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What is an Electric Bike?

Electric bikes are often seen as regular bicycles that have a motor and a battery to provide assistance to the rider. There are two types of ebikes, those that provide power assist you while pedaling. And others that come with a throttle and need no pedaling to propel you forward. 

Rad Power Bikes sells pedal-assisted electric bikes in Europe (UK) that do not come with a throttle.  Our bikes provide you with a boost while pedaling when riding alone, with children, heavy cargo or on rough or uphill terrain and the Twist Power Assist (TPA) will launch you up to 6 km/h to give you a smoother start from a stopped position.

Benefits of an electric bike?

Electric bikes have many advantages over regular bikes. 

Most customers tell us that they get to their destination faster; their Rad ebike enables them to carry heavier loads, like parcels, bags or even shuttling children to and from school or daycare. Your commute will be more predictable, because your route will always be the same, no more traffic jams and road accidents.

An ebike gives you the support to make difficult trips (due to terrain or weather) easier and also help save you from sweating and exhaustion. 

With an electric bike you can ride further and more often as it takes less effort. This is why inexperienced riders often choose an electric bike to get started with riding. 

What is the difference between a pedelec and a speed ebike?

All pedelecs are ebikes, but not all ebikes are pedelecs. So what’s the difference? An ebike has a motor and a battery to provide you assistance. With a pedelec ebike you have to actually pedal the bike to reap the rewards of the electrical assistance and it may go faster than the 25km/h limit the EU has set for ebikes that don’t need a street license. 

Speed ebikes that come with a throttle do not rely on any pedal movements and are more comparable to a moped or motorcycle.

Rad Power Bikes sells pedelec-style ebikes in Europe (UK) that adhere to the local laws in speed and power restrictions and therefore need no license plate and registration.

How much should an ebike cost? 

Ebikes come in a lot of different prices from a few hundred euros into the tens of thousands. Customers need to understand what they need out of an ebike, what level of quality is best and what price point meets their needs. 

Ebikes are more expensive than regular bikes due to the extra electrical components they need. This means that getting a bike for under 1.000 euros could be challenging if your needs are for an every day ride from a durable, quality ebike. 

If you are looking for a discipline specific ebike, like an e-gravel, e-road or even an e-mountainbike (e-MTB), the costs will be even higher as additional investments are being made into the weight and strength of the frame. Discipline specific bikes often start around 4.000 euros and good quality, everyday ebikes are typically around 2000 euros.

Why is an ebike so expensive?

Ebikes are in general more expensive than their regular bike counterparts. An ebike comes with expensive electronic components such as a lithium ion battery, an electric motor and of course all the electronics that bring the components together, like displays and wiring. The raw materials that go into these components are in themselves expensive and the bike needs to be built of a stronger frame to carry the extra weight. 

Why are ebikes limited to 25km/h in Europe?

The European Union directive 2002/24EC, an EPAC (Electrically Pedal Assisted Cycle) specified that ebikes must adhere to the following qualities to be universally approved for use. 

Has an auxiliary motor with a continuous power of no more than 250 watts.

Reduces or cuts off support from the motor when the rider reaches 25 km/h of speed or stops pedaling

Ebikes that have a higher motor wattage or speed limit can also be road legel in Europe, but each country has its own rules around their registration, taxes, license plate and helmet laws. To see your country’s laws and regulations read this article by Futura.

Weight of an ebike

A non-discipline specific electric bike is often much heavier than a normal bike, and this is due to the electric components, such as a battery and a motor and often also with displays of various sizes. The weight can vary, but it is common to find ebikes around 25kg (55lbs). With fat tire ebikes  this weight can be higher due to the additional weight of the wide tires, sturdier treads and addition of shock forks for ride comfort.

Our lightest ebike is the RadMission at 22 kilos (49lbs) and other ebikes like RadCity and RadRunner come in at the 65-75lb range.

Some discipline specific ebikes, like e-roadbikes and electric folding bikes can weight less if made of materials like carbon fibre, but you can also expect exponential  increases in prices for the weight savings. 

Which motor is best for an ebike?

The most common type of placement for a motor on an electric bike is a hub motor, that is installed in the center of the rear wheel. Thus hub motor ebikes are often the more affordable options on the market. 

Other ebikes have mid-drive motors, which means the motor is closer to the center of the bike and thus requires a chain to transfer the motors power to the wheel. These types of motors have also been growing in popularity in the last few years.

All Rad Power Bikes motors to date are rear wheel hub motors to provide the best performance to price ratio for our customers.

Do ebikes even need gears?

It is a hotly debated topic if ebikes even need gears or if the motor makes up for the difficulty of steep terrains. Our approach is to  offer bikes with a single gear and multi gear options based on your preferred riding style. While flat terrain and city riding experiences and more exercise oriented riders may choose to ride a single speed ebike, (like the RadMission or the RadRunner), we also believe that additional gears on an ebike are beneficial for riders who adventure into steeper terrains or carry heavier loads with their bikes.

What is a throttle on an ebike?

Some ebikes have a throttle like a moped that provides power from the motor to the wheels without the rider needing to pedal. This ebikes are often referred to as speed ebikes and belong to a different category of ebikes than pedelecs. In some cities these are outright banned and in others they have special laws that govern their street licensing and road tax requirements. 

Rad Power Bikes sells ebikes in the USA and Canada that come with a throttle (and a much bigger motor), but all our European ebikes are 100% pedelec category bikes which is know as Class 1 in North America 

Instead of a throttle, the European Rad ebikes have a Twist Power Assist (TPA), which propels the bike up to 6km/h without the rider pedaling. This means you can get an extra boost when launching from a red light  or full stop. 

Is riding an ebike considered exercise?

Many ask if it’s possible to get proper exercise and improve fitness by riding an ebike. 

The good news is that, yes, riding an ebike provides exercise and can help improve fitness. And of course, ebikes aren’t cheating. They help riders control their speed, increasing range and conquer more difficult terrain, thus making exercise fun.

We hear from our customers all the time about getting exercise with their ebikes. A musician and Rad rider told us on our US blog that he dropped 10 pant sizes, recovered from fatty liver disease, and reversed his Type 2 diabetes by exercising on his ebike. Check out some of our customer reviews to read some truly inspiring weight loss and health stories.