Road EBike rant.

airwise
airwise Posts: 246

Such a wasted opportunity. I see more calls in the press for the speed limit to be increased to 20mph. That makes sense.

Having owned one since becoming disabled some 4 years ago, the issue is that you only have to use the energy of a walker to go over the 15mph limit and lose electrical assistance. Somewhere around 17-19mph is the normal road bike speed on the flat.

For those who are anti ebikes, you don't have to ride them. Some do - or they ride nothing at all. Some cyclists were mighty quick in their 30's and 40's but in their Sixties need a little boost to keep up with the club ride or with their friends on a local bash.

20mph would also allow riders to feel safer in moving traffic given the typical flow seen (certainly in the South East). It also becomes a more attractive proposition as a replacement for a car for local shopping and social trips. You can ride to Tescos knowing that the motor will assist all the way.

They aren't going to threaten Strava times - I was waaay quicker on a normal pedal bike than I'd ever be on an EBike. They present no great threat to other road users with disc brakes and, when you look at some of the S Pelalecs in Europe, anti lock brakes.

Environmentally friendly, safe and freeing up the traffic congestion on our ageing roads - all whilst offering more people an attractive form of aerobic exercise. What's not to like? The world has moved on. It's time we did and aligned ourselves with the US.

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Comments

  • Mad_Malx
    Mad_Malx Posts: 5,047

    A lot of leisure (rather than utility) riders only need them to keep up with the younger and fitter riders on the hills - when 15mph is fine. Higher powers are going to be more bulky or shorter battery life.

    The whole regulation thing is a mess though, unenforcable, and uninsured and unlicenced electric mopeds has led to more anti-cyclist friction.

  • navrig2
    navrig2 Posts: 1,851

    The problem with raising the top speed of assistance on an eBike is that you are one step closer to introducing twist and go electric bikes. Without some form of regulation the streets become much more dangerous.

    You can see it in most city centres where delivery riders have had their eBike converted to twist and go and yet they have had no formal training on their use in traffic. It's the same all round Europe with eScooters - kids and delivery guy flying around pavements and precincts.

    When I am on my road bike and my wife is on her eBike I struggle to keep up with her, on average. I can generally stay with her on the flat but lose her on the hills., if she wants to horse on.

    Leave it as it is, I say.

  • trevor.hall12
    trevor.hall12 Posts: 440

    17/19 mph is no way " normal speed " for most riders

    The vast majority are below that

  • trevor.hall12
    trevor.hall12 Posts: 440

    Twist and go are already out there and very popular

  • oxoman
    oxoman Posts: 249

    The reason they want to keep the limit lower is because of the cycling non cyclists aka youths going along cycle-paths and through shopping areas causing injury due to higher speeds. Personally i think this fraternity have already got e-bikes / scooters that exceed these speeds, another worrying trend is the amount of mtbs i see with small petrol engines mounted on them. Local food delivery guy near me has his engine hidden by a pannier bag and routinely does 30mph plus. I've got nothing against e-bikes if ridden by people that need them and ride responsibly and preferably on the road or proper cycle-tracks not the usual short disjointed ones seen in local towns.

    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • pangolin
    pangolin Posts: 6,432

    Don't have strong feelings about this but the idea that 20mph ebikes wouldn't trouble Strava times is comical.

    Not that Strava leaderboards should (or do) factor into the debate.

    - Genesis Croix de Fer
    - Dolan Tuono
  • navrig2
    navrig2 Posts: 1,851
    edited April 7

    But they are illegal (as if the police do anything about them!!) unless they have approval.

    https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-approval

  • trevor.hall12
    trevor.hall12 Posts: 440

    I know ,anyone who tries to book 1 into my shop is told to go elsewhere.

  • oxoman
    oxoman Posts: 249

    That's a brave stance and totally understandable. Sadly a lot don't care about it and just take the money.

    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • slowmart
    slowmart Posts: 4,489

    Not really, highly unlikely you’d have access to any spare parts if the parts are Chinese, ECU, motor, battery etc, no diagnostics and liability for fixing an illegal bike, not least the owner said it was fine when the bike came in…. It’s so much easier to sell them a new bike which is legal with a stable supply of spare parts with training for the mechanics.

    Wanting to ride something whisper quiet, fast ( compared to legal e bikes) and hid in plain sight with a low cost entry such as a bike is usually driven by dealing drugs or other illegal activity. If your doing something illegal the fact your bike is not legal really doesn’t come into the thinking of the individual,


    e scooters were the mode of choice round here for aspiring dealers until the Chinese e bikes became quicker and more accessible .

