E-bikes have gone from a taboo subject within cycling to the forefront of design and a well-earned place alongside regular unassisted bikes. Rather than seen as a competitor or replacement for traditional unassisted bikes, E-Bikes are now side-by-side, beneficial and ultimately doing slightly different things with slightly different aims than their historical counterparts. For this reason, they are tipped as the logical next step in the transport revolution that is taking place around bicycles and active travel at the moment. The benefits are simple; ride further for longer more often, and get people who perhaps wouldn’t or don’t feel fit enough to go on a bike ride without assistance to take up the sport and get out more. Whether it’s on a club ride at the weekend, a few laps in the hills on some trails, or simply commuting and getting round town, E-Bikes have firmly arrived and offer something different to use.
Accessibility has always been one of the driving mantras of E-Bikes. By taking away a certain level of physical input they open up possibilities for more exercise and exploring the local area. This also curtails that agonising feeling in the back of your head about the amount of effort and energy you have available and whether you’ll make it back or not. The joy of an E-Bike is that it mostly takes away what could be described as the top end, hardest effort, so to speak. That is to say that at their core, you still have to pedal an E-Bike to make it move, but every pedal stroke is furthered and maximised by the assistance of the motor so that any hill or prolonged period of pedalling takes fractions of the amount of effort it would on a normal bike. For these reasons E-Bikes have as their main advantage the ability to vastly and rapidly increase accessibility, allowing for that weekly shop, run to town, 10 mile commute, or simply family bike ride to be finally and much more easily within reach.
Their can obviously be no doubt that to a certain extent you are going to burn more calories and ‘workout’ more on a traditional unassisted bike. If it is high level and intense training that you’re aiming for then there are clear benefits to those bikes. However, what often slips under the radar is that E-Bikes offer just as many health benefits even with their pedal assisted motors, albeit in slightly different ways. The clue comes in the title of the motors, they are ‘pedal-assisted’ - if you don’t pedal you won’t go. Throttle engaged E-Bikes do exist but are mostly illegal in the UK and so will be ignored here as the vast majority of E-Bikes in the market today are pedal assisted. Cycling in general is an excellent low-intensity sport. Whereas the likes of jogging are pretty wearing on your joints, cycling is quite ‘soft’ in that sense.
An E-Bike’s pedal assist means that those low-intensity workouts go a lot further than they would have without the motor. A cyclist on a traditional bike can burn 500 calories an hour, whereas studies have shown that on an E-Bike this number lies more in the 450 calories an hour mark. This may seem like a clear win for normal unassisted bikes on the health front. But we’re talking about a 10% difference there. The main power of an E-Bike is that you’re less likely to tire out quickly and more likely to go further or stay on the bike longer. Even if that equated to a mere 6 minutes longer on an E-Bike than you would spend on a regular bike on that ride, you have already equalled the number of calories burned. But we know that in fact, E-Bikes are so affective that the likeliness of you staying out for a further 10, 20, 30 even 60 minutes is almost certain and with that comes in fact more calorie burn and an even greater health benefit.
At Cycle Exchange we have spent the second half of this year working closely with brands to enhance our E-Bike offering to cover all aspects of the ranges available. In this blog we will talk you through those very models covering all riding styles and subsets.
Orbea’s Gain model is a versatile machine offering a frameset easily adaptable to suit urban riding, gravel and road. The Road version, which we look at here, was designed to enhance your ride, not dominate it. The Enough Power and Enough Energy concepts result in an exceptionally lightweight, sportive and rideable bike – a machine that heeds the call of the open road. Gain embraces your sweat and hard work and works in unison with your efforts to tick off the kilometers. System interfaces are modern, integrated and sleek. There are no bulky components to reduce the riding experience, distractions have been minimized so it’s just you, Gain and the hours ahead.
Featuring an internal battery tucked away in the down tube and the motor hidden in the rear hub, without looking closely you’d be forgiven for thinking it is a standard unassisted road bike! That motor provides up to 250 watts of extra power and is optimised to help out best between 15-25mph. The battery will get you at least 75km although when combined with the optional extra external battery that range can be vastly improved to 250km!
There are other sleek design choices made elsewhere, it features a smart one-button operating system located on the top tube which frees up space on the handlebars and replaces the more commonly seen LED headunits that feature on many other ebikes. It also has a C.A.N interface; a one port stop for charging and diagnostics which again is hidden flush inside the frameset hiding any wires and cabling and offering a very smart operation.
It is also worth noting that due to this framesets sheer versatility it can be bought in a flat barred urban configuration as well as a gravel specific spec with Shimano’s GRX groupset and nice chunky tyres – probably one of the most adaptable framesets on the market today!
Trek’s foray into the world of e-road bikes takes a more traditional approach, albeit a highly practical and effective one. Taking their ever popular Domane model as the starting point and adapting it to suit the needs of an ebike.
