2 Simple Questions to Reveal the Best Electric Bike for Commuters

adult man commuting on an electric bike

Work is changing.  McKinsey predicts that nearly half of UK adults will work remotely at least part of the week.


The commute is changing too.  People are moving further out of town for access to outdoor space.  Keeping fit is a higher priority, and for many, climate change has added urgency.


An electric bike may fit your new reality, but which electric bike is best for commuting in 2021?


The answer depends on your situation.

 

Is your commute mostly on flat open roads?  Or are you looking for the best electric bike for hills?  Are you stop and go in city traffic?  Or are you a commuter who hops on and off trains and thus needs your electric bike foldable?

 

Your answers affect which features are most important for you (see examples below).


Q.2  What best describes your commute?


  [A]  City commuting from a flat


  [B]  Suburban or rural commute


  [C]  Commuting part way by train

Your selection need not fit perfectly.  You can change your answer if our suggestions don’t quite fit.

Examples

 

Our goal is to identify the features that make the most difference for you … to find the best electric bike for your commute.


Keep in mind that an electric bike is not a motorcycle or moped.  You will still be cycling and keeping fit.  The key advantage of an electric bike is that it shaves off the added burden of a hill or head wind at the end of an exhausting day … to give you the confidence that you will never find the ride home just a little too long.


The above questions help us identify the features of most importance to you.

 

If you commute in stop and go traffic, you may find a mid-drive motor with torque sensors to be a life saver.  If you have a longer, more rural commute you might want a bike with a higher seat and drop handlebars more suitable for road riding.  If you have to carry your bike upstairs into your flat at the end of a long day, weight and weight distribution may be more important.
 

 

Frequently asked questions

Are electric bikes legal in the UK?


Yes, electric bikes are legal in the UK. Your confusion may arise because electric scooters currently are not legal (except on private property).

With that said, your ebike may need to be registered, taxed and insured.

The law right now defines an "electrically assisted pedal cycle" (EAPC) as a bike with a motor that:

* is no larger than 250 Watts;

* stops providing assistance above 15.5 mph; and

* only assists when you are pedalling.

If you are 14 years or older, you can ride an EAPC everywhere you can ride a bicycle without a license and without needing to be registered, taxed and insured. However, if your ebike exceeds any of the above, then currently it is viewed as a motorcycle or moped. It will need to be registered, taxed and insured; and you cannot ride in cycle lanes.

The Department of Transport is undertaking a Future of Transport Regulatory Review, which is looking at these definitions: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/future-of-transport-programme




Can I ride an electric bike in a cycle lane?


Yes, you can ride your electric bike in a cycle lane ... as long as it is classed as an Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle (EAPC). If the motor on your ebike is over 250 Watts, you are not an EAPC and should not use cycle lanes. If your ebike assists you above 15.5 mph, you are not an EAPC. If your ebike has a throttle and thus assists when you are not pedalling, you are not an EAPC. The Department of Transport is undertaking a Future of Transport Regulatory Review, which is looking at these definitions: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/future-of-transport-programme





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