldable options, as well as women’s electric bikes.

When it comes to purchasing an electric bike, we strongly advise seeking expert advice, particularly around pedalling considerations. Depending on how much pedal assist you require or the speeds you are looking to achieve without pedalling you will have different options available - as well as needing to double-check whether the bike can be classed as an EAPC.

Choosing the right bike is important, but choosing the right retailer is vital, too. Look for a retailer who will provide necessary aftercare and support post-purchase, as well as advice pre-purchase. At Eco Bike Co., all our e-bikes are covered by full manufacturer warranties, so you can purchase them with peace of mind.


Conclusion: Do you need to pedal an electric bike?

If it is an electric bike in the truest sense of the term (and how we refer to our for-sale models), yes, you do.

If you have purchased an electric bike that doesn’t require any pedalling to exceed a speed of 3.7 miles per hour, there’s a chance you are in fact riding a speed pedelec which under current UK regulations is not defined as an electric bike.

Therefore, although you be able to ride an electric bike at a low speed without pedalling, you will need to pedal an electric bike.

If you’re at all unsure about the nuances of this question and the more technical and regulatory points in this blog, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our expert team for support. 

We would be more than happy to answer any queries you might have. Get in touch today.

Happy riding!

October 23, 2022
Are electric bikes heavy?

Are electric bikes heavy?

For some time now, electric bikes have been considered the ultimate commuter transport. 


The limiting of public transport during the Covid-19 pandemic, a desire to spend more time out of doors and exercising, as well as the desire to opt for a ‘greener’ mode of transport, have seen e-bike sales soar.


However, the question “are electric bikes heavy?” has for some been a little off-putting, counting against them in practical terms.


In this blog, we discuss the weight of electric bikes. There’s no denying, they are generally heavier than their conventional cousins, but does that make them impractical? We certainly don’t think so - indeed, the benefits of an e-bike more than outweigh (pardon the pun) concerns about heaviness.


Read on for our thoughts.



Are electric bikes heavy?


While heavy may be a somewhat relative term, it’s true that an electric bike will almost always weigh more than a traditional bicycle. 


It should be said, though, at the outset of this blog, this heaviness is only noticeable when carrying an e-bike. Once you start pedalling, your e-bike will feel notably light.


Typically, electric bikes weigh between 15kg and 30kg depending on their model and specifications. In comparison, a conventional bike will normally weigh between five and 20kg. 


Roughly, therefore, the average weight of a traditional bicycle will be around the minimum weight of an electric bike.



What makes up the weight of an e-bike?


So, why are electric bikes heavier than regular cycles?


It comes down to the additional materials required and a more solid frame. 


Additional components such as the motor, battery, display screen, and wiring will add weight. Indeed, the motor system alone can add on average eight kilograms to the overall weight of the bike - proportionally a significant amount.


This extra weight necessitates a more solid frame to safely support these components and to ensure the bike retains manoeuvrability at all speeds.



Portability is increasingly important to cyclists


As we have alluded to, electric bikes are increasingly popular among commuters.


However, weight and portability will be a concern to commuters whose journey is not exclusively by bike. For example, many of those who commute by bike may take the train for part of their journey.  


If this is the case for you, you’ll likely want to consider a folding e-bike, since during peak times other most train companies prohibit other types of bikes to be taken on board due to space considerations.

Naturally, if commuting by bike you will want to consider weight. This can be a factor when storing a bike (both at home and at work) and if being used day-in-day-out, can make a difference to your energy levels .

At Eco Bike Co. we offer a wide range of electric bike models, a number of which come in at the lower end of the weight spectrum, and therefore may be more practical for commuters. For more information, do reach out to our expert advisors who can guide you.


Safely storing an electric bike


If you do find your electric bike to be on the heavier side, you may find yourself more frequently storing it outside or on the ground floor if you don’t have access to a lift.


If storing a bike outside of your home or flat, be sure it is suitably locked. A good quality set of bike locks is an essential purchase, and not something to cut corners on. 


We offer a range of quality bike locks on our site, and strongly recommend using them each time you leave a bike outside. 


