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Research Project: Where is the British e-Bike boom?

t_savezt_savez Posts: 21
edited September 2018 in Commuting general
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I am writing an original thesis on understanding why the UK lags in e-Bike use compared to most other European nations. If the above applies, I need your help :D

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/R5X33ZJ

Kind regards!

T

(Survey will ask for age, gender, economic status and opinions on e-Bike).
«1

Posts

  • CitizenLeeCitizenLee Posts: 2,227
    Done.

    I suspect too costly will be the most common answer.
    Current:
    NukeProof Mega FR 2012
    Cube NuRoad 2018
    Previous:
    2015 Genesis CdF 10, 2014 Cube Hyde Race, 2012 NS Traffic, 2007 Specialized SX Trail, 2005 Specialized Demo 8
  • t_savezt_savez Posts: 21
    CitizenLee wrote:
    Done.

    I suspect too costly will be the most common answer.

    Thank you my man, and yes, apart from the 'other', cost has been cited a LOT :lol:
  • CitizenLeeCitizenLee Posts: 2,227
    t_savez wrote:
    CitizenLee wrote:
    Done.

    I suspect too costly will be the most common answer.

    Thank you my man, and yes, apart from the 'other', cost has been cited a LOT :lol:

    No probs ;)

    I'd love one for my commute, but when you look at the spec on many of these 2-3K ebikes it's usually on par with normal bikes that would cost around £500 - £1000.

    I know there are sub £1000 ebikes too, but then I wouldn't trust the frame or components on these to last or stand up to all year/all weather riding.
    Current:
    NukeProof Mega FR 2012
    Cube NuRoad 2018
    Previous:
    2015 Genesis CdF 10, 2014 Cube Hyde Race, 2012 NS Traffic, 2007 Specialized SX Trail, 2005 Specialized Demo 8
  • t_savezt_savez Posts: 21
    CitizenLee wrote:
    t_savez wrote:
    CitizenLee wrote:
    Done.

    I suspect too costly will be the most common answer.

    Thank you my man, and yes, apart from the 'other', cost has been cited a LOT :lol:

    No probs ;)

    I'd love one for my commute, but when you look at the spec on many of these 2-3K ebikes it's usually on par with normal bikes that would cost around £500 - £1000.

    I know there are sub £1000 ebikes too, but then I wouldn't trust the frame or components on these to last or stand up to all year/all weather riding.

    The UK government's cycling schemes and funding grants are wayyy behind its European counterparts too.

    Also, does the speed and less physical strain needed to cover distances not an attractive option?
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    Done for you.
    I suspect we are the wrong audience for the survey, please let me explain...... We are more dedicated cyclists, most of us are cycle away from just commuting (I use cycle commuting to save a bit of money but primarily for fitness.

    We cycle to work because we want to cycle and can do it to work as well. For most of us an E-bike is no faster (my average speed is above the e-bike assist cut off speed) yet costs more.

    The people (in my mind) to whom an e-bike should appeal are those who are only interested in getting to work and for whom an e-bike may be a cheaper, more environmentally friendly and possibly faster (in high congestion regions such as London) than a car. They may not wish to cycle (as they would probably be the 5-8mph 'pootlers) so the assist makes sense. My neighbour falls into the category and has a lowish end e-bike (cost circa £950 new) for his 6 mile each way commute, he commutes in his work clothes (I'm not a MAMIL but do commute in T-shirt and shorts as any more is just too hot and sweaty).

    Hope that helps.
  • t_savezt_savez Posts: 21
    The Rookie wrote:
    Done for you.
    I suspect we are the wrong audience for the survey, please let me explain...... We are more dedicated cyclists, most of us are cycle away from just commuting (I use cycle commuting to save a bit of money but primarily for fitness.

    We cycle to work because we want to cycle and can do it to work as well. For most of us an E-bike is no faster (my average speed is above the e-bike assist cut off speed) yet costs more.

