The updated Tern GSD e-cargo bike. What you need to know

The original Tern GSD electric cargo bike, released in 2017 received rave reviews. It was an Earl Grey IPA amongst a litany of tasteless lagers; unlike anything else and good fun when you tried it. It used the latest (and best) e-bike tech of the time, it was like a smartphone of the twenty-tens, not your 2003 Nokia 3310. And that's not forgetting then GSD's big selling point - it was practical, like a favourite waterproof jacket. It kept you dry in winter, but it wasn't too hot for summer showers. It had plenty of pockets, a hood and a stuff sack. Oh no, it certainly wasn't an early boil-in-the-bag waterproof. In summer 2020, Tern announced that generation two of the GSD was on the way and with the bikes inching their way to us at Velorution its time to take a closer look. 

Tern GSD logo on the GSD frame

What is the Tern GSD?

The GSD is a long-tailed electric cargo bike which uses a Bosch Cargo Line motor and runs on 20" wheels. The bicycle is semi-foldable and can be stored vertically, thanks to a flat-ended rear rack. Let's not beat around the bush. The Tern GSD is the best grocery-carrying, child-ferrying, car-replacing electric cargo bike available today. 

Tern GSD R14 Electric Cargo Bike

What's new with the Tern GSD 2.0? 

Because the first edition of the GSD was so complete, so well-received it was going to be quite a challenge to make the new bike any better, but there's little doubt Tern have done just that. We've broken down the new features of the Tern GSD into four... 

Tern GSD Generation 2 Frame

A redesigned frame: Although it may look similar to the first edition of the GSD, the new bike is stronger than its predecessor with a larger carrying capacity. Reinforced tubing offers extra rigidity when the natural side-to-side motion of pedalling takes effect - a feature if you're riding the bike fully loaded you'll be thankful for. Speaking of riding the bike with extra luggage, the GSD is now rated up to a total weight of 200kg! That's more than enough for your average adult, two children and a few odds and ends.

Don't just take our word for it either. Tern submitted the GSD to EFBE Pruftechnik, a strictly neutral and independent German testing facility. EFPE put a bike through hundreds of thousands of multi-directional stress cycles, simulating pedalling and breaking simultaneously for example. In 2020, EFPE established a new standard for cargo bikes and you'll be pleased to know that the GSD (and it's sister the HSD) passed.

Tern has also tweaked the bike's geometry to make the bike more comfortable too. A higher handlebar and slacker seat tube angle makes it comfortable to rider irrespective of whether you're a jockey or an NBA professional. The exact rider height recommendations quoted from Tern are 150cm to 195cm.

Updated e-bike tech: All GSD models now use Bosch's Cargo Line motor, a system which packs a punch - up to 85nm of torque and a dizzying 400% extra support on top of your pedalling power. That's a sackful of power to get you rolling from a stationary start and a boatload of grunt to get you over sharp inclines with your two children in tow. Get 'under the hood' of Bosch's electric bike systems in our journal piece

Bosch Cargo Line on the Tern GSD R14 Electric Cargo Bike

Refined on-bike features: Alongside that new frame and Bosch Cargo line motor Tern have revised a large number of other features on the GSD. Starting with the bike's fork. Every bike now runs a custom SR Suntour suspension fork (opposed to a rigid fork on the first edition GSD) with 70mm travel - an extra soupcon of riding comfort.

There's a new double kickstand with auto-lock and quick release to give the bike a stable platform when stationary and enclosed rear wheels to protect you and your passengers from road spray. New passenger footplates, wheel locks on every model and updated luggage options illustrate that Tern has left no stone unturned in their quest to improve the GSD. 

New top-of-the-range option: All told there are five tiers of GSD and sitting pretty atop those bikes is the Tern GSD R14. It's equipped two 500Wh batteries for extra riding range, a Rohloff speedhub gearing, Gates belt drive, suspension seatpost and premium lighting. Tasty.

A complete guide to the Tern GSD range

Tern GSD S10

Starting things off is the GSD S10. All the new GSD features are present and correct - the suspension fork, the new foot plates, the enclosed rear wheel and the uprated kickstand. This bike uses a 400Wh battery (there's a port to add a second battery if you wish) and 10 speed Shimano Deore gearing. Overall bike weight is 33.58kg. 

Price: £4,500

Tern GSD S10 Electric Cargo Bike

Tern GSD S10 LX

The LX version of the S10 steps things up with a 500Wh battery, suspension seatpost and a more powerful 700-lumen front light, opposed to a 190 lumen light on the standard S10. The bike weighs in at 33.58kg.

Price: £5,000

Tern GSD S10 LX Electric Cargo Bike

Tern GSD S00

For a cleaner, oil-free ride, the GSD S00 and it's sister bike the S00 LX ditch the traditional bike chain for a Gates belt with an Enviolo SP hub gear alongside. This model runs a 500Wh battery and weighs in at 34.98kg. 

Price: £5,500

Tern GSD S00 Electric Cargo Bike

Tern GSD S00 LX

The S00 LX also weighs 34.98kg. Again powered by a 500Wh battery it adds a suspension seatpost and the uprated front light.  

Price: TBC

Tern GSD S00 LX Electric Cargo Bike

Tern GSD R14 

We touched on this model above - the GSD R14 rolls away from the factory with not one, but two 500Wh batteries, that Rohloff hub and all the accoutrements you'll probably ever need. Those two 500Wh batteries are good for 128 miles before they'll need a charge! This bike tips the scales at 37.26kg. 

Price: £8,200

Tern GSD R14 Electric Cargo Bike

That's our wrap up of the new Tern GSD. Selected Tern GSD models can now be pre-ordered online for store collection or purchased via one of our four Velorution stores. Pictured throughout this article is the Tern GSD R14. We're here to help with any additional questions you may have about the GSD, drop it in the comments below or send us an email: [email protected]

Velorutionaries – Viv Lawrence

Velorutionaries aims to tell one person's cycling story, with a foray into their passions and finally, a glance at the bike they ride. This time it's photographer Viv Lawrence and his Schindelhauer Heinrich electric bike in the spotlight...

What do you do for a living?

I am a photographer specialising in photographing artworks and I also help artists who need the records of their work updated. Old ‘analogue’ film stock - negatives and transparencies - deteriorate even if they are stored correctly so I transfer this into the more permanent digital format. There is usually a lot of restoration to do along the way which I enjoy. 

What are you passionate about?

I trained at art school and then went to the Royal College of Art to study printmaking. Still images have special power because they exist in time and space, so in our seasonal and continually changing world, they are evergreen.

Artistic and creative endeavour is a conversation with the world that anyone can join in and I never tire of this conversation, revisiting galleries to look again at familiar pictures or attending exhibitions to see what has been newly created. 

How long have you been a cyclist?

I can’t remember NOT being able to ride a bike. I have always had a bike wherever I have lived and at the school I went to they were compulsory. 

What bike are you riding?

