Electric Bike FAQ
We've been selling electric bikes in one form or another for nearly twenty years, however its only in the past few years that the technology around batteries, drive units (motors) and controllers have really improved not only in terms of their performance but crucially in the reliability.
The collection of questions below are what we're genuinely frequently asked via email, live chat and of course by customers walking into our retail store - we'll continually add more to this list and if anything isn't answered then please get in touch with us for assistance.
Prices and Purchasing
Can I change/upgrade the battery later if I want to?
Yes, it is possible to get additional batteries or a battery with a higher capacity if you want more range. Prices and compatibility issues can vary depending on brand or manufacturer so best to talk to an experienced salesman for advice.
Can I buy an additional battery? and how much?
In almost all cases yes you can buy an additional battery. Prices can vary from £299 to £1,200 for an additional battery depending on the manufacturer or brand so best to check with an experienced dealer.
Can I get it on cycle to work scheme / finance?
Yes, many Cycle to Work schemes have recently increased their allowance enabling their employees to buy electric bikes of better quality. Check with your employer to see if you are eligible for Cycle to Work schemes.
Whilst we don’t offer finance online our retail store does offer finance options from 6 to 48 months. Ask in store for prices and options as they vary from model to model.
If I buy an electric bike from elsewhere can you service it?
We will try and help anyone who comes through our door and we can fix most problems on any bike/ebike, however as electric bikes have more intricate and specialist parts sometimes we are unable to source parts as they might only be available to authorised retailers or certified workshops.
If you enquire in store our staff should be able to give you an idea if we could fix your issue or not, we always recommend buying local wherever possible so if you have a problem you can just bring it back to the store.
This is particularly important for electric bikes as bike brands are not like car brands in that the store you bought the bike from is where you have to take it when there is an issue, a local authorised retailer of brand you purchased online or elsewhere has no responsibility for your purchase.
Which type of electric bike do I need?
Well, this really depends on what sort of riding you plan to do.
For example a rider who only needs to ride a short distance every day, e.g. 5 miles to work and 5 miles back on the roads would do just fine with one of our entry level models. A rider who wants to do mountain biking on aggressive trails would want a higher end full suspension electric bike. It really comes down to how far you need to go, how often you're going to use it and also how you're going to use it. If you’re really unsure then we’d really recommend you come by the store sometime and have a chat with one of our experienced sales reps for advice.
How much should I expect to pay for a good electric bike?
Another complicated question without a real answer, whilst the price of electric bikes over the past few years is coming down as manufacturing becomes more efficient they are still quite a bit more expensive than a regular bicycle.
Partly this is because of the cost of producing a motor, battery and control system that is both reliable and safe to use, particularly in our climate here in the UK where water ingress into the electronics has plagued earlier electric bikes from ten years ago - as the old adage goes, electricity and water go not mix.
There is also the added cost of servicing as many of the components with an electric drive system being only serviable by workshops with both the experience and the proprietary tools to work on any given manufacturers hardware or update their software.
Whilst you can pick up electric bikes for under £1,000 - they all pretty much tend to be very poor quality and often have more than their fair share of issues which need costly repairs (we’d know as we get plenty of them through the door going into the workshop).
Our range starts from around £1,250 for a basic (but reliable, otherwise we wouldn’t waste our time) electric bike but models with smart features and premium drivetrains do cost more with the sweet spot for commuter bikes being around the £2,000 mark and for mountain bikes around the £3,500 mark.
Specs and Performance
What is the range of an electric bike?
This is probably the most common question we’re asked and unfortunately it’s
impossible to say with any certainty as results vary enormously depending on a number of factors such as rider weight, tyre pressures, terrain, pedal input and wind resistance.
Some manufacturers (such as Wisper) do provide range data but you should take these with a big pinch of salt as you would when reading about fuel economy for a car - they’re usually based on perfect conditions which are typically not representative of real world results.
How much heavier is an electric bike?
Without beating about the bush, batteries are heavy and can add up to an additional 10kg of weight to a bike depending on their size - naturally smaller batteries weigh less than bigger ones. Despite the weight however you don’t really notice it whilst riding due to the pedal assist feature on electric bikes.
Which is better, mid or hub drives?
For more ‘sporty’ riders it's better to have a mid drive system such as those found on the Bosch Powered eBikes as the weight of the bike will be centrally balanced and will give much better control, e.g. whilst mountain biking.
For more easy going riders, e.g. town, commuter or comfort riding a hub driven motor is absolutely fine and they tend to be more economical.
To Bosch or not to Bosch?
Bosch certainly has a reputation for producing highly durable, premium quality products and their ebike systems are no different as the German company has invested heavily in their electric bike drive systems. However, don’t get hung up on a brand as there are other systems which are comparable such as Shimano’s Steps System and those by Yamaha. It just comes to personal preference but we’d suggest you test a few different drive systems before making a purchase.
What is the service/warranty like for an electric bike?
All the electric bikes here at Scotby Cycles come with a full manufacturer warranty, the period varies from manufacturer to manufacturer on select components but the minimum period is twelve months from date of purchase, this covers parts and labour for bikes bought from us. We also offer a free service after six weeks to make sure your bike is still running smoothly and the gears and brakes etc are still functioning properly.
How fast does an electric bike go? are they limited?
All electric bikes sold in the UK are required by law to stop providing electric assistance once they reach 15.5mph or 25km/ph. After this you will be pedaling the bike only by your own power, the assistance will come back on after the bike falls below the speed threshold again.
Can I derestrict my electric bike?
A few internet searches will reveal that whilst it is possible to derestrict an electric bike, we would never recommend it as this would instantly invalidate your manufacturer warranty (particularly with smart drive systems from the likes of Bosch and Shimano which record such a attempts and may even intentionally “brick” their drive system into limp mode) on the bike and would make it illegal to operate in the UK.
Is there resistance from the motor when riding without assistance?
It depends, on some older and or cheaper motors are likely to have some resistance when pedalling without the electric assist enabled or when pedaling over the 15mph limit. The amount of resistance will vary depending on manufacturer however, newer motors especially those from the likes of Bosch and Yamaha have almost no noticeable resistance.
Can I change assistance levels?
Almost all electric bikes will have some way of changing the amount of assistance offered by the motor, usually via a button on a control panel located on the handlebars. You can have the choice of doing almost no effort yourself. If you want to save battery you can do more work yourself by turning the assistance down to lower levels.
Can I ride the bike normally if I don't want any assistance?
Yes, on most electric bikes riding with the electric assistance dissabled will not affect anything adversely.
How powerful are electric bikes?
Firstly, any electric bike motor in the UK is not allowed to exceed 250 watts so be careful when checking out the specs for electric bikes on manufacturers websites as some by default give you the U.S. specs which can be more powerful. Almost all electric will be at this maximum limit.
However, the amount of torque of the motor depends on the type of motor and can vary depending on what the bike is designed to do. A full suspension electric mountain bike is going to have more torque than a sit-up-and-beg style town bike. Currently at the time of writing the highest amount of torque on an electric bike is 120nm! But that’s a bit of an outlier as electric bikes are usually around 30-40nm to 80nm of torque.
Where are electric bikes made?
As with conventional bikes, most electric bikes are now largely made in Asia in countries such as China, Vietnam and Taiwan. Some are imported into Europe as complete bikes (usually the more premium models) and some are imported in parts and assembled here in Europe.