    The people (in my mind) to whom an e-bike should appeal are those who are only interested in getting to work and for whom an e-bike may be a cheaper, more environmentally friendly and possibly faster (in high congestion regions such as London) than a car. They may not wish to cycle (as they would probably be the 5-8mph 'pootlers) so the assist makes sense. My neighbour falls into the category and has a lowish end e-bike (cost circa £950 new) for his 6 mile each way commute, he commutes in his work clothes (I'm not a MAMIL but do commute in T-shirt and shorts as any more is just too hot and sweaty).

    Hope that helps.

    Hello, thank you for your detailed response. I agree, and I wan to know despite these benefits why the e-Bike is not really growing as much. I have a diverse range of participants but I felt cyclists will know more about the ins and outs of cycling to help give me a more overall viewpoint of the e-Bike, which has happened. Didn't want a biased viewpoint :)
  • greenamex2greenamex2 Posts: 272
    Done, on behalf of my ebike owning wife.

    Don't have one myself, would probably get one if I started commuting into London.

    Biggest concern - the government/EU introducing proposed insurance requirements.
  • Done, as above E bikes are so much more expensive and you tend not to get a lot of bike for the money, makes more sense at the high end, rather than lower end, ie E-Enduro bikes are a hoot.

    I do quite a lot of miles on a big heavy slow bike, quite apart from the cost, its yet another thing to charge, since I do 100+ mile a week thats a few charges.

    My commute though 24 mile round trip isn't hilly so even on the old beast I tend to be not much slower than lycra roadies, so I can't see it being any faster, and generally i don't find it hard work I potter etc.

    My Mum has a cheap one since she needs assistance and its a hoot, but i can't myself see much use as a transport, its advantages (for me) are slight/non existence while I has quite a few dis advantages.

    I should say i do see now and then a few E-bikes on my commute together with E-skateboards and the like. my assumption is that in uk bikes are leisure not utility.
  • t_savezt_savez Posts: 21
    greenamex2 wrote:
    Done, on behalf of my ebike owning wife.

    Don't have one myself, would probably get one if I started commuting into London.

    Biggest concern - the government/EU introducing proposed insurance requirements.

    Thanks Greenamex2, I was wondering when I'd get a response regarding insurance 8)
  • t_savezt_savez Posts: 21
    Done, as above E bikes are so much more expensive and you tend not to get a lot of bike for the money, makes more sense at the high end, rather than lower end, ie E-Enduro bikes are a hoot.

    I do quite a lot of miles on a big heavy slow bike, quite apart from the cost, its yet another thing to charge, since I do 100+ mile a week thats a few charges.

    My commute though 24 mile round trip isn't hilly so even on the old beast I tend to be not much slower than lycra roadies, so I can't see it being any faster, and generally i don't find it hard work I potter etc.

    My Mum has a cheap one since she needs assistance and its a hoot, but i can't myself see much use as a transport, its advantages (for me) are slight/non existence while I has quite a few dis advantages.

    I should say i do see now and then a few E-bikes on my commute together with E-skateboards and the like. my assumption is that in uk bikes are leisure not utility.

    'A lot of bike for the money' interesting statement!

    The cost factor is becoming very prominent in my research at the moment.

    There's a trend I am seeing where regular cyclists do not see the e-Bike as too great despite its 'supposed' faster speed and ability to cover distances in less time with little effort. I would have imagined this would entice people i.e. car users usually want bigger and better.
  • t_savez wrote:
    Done, as above E bikes are so much more expensive and you tend not to get a lot of bike for the money, makes more sense at the high end, rather than lower end, ie E-Enduro bikes are a hoot.

    I do quite a lot of miles on a big heavy slow bike, quite apart from the cost, its yet another thing to charge, since I do 100+ mile a week thats a few charges.

    My commute though 24 mile round trip isn't hilly so even on the old beast I tend to be not much slower than lycra roadies, so I can't see it being any faster, and generally i don't find it hard work I potter etc.

    My Mum has a cheap one since she needs assistance and its a hoot, but i can't myself see much use as a transport, its advantages (for me) are slight/non existence while I has quite a few dis advantages.

    I should say i do see now and then a few E-bikes on my commute together with E-skateboards and the like. my assumption is that in uk bikes are leisure not utility.

