A Bicycle with a Motor

A bicycle with a motor, isn’t that just a motorbike? Nope.

We are talking about pedal bikes with the added assistance of a motor. What’s the point?

Motorised bike, e-bikes, or electrically assisted bikes, there are many names for this new breed of bike, whose popularity is steadily rising.  They have the fun and convenience of both bikes and motorbikes without the strain of pedal bikes and the dangers and expenses of motorbikes.

Make no mistake, you still have to pedal an e-bike, but the motor makes it easy. They are perfect for commuting, errands, pleasure, and exercise.

Let’s get straight to it. We will look at why you want a motorised bicycle, the laws affecting using a motorised bicycle, cheaper options and e-bike conversion kits and which engine to choose.

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Why you should buy a motorised bicycle 

Head for the hills

Never dread a hill again, let a motor do all the work for you and hills become a doddle. Whether it’s your uneven commute or a tricky mountain ride, motorised bikes make hills fun without the pain of climbing them and burning your calf muscles to death in the process.

Play fast and loose

Adding a motor onto your bike helps you get up to speed and slow down easily. When you come up to traffic lights, there’s no more worry or exertion about slowing down in time or starting up fast enough to appease the cars around you. 

Cheap as chips

Motorised bikes are a happy medium between a car and a bike. They help you get around quickly and easily without exhausting yourself, but they are way cheaper than a car. There’s no paying for petrol, no license, no parking, no tax etc.

Not to mention that repairs are under £50 but cars cost owners an average of 1.5% of their annual income. If you are on a tight budget but looking for a convenient mode of transportation, you’ve found it in a bike with a motor. 

Safety in style

Statistically speaking, biking is safer than driving, less speed, more space and it’s healthier for the human race. You get all the style and coolness without the dangers and headaches of a motorcycle. You can’t argue that it definitely feels cool.

The lazy man’s bike

Yes, it’s time to stand tall and claim the title, the e-bike is the lazy man’s bike and it’s a fantastic form of exercise for those who want to get into biking slowly and gently without exhausting themselves. It’s a fun, more convenient way to bike and a good way to get into things.

When it comes to schlepping, a motorised cargo bike will transform your carrying capacity, you can put a fridge on the back of one!

If you would love to bike to work but your commute is long, hilly and you fancy an easy morning, without turning up at work smashed, try a motorised bike.

The law of the lands

It’s important to check out the laws in your area. Motorised bikes are the lovechild of pedal bikes and motorbikes and the custody battle is not over yet. The laws are different in each country and each state, in some states, e-bikes are under the same laws that govern mopeds; you will need a license and must be over 14.

In others they are seen as faster pedal bikes. You must find out your local areas laws before you start riding.

E-bike conversion kits

While electric bikes are substantially cheaper than cars or motorbikes, they can still be pricey. A cheaper option is to use an e-bike conversion kit which transforms and ordinary pedal bike into an e-bike. 

As with most areas of technology, the choices and products are numerous. You can buy tiny, very quiet motors that are small enough to fit inside a wheel hub or bottom bracket, the same as Femke Van den Driessche nearly succeeded in cheating the Belgium Cyclocross with. The judges only caught her when her bike was x-rayed!

There are larger options that will give you more power and acceleration. You need to decide what motor you need.

One wheel to rule them all

The standard conversion kits contain a motor, a battery pack, and a controller. The motor can be attached to either the front or back wheel, but you should consider the pros and cons of each.

Placing the motor on the front wheel will cause the wheel to become heavier and a little harder to steer. Placing the motor on the rear wheel might interfere with your gearing and derailleurs.

Tiny or tall?

You need to choose the right motor that works for you. If you mainly ride on short journeys over mostly flat areas, then you can get away with a smaller motor that won’t cost too much or be difficult to install.

For longer rides or hilly climbs you will need a stronger battery with a longer life. These tend to be larger batteries which need a rack or bag to attach to your bike and may affect your handling.

What watt?

Ampage and wattage are very important when choosing a motor for your bike. Higher wattage equals more speed and climbing power. High amp means better acceleration. The more wattage, the less amp, the more amp, the less wattage so it’s about finding a healthy balance that suits your needs.

Ride fast, engine dies young

Make sure to read all the information carefully because pushing your motor to the maximum will cause it to overheat and fail eventually. So long uphill rides at maximum power on a low wattage are not advised.

Quick size guide

Size;Ideal for;Drawbacks;
50 ccFlat terrain, average sized riderWill need to pedal in hilly areas.
50 -80 ccHilly terrain or heavy rider
80 + cc Speed queensBicycles were not made to go so fast, small bicycles can’t handle it and control will become very difficult.

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