Which Electric Bike Should You Buy?
Electric bikes are hugely popular and there's more and more options every month coming onto the market.
So which should you buy? Purpose: The first thing you should consider when choosing an electric bike is what you plan to use it for. Will you be using it for commuting, mountain biking, or leisurely rides around town? This will determine the type of bike you should buy.
The best electric bikes out there are made by some leading European brands such as Riese and Muller, Raleigh, QWIC, KTM and Stromer. Each brand usually has a different use in mind and which is best depends on what you need.
But first, lets answer the elephant in the room...
Are Electric Bikes Any Good?
If you avoid the cheap ones, and the answer is: yes.
We may be slightly bias as we sell them, however there are plenty of reviews and blog posts from critics who are now converts (see the bottom of this page for a list of recommended reading).
There are several benefits:
- No range Anxiety - If it runs out of power, you can still pedal and keep moving to get home - and newer models have 50 - 100 miles of assisted range
- Get Fit - You still have to do a bit of work meaning you get fit but without getting sweaty*
- Confidence The power lets you get up to speed quicker, giving you more confidence getting away from traffic lights and make riding generally easier for nervous or newer riders
- Quick - Cycle traffic is faster than car traffic in most inner cities, meaning you can be happy, healthy and not on a bus or tube!
- No More Hills - On board computers have really helped smooth power delivery up hills, letting you pedal at the same rate as before without noticing it's there!
- Minimal Maintenance - Most ebikes have been designed to be easy to live with and usually cost just £50 a year to maintain.
- Charge anywhere - You can charge the batteries away from the bike, so there's no need to ever run out of charge. Top up at work, pub or cafe!
Why avoid cheap electric bikes?
While a good quality electric bike is not the cheapest, the temptation to buy a cheap electric bike will often backfire further down the line.
Low quality batteries and poor motors mean you won't get a good riding experience, and they are liable to break and be expensive or impossible to repair.
Buying a slightly more expensive bike from a reputable brands ensures a quality power system such as Shimano STEPs, Brose or Bosch, all of which are dependable, reliable and have plenty of support for repairs if the worse happens.
In the past we have had customers who bought a cheap electric bike for under £1000, only for it to break two or three times in the first year and come in to us for servicing as no support from manufacturers was available.
By the time batteries and repairs were taken into account, it was cheaper for them to buy a reputable bike for a few £100 more that lasted years and rode much better.
The Best Electric Bike for Your Needs
The most important thing to remember when choosing an electric bike, is to understand your needs and buy what is suitable.
Which electric bike you should buy will depend on:
- Range - what range do you require? How far is your daily commute? Some bikes only have 30 miles range, others have up to 110!
- Budget - If you have a smaller budget, consider finance to increase it slightly or even better, the Green Commute Initiative can save you up to 47% and is a great way to expand your budget through salary sacrifice without finance.
- Travel Type - Are you going to be going on mostly roads? Or light gravel / off-road paths too? Some electric bikes come with front and rear suspension, others have none and are purely for road.
- Style - We offer both "Comfort" and "Sport" styles. The comfort model was traditionally called a ladies style bike, with a lower step through. However, for commuting it's a much easier style to get on and off!
Electric Bikes For Commuting
So - you now understand the benefits of an electric bike, but which one should you buy for commuting?
We specialise in commuting electric bikes and believe they present a huge opportunity to make our cities quieter, cleaner and more pleasant. Their use in commuting makes the most sense - the motors really do help reduce the amount of sweat produced by 300%, meaning you can get to work much fresher and quicker than a traditional bike or public transport!
The batteries give you an extra range too, with many riders going further on an electric bike than on a traditional bike thanks to the ease it brings.
So, for those of you with commutes up to 20 miles each way, an electric bike fits perfectly. But then so would a car - so why switch?
If you commute, check out the Green Commute Initiative which can save you from 36 to 47% and widen up your budget considerably!
Electric Bike vs Car
The three main benefits compared to a car are cost, speed and health:
- Health - Less pollution and more exercise
- Cost - Much cheaper to run and maintain
- Speed - Less traffic and congestion, making it much quicker.
A full electric bike charge for a 400Wh battery will usually cost around 10p. The average range for this battery will be around 50 miles, depending on usage.
|Cost Per Mile||14p||< 1p|
|Average Speed (2021)||8mph||13mph|
|Cost per 20 Miles||£2.73*||0.05p|
*car with MPG of 50mpg and fuel at £1.85
What to look for in an electric commuter bike
Make sure the bike has a removable battery. All of our bikes do - making it easy to take the battery to charge while you're at work.
An easy to read display is vital too, as when commuting in traffic with a lot of hazards you want to see key information without distraction.
The QWIC premium range is one of the best commuter ranges in Europe, winning awards in the Netherlands.
Range is also important, though newer battery technology means even budget bikes have around 30 miles of range in them.
Consider a folding bike too, as these can be taken on buses and trains for poorer weather or if it makes your route from out of town quicker. Again, these come with 30 miles range giving you plenty of distance.
Further reading & Sources
- E-bikers sweat three times less than regular bike riders
- 2017 Average city traffic speeds
- Can you really get fit on an electric bike?
- Commuting 56 miles daily on an electric bike - case study
- How an electric bike got me fit again
- What is it really like to ride an electric bike?
- Strava 2017 stats