The top 10 questions about buying an electric bike in the UK

10 Questions about ebikes
10 Questions about ebikes

With some serious health, environmental and convenience benefits, the electric bike revolution is sweeping the UK – powered by commuters, tourists and cycling fanatics alike. Thinking of joining them? Here’s what you need to know. We answer the top ten questions customers ask when buying an electric bike.

1. How fast does an electric bike go?

If it’s just you pedalling, your e-bike will go as fast as you can pedal it! If you’re using electric pedal assist, motorised assistance can go up to 15.5mph on an e-bike in the UK.

2. Does an e-bike charge when I pedal?

No – but we’re working on it. At the moment it’s not possible to engineer a self-charging e-bike without adding considerable weight, complexity and cost.

3. How do I charge my bike?

The battery on all our e-bikes is fitted with a handy in-built charging port, which you can plug straight into your wall socket. You can either charge the battery while it’s on the bike, or remove it by sliding it out of the frame.

4. What if I run out of charge when I’m riding?

No juice, no worries! Our e-bikes are built to help you ride further, but if you do run out of charge, you can just pedal your Volt bike like a normal bicycle. And with superfast charging, when you plug in, your e-bike battery will go from empty to full in just three to five hours.

5. How long does the battery last?

One charge can give you on average 40-80 miles of road use (so you could cycle from London to Dover in one hit!). We use 36V li-ion batteries in all our e-bikes – with Standard (up to 60 miles’ cycling) and X-Large (up to 80 miles’ cycling) options. Each one provides 1,000 charge cycles with no power loss. And for extra peace of mind, they’re covered by Volt’s two-year warranty.

6. Do I have to pedal or can I use a throttle?

Yes and no, you do need to pedal but it’s much easier than riding a conventional bike (if you want it to be!). Volt e-bikes offer four levels of pedal assist modes (PAS) each delivering varying levels of power when riding. Some of our electric bikes are also fitted with a walk-assist thumb throttle that offers a boost of power when the pedals are rotating. This means you can ride the bike as normal, but power up your pedalling when you need to. No more struggling up hills, sweating on your commute or letting heavy bags slow you down!

7. Can I use an e-bike in the rain?

Yes! We protect all our bikes with a hardwearing weatherproof casing so you don’t need to worry about what conditions you’re riding in. If you do ride in wet weather, just remove the battery afterwards and dry the housing and terminal fully with a cloth or towel. And never submerge your e-bike in water or use a pressure washer to clean the frame (it will damage the electronics).

8. How much should I spend on an electric bike?

With so many models on the market, there’s an e-bike to suit every budget. Like all things in life, you get what you pay for. Prices generally start at around £1,350 for a good-quality commuter model, but it really does depend on what you’re looking for. At the very top-end are custom-made mountain bikes designed for rugged use.

The team at Volt are on hand to offer expert advice and help find the right e-bike for you and your budget. Reach us on 020 7378 4728 if you have any questions.

9. Where can I get my e-bike serviced?

Well, it depends on the brand and what components are used. All our Volt e-bikes have ‘maintenance free’ electronic parts – which means you can get them serviced at any standard cycle shop and they won’t need to touch the electrics. To get the best out of your e-bike, we recommend an initial bedding-in service within two months of buying it, and then having it serviced once a year or every 1000 miles.

10 Will British e-bike laws be affected by Brexit?

The UK laws on what constitutes an electric bike were aligned with EU laws in 2015 (see more here). This means definitions could change after Brexit, but with so much uncertainty around negotiations, at the time of writing no one can say for sure. For the latest on e-bike laws and how they impact you, contact one of our experts.