A Schindelhauer Heinrich electric bike. I had my eye on it for a while and when my previous bike failed, I seized the opportunity and bought one. It is in a different league to anything I have owned before. It brings the sturdiness of motorcycle engineering to a bicycle and it is very beautifully finished. It has bright lights powered by the battery and the eight gears that cover every need. It also has Gates Belt Drive so no more oily chains.

Schindelhauer Heinrich Electric Bike

Viv rides the Schindelhauer Heinrich electric bike. The Heinrich's power is provided by a Bosch Active Line Plus motor - an ideal choice for urban dwellers, thanks to its whisper quite assistance. Through an integrated battery (in the Heinrich's downtube), hidden cabling and an 8-speed hub gearing system the bike retains an extremely clean aesthetic.

We never tire of seeing a bike equipped with mudguards, pannier rack and lights - a bike is a mode of transport after all. The mudguards are of particular note. Manufactured by German brand Hebie, they include an unobtrusive rail for mounting pannier bags. Rated for a load of up to 8kg each side, not bad considering the mudguards only weigh 841 grams themselves!

Why did you choose an electric bike?

This is my third electric bike. I used one when I lived in the Netherlands 15 years ago where they were quite common, although the choice was fairly limited then. If you are meeting clients it is nice not to be in a sweat when you arrive, and if it is windy some assistance is always very welcome. The technology has moved on a lot and the range is far greater than it used to be and the batteries are lighter too.

What appeals to you about cycling?

You get to see where you live and the changes around you as they happen. And you know how long it takes to get somewhere. London is more bike-friendly than ever, although there is still some work to do here. I have two sturdy waterproof panniers which can even carry my photography equipment for a simple shoot.

Cyclists do often seem to be in a hurry, I notice, but I amble along and detour through the parks, just for the pleasure of it, if I have time. A journey on the bicycle is often interesting which is not the case on public transport.

How often do you ride and where?

I cycle every day for exercise apart from any other journeys I have to do. Where I live there are cycle paths in all directions which makes it easy to avoid sharing the road with traffic. The air is always good along the river apart from the great views and the wildlife, the boats and the ever-changing light.

What’s your favourite cycle route or destination?

I live by Tower Bridge and can cycle through Wapping and the Isle of Dogs to Greenwich using the foot tunnel to get under the river (although it’s closed at the moment because of social distancing). A pause to gaze at the Cutty Sark, then go on up through Greenwich Park to the Observatory and buy a coffee from the little café. It is a natural destination and there will always be other cyclists there to chat to while you all admire the view. 

Our thanks go to Viv for giving up his time to show us his Schindelhauer and tell us about his riding life.

A closer look at the ARCC e2-pod Intelligent Drive System

It was back in 2016 that we first threw a leg over a bike powered by the ARCC e-bike system. Although only four years ago, electric bikes then were something of a novelty, an after-thought in a two-wheeled world and perhaps something easily looked over. Today, its a very different story and many new (and existing) riders are experiencing the power of electric. ARCC have since revamped their e-bike system, the e2-pod Intelligent Drive System to give its full name and we thought it was high time we took a look at it in more detail.

What is the ARCC e2-pod Intelligent Drive System?

The e2-pod Intelligent Drive System is a highly innovative e-bike retrofit kit, designed and built in house by ARCC Bikes. The system weighs in at a paltry 3.9kg and is formed of a front-wheel motor, powered by a battery mounted to the headtube of the bike. Fitted at their headquarters by ARCC’s experts, the system is currently available for ARCC Bike’s own range of town bikes, the Abington and Rosemont, as well as for the Moulton TSR and Brompton (it is also compatible with Brompton bags).

ARCC Rosemont Electric Bike
ARCC Rosemont Electric Bike, fitted with the e2-pod Intelligent Drive System

In the five years since its debut, the system has been consistently refined and its latest iteration, the Gen II, builds on the highly successful Gen I with a sleeker design, alongside several new technological additions.

The e2-pod’s manufacturing process is meticulous and relies on sophisticated equipment, including CNC machining and 3D printing. Most of the components are fabricated from solid billets of 5083-grade Alplan aluminium alloy, which is highly durable and corrosion-resistant, and the pieces are then polished, hard anodised and weather sealed. Any leads are neatly tucked to the bike’s frame with bespoke clamps, allowing for easy removal of the front wheel.

ARCC Moulton TSR Electric Bike | Build your own

How is the ARCC system controlled?

The new Gen II ARCC system is now complete with a handlebar-mounted Bluetooth controller, which allows the rider to switch between power levels and modes on the fly, for a smoother, more enjoyable user experience. The unit sits snugly in a lipped cradle with a magnetic grip, that means it is easy to take out but hard to accidentally knock loose.

ARCC Bluetooth controller uni
ARCC Bluetooth controller unit

Using Bosch batteries as a power source, which are readily available from hardware stores and relatively cheap, the e2-pod can achieve a range of up to 75km, depending on the battery selected. They can also be quickly attached and detached from the pod when transporting the bike and are fast charging (tested on the 4 Ah Bosch battery).

Abington Electric bike, fitted with two Bosch batteries class=
ARCC Abington Electric bike, fitted with two Bosch batteries

With the ARCC Abington and ARCC Rosemont, you can also mount an extra battery to the downtube to extend the range, something Ebiketips did recently when they gave the system a once over. The Bosch batteries are also very hardy and have been rated to work after a 3m drop onto concrete and pleasingly they also come with their own two-year guarantee.

Riding the ARCC e2-pod system

So how does the system ride? Well, for starters the system features a state-of-the-art torque sensor that determines how much force the rider is applying to the pedal and delivers power to the motor accordingly. This system, as opposed to one that uses a rider's cadence to ration the motor power, helps you feel like you're riding a conventional bike. This gives the impression of riding on a flat, even when tackling steep hills. Assistance can be turned off by dialling the power levels down to zero, allowing the bike to be ridden as normal, and power levels can also be switched between using the free e2-pod app (only available on iOS).

ARCC Abington Electric Bronze
ARCC Abington Electric bike - Bronze

The e2-pod additionally features a launch control function. This can be activated by applying both brakes and pressure to the left pedal. When the brakes are released and the rider pedals, the motor delivers maximum power for a period of three seconds. This enables a fast, effortless, and safe getaway from lights and busy crossings in heavy traffic, as well as an extra boost for hill starts - a handy feature in urban environments, we'd wager.

That's our take on the ARCC e2-pod Intelligent Drive System. Experience it for yourself by test riding a bike with the system installed at a Velorution store. Or if you're after more detail online, head over to look at ARCC bikes in more detail.

Cycling, coronavirus and a change in the way we travel

Back in March, as coronavirus began to change every aspect of life in the UK, a two-wheeled revolution began to bubble under the surface. Prompted by the government’s classification of bikes shops, such as ourselves, as essential retailers, a reduction in traffic and the encouragement of daily exercise, cycling usage in the UK quickly began to rise through the Spring into early Summer. This increase in people riding is something we’ve experienced and something we reiterated when we spoke to the FT and the BBC recently.   

