How to choose an electric bike home



Last edited 7 September 2021

^ Introduction

This page provides a minimalist guide to choosing an electric bike.

Most electrically assisted bikes are only motor-assisted up to a speed 15.5mph. (High speed models can go at double that speed but then have to be registered with the DVLA, be insured and have a number plate, but cannot be ridden on cycle tracks or pavements.)

There is no throttle, the assistance from the motor only works when pedalling, the harder you pedal the greater the assistance. There are usually three or four levels of assistance (but only up to 15.5mph).

^ Priorites

This is here to help you make your choice - a given retailer is unlikely to show (or be able to show) all the variations. This might just help with asking the right questions!

'Basic entry level' bikes include a motor in the front or rear wheel, derailleur gears, caliper cable brakes and the battery on a rear rack.

The grey rows provide a rough guide to what might be spent if the given priorities are chosen.

PriorityFeature Rough guide Notes
Hub motor, derailleur gears, caliper brakes, battery on rear rack £750 - £1,500 Basic entry level, may include sprung forks
1 Sprung forks For comfort
1 Crank motor (instead of hub motor) Much better centre of gravity and enables easier starting as power is applied through the gears
1 Sprung seat post For comfort
1 Battery behind seat tube (instead of on rear rack) Improved centre of gravity
1 Built in lock £2,000 Easy security (for disabling only)
2 Hub gears (instead of derailleur) - 7 gears Less maintenance
2 Hub gears - 11 gears Better range than 7 gears
2 Disc brakes (with cables) More efficient than caliper brakes
2 Battery on front tube £2,500 Further improved centre of gravity
3 Belt drive (instead of chain) Minimum maintenance
3 Disc brakes (hydraulic) No cable hassle
3 Sat nav linked to smart phone If you need it!
3 NuVinci continuously variable hub drive (instead of gears) £3,000 Step-less, jolt-free 'gear change', maintenance free
4 Dynamo lighting Only useful if the main battery is drained
5 Sprung frame For ultimate comfort or challenging off-road
5 Automatic variable gears £4,000 Maintains a constant cadence (pedal speed)

Each additional feature adds around £200-£400.

These features aren't strictly in order/priority, e.g. Scott produce trail bikes with crank motor, fully sprung frame and derailleur gears. Most mountain eBikes, and there are dozens of them, have derailleur gears.

^ eBikes

Some bike makes and suppliers.

Make Supplier Delivery Terms Notes
Riese & Müller Dealer search To order, 3 weeksNegotiate!Bosch crank motors, chain and belt drives
Various Pedals Cycle Centre Ferndown From stock10% off Chain/deraillieur drives
Various Halfords eBikesFrom stockFrom under £500!Chain/deraillieur drives

Just a few to start you looking!

I started looking at bikes with the features in the top row of the first table. I then found out about the features further down ... and chose:

  • crank motor
  • hydraulic disc brakes
  • hub gears - the continuously variable no maintenance NuVinci E380
  • belt drive - no chain!
  • centre battery
  • (no sat nav/fitness display as on the Kalkhoff Include or Bosch Nyon)

    Here's a review of the Riese & Müller Nevo from 'Electric Bike' Issue 16 February 2016, that has the options above ...

        Page 1     Page 2     Page 3

    This is a low-maintenance health-rides bike and provides an easy ride into town!

  • ^ Resources

    Riese & Müller: eBikes
        - sprung and fixed frame eBikes

    Bosch eBike systems
        - crank motors, displays, batteries and chargers

    NuVinci review at 'Ebike portal'
        - comparing derailleur with the fully automatic version of the constantly variable transmission

        - news and a UK forum for electric bikes

    "I don't ride a bike to add days to my life. I ride a bike to add life to my days." Unknown

    "Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring." Desmond Tutu

    "When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking." Arthur Conan Doyle

    ebikes @














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