Last time on Electric Bike Mythbusters, we tackled a few of the unfortunate myths that make the lives of e-bike riders slightly more awkward every day. "Isn't that cheating?"; "Aren't you just shifting all of your emissions over to the power stations?" and "Aren't they just overpriced and overrated?".
We like to think that the previous article obliterated the above myths, but others remain. Here they are:
An electric bike is a significant, complicated liability that'll see me constantly back at the bike shop, right?
Wrong. Like most myths, this is, at best, extremely reductive. Like in any 'market', electric bikes range from the simple (the Bike-With-A-Motor-On-It) to the complex (the bike with an intelligent thigh torque extender on it) with many shades in-between. Some customers seek the dowdy but reliable workhorse, others the high-tech gadget.
All e-bikes are made by mortals and are sadly not indestructible. Most, however, are incredibly uncomplicated. Most designs never stray far from a "regular bicycle with a motor on" principle, so anyone with conventional cycle-repair know-how can tackle 95% of all associated issues. So you can be safe in the knowledge that most bike shops will need no more than our specialist plug and play parts.
Unfortunately, we live in a cruel, amoral universe, and even the most cleverly-engineered part will fail under the right circumstances. Whether thanks to daily wear and tear or your (perfectly innocently) decision to chance a pothole, there will come a day when some part of your bike needs either replacing or repairing. However, since your electrics do not need regular servicing like a car or motorbike, you shouldn't expect to visit a workshop more than the regular old bicycle in the shed.
This myth again speaks to the fragility of the British ego. We muse to ourselves: "What if my peers see me getting assistance with my bi-cycling? They would presume me to be incapable and not of the excellent moral character I most assuredly am. I would die from the shame".
Of course, we get assistance with everything – it's the very nature of technology – and in our modern-day society, we're more reliant on gadgets making our lives more straightforward than ever. Yet to many, putting a motor on a bicycle is a bridge too far. I'm not going to get into the tangled reasoning behind this complaint, but I will set about demolishing the myth:
Not every young person wants to make a martyr of themselves every time they pop into shops. They may want to arrive sooner without requiring one more shower. Again it's a matter of perception: is a bicycle (electric or otherwise) a means of demonstrating your masculinity and can-do attitude, or is it a convenient means of moving yourself from one place to another?
One more perception problem. E-bike culture (and bike culture more generally) tends to follow the following idea: e-bikes are gadgets, and gadgets require a computer-orientated mind to operate.
It's completely understandable to have this view. Look at any marketing display, and you will likely see the most modern, high-tech e-bike in the manufacturers' range. These bikes can look remarkably slick and contemporary; alternatively, they can look sterile, joyless, or over-designed, with a few extra 'techy' elements to boot. It depends on who you ask. But whatever your take on 'e-bikes-as-gadgets' (as opposed to transport), you can't pretend these bikes represent the whole market.
It may come as a shock to many that if you can ride a regular bicycle, you can ride an ebike: it's as simple as that. No, I take that back because riding an ebike can often be much more straightforward than riding a regular mechanical bike. Let me explain:
When riding an ordinary bike, you have to pedal consistently whilst observing the traffic around you and sit a mental maths test throughout your ride—constantly judging the terrain and determining the likelihood that you will get stopped at a traffic light in the wrong gear. Not to mention managing your effort when climbing a hill to ensure you will have enough gears at the lower end of your cassette to crest the summit. With an electric bike, you can forget about all of those worries. If you select the wrong gear, the motor will work harder for you. If you don't want to change gear, you can choose a mid-range gear at the start of your journey and let the assistant do the rest of the work.
With more confidence and learning, you can achieve a whole host of other benefits from your electric bike, but the point is you don't have to if you don't want to. As long as you can click one button to turn the display on, jump on your bike and pedal, you can ride an electric bike.
Don't believe us; visit one of our dealers today for a test ride and experience the simplicity for yourself.