    'A lot of bike for the money' interesting statement!

    The cost factor is becoming very prominent in my research at the moment.

    There's a trend I am seeing where regular cyclists do not see the e-Bike as too great despite its 'supposed' faster speed and ability to cover distances in less time with little effort. I would have imagined this would entice people i.e. car users usually want bigger and better.

    If your reasonably fit, then legal e-bikes are no faster, even on a big heavy lump, I’m rolling along in the same ball park speed, even with a fair price increase, the kit be that gears or brakes tends to be quite woeful, ie can spend quite a lot of money to have a bike with really quite poor finishing kit, my Mums e-bike has frankly terrible brakes, really cheap and nasty things.

    Does change with high end E-MTBs and even adds advantages namely suspension which tends to work better.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Having converted 2 bikes for family this year (for less than £1k total) - eBikes are great fun - make riding so easy - but getting on your bike is only part the story....

    There's a lot of animosity between cyclists and motorists - ebike riders generally would come from the "non-cyclist" sector (ok a few cyclists who want/need assistance will get one) - and therefore they're less confident on the road than the regular cyclist and then get put off by the close passing & sometimes aggressive motorist - so why bother riding, it's not pleasant.
    Most cyclists have a car as well - so why have the expense of a bicycle if it's not going to be fun.

    I have seen a few ebikes out and about and there are 2 shops locally who specialise in ebikes - so there must be a market.

    I'm not getting one because I don't need it - although it would be nice to go up the hills quicker when towing a 3yo ... that's just down to training!!
  • t_savezt_savez Posts: 21
    t_savez wrote:
    Done, as above E bikes are so much more expensive and you tend not to get a lot of bike for the money, makes more sense at the high end, rather than lower end, ie E-Enduro bikes are a hoot.

    I do quite a lot of miles on a big heavy slow bike, quite apart from the cost, its yet another thing to charge, since I do 100+ mile a week thats a few charges.

    My commute though 24 mile round trip isn't hilly so even on the old beast I tend to be not much slower than lycra roadies, so I can't see it being any faster, and generally i don't find it hard work I potter etc.

    My Mum has a cheap one since she needs assistance and its a hoot, but i can't myself see much use as a transport, its advantages (for me) are slight/non existence while I has quite a few dis advantages.

    I should say i do see now and then a few E-bikes on my commute together with E-skateboards and the like. my assumption is that in uk bikes are leisure not utility.

    'A lot of bike for the money' interesting statement!

    The cost factor is becoming very prominent in my research at the moment.

    There's a trend I am seeing where regular cyclists do not see the e-Bike as too great despite its 'supposed' faster speed and ability to cover distances in less time with little effort. I would have imagined this would entice people i.e. car users usually want bigger and better.

    If your reasonably fit, then legal e-bikes are no faster, even on a big heavy lump, I’m rolling along in the same ball park speed, even with a fair price increase, the kit be that gears or brakes tends to be quite woeful, ie can spend quite a lot of money to have a bike with really quite poor finishing kit, my Mums e-bike has frankly terrible brakes, really cheap and nasty things.

    Does change with high end E-MTBs and even adds advantages namely suspension which tends to work better.

    :lol::lol::lol: I am huge novice when it comes to bikes in general this would have been an oversight. But the average person is unlikely to get high end e-Bikes, and may not even know how bad their bikes are because they never commuted on something as good as the high end bikes.

    My teacher once said anybike under £500 is a bike shaped object, I guess that sounds true here!
  • t_savezt_savez Posts: 21
    Slowbike wrote:
    Having converted 2 bikes for family this year (for less than £1k total) - eBikes are great fun - make riding so easy - but getting on your bike is only part the story....

    There's a lot of animosity between cyclists and motorists - ebike riders generally would come from the "non-cyclist" sector (ok a few cyclists who want/need assistance will get one) - and therefore they're less confident on the road than the regular cyclist and then get put off by the close passing & sometimes aggressive motorist - so why bother riding, it's not pleasant.
    Most cyclists have a car as well - so why have the expense of a bicycle if it's not going to be fun.