With the nights drawing in ever earlier at this time of year, when locking your bike outside, do make sure to leave it in a well-lit area, ideally where there is a good amount of footfall. This is always a security boost.


If you choose to keep your bike in your garden due to weight and size putting you off taking it inside, do make sure to protect it from the elements with a suitable waterproof bike cover. This can make all the difference when it comes to future maintenance.



Is a heavier bike always a disadvantage?


No, actually there are advantages to a heavier bike.


Many e-bike riders we speak with cite the increased stability of a heavier electric bike as opposed to a lightweight traditional cycle.


If you’ve been a while out of the saddle, or just find balance a little harder to come by, you’ll find a heavier bike offers a smoother and safer ride.


Of course, an electric bike offers additional advantages over lighter, conventional cycles.


You can enjoy greater speeds with no additional effort and climb hills with ease.  Cycle rides that may once have seemed impossible become achievable. Less effort also means a lesser impact on joints. Once again, this is particularly appropriate to those who have been out of the saddle for some time.


Commuters often highlight the fact they can arrive at work without needing to change and shower, saving them time. 


We also find electric bikes very sociable. Many of our customers have told us that they can now cycle with friends and family who they couldn’t have kept up with before, either in terms of speed or distance.



Expect electric bikes to only get lighter


As technology develops and designs continue to improve, we expect to see increasingly lightweight electric bikes hitting the market over the coming months and years.


Indeed, at Eco Bike Co., our team can walk you through a range of lighter e-bike options that offer all the benefits of an electric bike at a somewhat scaled-down weight.


But even now, we feel it is hard to argue with the benefits of an electric bike when compared to a conventional bicycle - and that’s in spite of the heavier weight. 


Indeed, it is only when carrying an electric bike upstairs or over some distance, that weight even becomes a factor,


We would love to hear your thoughts on this. Why not get in touch with our friendly team today for a chat? We’re on hand to share e-bike knowledge and expertise by phone, email, and web chat.


Happy riding!

October 05, 2022
Electric Bike UK Laws: Our Guide

Electric Bike UK Laws: Our Guide

In 2023, electric bike sales are tipped to hit the 40 million mark globally. And sales in the UK are far from slouching, with increasing numbers of people recognising the health benefits, and pleasure, of riding an e-bike.

With the number of e-bikes on the rise in both urban and rural areas, there has been an increasing focus on the rules, regulations, and laws that surround this mode of transport.

In this blog, we will cover electric bike UK laws, ensuring that you have the key facts to be aware of when riding an e-bike.

EAPC - defining an electric bike

It might seem obvious, but first and foremost, it’s vital to understand how an electric bike is legally classified.

Indeed, the Government defines electric bikes as ‘electrically assisted pedal cycles’ or EAPCs.

An EAPC must be able to be propelled by pedals alone (as opposed to just a throttle). It must also display various specifications regarding its power output, principally the battery and motor.

Legally, an EAPC must display either its power output or the manufacturer of its motor. There are regulations when it comes to e-bike motors - output must be at most 250 watts.

Additionally, the maximum speed or battery voltage should be provided. Regarding speed, an EAPC motor should not propel a bike beyond 15.5 miles per hour or 25 km/ph.

Note: an EAPC isn’t limited to two wheels - we are talking about pedal cycles here, as opposed to bicycles. A tricycle, for example, may also be classified as an EAPC should it meet the criteria detailed above.


Who can ride an e-bike, and where?

This is key. The minimum age to ride an electric bike is 14 - and this rule applies across all UK regions. 

Previously, regulations in Northern Ireland differed from England, Scotland, and Wales. 

E-bike riders were required to have a moped licence and ensure their EAPC was taxed, registered, and insured. While insurance is generally a good idea, it is not required by law in the UK.

In terms of where you can ride an e-bike, the answer is simple. If you can ride a conventional bike there, your EAPC is permitted. Cycle paths and roads are legal - so long as your EAPC meets the necessary criteria detailed in this article. If it doesn’t, you’ll have to stick to private land.