% increase in cycling as a mode of transport in England. Source: Department for Transport

This tidal wave of cyclists, electric and non-electric, young and old, new and returning has quickly been followed by a further slew of government announcements (alongside new infrastructure proclamations from local councils) and proposed Highway Code changes. Not something even we would have envisaged when we spoke to Andrew Gilligan back in 2015, a man who incidentally is back in government as a transport advisor. So are we in the midst of a paradigm shift in UK travel habits? Will coronavirus change the way we travel?

A new normal

Sourcing an expert opinion on the matter, we spoke to Dr Ian Walker, environmental statistics and traffic psychologist at the University of Bath. Has Coronavirus been the catalyst for real change in cycling and walking as a mode of transport we ask? “A lot of us noted how lovely the streets were early in lockdown, with cleaner air and less noise. People very quickly reclaimed their public spaces and it was incredible to see people strolling down roads, and families with small children cycling without fear.”

Perhaps what we shouldn’t forget, in today’s globalised world, is that change wasn’t limited to the UK shores either. Research from Hovding, the company behind the innovative Airbag helmet, suggest that “coronavirus has created a window for change, and many large European cities have seen the benefit of encouraging people to cycle.” Using data from 22,000 riders wearing their helmet, Hovding know that “cycling has taken off again in cities such as Copenhagen, Hamburg, Cologne and Stockholm. In Europe, the coronavirus pandemic may mean a cycling revolution, and the trend is for more and more people to cycle rather than take public transport.”

Back in the UK and the change might not have an element of permanence about it, however. “It feels like the jury is still out,” muses Walker. “It was notable just how quickly the roads became dominated by motoring again almost the instant the Prime Minister gave his "back to work" message.” Walker mourns, “We saw that it only takes a small amount of motoring to completely dominate our streets and exclude everybody not taking part.”

This Corona-induced glimpse of an alternative reality isn’t enough to deliver real change then? “Probably not by itself - we've gone back to the old normal depressingly quickly, in my opinion. But perhaps there will be longer-term benefits. I'd like to hope that this break - this experience of what the new normal could be - has planted seeds in people's minds that will lead them to support proposed changes to the law and to our streets, and to start traveling differently once those changes appear.”

“We're so used to cars coming first, and everybody else having to lump the danger and pollution that these bring, that we've developed a blind spot. My colleagues and I recently asked a large sample of people "Is it okay to smoke in public where other people have to breath the fumes?" and the public overwhelmingly said no. We then asked another large group of people the exact same question except we changed "smoke" to "drive"... and suddenly people were completely okay with forcing toxic fumes onto strangers! So I think the big issue with the British psyche is our blind spot about cars. We are so used to motoring coming first, we cannot think about the issue rationally any more.”

“This means we need a fresh way of approaching the issue, because by default, people's instinct is usually to accept the status quo as something that cannot ever be changed, because they have become blind to the fact it is something they really wouldn't like if they could view it with fresh eyes.”

Highway Code Consultation

So what could that fresh approach look like? Although consultation on the Highway Code began before the pandemic, COVID-19 has shone new light on this small, yet important part of transport in the UK. Could any changes to the Highway Code be a further catalyst for increasing cycling participation in the UK? Back to Walker: “This feels like it could be important. What we've realised for a long time is that if we want to get more people cycling, we need to learn from the people who are currently not doing it. When researchers have asked the general public, they always find that perceived safety is the number one barrier to getting more people onto bikes.”

“For example, the #BikeIsBest campaign recently commissioned a YouGov survey which found slightly over half of British adults said they would cycle more if the streets were made safer. That is millions of people. The potential is enormous.”

“But what data like this also show is that change needs to happen first, before mass cycling will appear. Policy makers cannot carry on demanding that everybody cycles before they will deign to provide safe spaces in which we can do it. The proposed changes to the Highway Code are a step towards this.”

Infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure

What else can be done to keep the cycling participation wheel rolling? Walker likes the new planning guidelines for local authorities which put a vastly bigger weight on high-quality safe cycle infrastructure. “For the first time, local authorities have been explicitly told that nobody should be designing cycle infrastructure unless they have experience of using it. It's remarkable, when you think about it, that this had to be said! But that's the position we were coming from and I'm very glad the government has taken such a strong stance.”

Walker, together with some his University of Bath students, has been engaged in some interesting research to model the demographic impact of proposed council support. “As you'd expect, some wards had more potential to unlock the potential from bikes and e-bikes than others, and so it was easy to give the council a priority list of the areas most worth investment.”

“The really interesting bit was when we looked at the demographics of those wards. We saw there was no relationship at all between how much a ward would benefit from cycling investment and its level of wealth, its ethnic makeup, or the long-term health of its residents. In other words, our equality analysis showed the council could go ahead and invest where this would increase cycling the most, without worrying that this would end up benefiting the wealthier, healthier and whiter parts of the county. This was a really lovely thing to be able to demonstrate.”

Will the pandemic, UK governments support for cycling, changes to the Highway Code and the rise of electric bikes alter the way the UK population moves? Only time will tell, but what is certain is that cycling (and walking) can help solve a huge raft of problems in our urban areas. Air pollution, obesity, congestion, economic productivity improved with a broad brush stroke of more people on two wheels.

Has cycling in your area changed for the better (or worse!) since lockdown? Jot us your experience in the comments below.

Our thanks go to Dr Ian Walker for speaking to us for this piece. He’s no stranger to a couple of hours in a saddle himself, having spent just under 17 days riding between the northernmost and southernmost points of Europe in 2019 – a Guinness World Record no less. Ian has recently penned a book on the little known world of Ultra-cycling, Endless Perfect Circles, find it here

A guide to 2021 Bosch e-bike motors, batteries and displays

Arguably the biggest name in e-bike systems, Bosch has been providing power to e-bikes since 2010. Now in their eleventh year, Bosch motors deliver the holy trinity for e-bike assistance: power, efficiency and excellent ride feel.  

This guide gives an overview of each portion of the Bosch e-bike system – ,motors, batteries and displays, helping you decipher the jargon in order to ensure you purchase the right Bosch powered electric bike for your riding needs.

Bosch electric bike motors

At the heart of every e-bike system is a motor. All Bosch motors are situated at the crank of an e-bike.

Sometimes called mid-drive, these motors are powerful, offer a natural riding sensation as well as helping balance the overall weight of the e-bike system.

Each Bosch motor will provide assistance up to a speed of 15.5mph, the legal limit here in the UK and riders can select from four modes (turbo, sport, tour and eco) to conserve range, or simply provide a splurge of power when it’s needed.

To help with ride feel, Bosch electric bike motors measure torque, speed and acceleration more than 1000 times a second, rationing the power accordingly. This ensures there's a perfect interaction between rider and bike.

