Buying An Electric Bike: The Basics


If there is one positive that has emerged during the ongoing pandemic, it is that individuals and families have been forced to seek other forms of transportation that reduce the risk of contagion!

Without doubt, all forms of cycling, in particular electric bikes, have been one of the few success stories since the commencement of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020.

The fear of the transmission of the virus has forced individuals and families to replace the use of public transportation with more personal (and socially distanced) forms of transportation. For many of us living in densely congested urban centres, cycling, e-bikes, e-scooters and walking have been the most obvious choices for commuting for work and leisure, during the pandemic.

Cycle Routes (London)
Cycle Routes (London)

Though the recent increase in the sales of electric bikes, has been driven by necessity, the trend is not short-term. Individuals of all ages have realised that electric bikes, also known as pedal-assisted bikes, are a perfect solution for a healthier and cleaner lifestyle.

electric bike uk
iweech e-Bike Available Via e-zoomed (credit: iweech)

Yes pedelecs (another name for e-bikes) have many benefits to offer to individuals of all ages! A power-assisted electric bike reduces the initial hesitation of ‘strenuous cycling’ i.e. not all individuals want to commute to work or for leisure with an attitude to win the Tour de France! In fact, most of us, simply want to enjoy commuting without breaking a sweat. The advantage of ‘assisted-power’ has converted many of those hesitant to use a conventional cycle.

e-bikes are indeed the perfect solution. A rider can control how much power-assist they would like i.e. how much more or less physical exertion they would like from riding an e-bike. This versatility has driven the exponential growth of electric bikes on our roads, as a much wider age demographic base can participate. Bottom-line, e-bikes are here to stay!

Jump Electric Bikes London
Jump Electric Bikes London

Apart from personal ownership of zero-emission electric bikes, cities like London have also witnessed the introduction of e-bike sharing schemes like Jump. We expect, post the pandemic (and lockdowns) the continued growth of electric bike sharing schemes in the UK.

What Is An E-Bike?

An electric bike is not very different from a conventional pedal-powered cycle, except, an e-bike takes advantage of ‘assistance’ or extra help from a motor operated via a onboard rechargeable battery (usually a lithium-ion battery).

segway electric scooter
Segway Electric Scooters (credit: Segway)

Yes, with an electric bike, you have to pedal to travel i.e. it has to be pedal-powered. No, an electric bike is not an electric scooter that simply travels on electric power. In an electric bike, both human pedal power and electric power are combined to create movement.

It is indeed the reason that e-bikes are also referred to as pedal-assisted electric bikes. The keyword is ‘assisted’. In most electric bikes there are between three to five levels of electric power assistance, so that the rider can choose the assistance most appropriate for their ride! The steeper the slope, the greater the gradient, the greater the need for power-assist. While on roads over a flat terrain, an e-bike rider would require a lower level of power assistance.

Apart from a motor, battery and related components, a conventional cycle and an e-bike have all else in common! If you can ride a conventional cycle, you will find an electric bike just as easy to ride. Within a few short rides you can get a good sense of how and when to operate the power-assistance.

What Are The Rules For E-Bikes In The UK?

Electric bikes in the UK are governed by legislation. The key purpose of the legislation is to increase the safety of the rider and other road users. The UK government refers to e-bikes as EAPCs (Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles).

kask cycling helmet
KASK Cycling Helmet Available Via e-zoomed (credit: KASK)

We at e-zoomed strongly encourage all e-bike owners to follow the rules. Safety first is key for benefitting from the fantastic experience of riding a pedal-assisted electric bike! We also strongly recommend the use of a good quality e-bike helmet at all times. You can buy an electric bike helmet via e-zoomed.

  • Maximum power of the motor: 250 watts.
  • Maximum speed: 15.5 mph (25 km/h).
  • Must be pedal-assist (assistance must stop once 15.5 mph speed is achieved).
  • Throttle allowed only up to walking speed.
  • License: not required.
  • Age limit: 14 and over.
  • Helmets: recommended but not mandatory.
  • The e-bike must display the legally required information either via a sticker or plate (either the battery’s voltage or the maximum speed of the e-bike).
  • An EPAC can have more than two-wheels (i.e. a tricycle).
  • An EPAC can be used in the same places as conventional cycles.

What Are The Benefits Of Using An Electric Bike

The benefits of using an electric bike are simply many. Below are some of the key advantages of using a pedal-assisted e-bike. We strongly encourage all individuals to challenge their incumbent relationship with mobility and adopt healthier and cleaner forms of transportation.

electric bike uk
Askoll Electric Bikes Available Via e-zoomed (credit: Askoll)

In other words, replace using polluting internal combustion engine (ICE) petrol and diesel cars by zero-emission electric bikes, where appropriate:

  1. Save money.
  2. Increase convenience.
  3. Save time.
  4. Travel greater distance with lower fatigue.
  5. Increase air quality (zero-emissions) i.e. climate-friendly.
  6. Perfect for uphill cycling (specially for those with knee problems).
  7. Increase fitness and health.
  8. Use for work commutes.
  9. Use for leisure commutes.
  10. Use for touring.

