Electric bikes are big business in China, and are cheap items to buy. Unfortunately cheap electric bicycles are not readily available in developed nations.
With more and more people looking to avoid sitting in traffic jams, paying congestion charges (UK) and lower their carbon footprint, electric bikes are the latest 'hot item'.
Electric Bikes BenefitsThere are definite benefits to electric bikes- they reduce the 'sweat factor' allowing you to ride further without overdoing it physically, and get up those hills without too much effort.The rider generally has the choice of whether to keep the bike on electric assist, or only turn it on when they need it, obviously extending the battery's charge.
The average charge on electric bikes is about 20-25 miles (32-40km). They can generally be charged at any wall plug, as the battery generally detaches from the bikes.
The downside is that they can be heavy, difficult for those of us who live in flats/apartments and have to lug a bike up a staircase. The weight of the bikes also is an issue if the charge should run out. Being a weightier bike, it does take more energy to ride than a lighter bike.
New Electric Bicycles
GoCycleThe GoCycle has been called ......... enclosed chain- no more greasy chain marks on your work clothes and the small electric motor is hidden inside the front wheel hub. The downside, it only provides about 20 minutes of 'turbo boost'. It does fold, and actually fits into a carry bag, but takes a couple of minutes to remove the wheels, fold the chassis and fit it all neatly into the bag.
It is a light electric bicycle at roughly 16kg, which is lighter than some unassisted mountain bikes. All this fancy technology comes at a price.....
Pacific Terra 7-Speed More than 50 lbs (22kgs) makes it more like a heavy mountain bike, but it can be ridden without the battery.Close to $1000
Currie E-Zip Cheap entry into the electric bicycle world at an advertised US$350, I have seen it closer to double that, but either way the bike does have its drawbacks.
The bike uses a lead-acid battery which is only good for one year, so you will be spending roughly $120/ year replacing it. It is also quite heavy which generally comes with cheaper bikes.
The battery charge lasts for between (16-30kms)10-25 miles depending on how often you use the electric assist.