There are five different types of Bosch e-bike motor:

Bosch Performance Line CX

Performance Line CX is Bosch’s most powerful motor designed for electric mountain bikes. Updated in 2020 to be 48% smaller and 1kg lighter than the previous iteration, this unit can now pump out 85nm of torque after a software update. This means it should accelerate faster and perform more efficiently at low riding cadences.

Bosch Performance Line CX Motor

The unit is impressive to look, but perhaps, more importantly, offers that powerful, sporty feel mountain bikers demand, delivering up to 340% assistance as you pedal. 

Pedalling efficiency was updated in 2020 thanks to a redesigned crank - motor interface. Previously a small ring, not driven by the cranks, was used for Performance Line CX. This had the tendency to make riding without assistance a slightly sluggish experience. The newest version is now driven directly by a traditional chainring, mounted to the bottom bracket which helps maintain a natural ride feel once you pop over that magic 15.5mph.

Bosch Performance Line

Whether riding big miles on an electric hybrid bike or negotiating your favourite trail, Bosch Performance Line always delivers the right level of support.

Bosch Performance Line Motor

Redesigned in 2020, it’s not as compact or as light at Performance Line CX but it certainly retains enough punch for most e-bikers. 65Nm of torque (a measure of the rotational power of the motor) helps when things head skywards, whilst the same direct drive system as Performance Line CX helps maintain a natural ride feel. It’s also one of the quietest drives in its class.

Bosch Active Line Plus

Active Line Plus has been designed by Bosch to help commuters in urban environments get to and from work, as well as providing enough power, 50Nm of torque to be exact, for more demanding weekend rides.

Bosch Active Line Plus Motor

Active Line Plus is whisper quiet and doesn’t drag once your speedo ticks over that 15.5mph mark.

Bosch Active Line

Experience well-controlled acceleration and moderate assistance with Bosch’s Active Line motor. Anything but entry-level, Active Line offers 250% support level in Turbo mode and a maximum 40Nm of torque.

Bosch Active Line Motor

Bosch Cargo Line

Designed specifically for large cargo bikes, Bosch’s Cargo Line motor makes carrying large loads a doddle. Extremely powerful (85nm of torque with 2021 software), the motor will provide support for cargo bikes and loads that weigh up to an incredible 250kg!

Bosch Cargo Line Motor

Whether moving to a new house or simply taking children to school, Cargo Line delivers load-controlled acceleration, even from the first pedal stroke.  

Bosch electric motor comparison

Here’s a simple table to help you understand the differences between Bosch e-bike motors.

Performance Line CXPerformance LineActive Line PlusActive LineCargo Line
Best forMountain bikingMountain biking. Long distance or fast touringCommuting or relaxed touringCommuting or leisure riding. Cargo bikes, carrying heavy loads
Support level %+Turbo: 340:
eMTB*: 140-340
Tour: 140
Eco: 60
Turbo: 300
Sport/eMTB*: 120-300
Tour: 120
Eco: 55
Turbo: 270
Sport: 180
Tour: 100
Eco: 40
Turbo: 250
Sport: 170
Tour: 100
Eco: 40
Turbo: 400
Sport: 240
Tour: 140
Eco: 60
Maximum possible torque (Nm)85^65504085^
Maximum supported cadence (rpm)120120105100120
Start-up behaviourVery sportySportyHarmoniously agileHarmonious Powerful
WeightApprox. 2.9kgApprox. 3.2kgApprox. 3.2kgApprox. 2.9kgApprox 2.9kg

*eMTB mode is available on Performance Line and Performance Line CX only. Depending on how hard you pedal, this mode switches between Tour and Turbo mode to ensure support is always at the ideal level, even at low cadences.

+Support level % refers to motors on bikes with a derailleur rather than a hub gear

^With software update

Note that Bosch Performance Line Speed and Cargo Line Speed are not included in this table because they offer a maximum assistance speed which is currently illegal for e-bikes in the UK.

Bosch electric bike batteries

The next part of the Bosch e-bike system is the battery. Batteries determine an e-bike’s possible range, charge time as well as the way a bike handles due to its position on the frame.

Bosch Powertube Battery Comparison

To cater for different bike types, Bosch offer three battery types: 

Integrated battery

A recent addition from Bosch, the slim, compact design enables e-bike manufacturers to integrate the battery into their frame’s perfectly. Sometimes called PowerTubes, Bosch offer 400, 500 and 625 wH (Watt hours refers to the number of watts that can be delivered in one hour) versions. You’ll spot integrated batteries like this on high-end electric mountain bikes.

Bosch PowerTube Battery

Frame battery

Bulkier than an integrated battery, frame batteries sit on, or in, a bike’s downtube. Bosch name these PowerPacks and manufacturer them in 300, 400 and 500 wH. Electric hybrid bikes, electric mountain bikes and even electric folding bikes use this type of battery.

Bosch Frame Battery

Rack battery

One unfortunate consequence of frame batteries are their impact on a rider’s ability to mount and dismount a step-through e-bike. To solve this, Bosch designed the rack battery - situated over the rear wheel, but under a pannier rack. Again in 300, 400, 500 wH versions, look out for a battery like this on step-through electric hybrid bikes.

Bosch Rack Battery

Bosch electric bike battery comparison

Here’s a simplified table to illustrate the different attributes of each Bosch e-bike battery.


PowerPack 300wH PowerPack 400wH PowerPack 500wH PowerTube 400wH PowerTube 500wH PowerTube 625wH
Mounting typeFrame, RackFrame, RackFrame, RackIntegratedIntegrated Integrated
Ah capacity8.2Ah11.0Ah13.4Ah11.0Ah13.4Ah 17.4Ah
100% charge timeCompact: 5h Standard: 2.5h
Fast: 2.5h
Compact: 6.5h
Standard: 3.5h
Fast: 2.5h
Compact: 7.5h
Standard: 4.5h
Fast: 3h
Compact: 6.5h
Standard: 3.5h
Fast: 2.5h
Compact: 7.5h
Standard: 4.5h
Fast: 3h
Compact: 8.8h
Standard: 4.9h
Fast: 3.7h
WeightFrame: 2.5kg
Rack: 2.6kg
Frame: 2.5kg
Rack: 2.6kg
Frame: 2.6kg
Rack: 2.7kg
2.9kg2.9kg 3.5kg

Note that Bosch recommends that you store an e-bike battery between 0 and 20°C, out of direct sunlight and at 30-60% charge status to prolong its life.

That’s all very well, we hear you cry, but how does that impact an e-bike’s range? An e-bike’s range is the result of several factors and happily Bosch have grouped these together in one handy tool. Give the Bosch Range Assistant a go below.

Want to learn more about e-bike batteries? Read Electric bike battery care - 5 helpful tips.

Bosch electric bike displays

Bosch e-bike systems are controlled using either an on-board computer or a compatible smartphone display. Let’s look at those in turn.

Bosch Kiox Electric Bike Display

On-board computers

Kiox

Kiox is a full colour, compact display with an unbridled number of features. It’s 1.9” fully colour display provides all the essential information and changing ride modes or other settings is quick and efficient.