Traditional bike rules and regulations apply

It is important to remember that while EAPCs must adhere to specific technical regulations, conventional bike rules will also apply.

To recap, your e-bike (or traditional bicycle) must have working front and rear brakes. 

At night, working front and rear lights and reflectors are required (white in front, red at the rear). 

Of course, cycling under the influence of drink or drugs is strictly prohibited, as is holding onto another moving vehicle while riding.. 

It’s well worth re-familiarising yourself with the UK Highway Code. Traffic light regulations, road signs, and necessary attention to other road users are covered in detail.

For more information about maintaining your EAPC to ensure it remains roadworthy, check out our blog on looking after your electric bike

We have also discussed how to remain safe while riding an e-bike on the road - including general cycling tips and best practices.


What if my bike doesn’t meet the regulations?

Given the relative newness of electric bikes, it’s not uncommon for us to speak to customers who have inadvertently purchased an e-bike that doesn’t meet EAPC status.

If your e-bike has a motor which is more powerful than 250 watts or can hit a top speed of more than 15.5 mph it cannot be classified as an EAPC and certain regulations apply. This type of bike is referred to as a speed pedelec.

Your speed pedelec will need to be registered with the DVLA and taxed, and you’ll have to have a driving licence/CBT to use it on the road. You can often spot a speed pedelec as it will have a number plate, and often wing mirrors and a horn.

Wearing a cycle helmet at all times is vital whatever type of bike you have, but should your electric bike exceed EAPC regulations, you are obligated by law to wear a motorcycle helmet.

Do keep in mind that speed pedelecs cannot be ridden on cycle paths: they are exclusively road vehicles.

It is possible to convert a speed pedelec to meet EAPC classification. However, we recommend carrying out due diligence prior to purchasing a conversion kit or speaking to an expert to ensure that whatever changes you make will meet all UK legal requirements.


The question of the throttle

With relatively recent changes to the law, confusion often surrounds the legality of throttles on EAPCs in the UK.

Updated legislation that came into force on January 1st 2016 means that the only legal throttles for electric bikes are those that assist the rider up to a maximum speed of 3.7 miles per hour without pedalling. Should the rider be travelling faster than this without pedalling, the throttle will cut out.

However, if the cyclist is pedalling, they may use the throttle for speed assist up to the maximum speed of 15 miles per hour.

Note: if you bought your electric bike prior to 1st January 2016 with a throttle, it is still legally considered an EAPC. However, should you purchase an e-bike with a throttle that would be considered ‘twist and go’ you will have to follow the regulations detailed above (registering, taxing, and motorcycle regulations).


Are e-bike laws likely to change?

As with any relatively new piece of technology, it’s not impossible that regulations will change over time (as exemplified by the updated throttle rules and Northern Ireland registration).

It’s also worth being aware of potential differences in legislation between UK regions - and of course, the EU. 

While the regulations detailed in this blog are accurate as of the time of writing, it’s worth continuing to monitor the latest developments. 

And if you’re not sure where to look for such information, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Eco Bike Co. team. We are experienced cyclists - using both conventional and electric bikes and are well versed in the rules of the road (and trail!)

For any queries about electric bike UK laws contact us via email or phone and we would be happy to advise you.
September 22, 2022
How fast is an e-bike?

How fast is an e-bike?

It’s a common misconception that riding an e-bike is all about speed. However, infact, the question of how fast is an e-bike isn’t always front of mind for our customers.


Many electric bike riders are looking for assistance with hilly routes, the option to ride further with less physical strain, or simply to be less sweaty on arrival in the office!


That said, we would be lying if we said we didn’t enjoy engaging power assist and zipping along on our daily commute or trip to the shops.


Indeed, if electric bikes are truly going to convince the wider public as a genuine alternative to driving, a certain level of speed is necessary to ensure time efficiency is comparable (particularly in urban areas)..


In this article, we discuss how fast is an e-bike and consider some of the rules and regulations surrounding electric bike use on the road.



How fast is an e-bike in the UK?


In the UK, an e-bike is limited to 15.5 miles per hour (25 km/h).


It’s worth noting that this limit refers to the speed the bike can be propelled by its motor alone. 


