The Start of the Beginning

This is a blog about my search for an electric bike. Primarily, it’s a place to keep the findings and links of my research. I hope it may be useful to anyone looking for an e-bike to suit their budget and needs. I would be delighted to hear from anybody with suggestions and recommendations, specific or general. In particular, it would be great to hear from bike owners with their reviews of a particular machine. I will open spaces on the site for any comments or reviews.

I’m 60, and 6’2″, hoping to be down to 95 Kg soon. One particular frustration in searching for details on the internet is that even the manufacturers more often than not do not specify suitability for these basic measurements. It may be as well to say here that often information about battery power is poor too.

I’ve had a Giant Expression bike for ten years and it is by far the best bike I have ever owned. Astonishingly, it has never needed adjustment (e.g. to gears or brakes). Given Giant’s excellent reputation and my own experience, their electric bikes are near the top of the list of the ones I am considering. Luckily, I have Giant retailers nearby so should be able to have a test ride and find out more about them. Yet, and this is another frustration, yesterday I visited a site which slated Giant electric bikes, giving them one out of five stars. The majority of reviews are favourable though. It seems clear to me that the internet is full of hyped claims for cheap electric bikes, and some dubious ‘reviews’. Fortunately, there are good sources of information too which you’ll find in the EXPERT ADVICE section.

I won’t know for several months what my budget will be. I have a section, BIKES, which details the ones I am thinking about. Generally these are mid-range machines, between £1,200 and £1,700 (I’ve seen e-bikes at £8,000!).  The battery is the most expensive part of many bikes and you pay say £200 – £400 extra to get an upgrade from 10 to 17Ah. Some bikes carry two or more batteries to increase range as you’ll find in individual descriptions. But if your bike is for commuting or visiting the shops you needn’t pay for this extra battery capacity. If budget is tight there are bikes well below the £1000 mark: in particular, the PowaCycle Salisbury which has an excellent reputation can be had for £700.

In the EXPERT ADVICE section you will find articles about what to look for in an electric bike, which is the right sort for your needs and budget, what to avoid, recommended bikes and much more. I will also link to expert independent reviews.

Finally,  although overall it is best to buy a bike from a reputable dealer in person, this is not always possible. Provided you are satisfied with the quality of a bike and that it fits your requirements, internet sales are cheaper usually and you will also find a range of discounted bikes that are ex-demo but still carry a full guarantee.

I’ve just started this on 2 October 2012 so please keep coming back as I get time to put up more. Thanks for reading, and I’d love to hear from you.

20th October Update. I have now made a wide search of what is available but doubtless have missed some. I have made  shortlists of bikes which you’ll find under the buttons above.


2 thoughts on “The Start of the Beginning

  1. Re: that adverse comment about Giant e-bikes. Giant started in e-bikes in 1999 with a real turkey, the original very heavy Lafree, but within two years replaced it with the superb Lafree Lite e-bikes. But in 2006 they discontinued those and introduced the cheap Suede model. That was ok but it’s battery and charger were rubbish, often giving trouble. They followed by greatly upgrading the bike but adding regeneration that didn’t work well, plus it had unpopular very high motor drag. However, in the last three years they’ve corrected those problems on their newer models and they can be considered as good e-bikes again. So you can see that views on Giant e-bikes can be very variable, depending on what era one delves into them.

    • Ishmael says:

      Thanks, Tony. I have come to learn that there are constant changes in models, usually for the better. Giant remain top of my list, budget permitting, and I’ll be looking out for reviews of 2013 versions.

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