Bosch Kiox Display

For 2021, Bosch has updated Kiox to enable you to follow a route directly on the computer, in theory helping you do away with a secondary GPS unit! Connection and ride planning is through the eBike connect app on your smartphone. The display is completely customisable, so if you're a data geek or a .mph purist you should be able to alter Kiox to meet your requirements.

Other notable features include a scratch-resistant glass display, device recharging and the possibility to combine GPS and ride data when you pair Kiox with the eBike connect app on your smartphone.

Nyon

Completely updated for 2021, Bosch Nyon offers everything an e-bike rider could ever want: ride data, navigation, fitness measurement and motor control, but now in a smaller, compact package.

Bosch Nyon Display Unit

The Nyon's new 3.23" screen shows you all the important information at a glance and can easily be customised with 30 different metrics and three design suggestions.

With Nyon you can choose between the fastest or most scenic route to a given location, store favourite addresses, like home and work, or even plan a cycle tour with stopovers!

Purion

Purion is Bosch’s smallest device, displaying charge status, speed, ride mode, range, trip distance and total distance. Fitted neatly at the end of a handlebar, Purion is easily operated with a thumb or finger.

Bosch Purion Display Unit

Intuvia

Mounted on an e-bike stem, Bosch Intuvia displays all the key information. It’s easy to read, even in low light and a USB port enables you to charge your devices on the go.

Bosch Intuvia Display Unit

Smartphone Displays

SmartphoneHub

SmartphoneHub from Bosch transforms an e-bike into a fully connected part of your digital life. From navigation, music streaming, fitness tracking or even using third party apps, such as Strava or Komoot, this is one powerful device. Want to leave your smartphone at home? A 1.52” integrated display helps you control your e-bike as well as displaying all the most important ride data.

Bosch Smartphone hub

COBI.Bike

Bosch acquired COBI.Bike in 2017 and has now offer this system as an alternative to their own unit. Similar to SmartphoneHub, COBI.Bike turns a Bosch powered e-bike into a smart two-wheeled machine.

Bosch Cobi Bike

Bosch electric bike display comparison

Compare Bosch e-bike displays and their various capabilities in our comparison table.


Kiox Nyon Purion Intuvia SmartphoneHub Cobi Bike
High resolution display
USB device charging
Fitness tracking
Navigation
Third party app
Walk assistance

Bosch Range Assistant

So how far can I ride with a Bosch e-bike?

That’s a question we get asked all the time.On each of our electric bike’s you’ll find an estimated maximum range but we’d recommend giving Bosch’s range assistant a try below.

It enables you to select a Bosch e-bike motor and battery, alter riding factors and whizz pop, out spits an estimated range. Excellent for determining battery performance for a prospective commute or how many times you can ride your favourite trail loop after work.  

Oh, and if metric kilometres aren't your thing, there's a switch at the bottom to change all the figures to miles!

There we have it, our guide to 2021 Bosch electric bike motors, batteries and displays. Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments below.

Introducing: Moustache electric bikes

Moustache founders Manu and Greg began their e-bike business with a simple aim: to help people leave their cars in the garage. Little did they know that 10 years later, Moustache would be helping so many people choose two wheels over four.

History of Moustache Electric Bikes

Since their inception, Moustache who are based in the far eastern corner of France, have focussed solely on e-bikes. Designed and fully built en France, you won’t find any Moustache bikes without electric assistance. OK, there is one - just one – but it’s a knockout out of a kids balance bike!

Due to that laser focus on electric bikes, it’s no surprise to hear that Moustache believe that bikes with a soupçon electric assistance are the future of our urban environments. As such, you’ll spot thoughtful touches on every Moustache electric bike – features like integrated lights and robust mudguards.

And what of the name? Much like the facial hair, each Moustache bike has its own unique, recognizable style. There’s Moustache’s signature handlebar too, which look very much like the facial hair of the same name!

What began in 2011 as a condensed range of seven electric bikes, has quickly expanded into an e-bike tour de force. Indeed, today’s Moustache e-bike range consists of over 65 bikes with every model powered by a Bosch motor and battery and controlled using a Bosch display.

Moustache’s commitment to Bosch e-bike systems has been extremely fruitful, enabling them to work hand-in-hand with the electric specialist to design bespoke solutions for their bikes. Purchase a Moustache e-bike and you can ride away confident in the knowledge that you’re onboard the most up to date, technically sound two-wheeled companion. You can find out more about Bosch e-bike systems in our journal.

Moustache Saison 10 (2021)

For their tenth new range of bikes, Moustache have been busy developing and refining their range of e-bikes. Models, like the new Moustache Lundi 27, have been painstakingly developed for two years before seeing the light of day.

Moustache has taken advantage of Bosch’s 2021 updated motors and display units as well as utilising the lighter and more powerful PowerTube batteries in more bikes than ever before.

“Stop waffling and get to the bikes!” OK, we hear you! Read on to look at each discipline of Moustache electric bike.

Moustache Electric Hybrid Bikes

Stylish yet practical, Moustache electric urban bikes are a no-brainer - just the ticket for the 9-5 or trips down to the shops and back. The experts seem to like them too! Here are a few things that mark them out from other electric hybrid bikes…

As we alluded to earlier, Moustache works extremely closely with Bosch when designing their e-bikes and shining example of their collaboration is the neat battery integration on some 2021 bikes. A specific dock allows the battery to sit lower in the frame, sliming down the bike’s frame and lowering the centre of gravity – something you’ll appreciate spinning around town. The dock also makes removing the battery a doddle!

There’s no getting around it, bikes aren’t the smallest things and storing them can sometimes be a pain. And yet, Moustache have come up with an extremely neat solution to this problem and not something we’ve seen on any other electric hybrid bike. Quick-Park, allows you to turn handlebars by 90° in just a few seconds, ideal if you want to store your bike against the wall in the office or back at base. Cool, uh?

Bikes like the Lundi 27.1, 27.3 and 27.5 feature wide, tough mudguards that’ll keep you protected even if it’s bucketing it down! Flick one with your finger and it’ll ting – metal, no plastic here! Moustache even run the cable for integrated rear lights inside the mudguard protecting the connection from water ingress or damage.

Moustache Electric Road Bikes

Dimanche or Sunday is Moustache’s electric road and electric gravel platform. It’s a road bike fit for 2021 with 32c tyres and tubeless-ready wheels sitting alongside Bosch’s Active Line Plus motor. The practicalities haven’t been forgotten either – every Dimanche has mounts for mudguards and a luggage rack.

Searching for something left-of-field? The Dimanche 29 is Moustache’s electric gravel bike. It features Shimano GRX, 50c tyres and a drop handlebar with extreme flair. The top-end model, the 29.5, even rolls off the production line with a dropper post!

Moustache Electric Mountain Bikes

Eye-popping Moustache electric mountain bikes have most of the mountain bike bases covered; from small travel trail bikes to big-hitting enduro weapons.