With some powerful pedalling, or taking advantage of an incline, riders will be able to ride their e-bikes faster than 15.5 mph. 


This e-bike speed limit is universal across Europe, but not globally. In the United States, there are a range of regional differences as well as multiple classes of e-bikes, with different speed regulations.


Although e-bikes in the UK are not classified in the same way, depending on motor size, style, and manufacturer, you may find models that won’t hit the 15.5 mph mark on their own steam.


There have been some discussions around increasing the max e-bike speed to 20 mph, and some vociferous arguments for doing so. We’ll leave our readers to make their own judgement, but it is worth monitoring this story going forwards as there may be rule changes in the pipeline.



Speed pedelecs: The rules surrounding fast e-bikes


We’ve said it before: not all e-bikes are made equal.


However, some e-bikes aren’t even considered e-bikes (or “electrically assisted pedal cycles” - EAPCs).


There are certain criteria an e-bike needs to meet in order to be road legal and treated with the same considerations as a traditional bicycle. One of these criteria is the max speed.


You may come across speed pedelecs, a type of e-bike with a more powerful motor (generally 500W), which can hit speeds of around 28 mph. 


As such, these bikes are considered light mopeds (L1e-B)  as opposed to EAPCs and will need to be registered with the DVLA.


A speed pedelec is easy to spot. It will likely have license plates, mirrors and a horn to comply with L1e-B classification.


A speed pedelec will need to be taxed (although at no cost, due to it being a zero-emissions vehicle) and the rider will be required to wear a moped helmet.



Riding an e-bike in the UK and the law


What makes an EAPC an EAPC?


As well as having a speed limit of 15.5 mph, an e-bike must:


  • Have pedals that can be used to propel it, 
  • Display the power output or the manufacturer of the motor 
  • Display the battery’s voltage or the bike’s top speed
  • Have an eclectic motor with a power output that does not exceed 250 watts
  • Weight no more than 30 kg 

While on the subject of regulations, it’s worth flagging that the minimum age to ride an EAPC is 14 years.


Note: these regulations are UK-wide and not exclusive to any particular region. 


No license, registration, or insurance is required to ride an e-bike in the UK, but covering the bike with your personal contents insurance is advisable. Remember, all Eco Bike Co. e-bikes are covered by a manufacturer’s warranty.


Remember, there are rules that apply to cycling in the UK that also cover e-bike riding.


Adhering to the Highway Code, using the correct hand signals while riding, and using a white front light and red rear light for night riding are all essential.


Before heading out on your e-bike, it’s well worth getting up to speed with the UK rules for cyclists.



Speed versus distance: The battery debate


We’ve discussed best practices for looking after your battery before.


However, unsurprisingly, if you are pushing speed assist to the limit, you’re not going to be riding for as long.


There’s no reason not to take advantage of speed assist - it’s there to help - but if you are intending to cover some significant distances, you will want to be conscious of how often you use it, and if possible be sparing.


Again, the type of e-bike you have will be relevant here. The efficiency of the motor, weight of the frame, and size of the battery will all influence how much riding your e-bike fast impacts the distance you are able to cover.



How fast is an e-bike? Rounding up


While there isn’t a  globally universal speed limit, an e-bike can self-propel at speeds of up to 15.5 mph. This is the maximum legal speed in the UK and across Europe.


It is possible to find e-bikes that go faster than this (and certainly, using leg power you’ll be able to break that top speed). However, e-bikes with motors than can self-propel to speeds beyond 15.5 mph will be subject to rules and regulations if used in public settings - including on the road.


For an e-bike to be considered a bicycle in the eyes of the law (and the DVLA) it must meet certain criteria regarding its build,  performance, and weight.


At Eco Bike Co., all the e-bikes we sell are produced to the highest standards and comfortably meet all the criteria stipulated above. 


What’s more, we are riders ourselves and have a detailed knowledge of each of the models we sell and assist our customers in finding the right e-bike for them, whether they’re looking for speed, distance, portability - or a little bit of everything.


Why not get in touch today to begin your electric bike journey?

August 01, 2022