A beginner's guide to e-bikes
let’s take a look at what e-bikes are and how they work, and what we offer from our vast e-bike range.
Just like unassisted bikes, there are lots of kinds of electric bikes, from urban commuters to full-suspension mountain rippers. The big difference, of course, is the fact there’s a motor and battery in the bike helping to power you up hills or through headwinds. It can be daunting trying to understand what kind of motor, battery size, or even the type of bike is best for your situation. So let’s take a look at what e-bikes are and how they work, and what we offer from our vast e-bike range.
How do e-bikes work and what are the different types of motors?
Electric bikes, or electrically-assisted pedal cycles (EAPCs) are bikes that have a motor powering the drive system. You still have to pedal for the motor to engage, and any e-bike that has a throttle control (where you don’t need to pedal for the motor to engage) is classed as a moped in the eyes of the law in the UK.
In the UK, e-bikes are legally required to only assist to a maximum speed of 15.5mph. That doesn’t mean to say you can’t ride faster, it just means you’ll be pedalling under your own steam rather than using power from the motor.
Where it gets interesting is the different kinds of motor you might find on e-bikes. The two most popular options are mid-drive, where the motor sits above the bottom bracket in the middle of the frame, or hub-drive, where the motor is situated in the hub of one of the wheels.
Lapierre e-bikes use both mid and hub driven motors. The benefit of a mid-drive motor is that they are often more responsive and are balanced well, but they often cost more. The benefit to rear hub motors is that there is less direct wear on the drivetrain, and that they’re often less noticeable than mid-drive options.
Hub drive motors are more likely to be used in electric road bikes or urban bikes, like the e-Sensium, which uses a subtle MAHLE Smartbike Systems motor in the rear wheel to power you up climbs.
What type of e-bike is best for you?
E-bikes are no different than unassisted bikes in the amount of categories there are, and this can sometimes be overwhelming. However, if you know what kind of riding you’re going to be doing, then it makes it a lot easier to narrow down your options.
E-MTBs are incredibly fun, and can allow you the opportunity to ride more laps at the bike park as they make climbing back up for another run much easier. Our e-MTBs come in both hardtail and full-suspension options, but a great starting point would be something like the Overvolt HT – with the HT here standing for ‘hardtail’. There is a choice of frame designs for more accessibility, and a powerful mid-drive Bosch Performance Line motor for tackling technical ascents.
E-bikes can also be ideal for commuters, with plenty of city-friendly options. Depending on your route, you might want something with an upright riding position like the Lapierre e-Urban, which also comes with a rear rack to carry your luggage on so you don’t have to wear a backpack. These models also use a Bosch mid-drive motor so setting off from junctions and getting up to speed is an absolute breeze.
If you want something a bit more versatile, the e-Explorer is perfect as a do-it-all e-bike. It’ll get you to work and back, but also has the ability to be ridden on light off-road sections like towpaths and forest roads. The e-Explorer comes in a choice of step-through or step-over frames and uses a Bosch mid-drive motor for superb power transference.
If riding off the beaten path is more your style, then an e-gravel bike may be a good choice. Our e-Crosshill gravel bike has the suave styling of an unassisted bike, but the quiet motor power of the MAHLE Smartbike Systems rear hub motor. It’s got plenty of range, too, and offers a clean handlebar as the control button is located in the top tube.
Electric bikes are incredible tools, and they’re for everyone. They aren’t the preserve of older people or those who are recovering from health issues. They’re incredibly fun to ride and make you smile as you hit the road or trail that little bit faster. Discover the full range of electric bikes by Lapierre here, and join the e-revolution!