If you like the look of one of their off-road models you’ll be pleased to know that they’ve been tested under the toughest conditions. Does the inaugural e-MTB XC World Championships sound extreme enough?

Full suspension Moustache electric mountain bikes benefit from Magic Grip Control a rear shock technology that avoids jerky riding assistance when the suspension is actuated. Experts seem to agree that it does the business - the Samedi 27 Trail has podiumed in French magazine, Velo Vert’s electric mountain bike of the year in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

That’s our wrap-up of Moustache’s electric bikes.

Want to know more? Shop all Moustache electric bikes. You’ll also find certain Moustache models in Velorution stores.

Electric bike battery care – 5 helpful tips

Our five general pointers will help you get the most out of your e-bike battery. The aim here is to get the best range from your e-bike on one charge and ensure its life is prolonged. Whilst our five tips can be applied across the board, we’d encourage you to read the documentation provided with your e-bike to be aware of the exact guidance. 

1. Charging your e-bike battery

Whether charging directly on your e-bike or removing the battery to port on a dock, e-bikes are simple to bring back to life, and often quick too! It’s not unusual to see 100% charge times of around 2-3 hours. And if speed is a consideration (a quick charge at a meeting across town for example) some e-bike systems, like Bosch, offer various chargers for different situations.  

These days lithium-ion batteries you find in e-bikes can be charged any time, regardless of their charge levels. Discharging the battery before re-charging completely isn’t required, great if you need to give your bike a quick top-up before hitting the road. 

Two Bosch Electric Bike Batteries on an e-bike

The longevity of batteries is also worth mentioning. Shimano says their e-bike batteries will pass 1,000 charge cycles with no significant loss in power, whilst Bosch state their batteries will allow you to circumnavigate the globe 1 ½ times – that’s over 37,000 miles!

And of course, it goes without saying, only use chargers that are compatible with their respective batteries. 

2. Remove your battery when cleaning 

Is your electric bike looking a bit grubby? Before getting busy with a bucket of water and a sponge remove the battery. And if you’re using a hose or pressure washer don’t aim it at the electrical contact points. A gentle wipe of the plug pins with an e-bike friendly cleaning solution will prevent any corrosion or build-up helping your battery transfer power to your e-bike’s motor.

Bosch e-bike with powertube

3. Maintain your bike 

Much like non-electric bikes, electric bikes need to be maintained correctly to help them perform to their best. Here are a few helpful pointers… 

  • Keep your e-bike’s tyres inflated to the recommended pressures. Run them at low pressures and you’ll increase rolling resistance, your bike’s motor will work harder and your battery will drain faster. 
  • Utilising your e-bike’s gears correctly will help the motor perform efficiently. So do keep your gears well-indexed, free of rubbing and watch out for shifting recommendations on your on-board computer. 
  • Reduce the total weight of you, the bike and your luggage where possible. If you don’t need to carry your bike lock on every ride, leave it home. 

4. Pay attention to battery storage recommendations

Like humans, e-bike batteries prefer goldilocks temperatures – not too hot, not too cold. Storing your battery in a dry environment at room temperature will put less stress on its cells, helping it perform more efficiently and last longer. Try to avoid direct sunlight too – park your e-bike in the shade if you can. 

Riding a bosch powered e bike

If your bike is in a shed or garage over winter, or if you’re not planning to ride for an extended period of time it is recommended that e-bike batteries are put away with 30-60% charge – not full, not completely empty.

5. Transport safely

When transporting the bike by car, always remove the battery from the bike and transport this elsewhere safely. Removing the battery creates more room for bike racks clamps whilst also reducing the overall carry weight. Do make sure that you clip your battery back into position securely before you ride though won’t you! 

Riding electric bikes across London

At the time of writing, taking an e-bike battery on a plane is forbidden by IATA the International Air Transport Association. In some countries, it’s possible to rent batteries for the period of your stay, that way you can take your e-bike and leave your battery at home.  

There we have it, our five top tips to care for your electric bike battery. Ready for more? Our other guides, an introduction to electric bikes and electric bike motors explained might be up your street. Until next time. 

Electric bike motors explained

So you want an electric bike? That’s great! Ah, but you’re confused by electric bike motors and their gubbins. Well, you’re in the right place. In this guide, we look at what electric systems are available on our selection of electric bikes to help you make an informed decision on your next e-bike purchase. Ultimately we’re trying to find the best electric bike motor for you. Before we get going, our introduction to electric bikes is a good place to start if you’re not ready for all this technical jargon just yet! 

How electric bike motors work

Electric bikes are powered by a motor, which takes its power from a rechargeable battery placed somewhere on the bike. At the cheaper end of the spectrum, the motor will be placed in the rear wheel, whereas more expensive models use a motor placed at the cranks. These mid-drive motors include a torque sensor that measures the power you’re putting through the pedals and rations it accordingly. This extra technology is worth your hard-earned cash as it, in turn, leads to a more natural riding experience and less of an ‘on-off’ ride feel.

Most electric bikes allow you to alter the level of electric assistance. A control unit on the bike’s handlebars enables you to cycle through each mode, increasing or reducing the output of the motor as necessary. This is perfect if you’re loaded up for the daily commuter, or on the flip side, you’re looking to conserve battery power on a longer ride. Some e-bike motor systems have a walk mode; useful when you’re wheeling your bike up an incline or simply pushing it down the garden path with the weekly shop in tow.

Still with us? Good! Next, we look at the key electric bike motors from Bosch, Shimano, Ebikemotion, and Fazua. Much like other components on bicycles, brands look to the manufacturing expertise of other companies to produce the power for their e-bikes; hence why you might see a BMC electric bike powered by a Shimano motor or a Tern electric bike using a Bosch system.

Bosch Electric Bike Motors

Bosch provides the power to a whole bunch of electric bikes. At Velorution you’ll notice their systems on Gazelle, Kalkhoff, and Moustache electric bikes, amongst others. There are five main types of Bosch electric bike motors. 

Bosch Peformance Line CX

Performance Line CX

Primarily for athletic mountain bike riding across challenging terrain, Bosch Performance Line CX is an extremely powerful system. Capable of providing 340% of support as you pedal the motor will get you up to speed rapidly thanks to its ability to pump out 85Nm of torque. 

Performance Line

The second mountain bike orientated e-bike motor from Bosch is Performance Line. With 65Nm of torque, it packs enough oomph for mountain bikers but it also offers the requisite features that suit electric urban bikes. Four different riding modes also help you conserve or splurge power to your heart's content.  

Active Line Plus

Active Line Plus and its sister Active Line are found on many a popular urban e-bike. Like Performance Line, Active Line Plus has four different riding modes. Where it differs is its maximum torque. 50Nm is more suited to urban riding conditions or leisurely weekend riding.

Bosch Active Line Plus

It’s slightly heavier than Active Line so bear that in mind if you’re worried about the overall weight of your chosen e-bike. Take a look at Bosch Active Line Plus on Schindelhauer's electric bikes

Active Line 

Bosch Active Line is a no-nonsense motor for commuting or leisure riding. Ride an e-bike equipped with Bosch Active Line and you’ll experience controlled acceleration and gentle support, perfect for city riding. 

