As a manager at Greenaer, Ireland’s leading electric-bicycle store, I get asked the same questions all the time from customers. It’s amazing how many false assumptions still exist in the Irish market with regard to electric bicycles. Compared to countries like Germany and The Netherlands, where 1 in 5 bikes sold are electric, Irish cyclists are just beginning to realise the advantages of an eBike. This article explores the more common questions we get asked about electric bicycles and hopefully debunks some of the myths that still exist about them. Vincent Harris, Greenaer.
“Aren’t electric bicycles just for lazy people!?”
No! Electric bicycles are bikes with benefits!
Yes, you can use less effort on an electric bicycle compared to a conventional bike. However, most riders report that they actually end up riding more frequently, for further distances, and for longer periods of time on an electric bicycle!
Once obstacles and constraints to cycling such as hills, terrain, distance, physical shape, and others are removed with the help of an electric bicycle, an electric bicycle can help to incorporate exercise into your everyday life.
In some cases, people that begin to commute on an electric bicycle keep their pedaling to a minimum on the way to work, in order to simply enjoy the ride and not arrive tired or sweaty, but then decide to go home on pedal-power only.
People who choose an electric bicycle over their car for short trips and errands around town find it so enjoyable, they look forward to getting on their bike the next time. (Not to mention the savings on petrol money, parking, insurance etc)
In fact, many electric bicycle users find themselves using their bike in situations they hadn’t even considered before. The net result is that they start to cycle more and more, and end up exercising beyond their initial plans.
“Do I need to pedal an electric bicycle or can I just whizz along like a moped or scooter?”
Electric bicycles resemble a “regular” bicycle more so than a moped or a scooter. They feel like a bicycle to ride and you can pedal them, just as you would with a regular bike. If you want you can cycle an electric bicycle just like a regular bike by simply turning the assistance off. Electrically assisted bicycles or ‘Pedelecs’ don’t do all the work for you, they assist. Essentially, they take the sting out of what could otherwise be a tough cycle. Electric bicycles really come into their own when cycling up hills or against the wind.
Unlike a moped or a scooter, electric bikes are:
- Lightweight – The battery and motor add about 7 kilos to the regular weight of the bike. Overall, an electric bike will generally be 2-3 times lighter than a moped or a scooter.
- Virtually silent – The motor kicks in with nothing more than a gentle hum.
- Licence and Tax free- Electric bicycles can be bought and cycled just the same as a regular bike. They can also be purchased under the Bike to Work Scheme, whereas mopeds and scooters can’t.
“Are electric bicycles eligible for the Bike to Work Scheme?”
“Can you cycle an electric bike when it rains?”
Any good quality electric bicycle is built to be weather proof. The batteries and motor are fully water resistant and riding in the rain will not affect its performance. All the bikes sold at Greenaer are weather resistant, are made for the European market and subject to European regulations and quality control.
“Do you need a licence for an electric bicycle?”
Pedelecs / Electrically assisted bicycles (the type that Greenaer sell) do not require any special licence, registration or insurance before being permitted to cycle.
“Are electric bicycles more of a target for thieves because they’re more expensive than a normal bike?”
Unfortunately, any expensive item that is not locked away and/or secured will be targeted by thieves in Ireland but to say that electric bicycles are specifically targeted by thieves would be untrue.
Thieves, in general, are opportunists. If a bike is unlocked it will most likely be targeted, but if a bike is locked with a good quality lock the thief will most likely move on to a bike that is unlocked or to a bike that has an easy lock to break.
The reality is that it’s more difficult to sell on a stolen electric bicycle than a stolen conventional bike. The reason for this is because each eBike needs a charger (each brand of eBike has it’s own type of charger) and a unique key for the battery. If the bike was robbed the likelihood would be that the owner would have these items and not the thief. In some cases the displays are detachable and without it the electrics will not work.
“Do electric bikes need specialist mechanics for servicing and do they require a lot of maintenance?”
Electric bicycles require a certain amount of maintenance but not much more than a conventional bike. Most repairs, such as brake and gear servicing and puncture repairs can be carried out by any decent bike mechanic. All the eBikes sold at Greenaer are covered by a 2 year warranty on electrical components and a 5 year warranty on bike frames. At GreenAer our mechanics are accredited by Bosch and Yamaha, we also have diagnostic systems for Kalkhoff and BH. Certain parts are non standard , where possible you are always better off dropping your bike into us.
Greenaer is Ireland’s leading electric bicycle store. We are located at 12a Magennis Place, just across the road from Pearse Street Dart Station in Dublin 2.
Open Monday to Friday 9.30am-6.30pm, Saturday 10am-4pm.