How to buy an electric bike

Written by

Sophie Minnican

Sophie Minnican has been an EV enthusiast since she first trialled an electric car over three years ago. She took the lead on Novuna Vehicle Solutions' award-winning Charge Side Chats campaign, speaking to everyday EV owners at the UK's first all-electric forecourt, so it's fair to say she knows a thing or two when it comes to electric vehicles. When she's not driving, she's busy playing netball for Team Bath, hitting the gym for her daily CrossFit fix or walking her Spaniel Harley.

Monday 12th July 2021

Whether you want to conquer miles on the road or make your workday commute through town easier, electric bikes are making cycling more accessible to everyone.

Being new to the world of cycling and e-bikes can be a tricky one to navigate, with questions such as “Where can I buy an e-bike?”, “How much do they cost?” and “Which one should I buy?” being asked by novices up and down the country.

We’ve put together an easy-to-follow practical guide to buying your first electric bike.

Jargon Buster

  • Pedal Assist - Provides power from the motor to help you pedal easier and move faster
  • Torque - Rotational motor power that's used to assist the rider through the rear wheel
  • Watt-hour - Capacity of e-bike batteries

How do e-bikes work?

Electric bikes are powered by motors located in either the hub of the rear wheel or between the cranks.

Mid motors are preferable when compared to hub motors as the weight distribution is 50/50, as well as being placed lower, which results in your bike handling better. These motors are also quite powerful meaning it takes less effort to ride.

If you’re new to electric bikes, you’ll be pleased to know that many new models come with an easy-to-read LCD screen which gives you full control of your bike, leaving you to enjoy your ride stress free.

What types of electric bikes can I buy?

The most common types of electric bikes are; e-mountain bikes, e-hybrid bikes and e-road bikes.

E-mountain bikes (e-mtbs) tend to use systems with a higher torque rating, which is important for off-road riding, especially up steep inclines. The battery and motor on an e-mtb helps to drive you up challenging routes, as well as providing a more controlled descent.

Electric hybrid bikes also benefit from increased acceleration when cycling from a dead stop, making them a perfect choice for commuters. This feature also allows you to travel further with less effort than a traditional bike meaning you won’t arrive at your destination needing to shower or change.

However, acceleration and torque are potentially less important on e-road bikes, as many riders don't want the bike to do all the work. These bikes have been built to try and replicate the ‘ride feel’ of road bikes as much as possible.

What accessories do I need to buy?

Just like with a traditional bike, you will still need to have safety equipment such as; a helmet in case of an accident, front and rear lights for visibility as well as a pump and innertube replacements - e-bikes still get punctures!

It’s always worth investing in a comfortable and well-fitting seat if you’re planning on longer journeys plus a multitool (just in case).

Where and how can I buy an e-bike?

We always recommend that you make your purchase via a reputable retailer such as Rutland Cycling. They're an independent, family-run business based in central England with 14 stores nationwide, including Britain’s biggest bike shop at Milton Keynes.

We also offer low cost bike finance where you can borrow between £1,000 and £35,000 with competitive rates from as low as 7.4% APR Representative (£7,500-£25,000).

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