    I have seen a few ebikes out and about and there are 2 shops locally who specialise in ebikes - so there must be a market.

    I'm not getting one because I don't need it - although it would be nice to go up the hills quicker when towing a 3yo ... that's just down to training!!

    Second paragraph is a good point, personally that's why I do not cycle regularly, I had a near-crash incident in my youth so have never bothered with a bike again. I feel this combined with little dedicated, quality cycle lanes will not entice me anytime soon (I live in Manchester).

    The market appears to be cyclists who require the assistance or older people wanting to commute in a healthier way, that is the impression I got before starting out this survey.

    I will post the results in this survey upon completion, I hope it benefits someone.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    t_savez wrote:
    There's a trend I am seeing where regular cyclists do not see the e-Bike as too great despite its 'supposed' faster speed and ability to cover distances in less time with little effort.
    On the slowest point on my commute (an uphill) i'm doing about 12.5mph so only giving away 3 mph to an e-bike, on my fastest (same hill the other way) I'm doing over 30mph where an e-bike offers no advantage (potentially slightly slower)

    On one section I have a long relatively gentle uphill, for 2.5 miles, as I'm currently doing circa 17mph there I'd be slower on a heavier e-bike.

    And I loose some fitness benefit.

    My bike is built for the commute (by me) and is a fairly lightweight sub 8kg and cost about £800 to build, so an e-bike would be a fairly substantial on cost to match it on any reasonable parameter.

    In 10 years (62 by then) I may feel differently as my non assisted speeds degrades.

    Insurance doesn't worry me, third party liability I can't see costing more than about £40 IF its made compulsory (which I seriously doubt anyway - it makes no sense on any level).
  • squiredsquired Posts: 1,216
    I'm actually seeing quite a few people on e-bikes on my London commute now. It is a mix of pedal-assisted and converted bikes. In both cases they always seem to be adapted, as the person on the e-bike disappears into the distance leaving normal cyclists in the dust. Sadly I can see these people causing a real backlash against e-bikes. Yesterday I was on my road bike, probably going around 35km/h and the guy on what looked like a £100 mountain bike dropped me without ever turning a pedal.

    I have one myself, which I use on days where a problematic knee is bad (the e-bike is great for reducing the strain on my knee at the multitude of traffic lights I stop at on my commute or when it is windy, which again puts more strain on the knee). My normal bikes are still my go-to, but the e-bike help me get out on days when the knee would normally stop me. When I was waiting at a traffic light last week a motorcyclist started asking me how it was because he is looking at getting one, so clearly the interest in them is building.
  • t_savezt_savez Posts: 21
    The Rookie wrote:
    t_savez wrote:
    There's a trend I am seeing where regular cyclists do not see the e-Bike as too great despite its 'supposed' faster speed and ability to cover distances in less time with little effort.
    On the slowest point on my commute (an uphill) i'm doing about 12.5mph so only giving away 3 mph to an e-bike, on my fastest (same hill the other way) I'm doing over 30mph where an e-bike offers no advantage (potentially slightly slower)

    On one section I have a long relatively gentle uphill, for 2.5 miles, as I'm currently doing circa 17mph there I'd be slower on a heavier e-bike.

    And I loose some fitness benefit.

    My bike is built for the commute (by me) and is a fairly lightweight sub 8kg and cost about £800 to build, so an e-bike would be a fairly substantial on cost to match it on any reasonable parameter.

    In 10 years (62 by then) I may feel differently as my non assisted speeds degrades.

    Insurance doesn't worry me, third party liability I can't see costing more than about £40 IF its made compulsory (which I seriously doubt anyway - it makes no sense on any level).

    Thank you for your reply, an eye opener.
  • t_savezt_savez Posts: 21
    squired wrote:
    I'm actually seeing quite a few people on e-bikes on my London commute now. It is a mix of pedal-assisted and converted bikes. In both cases they always seem to be adapted, as the person on the e-bike disappears into the distance leaving normal cyclists in the dust. Sadly I can see these people causing a real backlash against e-bikes. Yesterday I was on my road bike, probably going around 35km/h and the guy on what looked like a £100 mountain bike dropped me without ever turning a pedal.