Cargo Line 

The last motor in Bosch’s 2021 armory is Cargo Line. Designed solely for use on electric cargo bikes, it’s a beast of a unit capable of hauling extremely heavy loads. 

Want to find out more? We look at Bosch motors, batteries and displays in much greater detail here, including their most recent 2021 updates. 

Shimano STEPS Electric Bike Motors 

It’s no surprise that bicycle component titan Shimano is in the e-bike game. STEPS (Shimano Total Electric Power System for acronym fans) is used by over 160 different bike brands worldwide and similar to Bosch, there are systems designed to suit urban riding and more adventurous mountain biking. 

All told, Shimano offers 5 different systems - three designed for electric hybrid bikes or electric urban bikes and two for electric mountain bikes. Here’s a quick rundown of each… 

Shimano STEPS E5000

First up in Shimano’s range is E5000 – a lightweight, silent option for urban electric bikes. Shimano suggests that this system is for “hassle-free everyday rides in the city.” Bikes with STEPS E5000 feature one of two batteries - 418 Wh or 504Wh - with the larger capacity option offering you a stonking 185km of riding range! Don’t be surprised then if you only charge this once a week!

Shimano STEPS BMC E Bike

As you’d expect the system has been designed to be ridden in all weathers, so you can be sure your bike will still work when you’re accosted by a deluge on the Kilburn High Road. You’ll spot Shimano STEPS E5000 on some O2Feel electric bikes. 

Shimano STEPS E6000

With an extra 10nm of motor torque, STEPS E6000 offers a step up from E5000 – albeit with a slight penalty in weight. That extra soupçon of power from the motor should give help if you’re planning to ride over longer distances, or wanting to tackle hillier terrain on your commute into the office. 

Shimano STEPS E6100

The newest model in Shimano’s STEPS urban systems is E6100. Particularly proud of this one, Shimano state that it is “the most versatile system in our collection.” Utilising their knowledge from the electric mountain bike arena has helped them to deliver a powerful, lightweight motor that delivers maximum range and riding pleasure. Indeed, the motor is 20% more energy efficient than the E6000 – this helps bolster the system’s total riding range. 

Shimano STEPS E7000

The first of Shimano’s electric mountain bike motors, E7000 is built to stand the rough and tumble of off-road riding. Mud and water-resistant, Shimano has been careful to keep the Q-Factor of the motor (a fancy name for the horizontal distance between the cranks) narrow to make bikes equipped with E7000 feel natural to ride. 

Shimano STEPS E8000

E8000, Shimano’s top-end unit, offers riders 70Nm of torque in a stable, smooth manner for improved bike handling over all types of trail. Three power-assist modes (Boost, Trail, and Eco) will help you achieve around 100km of range before you need to locate your nearest charger. 

Shimano STEPS Comparison Table

We’ve created this handy comparison table so you can easily compare Shimano’s STEPS systems. Hopefully, it’ll help you plump for one bike over another.  

  STEPS E5000 STEPS E6000 STEPS
E6100
STEPS E7000 STEPS E8000
Best for Everyday city riding Long distance commuting Leisure riding Mountain biking Tough mountain bike trails
Maximum possible torque
(Nm)
40 50 60 60 70
Range 185km 150km 185km ? 100km
Recharge time 2-5 hours 2-4 hours 2-5hours 2-5 hours 2-5 hours
Motor Weight 2.38kg 3.2kg 2.8kg 2.8kg 2.8kg

Ebikemotion

And now for something different. Unlike Bosch and Shimano, the Ebikemotion drive system is centered around a motor at the rear wheel of the bike.  That doesn’t mean it’s any less powerful though – their X35 system can pump our 40Nm of torque, which is comparable with the likes of Shimano STEPS E5000 and Bosch Active Line Plus.

Orbea Gain with ebikemotion

Where Ebikemotion really shines is its overall weight – just 3.5kg for whole system – motor, battery, control unit and wiring. And because the battery is so paltry in size it’s easy to fit into a bike’s downtube, keeping a bike’s classic looks in tack. You’ll spot Ebikemotion on paired back electric urban and electric road bikes like the Orbea Gain.

Fazua

German brand Fazua have taken yet another approach to e-bike motor design. Fazua Evation smashes a motor and a battery together to create the lightest mid-drive motor on the market. At 4.6kg the whole unit, motor and all, slots into the bike’s downtube.

And something else that’s pretty neat, is that the Fazua drivepack is completely removeable. So if you want to ride without assistance or head off on a flight with your bike, a Fazua equipped e-bike could be a great option.

Proprietary Electric Bike Systems

Shop our selection of electric bikes and you’ll see that some models don’t use a Bosch, Shimano, Ebikemotion or Fazua unit at all. The likes of ARCC, Brompton, Coboc and Gocycle all have their own systems, specifically designed for their own electric bikes.

By designing complete electric bikes, brands are able to match motors and batteries to the demands of the bike. Brompton’s own electric unit, for example, is lightweight, powerful enough for a Brompton and removable from the bike – great for urban living or travelling on public transport.

That’s our wrap-up of the key electric bike motors on the market today. Did we miss something? Ask away in the comments below.

Why you should get an e-bike by Gocycle designer Richard Thorpe

Why should people ride an electric bike?

Firstly, they are fun! There is nothing quite like the feeling of the extra boost and speed you get from an electric powered bicycle. I’ve been commuting and riding one for more than ten years and I still get a smile on my face every time I ride.

Most people think that riding an electric bicycle will make you un-healthy or is “cheating”. But it is just not so. People ride and exercise based on their personality. As any e-bike owner if they are in better shape after they bought an e-bike – the answer will be yes!

How can an electric bike impact positively on your life?

Electric bikes can change your life. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. They are genuinely a transformative product. They will help you become more active and stay healthy.

E-bikes are not like fad diets or a new gym membership that you stop using, they become part of your life, sustainable and continuing to provide you pleasure and health benefit over the long term.

What is driving the electric bike market and how does Gocycle fit into those forces?

By 2030, urban areas will be home to more than 60% of the projected world population of 8 billion people. This will put tremendous pressure on the environment, as well as public infrastructure that is already struggling to meet the growing demand for transportation and basic services.

Congestion, lack of parking space and poor air quality are rendering today’s automobiles, and the internal combustion engine in particular, unsustainable as the core of personal urban transportation.

Inevitable pressure on urban populations and health is driving a paradigm shift in awareness and adoption of sustainable personal electric urban transport.

And that’s where Gocycle comes in!

Why does a Gocycle feel and ride so comfortably when it looks so different?

Bicycles are for people, not orangutans. Many bicycles and designers just don’t get that point – take a look at any futuristic bike design and you will see that the designers are contemplating a customer that is a new species of humanoid usually with extremely long arms, super short legs, and a very supple back.

There are some things you just can’t change, like the way people are made!

