While the first electric bicycle was invented way back in the 1890s, historically e-bikes have struggled to gain momentum, only breaking into the market in mainland Europe at the turn of the 21st century. E-bikes now account for 38.5pc of all bicycles sales in Germany (Holland and France and also big players); belatedly, the trend is starting to register in the UK. Battery assisted bikes now make up around a third of bike sales at Evans Cycles West End.
It really is a simple e-bike, and while I could go on about the frame (aluminium), and the weight (very light), the experience of using this bike for a few days is more interesting. While it feels like a less high-tech product than others in this list (no gears; a shorter battery life of 30 miles; two modes not three), it basically retails at half the price as those competitors – and I certainly didn't find it to be half as good.
Bosch eBike Systems offers the specialty dealers a great variety of printed brochures, advertising materials and online tools so that you can be individually informed about the personalised advice around. Estimate together with your dealer the individual range of your eBikes, learn the functions of your Bosch on-board computers or negotiate a test ride.
You should also think about how much gear you are going to need to carry. The reason this will affect your decision is because some electric bikes don’t have the capability to mount a front rack while others do. Plan on doing a 3-day trip? You could probably get away with just a rear rack. My advice though would to be to purchase an electric bike with the capability to mount a front rack as well. This way, if you decide to plan a longer trip in the future, you can simply buy a rack and be on your way instead of potentially having to buy a new bike.
The Espin is powered by a 350-watt motor that’s rated for trips up to 50 miles (depending on the terrain and assist level). Once depleted, the battery fully charges in roughly five hours. Thankfully, Espin makes it easy to remove the battery, allowing you to quickly recharge it at home or in the office between trips. A backlit LCD control hub displays your basic metrics and battery life while in transit and LED headlights add a touch of light when needed.
E-bikes mostly use motors and battery options from a few major suppliers: Bosch, Yamaha, Shimano, and Brose. A few other brands exist, but are less reliable or powerful. Some, like the Yamaha system, have more torque and others are quieter. But generally all four make good options. Look for motor output (in watts) which will give you an idea of total power. But watt hours (Wh) is perhaps a better figure to use—it takes into account battery output and life to give a truer reflection of power.