Electric bikes are a relatively new product to market, but have seen an explosion in interest an use across Germany and the Netherlands. In the UK about 25,000 were sold last year (2011) and that is set to increase year on year. An electric bike or an e-bike currently comes in two formats, pedal assist or handlebar throttle. Pedal assist means that as you start to pedal the motor kicks in and makes light work of your pedalling. Throttle is usually on the handlebar and much like a motorbike has a twist mechanism, which engages the motor without any need for pedalling. Both are designed to assist a user up hills and mean a less energetic/sweaty outcome.
Electric bike companies are springing up everywhere across the UK and are currently being sold to the camping and caravan market, as well as the over 60′s who love cycling but don’t want to huff and puff. Recently some brands have brought out mountain bike versions aiming them at a younger demographic.
Speaking recently with multiple electric bike companies it’s clear that the demographic is still evolving. There are the obvious purchasers for electric bikes like the over 60’s movement, the sweaty commuter that needs a hand rather than a shower and the happy campervan owner who doesn’t want to try and park his articulate on a small French village side street. However companies are starting to bring out electric mountain bikes, which is an interesting development. Are these aimed at the 16-25yr old ‘no fear’ generation or beer swigging 25+ range, who just don’t have the energy or legs to compete? Maybe it’s aimed at the middle age group who used to be cool and want a piece of their childhood back? Either way bike snobbery still exists and only time will tell whether the peer ridicule will give way to, damn this makes life so much easier.