Ultimately the Domane+ is a performance electric road bike that lets you ride with faster groups, save time on commutes and enjoy what you love most about road riding. It pairs the best parts of an award-winning endurance race bike with an advanced Bosch drive system that sustains Tour de France speeds at cycling-around-the-block efforts. It’s built with a lightweight OCLV Carbon frame and road-smoothing IsoSpeed that absorbs bumps in the road for a faster, smoother, more comfortable ride.
The bike is equipped with a 500Wh battery and a powerful Bosch Performance Speed motor. It can travel up to 100 km on a single charge and sustain speeds up to 25 kph. Let’s see the group ride hold that wheel!Trek’s Removable Integrated Battery system looks great and is super user-friendly: the one-piece battery and cover is concealed in the frame and easy to remove without tools. You can charge the battery on or off the bike. According to Trek, ‘This is the e-bike that brings people together’ and the Bosch system has four modes that make it easy to get the right amount of boost for your group ride.
Electric mountain bikes amplify your pedalling power while amplifying the amount of fun you’ll have on the trail. Go further, go faster, and go more places on an e-MTB. These are the e-bikes that let you enjoy more of everything that makes mountain biking great.
Focus offers an electric version of their three Full-Sus MTB models, aptly named their ‘Squared Experience’. The main differences between the three models come down to travel, with the Thron2representing the least travel at 130, the Jam2sitting comfortably in the middle at 150 and the Sam2offering 170 travel.
With the Jam2 you can choose between a few different ebike setups to suit your needs. The Shimano E8000 e-drive offers flexibility with 756 Wh battery capacity split into two batteries. You decide if you are going super light and agile, close to a pure MTB feeling, or adding a second battery for super long rides. Always as much energy as you need – you can easily choose ahead of every ride. The Jam2 Bosch Performance CX e-drive 2020 is positioned in between those two. 625 Wh battery capacity is sufficient for your long rides not worrying about reach.
The Jam² Bosch and Jam² Shimano have different geometries and therefore please different riders. The Jam² with Bosch e-drive is made for rough trails and as a result appeals especially to experienced riders. By contrast, the Jam² with Shimano e-drive feels at home on a wide range of trails and spoils the rider with a super light, agile and balanced riding experience that probably feels more familiar to a lot of riders. If you are looking for a wider allround range with Bosch e-drive.
The Thron² offers a balanced, sporty ride – more than capable of taking on any trail, but also a bit more comfortable. In contrast to the more aggressive JAM² , the THRON² has a more upright sitting position without extreme stack (a little higher) or reach (a little shorter). The chainstays offer enough space to install high-quality alloy mudguards. Riding fun is not missed out – the Thron² is right at home on the trail.
The Sam2 Is their most aggressive offering, featuring the most travel on offer throughout the range it’s a real pulse raiser! It’s slack head angle and longer travel allows you to hit the trails harder and take on more aggressive terrain. Think of it as a mini downhill bike with the added bonus of a motor to get you back up.
All of the Focus Ebikes feature their ‘TAILORED ENERGY CONCEPT (T.E.C.)’ Effectively meaning that you always have access to as much energy as you need. You can either ride with just the integrated battery or, for extended tours, quick-mount an additional battery (T.E.C. pack) or use our simple click system (Smart Rack) to add a bottle cage or alternative equipment.
Orbea’s EMTB offerings come in a full-sus and hardtail version of its Wild model. Designed with the sole intention of getting you out and moving, The Wild wants you to load up your pack for an afternoon ride and start pedalling, whatever obstacles exist between you and the trails. It’s intentions are simple - reclaim access and discover new adventures the way you like aboard a fun and capable machine that enhances your skills while it extends your range. The Wild conquers steep climbs and pushes the limits of traction and good judgment on the way back down. Featuring clever design and sophisticated suspension kinematics the Wild will revitalize your riding and helps you chart new destinations.
Running a sophisticated Bosch system, both bikes feature a 500Wh battery and Bosch’s Performance CX system which will help you cruise along up to 25km/h. The battery itself is hidden away inside the frame with a sleek battery cover meaning it is not only looking smart, but out of the way from any potential knocks and bumps as you take it down the trails.
Trek’s Powerfly electric mountain bikes are built for adventure-minded riders who want to explore more of the world. The e-MTBs are powerful, capable and fun – and they’re offered in multiple hardtail and full-suspension options that will help you ride further and faster, get up steeper climbs and access more adventure on any trail. They are built to stand up to the rigours of the trail, and it’s a great choice for both singletrack and rugged daily commutes. Hardtail models include mounts for a rear rack so you can carry your essential gear.
Trek’s Removable Integrated Battery (RIB) system keeps your battery hidden and protected in the frame. When you want to remove it, you turn the key and the battery pops out, exposing the integrated easy-carry handle. It’s that simple.
Most electric mountain bike systems put the battery under the down tube, where it collects dirt and mud and is difficult and messy to remove. With RIB, you access the battery from the driveside, where it’s both more protected and easier to access. Exclusive trail tech like Active Braking Pivot, Straight Shot downtube, and RE:aktiv shocks on full suspension Powerfly models delivers a smooth, confidence-inspiring ride so you can focus on what matters: good times on the trail.