Cycling Plus - - CAFE CUL­TURE -

For cy­clists who think an ebike is a ‘cheat’, think again: these are pedal-as­sist ma­chines, not mopeds

De­spite the re­ported cy­cling boom, a re­cent sur­vey re­vealed only 4 per cent of work­ers in Eng­land and Wales, 2.8 per cent in Scot­land and 1 per cent in North­ern Ire­land com­mute by bike. One of the big­gest hur­dles is ar­riv­ing at work fresh, so be­ing able to ride in your work clothes means an elec­tric bike makes sense. Fi­nan­cially, too, ebikes are an at­trac­tive prospect. In Lon­don the an­nual Trav­el­card cover­ing Zones 1-4 is £2080, about the same cost as the bikes on test here.

Here I’ve re­viewed four ebikes at around £2000. With the Cy­cle To Work scheme no longer hav­ing a limit, these bikes can all be had for less through your com­pany scheme.

For cy­clists who think an ebike is a ‘cheat’, think again: these are pedal-as­sist ma­chines, not mopeds.

The elec­tric mo­tor only en­gages when you pedal and stops as­sist­ing at 25kph/15.5mph (though the EU law al­lows a 10 per cent mar­gin, so that could be as much as 28kph/ 17.5mph). If you ride an ebike as hard as you would a nor­mal bike you’ll get a proper work­out, it’s just that you’ll be go­ing that bit quicker on the hills than you would un­der your own power alone.

I rode each bike from 100 per cent charge down to zero across mul­ti­ple rides, and in­cluded the type of ter­rain you’d nor­mally en­counter on a com­mute: roads, tow­paths, bike paths and city traffic. I also tested in all weath­ers. Un­like the usual racy bike tests we run, here I was more con­cerned with com­fort and a traffic-friendly rid­ing po­si­tion plus com­po­nents to ease your com­mute, such as wide-range gear­ing, great brakes and tough tyres.

The de­mand for com­mut­ing bikes is on the in­crease with ebikes a pop­u­lar choice

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