    I have one myself, which I use on days where a problematic knee is bad (the e-bike is great for reducing the strain on my knee at the multitude of traffic lights I stop at on my commute or when it is windy, which again puts more strain on the knee). My normal bikes are still my go-to, but the e-bike help me get out on days when the knee would normally stop me. When I was waiting at a traffic light last week a motorcyclist started asking me how it was because he is looking at getting one, so clearly the interest in them is building.

    I guess the motorcyclists are the type of people the ebike can attract due to the combination of relative speed and some health benefits compared to the normal bike which requires too much effort for private vehicle commuters.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    Lack of cycling infrastructure is the main problem. Outside the cities there's nothing to see.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    I think there is also a cultural problem. Bikes in the u.K are sport not transport. You can build the infrastructure but unless the culture changes it all a waste of time.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    It seems to be changing in London. Some people are smart. Once they realise that they can get to work quicker or cheaper by bike - then they'll go for it.
  • I'm quite tempted by an eBike so that I could do my very long (45 miles) commute almost every day rather than on occasion. I currently do it in a bit less than 3 hours on a non-assisted bike compared with about 1.5 hours on the train (including walking either end), so it would take longer but would be more pleasant bar the depths of winter (and perhaps even then).

    The main thing stopping me is that technology is improving so quickly. Rather than a £3k bike with a 60 mile range now, wait 5 years and spend £1k on a bike with a 100 mile range (or something like that).

    Another factor is the 15.5 mph max assist. As someone else said, I can average more than that now unassisted so, given the significant extra weight of an eBike, I would probably end up with a lower average speed on an eBike - faster up the hills but slower down hill and on the flat.
    Never be tempted to race against a Barclays Cycle Hire bike. If you do, there are only two outcomes. Of these, by far the better is that you now have the scalp of a Boris Bike.
  • As far as I can see, if you are even modestly fit, they offer little speed advantage over a normal bike unless:

    - Your commute is particularly long or hilly
    - You have health problems or injuries (dodgy knees etc)
    - You want to be really annoying shoaling past other cyclists at traffic lights and then get in everyone's way when you peak at 15.5mph
    - You are fat and lazy but don't want to ride a moped or motorcycle because you can't find leathers that will fit

    They tend to be and look heavy and ugly and are surprisingly expensive. If you want speed and the ability to filter through traffic (although admittedly not quite as easily) then you might as well do your CBT and buy a moped for less (i.e. only £800 or so for a 50cc!) and be able to go at 28mph when the traffic is moving.

    Many an e-bike have I taken smug satisfaction in scalping without breaking a sweat.

    I have seen a couple of very dodgy BSO DIY converted bikes on my commute, one of which seems to manage easily over 30mph and looks very unstable with a car battery mounted on the rear pannier.

    Personally I would not be in favour of increasing the assist limit going by the general standard of riding that E-bikes tend to attract in my experience (usually either completely oblivious or cycle courier reckless...)
  • Wow, lots of people think an ebike won't help them ride faster. I think they would. I've used a few legal ebikes and they totally crush normal bikes. And they put a huge smile on your face.

    Anyone who thinks they can comfortably ride as fast as they would on even a legal ebike is either a pro cyclist or a fantasist. An extra 200-250 watts is awesome and transforming. That will at least double most rider's available power. It allows hugely faster hill climbing or a much easier ride without getting sweaty. Yes assistance stops at 25kph but I'll take that on a hill or with full panniers.

    It's not just about raw speed either. Sometimes on a black night in the rain with seven miles uphill into a headwind remaining I'll be sitting at <20kph and would give anything for an extra few watts. I am passed by guys on legal ebikes in jeans. I am doing 250w, they must be on 400w and totally cruising. No contest. These bikes have a brilliant future as commuters, off-road, tourers, whatever, providing they are not crushed by laws. Cost per se is not the issue, its the old n+1 problem. Highly recommended. I'm looking at the eBrompton for a complete hoot. Come join the revolution.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Wow, lots of people think an ebike won't help them ride faster. I think they would. I've used a few legal ebikes and they totally crush normal bikes. And they put a huge smile on your face.
    Wow - lots of people on here are regular riders and average over 15mph on their commute. On that basis - it would only be of assistance when going up hill sub 15mph.

