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E-Bike Insurance Explained

E-Bike Insurance Explained

By , 05 August 2022, 5 min read

If ever there was a disruptor in the bicycle industry, is has to be the e-bike. Some die-hard cycling enthusiasts may well frown upon the use of e-bikes as they are inclined to blur the lines between cycling and effortless pedaling.

Who uses these?

It’s all a matter of perspective really. I for one am a big fan of electric bikes by virtue of the fact that they open doors for those that no longer possess the ability to climb a 10% gradient or those who lack the fitness / athleticism to head out on a 20 mile ride. In other words, EB’s have galvanized a whole new sector to the sport of cycling and by implication are contributing towards the health and well-being of our nation.

What's the difference between an e-bike and electric scooter?

However, what is the definition of an e-bike and when does an e-bike morph into an electric scooter? By law, it is not permissible to classify a bike as an e-bike if the maximum power rating exceeds 250W, a maximum speed of over 15.5mph and motor assistance without pedal movement. Bikes that generate in excess of 750 watts are technically no longer classified as e-bikes but rather should be registered as electric motorcycles with the concomitant license requirements. Is 250W enough to power a plus size cyclist to the summit of a steep gradient though? The answer to that question does not necessarily have to do with the actual wattage but rather how that power is applied to the ground.

Are all e-bikes the same?

There are two types of e-bike motors – hub drive motors are connected to the rear hub or front wheel whilst mid-drive motors are situated between the crank arms in the bottom bracket of the frame and are predominantly nominally rated at 250W. Leading brands such as Bosch, Brose and Shimano manufacture high performance 250W motors. Hub drive motors do not transfer power through the gears and require significantly more effort to produce the same effect as a mid-drive derivative, the latter of which generates more power out of less wattage by leveraging the bike’s drivetrain. The bike’s performance, torque and speed will change relative to the selected gear. By implication, less wattage translates into a smaller battery size which in turn equates to a lighter bike, the downside being a heftier price tag.

What wattage?

Another consideration in this minefield of motors is the question nominal vs maximum wattage, both of which are fundamentally different metrics. The nominal wattage is the maximum amount of power a motor can sustain for a protracted period of time, whilst the maximum output is the wattage that a motor is capable of producing in a very short burst. Nominal wattage is thus the more relevant of the two metrics and describes the feel of the bike over the duration of the ride.

Now that you have been given a brief low-down of the idiosyncrasies of e-bike motors and have ordered your shiny bright battery-powered steed, click on our quotation link and check out our uber-competitive e-bike insurance..