Electric Bikes & Charging

Yes, charging the battery of an electric bike is quite as simple as charging your smartphone. But before you start riding your e-bike, it is strongly recommended to give the electric bike a full charge, up to 24 hours. Most e-bike batteries are lithium-ion. In e-bikes the battery can be placed either on the frame or within the frame. Cowboy e-bikes are a good example of the battery placed within the frame of the e-bike.

cowboy electric bike
A Cowboy Electric Bike (credit: Cowboy)

Depending on the size (capacity) of the e-bike battery, regular charging can take anywhere between 3 to 8 hours. We recommend charging the e-bike battery on a regular basis and never leaving the battery discharged (always have at least 25% battery charge). By charging on a regular basis, you protect the long-term performance of the bike battery and the warranty.

ashvin suri e-zoomed founder
You Can Achieve A 1,000 Miles Range Via Multiple Charges In An Electric Bike For £5 (Ashvin Suri, Founder e-zoomed)

Also given the weather in the UK, always best to charge the e-bike indoors. In general water and electricity do not mix well! Of course, if you cannot charge indoors, then best to take advantage of good weather to keep the battery fully charged. Lastly, charging an e-bike is not expensive. As an average, for less that £5 you can achieve multiple charges to cycle up to 1,000 miles in an e-bike! Each charge literally costs a few pennies!

electric bike uk
iweech e-Bike Available Via e-zoomed (credit: iweech)

The average range of a fully charged electric bike is between 25 and 75 miles. However, many electric bikes far exceed this average range. For example the iweech e-bikes using artificial intelligence (AI) can achieve a range up to 118 miles on smart mode (sold via e-zoomed). Some of the factors that affect the range of an electric bike include:

  • Size of battery (usually between 7-10 ah).
  • Weight of rider.
  • Riding style of rider.
  • Weight of electric bike.
  • Type of terrain.
  • Average speed of the ride.
  • And more!

Types Of Electric Bikes

Electric bikes come in all forms, to suit the varied needs of customers. The most popular type are below. You need to think carefully of the type of electric bike that best suits your requirements. For example, if you live in a small flat and space is a constraint, then an electric folding e-bike would be worth considering. The Brompton Electric folding e-bike is a good example.

Brompton electric folding bike
The Brompton Electric Folding Bike (credit: Brompton)

Apart from space, also consider the type of use. Is the bike being used for short work commutes? Long leisure rides? Off-road? Are you looking for a light-electric bike? An average e-bike weighs 25 kgs (battery included). However some e-bikes weigh much less, and some much more.

Therefore, best to list out the pro and cons of each type of electric bike before buying. We also recommend doing a test ride in as many types of e-bikes, to give you a much clearer idea on which type may best suit your needs.

  1. Commuter e-bikes
  2. Mountain e-bikes
  3. Folding e-bikes
  4. e-cargo bikes
  5. Speed pedelecs

How Much Does An E-Bike Cost?

It varies is the short answer! According to Which? e-bikes vary between £500 to £5,000, with the majority of e-bikes costing between £1,500 to £3,000. In some case, highly specialised e-bikes could cost significantly more than £5,000.

At e-zoomed we believe in only recommending buying a good quality e-bike, with high quality components. Buying cheap you will simply risk making full use of the investment and enjoying riding an e-bike. We believe buying an e-bike between £1,000 to £3,000 is prudent. Do keep in mind, in most cases, you will look to take advantage of instalment payment plans, such that the acquisition and ownership of e-bikes is more affordable.

Also keep in mind that a high quality e-bike should last a long time, and therefore amortising the costs over a long period of enjoyment and use is a no-brainer! So never buy cheap.

electric bikes UK
iweech e-Bikes Available Via e-zoomed (credit: iweech)

Askoll electric bikes sold via e-zoomed are high quality (made in Italy). Prices start at £1,350. iweech e-bikes (made in France) sold via e-zoomed are priced at £2,999.

Electric Bikes Maintenance: How Often?

In general, expect to service an electric bike on an annual basis. However, if you use an e-bike more than the average, we at e-zoomed would recommend servicing on a 6 month basis.

However, most users would not need to service an e-bike more than once a year. It pays to keep the e-bike well maintained, for both enjoyment and safety. Expect the service to cost between £50 and £100. We suggest you ask the manufacturer to recommend service centres in your area. Always better to go to an approved service centre!

Should I Buy An Electric Bike

Yes, you will never look back! A healthy lifestyle is a happy lifestyle!

We at e-zoomed are more than happy to assist you with all your EV needs to include:

And more!  Do sign up to our e-newsletter to learn more about e-mobility. Also follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter


Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include, the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising large-scale industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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