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.
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.