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You are here: Home >>  Taking Action >>  Cycling >>  Electric bikes

Electric bikes

Do you need a little extra assistance cycling? An electric bike could be the answer. 

It's not cheating to ride an e-bike, it offers the chance to start cycling and improve your health or gives current cyclists an added boost to help them cycle further, carry a heavy load or keep a faster pace.

Bicycles are a wonderful means of transportation that helps preserve the environment: it reduces air contamination, ecological footprints, carbon emissions, is healthy and very inexpensive!

The recent crisis and rise in the price of oil has contributed to a slight increase in the use of cheaper, more ecological means of transportation, such as the electrical bicycle. The popularity of pedal assisted electric bikes or ebikes for short, has been growing year on year. They are a good alternative to a normal bike especially if your route includes hills, is more than 5 miles long or if you need an extra boost on the road. 

How does an electrical bicycle work?

It consists of several parts: cycling system (part of the traditional bicycle), battery, controller (sends power to the motor), electric motor and pedaling sensor. The motor is supplied with power from the battery, which is recharged in the electrical grid, although a solar panel can also be used. Certain modern motors can be charged while riding down hill.

When the sensor detects pedaling, it starts the motor, which helps on steep hills and long distances. When the rider stops pedaling or brakes, the motor stops.

Types of electrical bicycles

There are almost as many variations of e-bike as there are regular bike.

Hybrids/commuter e-bikes - Probably the most popular class as they are suitable for a variety of uses including commuting, leisure rides and daily chores.

Off-road e-bikes - E-mtbs – electric mountain bikes – are growing hugely in popularity as people discover how a bit of electric assist really comes into its own off-road where the going can get very tough.

E-cargo bikes - An ideal use for extra power allowing you to move what couldn't be moved easily by bike otherwise.

Folding e-bikes - Well-engineered, portable brands are rarer than you might think. Designed to be stored in cars, apartments or on arrival at the office.

Speed-pedelecs - Speed-pedelecs are capable of 45kmh / 28mph assisted speeds so they are not, legally speaking, e-bikes but mopeds 



  • More economical than fuel-powered cars and motorcycles, and cheaper than buying an electrical vehicle for the city.
  • You can adapt your traditional bike using a kit, and you can do it yourself in a few minutes, so you don't need to buy a new one.
  • No contamination, forget about CO2 emissions!
  • Depending on the person's physical condition, the type of terrain or the distance, the electrical bike can be more comfortable since it allows the rider to cover more distance or climb hills when more moderate physical exercise is required. The bicycle does not do the riding for you, it provides a slight impulse when you start off or ride uphill with a smooth, fluid movement.



  • The autonomy of the lithium batteries (lead batteries are hardly used any longer because of their weight and contamination) is around 35 to 60 km, although this can vary depending on how the motor is used, rider weight, etc. Some batteries can last for up to 140 km.
  • Traditional bicycles are still the least contaminating option since they do not need batteries and consume no electricity at all.
  • Legal requirements
  • Electrical or assisted pedaling bicycles do not require a license or insurance. In that sense they are similar to traditional bikes; however, they do have to meet certain requirements, such as:
  1. - A motor that cannot exceed 250W of power.
  2. - Maximum speed of 25 Km/h.
  3. - They cannot weigh more than 40 Kg.
  4. - The motor is activated by pedaling and stops automatically when pedaling stops or the brake is activated (it is not equipped with an accelerator).

Try an e-bike today 

There are a number of locations across Scotland where you can view, demo and buy e-bikes - Find out more here.

Need Help? Click here.