    “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
  • Webboo2
    Webboo2 Posts: 571
    edited April 7

    They are still an issue of much angst on the slower group ride of our Wednesdays Boomers ride. Their are those who are 80ish with heath problems who need one and then there’s some in their 60’s who are probably just unfit and a bit lazy who have one.

    Also there is the issue that some with Ebikes don’t seem to always have an awareness when those without are struggling when their giving it big licks with the assist.

  • daniel_b
    daniel_b Posts: 11,659

    I've never actually ridden an ebike, despite my partner having a mahoosive cargo ebike, which I should really try out at some point.


    I kind of had a 20 mile commute previously, but they have now seen fit to remove the drying room, and as management are not precious, I can go to a much closer office should I want to, which does still have drying facilities.

    This route would generally take me about 1hr25 - usually pretty similar in both directions, decent elevation, not on a fast bike, and weighed down with panniers containing laptop etc.

    However, if I did still have that 20 mile commute, which is fairly hilly, an ebike that could max out at 15mph would not be of much use, it might cut 5-8 minutes off the commute time I reckon.

    If they sold one that was limited to let's say 22.5mph or even 25mph, I'd be very interested in that, as it would likely cut my commute time to something around an hour, saving me an entire hour each and every time I went in and back, that would pay for itself (In extra time for me) in 3 years I suspect.


    I understand the bit about irresponsible people riding them at speed on pavements etc, but then don't they do that already with DIY kits/hacked bikes, or simply illegal bikes/scooters?


    I'd be happy to pay a nominal licence fee per year for an electric bike, something around the £35 I pay for my vehicle, and take out insurance, if it allowed me to travel at higher speeds - additionally, if they are worried about excessive speeds being ridden in places where they should not, I saw someone mention GPS could theoretically be used to reduce the max speed in certain areas, and then open it up on faster roads - most of the roads I commuted on were 60mph to be fair, with some 30s and 40s mixed in when going through towns.


    If they genuinely want to get people out of cars and onto viable transport options that take up less space and use less energy, I can't see any other way than upping the max speed on these things.


    The cynic in me thinks that whichever government happens to be in charge will of course not get anything like the tax coming in from e-bike sales versus 60k vehicles, so I can't see it happening personally.

    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
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  • davebradswmb
    davebradswmb Posts: 477

    You can buy e-mopeds that will do 28 mph with a twist throttle and a range of about 50 miles, and legally ride them on your existing car licence so long as you got it before 2001. They do need to be licenced and you will have to pay VED - I think that it is £24 a year. If you want to go a bit faster you can get an electric equivalent to a 125cc motorbike but then you'll have to get your CBT.

  • monkimark
    monkimark Posts: 1,688

    I thought electric vehicles were free VED? You would presumably have additional costs though - insurance, MOT etc?

    Also, you need a numberplate, which is probably not something that the unrestricted ebike riders I see in London are going to be keen on.

  • kingstongraham
    kingstongraham Posts: 26,850

    ...and a proper crash helmet and insurance.

    There doesn't seem to be any enforcement on anything that looks vaguely like a bike. The whole food delivery business seems to now revolve around illegal vehicles, which is weird.

  • daniel_b
    daniel_b Posts: 11,659
    edited April 8

    Electric vehicles are, but not from April 1 2025, the government realise there are enough vehicles out there now, and they are missing out on oodles of free cash.


    Agreed on a point raised, I'd have no issue with insurance/numberplate but a full face helmet is a substantial step/requirement, and would put most people off I would suspect.

    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
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  • katani
    katani Posts: 134
    edited April 8

    I don't think any government would be particularly worried about people driving £60k cars, who need those to display higher societal status, voluntarily replacing those with e-bikes to do their 20 mile daily commute. Especially given the instant disrespect the majority of the population has for anything that finds itself on a public road and doesn't make a vroom sound.

  • daniel_b
    daniel_b Posts: 11,659

    That's a valid point, it would be unlikely to replace the necessity for another vehicle, merely replace it for some of the lesser distance journeys - for me if one had a ~25mph limit, I'd entertain up to an hours worth of travelling be carried out on a bike rather than in a car.


    Our road is jam packed with people who insist on one of those PCP schemes where they pay a massive amount but get a new car every 3 years....


    I'm on a few motoring pages, and frequently you will see a post along the lines of 'I need to sell this now to get something new, as it's reached 90k miles'

    I've asked a few times now, very politely, why they HAVE to get a new vehicle, how much more outlay will be required, and how many repairs that would cover on the original vehicle should they be required, that they know and are familiar with, but I never get any reply.

