Electric Bikes – Power Cycling the Easy Way

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electric bikes

Electric Bikes

Power Cycling the Easy Way

by Matthew Peacock

Have you ever watched the Tour de France on the TV and thought: “I can do that.” And then realised that maybe sweating and lycra isn’t quite for you. Well, Trek has recently launched a fantastic new bike with a hidden, secret weapon that means you don’t have to think about things like that.

The Trek Ride+ looks like a straightforward lightweight bike, ideal for riding country lanes or canal towpaths, popping to the shops on or regularly commuting. But built into the hub of the rear wheel is an electric motor. These are not mopeds and the motor only works when you pedal – with a switch on the handle bar giving you four different ‘assist’ levels.

This means you can cruise along at up to 25kph in normal clothes and attempt a hill climb like the Cow and Calf and get no hotter than if you were walking. Having ridden one of these I can tell you – you will come back from a ride grinning!

“Electronics are all sealed and UK weather proof”

You can choose to cycle without any assistance or select anything up to an extra 200% power. It’s like riding with a strong tailwind or as if you’ve spent all summer training at the Manchester Velodrome instead of watching Britain’s Got Talent.

electric bikesAhhh, you say! It’ll be heavy and eat batteries like the old electric bikes. Well, no, it weighs only 21kg and it uses the latest in battery technology so that the charge it holds is good for 25 or so rolling miles. But here is the clever bit, every time you brake or coast along, the battery recharges! You can even take it a stage further, if you know you are at the top of a big hill you can switch the motor to recharge and, as you roll down, it will use the wheels’ movement to put extra ‘charge’ in to the battery.

Apart from the handle bar display and the slim battery built in to the rack, the Ride+ looks like a normal bike – because it is. All the mechanical bits are the same and easy to look after, service or upgrade as normal. The electronics are all sealed and UK weather proof and only need checking every six months by a trained Ride+ mechanic. There is also a 2-year guarantee on all the electrics).

“You can go anywhere a pedal bike can”

The most important point to note is that this is an electrically ‘assisted’ bike. If you stop pedalling then the motor stops. Bikes where you twist a throttle or push a button and go now classe as motorbikes. They are subject to the same insurance/tax/helmets etc that motorbikes and scooters are.

Because the Ride+ is a bike, you can go anywhere a pedal bike can. There is no legal helmet requirement (although I still recommend one). There is also no minimum age requirement or license, and you require no road tax or insurance.

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