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    E-Bikes Buyers Guide

    So first and foremost, what are Electric Bikes (or E-Bike as they are commonly known,) what do they do and how do they work?

    What are E-Bikes?

    As the name suggests an E-Bike is just that, an electric bike. A common misconception about an E-Bike is that it is effectively an electric motorbike where by you twist the throttle and away you go. This is not the case. An E-Bike provides assistance to you peddling the bike. The level of assistance varies both with the type of drive system and also the power level you select.

    A question we get asked commonly is "How am I going to get fitter on an electric bike?" Well, as we have already talked about the E-Bike provides assistance not a powered ride. We find with a lot of customers that come through the door who want to start cycling or re-start cycling for numerous reasons, worry about the distance they are going to travel and if they will be able to manage the hills. In a lot of cases an E-Bike makes perfect sense. As an example, for someone who thinks they will struggle to ride 5 or 10 miles on a "normal" bike even on a flat ride, an E-Bike would easily make 20+ miles not only manageable but also pleasurable. Generally, the more pleasurable something is, as humans, we want to do it more. So soon the 20 miles becomes 25miles and the 25 then becomes 30 and so on...

    There are many reasons why people look at buying an E-Bike other than simply liking the idea and wanting one. A few quick examples, people who have done a lot of cycling and want to start again, people who want to cover more mileage than they can on a normal bike, people with health issues who want and need to get fitter and people who just want an E-Bike

    There are many reasons why people look at buying an E-Bike other than simply liking the idea and wanting one. A few quick examples, people who have done a lot of cycling and want to start again, people who want to cover more mileage than they can on a normal bike, people with health issues who want and need to get fitter and people who just want an E-Bike.

    Types of E-Bikes

    There are two types of E-Bike drive, hub drive (front or rear) and crank drive:

    Hub drive.These bikes have a motor that form part of the hub (the centre of the wheel) these are generally found on the lower end of the E-Bike price spectrum and are a little less powerful and a little less natural in the way they deliver their power. They are less expensive than a crank drive system so do allow a lower entry price point.

    Crank drive. These bikes have the motor low down in the middle of the bike and sits where the bottom bracket would be on a "normal" bike. These systems are generally found on the mid to high end of the E-Bike market. They deliver a much more natural power delivery than a hub motor as they are controlled by a torque sensor. The torque sensor basically tells the motor how much effort you are putting into the bike and then depending on the power level the bike is at delivers assistance to match. In essence, the more power you put into the pedals the more the motor puts in. The motor also gets the benefit of driving through the gears as it is driving the cranks unlike the hub motor that is just turning the wheel. These bikes are usually more powerful than the hub driven alternative.

    Our take on E-Bikes

    By James Myers

    As a shop we are very passionate about E-bikes. We have a lot of stock of different types of E-Bike from different brands, with different drive systems, for different types of riding. I have been in the cycle industry for 20+ years, I used to do a lot of cycling and I also raced mountain bikes both cross country and the odd downhill event. Time has ticked on by and I am now unfit and over weight.

    I decided the best way to learn about and sell E-Bikes was to get some firsthand experience so my partner and I took some E-Bikes to Scotland and rode three of the 7Stanes mountain bike trail centres. I can genuinely say that I have never enjoyed been on a bike so much in my life. There is a gruelling climb out of the car park in Mabie forest which I had done three years previously that I thought was really going to test the E-Bike — I was wrong. The E-Bike LOVED the climb as did I which I never thought I would. The bike was heavier than a non electric version clearly, but I couldn't really tell whilst riding as the assistance more than makes up for it, it certainly didn't cause an issue on the descents or even the technical parts which I thought may be a problem. The most surprising thing for me was how little I used the higher power modes, I spent most of my time in the two lowest settings. Three rides, a mixture of terrain, a mixture of power modes, no charging and I was left with about 20%. I am 100% sold on the idea!

    E-Bikes Customer Case Studies

    Mike, "E-Bikes brought the joy back to cycling"

    First a bit of background. I'm a 67 year old male, a lifelong cyclist in not too great a state of health. Gradual deterioration in kidney function has lowered energy levels and even my 7 kilo carbon fibre unnecessarily expensive road bike could not help me overcome my short comings.

    A solution was needed and several discussions with the folks at Ilkley Cycles provided the answer. An E-Bike. There is quite a range of E-Bikes available, each having their own attributes. I knew that I wanted road orientated bike there is a vast range of mountain bikes available so that narrowed my potential choices somewhat. Giant have now introduced a range of pure road bikes but as I also wanted to use my bike for shopping and running around they weren't an option.

    A major consideration is the question of the drive system. This is mainly a choice between the motor being mounted in the rear hub, front hub of bottom bracket. Having tested a few bikes I felt that a bottom bracket drive gave me a more natural feel so that further narrowed down my final choice. However, there was still a large selection to go at. Part of my final selection process came down to aesthetics. I wanted a bike that didn't scream E-Bike and Bosch bottom bracket drive also seemed to fulfil these criteria. This is mainly a vanity thing so probably doesn't apply in most cases and having now ridden a good number of miles on my E-Bike has become irrelevant.

    Range is another vital element to consider. I think the manufacturers published ranges are based on guess work as the way in which you use the bike and available assistance makes a huge difference. I've found that the range of the Bosch is more than adequate. A trip from Ilkley to Grassington and back involving a few decent climbs over about 45 miles still left me with just under half power in my battery.

    For me the main attraction of my E-Bike is that it has brought the joy back to cycling for me. The last few years have made me wary of any route that involved hills — living in Ilkley this greatly reduced my route choice. Now climbs are fun. The only downside, and this is just me, is that even with full panniers following a trip to the shops I can overtake most roadies on a climb - but I'm too embarrassed to do so. The only other minor inconvenience is most trips will involve a discussion with someone wanting to talk to you about the bike. Personally I consider spreading the E-Bike gospel as a pleasure and duty.

    I ride my E-Bike a lot more than I rode my last road bike. I ride it primarily for pleasure but also a lot for shopping and general running around. I'm using my car a lot less so there is a saving in fuel to offset the purchase cost. Not having to find a parking space is a major benefit. Just make sure that you have a decent lock.

    Whilst a good quality E-Bike is not cheap I consider by E-Bike to be one of the best purchases I've ever made. As with most things you get what you pay for — and how do you value the price of the freedom to travel wherever you want?

    I have never regretted for one moment buying my E-Bike and would recommend that anyone who feels that cycling is proving just that little bit too tiresome should get themselves to Ilkley Cycles and try an E-Bike, it will be a revelation.

    Thanks, Mike

    Phil, "E-Bikes help keep me fit and my weight down"

    I retired about nine years ago and took up cycling as a means to stay fit and active and after trying several bikes of both off and on-road varieties I eventually realized that being surrounded by hills was a big problem.

    Internet research led me to Ilkley Cycles as they were the only outlet I could find that were selling E-Bikes in my area and so four years ago I took the plunge and bought my first electric bike from them.

    What a revelation! Instantly I am transformed from a fairly fit 65 years old that was enjoying riding but struggling with hills to someone who can ride literally anywhere the mood takes me regardless of the incline or terrain.

    Four years on I now own two E-Bikes, an E-MTB and an E-Road, both of which are used regularly and help keep me fit and my weight down without killing me on the hills thereby giving maximum enjoyment, or dare I say "Fun!"

    Phil

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