    For me, for example - I can do a return stretch of ~2 miles which is a gradual incline - I drop below 15mph on 1 very short section, for the rest I'm comfortably 17-18mph - I did have the Strava KOM at >21mph - that's now been beaten by a few seconds - an ebike won't help with that - I dare say it'd be slower as I'd have to drag the extra weight of the motor & battery up the grade.

    I do like the assistance (yes, I've ridden an ebike conversion) - but the top end cut off comes quite quickly... I'm by no means a hill climber - so I doubt I'm the only one that wouldn't benefit from the eBike for a lot of the time.
  • greenamex2greenamex2 Posts: 272
    Slowbike wrote:
    Wow, lots of people think an ebike won't help them ride faster. I think they would. I've used a few legal ebikes and they totally crush normal bikes. And they put a huge smile on your face.
    Wow - lots of people on here are regular riders and average over 15mph on their commute. On that basis - it would only be of assistance when going up hill sub 15mph.

    For me, for example - I can do a return stretch of ~2 miles which is a gradual incline - I drop below 15mph on 1 very short section, for the rest I'm comfortably 17-18mph - I did have the Strava KOM at >21mph - that's now been beaten by a few seconds - an ebike won't help with that - I dare say it'd be slower as I'd have to drag the extra weight of the motor & battery up the grade.

    I do like the assistance (yes, I've ridden an ebike conversion) - but the top end cut off comes quite quickly... I'm by no means a hill climber - so I doubt I'm the only one that wouldn't benefit from the eBike for a lot of the time.

    Likewise on my commute a legal ebike would be of no benefit to me. And would be a hell of a lot more expensive than the equivalent non ebike.

    If I had a few more climbs then the balance would start tipping in the ebikes favour, at a cost.

    And yes, I do regularly ride an ebike so yes I CAN make a valid comparison.

    For a less fit rider or those on much heavier bikes then the tipping point would be much earlier. Would certainly make the mountain bikers I encounter a bit more of a challenge to beat!
  • alan_shermanalan_sherman Posts: 1,157
    I see quite a few on my London commute. Some are blatantly modified to be e-motorbikes! I think the legal ones would have a speed advantage where there are lots of traffic lights - they can accelerate you up to 15 mph quickly, however you need to have clear road to do so....

    I wonder if there will be more ebikes next year when the T charge takes older motorcycles off the road (£15 per day!). In central London on-street motorbike parking is now charged, the T charge might push some motorcyclist to e-bikes. Much easier to park....

    Personally I'd prefer to either be cycling, or on a Powered Two wheeler. An e-bike is somewhere in-between which doesn't really have the advantages of either. I ride the motorbike in the rain with head to tow waterproofs. I suspect I'd be sweaty on an e-bike in the same scenario. Or wet. I may as well be on a bicycle.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    It's not all about speed. An ebike will let people get to work in a less sweaty state than a normal bike would. Or over a hill that would put some people off riding to work.

    Those unrestricted ones need to be seized and crushed though. Dangerous.
  • t_savezt_savez Posts: 21
    Lack of cycling infrastructure is the main problem. Outside the cities there's nothing to see.

    Agreed, and the cycling infrastructure that is in place, well, it is a shambles. Cyclists would rather use the road.

    In Manchester, particularly Oxford Road, people believe cycle lanes have ruined the roads and sidwalks as they have made everything tighter.
  • t_savezt_savez Posts: 21
    I think there is also a cultural problem. Bikes in the u.K are sport not transport. You can build the infrastructure but unless the culture changes it all a waste of time.

    This was one of my main thoughts before beginning this. The culture on cycling, as an outsider, its just not seen as cool enough. The image you get from owning a BMW gets people more gassed than owning a bike.

    However, it is difficult to build a culture if there is a fear of getting clobbered by cars and/or infrastructure simply not good enough to make it worthwile.
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