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  • Stuart Conway

How Do Electric Bikes Work?


Here at Electric Bike World, we have a diverse selection of electric bikes for sale, including compact folding bicycles, electric mountain bikes, and eBikes for road cycling. However, how does the pedal assist motor work and what’s the difference between a road-legal eBike and one that is not road-legal?

How Do eBikes Work

Unlike full-power bikes or no-pedal bikes which use a hub motor, the motor in a pedal assist electrical bicycle works differently. Instead the hub motor found in motorbikes, there is a separate motor which is located near the rear wheel where it provides the pedal assistance.

Pedal assistance is different to a throttle, as it actually requires you to pedal in order to receive the motor’s aid. This means that eBikes are a great way to get more exercise in your day-to-day life as the pedal assist motor negates many downsides of cycling without sacrificing physical exercise all together. Some might even make the argument that eBikes are better in the long term. For example, if you want to commute to work via bicycle, you might arrive at work feeling exhausted and sweating a lot if you choose to cycle analogue. However, the pedal assist motor will give you a helping hand, making cycling more enjoyable, thus some might argue that you’ll be more likely to continue to cycle to work; which means more exercise in the long term. According to information from Bicycling.com “when 20 non-exercising men and women e-biked about 40 minutes three days a week, they improved their cardiovascular fitness and blood sugar in just one month”


What Are The Requirements For A Road-Legal Electric Bike?

If you would like to cycle to work on an electric bike and enjoy the benefits and advantages of the pedal assist motor, you need to make sure that the eBike you choose is road-legal.

In order to be considered legal for use on the road, the bicycles speed and power must be restricted. This means that the bike cannot provide pedal assistance above 25km/h (15.5 mph) and the power cannot exceed 250 watts, otherwise the bicycle is not road legal.

A road-legal electric bike can be used on roads and anywhere a ‘normal bicycle’ is allowed. Even better news is that only need to be 14 in order to ride a road-legal eBike if you live in Great Britain. You don’t need a license or insurance in order to ride it. However, it’s important to note that this only applies for Great Britain, in Northern Ireland a moped licence, registration, and proof of insurance is required in order to ride it. Additionally, electric powered bikes are not permitted to ride on off-road bike routes in Northern Ireland which share the routes with pedal bikes (also known as push-bikes).

What About Brexit?

In April 2015, UK legislation was harmonised with EU law which means that there could be a change to eBike regulations after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. However, until we leave, it’s very clear what can and cannot be called an eBike and how and where an eBike can be used.

What If You Want A More Powerful eBike?

If you want a bicycle that exceeds the restrictions of a road-legal eBike, you will need to register the bicycle as a motor vehicle. This also means that you will need to pay tax and insurance, you’ll need to get a driving licence, and you’ll be required to wear a motorcycle helmet.

However, if you’re not interested in a road legal bike and you simply want a bicycle that can go at significantly fast speeds; our team can provide a bespoke eBike building service. For example, in a previous build, we converted an Alpine Sport model from 250 watts to 1000 watts, which was powered by a specially built Panasonic 48V 20Ah unit; resulting in a seriously fast eBike. In a different bespoke build we built a customised folding bike with a top speed of 30mph!


Want To Get Started In The eBike Community?

There are lots of reasons why people want to join in the eBike hoppy; whether you want to get more exercise or you want more eco-friendly method of commuting, electric biking has its appeal to a broad range of individuals.

If you would like to join the hobby, but you’re unsure what bicycle to get. We recommend that beginners choose a bicycle such as the Axcess Exmoor from our collection of electric bikes for sale. This specific bicycle has numerous features which make it ideal for somebody new to the world of electric biking. For example, the automatic pedal assist that starts up when you begin to pedal and a thumb operated throttle to help you get going from a standing start. Additionally, there’s also a handy feature built in to the bike’s charger. In order to prevent overcharging, the charger will turn itself off when the battery is full; this makes it great for those who are new to the hobby and are concerned about overcharging their new bicycle.

Get In Touch With Electric Bike World, A Team Of Electric Bike Specialists In Hampshire

As we are one of the oldest established solely eBike shops in the UK, you know that if you choose an eBike from our online store, you will receive both high quality service and products. Remember, our electric bikes will outperform all other road legal electric bikes in terms of speed, power, range, ease of use, backup and warranty.

So if you’re new to the hobby and you’re interested in purchasing your first electric bike, or if you’re an experienced eBiker and you’re looking for your next upgrade, our team of specialists can help you find the bike that’s best suited to your needs.

To speak to us, please call 02380 236 540, our lines are open 9.00 – 5.00 Monday to Saturday. If you would prefer to get in touch with our team in person, please visit us in store, our Hampshire eBike shop is located at 54 Bedford place, Southampton, Hampshire, SO15 2DT.


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