    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • rwoofer
    rwoofer Posts: 222

    I have an ebike that I bought for my family, that I occasionally use to commute. The ebike is certainly slower than my commuter bike, where you really don't need much effort to exceed 25kmh, even in normal clothing (my route is pancake flat). There is simply no reward for trying to exceed the ebike limit because they are much heavier with a lot of other drivetain resistance. A 20mph limit would make it a much more viable option.

    With this experience the only ebikes that would make sense to me are eMTBs or less convincingly eGravel bikes.

  • slowmart
    slowmart Posts: 4,489

    What about insurance, lights and mudguards? So you’ll need a lot more than you suggest to stat legal. Top speed is still limited though.

    “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
  • slowmart
    slowmart Posts: 4,489

    Like everything nowadays the police are under resourced, which means targeted operations which can be dictated by the number of complaints received in a particular geographic area. They’ll hit the area hard for a few weeks, confiscate and prosecute, complaints reduce and new targets are acquired. Far from perfect but then further up the food chain you have the judiciary……..delays and the prisons are full……


    that said it’s still down to individual coppers to be arsed enough to nick someone. A while back I was in front of this dickhead on his phone while driving, we pull up at an island, a copper behind phone man yabbering away and the copper doesn’t pull him. So either the copper obs skills were crap or he couldn’t be arsed.

    “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
  • laurentian
    laurentian Posts: 2,430

    If I were going down the "e-bike as a means of transport" route (as opposed to for leisure/exercise purposes), I would be looking at one of these:

    Me and the good lady rented a couple in Portugal a couple of years ago - an absolute hoot. On road, off road, uphill, downhill, facility for lights, indicators etc.- fantastic bits of kit!

    Wilier Izoard XP
  • davebradswmb
    davebradswmb Posts: 477

    Why? Not road legal, though it may be able to be able to be upgraded, you'll still be stuck in the traffic queues and it is very expensive. You can get a Citroen Ami for much the same kind of money and that is fully enclosed. Not much use off-road I suppose, but as city transport it makes sense. You still have to licence/tax/insure, but that applies to any motorised vehicle that is faster than an e-bike.

    I think that the maximum speed for an e-bike is well-judged. It is within the kind of speed that you would expect to meet bicycles using bike lanes and low enough to mostly avoid life-changing injury in the event of a collision. Though I believe that the Dutch authorities are investigating the numbers of elderly e-bike riders who have died as a result of an accident on an e-bike. An increase in speed should expect to require greater regulation.

  • monkimark
    monkimark Posts: 1,688

    A lot of london courier companies have started using 4 wheel electric bikes, not sure how practical it would be as a daily transport though, just finding somewhere to park it at each end would be a bit of a faff. They aren't cheap either.

    https://vokbikes.com/uk/vok-bike-standard/

  • laurentian
    laurentian Posts: 2,430

    I don't have much knowledge of the legal situation in terms of taxation, licencing and insurance but I can't see why it would be any different to an e-bike . . . it just has 4 wheels as opposed to two. It is an "assisted pedal system" - you can't twist and go.

    I also don't know how much a Citroen Ami would cost but , having ridden one of these and driven a car, I do know this would be more fun. Either way, we're not talking electric cars, we're talking electric bikes . . .

    Wilier Izoard XP
  • davebradswmb
    davebradswmb Posts: 477

    The Citroen Ami is classed as a quadricycle, just like the QBX Quadbike, so it's treated much the same as a 125cc motorbike or equivalent e-motorbike. We're not talking about fun vehicles, we're talking about practical alternatives to cars and bikes for commuting. The Ami is much better for that than the QBX, though I would favour an electric motorbike for it's ability to cut through the traffic.

  • davebradswmb
    davebradswmb Posts: 477

    I imagine they'll just abandon them on the pavement like they do with their scooter. The web page even shows this.

    The Ami is also sold in a cargo version, they just take the passenger seat out!

  • kingstongraham
    kingstongraham Posts: 26,850

    Surely a quad bike is a bike only as much as an air fryer is a fryer.

  • monkimark
    monkimark Posts: 1,688

    Yes, couriers just stop where they want obviously. But as an alternative to a bike for commuting (ebike as means of transport), it's not nearly as easy to park - I can park my bike safely outside my office door, not sure where I could leave a 4 wheeler nearby.

  • davebradswmb
    davebradswmb Posts: 477

    And you've got to sit in the traffic queues too. Bikes are definitely a better solution for commuting. My preference is for a bicycle, but my commute is 11 miles and I am happy doing that without a motor. If it were much further I would go for the e-motorbike option over an e-bike despite the extra legislative faff. Or move jobs.