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