Bicycles need to be comfortable and so the touch points – handlebars, seat, pedals, front wheel, and rear wheel all need to fit the human body!

An introduction to electric bikes

Making the leap into cycling can be daunting and tempting in equal measure. Perhaps you have looked on from the pavements as cyclists effortlessly glide by, crunching the mileage en route to work. You watch on as they’re inhaling lungfuls of fresh air, truly experiencing the joys of a sunny spring morning commute from the comfort of the saddle and all while getting a gentle workout.

With the swell of numbers taking to the roads, the barriers to entry are constantly shrinking away. It can very often be that final hurdle - “what about the hills” or “what about my dishevelled look on entry to the office” - that can so often be the stumbling block.

For us Brits, the barriers to slinging a leg overcome easily, but you’ll be surprised how most, with a little pre-ride preparation, are easily surpassed. So let’s begin by taking down some of the most common predicaments with a handy new tool at our disposal – the modern electric bike.

Using one study from Cycling Scotland (which closely mirrors many others of its kind) as much as 35.9% of people in the relatively hilly territory are citing distance as their primary factor for not cycling. 6.3% add that the hills are proving prohibitive to their efforts.

Step in the electric bike and its motor to put the wind in your sails and take the burn from your thighs. When it comes to the hills a typical electric bike will give back what the rider puts in and thanks to torque sensors, understanding when that input needs to kick up a gear.

Does the price tag put you off? For many, it can, but consider the cost against the aforementioned alternatives. The average petrol car is said to cost around 14.19 pence per mile in fuel costs alone. Then there’s tax, insurance, maintenance, parking and MOT, to name just a few extra weighty costs. You may be surprised to learn that modern electric bikes can run at just a fraction of this cost, generally costing around 0.13 of a penny per mile in associated electricity costs, or between 5 to 10 pence per charge.

Above and beyond negligible charging costs, the electric bike shouldn’t set you back much more than your typical bicycle in servicing costs, barring a battery replacement at intervals ranging between 3 to 8 years, depending on your spec choice.

Besides, electric bikes are widely used by the Scandinavian people and they’re said to be the happiest in the world. Is there a link?

Well as it turns out electric bike sales are surging in Northern Europe, now making up around 10% of sales in Denmark. Slightly further south the trend has accelerated faster still. In the Netherlands around one in three new bikes sold now has motor assistance.

For countless people, cycling’s too often exaggerated presence in the press can create a perception that riding a bike on the roads can be dangerous. Depending on your local infrastructure there can be occasional moments of concern, but rarely to the extent, you may be led to believe by the press and, with electric assistance, it’s that much easier to get ahead in traffic.

Providing ample ammunition for your legs, a typical electric bike motor will take the sting out of acceleration, helping riders quickly get up to speed (15.5mph at top speed if in the UK). This nudge off the lights will enable the city cyclists to quickly get set on the pedals as the amber turns to green and thus quickly move clear of left hook dangers at junctions and into a comfortable and controlled stride alongside others on the road. In cities getting ahead of those exhaust fumes is, needless to say, a breath of fresh air.

Of course, it’s not all about putting the power down and hitting new peaks, the bicycle is after all a form of transport and such things need to blend seamlessly with our routines. Many of us will seek to go about daily errands by bike but is it right to assume you may struggle to haul larger loads, most e-Bikes will take the sting out here too. An increasing number of dedicated electric cargo bikes now come with motor assistance, in fact, many postal companies are turning to this means of transport for inner-city deliveries citing improved efficiency and costs savings over vans.

But isn’t it cheating?

This is a common theory put down among seasoned cyclists and one that is poorly considered. In fact, research published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology has shown that, despite the assistance, electric bike users very often do see notable improvements in aerobic capacity and blood sugar levels. “Commuting with an electric bike can help individuals incorporate physical activity into their day without requiring them to set aside time specifically for exercise,” said James Peterman, a graduate researcher in the Department of Integrative Physiology at CU Boulder.

Furthering this study, researchers in Norway discovered through extensive tests on users ranging 23 to 54 years in age that, even with pedal assistance, riders experience physical exertion 95% of the time. In these tests, electric bike use was found to place users at 8.5 times more active over their resting state, while pedal power registered at 10.9 times more active, a closer margin than previously assumed. Just a 12% difference in lung output was recorded between pedal power alone and e-Bike users.

For these reasons, the electric bike can be a lifeline to a wide variety of people who may not otherwise ever get back in the saddle. As put by electric bike market researcher Ed Benjamin “I expect nearly everyone who can ride a bicycle to eventually be an electric bike rider for some purpose. That ranges from children to elders, from rich to poor, and includes many who are not strong enough, or perhaps have health issues that would limit them from using a manual bicycle.”

Initially the demographic for electric bicycles were considered to be those in the over 50s age bracket and indeed there is greater interest here than in any other age bracket, but that tally is rapidly decreasing. With the advance of technology, electric mountain bikes, folding bikes, road bikes, and electric gravel bikes have drawn in new and often younger blood. Some of Europe’s biggest bike makers even make electric bikes specifically for children now.

In short, the electric bike is a leveller for the family.

Is all of this really necessary? It certainly is if you’d like the entire family to see the very same sights and feel the very same long ride satisfaction. In short, the electric bike is a leveller for the family. Perhaps your clan is led by a keen road cyclist who waits at the top of each summit impatiently while the rest of the family follows with pained looks upon their faces and empty water bottles. It could be that an ailment or disability prevents a member of the family from experiencing the same joys as those more able.

Those barriers are now entirely removable, meaning the experience and sense of accomplishment truly is achievable to all, even those who may previously have sworn never to have set the pedals in motion again having not met the pack leader’s enthusiasm previously.

Modern electric bikes have largely phased out the twist throttle of old and phased in the now commonplace mid-drive motor, something you’ll find a much more reliable and better-handling solution. The vast majority of these systems require the user to begin with some gentle input very briefly before the assistance kicks in. Indeed, most riders will only find that firmer assistance comes into play when they are faced with hills, something determined by in-built torque sensors.

As the technology progresses, so too is the intelligence of such systems. At the time of writing, we have learned of new systems coming to market that link to heart rate monitors that will adapt output and make gear changes automatically based on a pre-determined comfortable strain level on the rider; perfect for those returning to exercise after a long period off the bike.

As with the electronics found within your pocket, or on your desk, the integrated technology has now developed beyond its infancy and is becoming ‘smart’. Electric bike batteries now power such added benefits as immobilisers to prevent theft, integrated lighting and a cycle computer, as well as miniature cameras to record your adventures. It won’t become mandatory to buy into this tech, but in the city, many of these advances are welcomed.

Letter of the law

You can ride an electric bike (‘electrically assisted pedal cycles or EPACs) in England, Scotland and Wales if you’re 14 or over, as long as it meets certain requirements. You do not need a licence to ride one and it does not need to be registered, taxed or insured. All our bikes are EAPC which means they follow certain specifications to qualify. The current speed limit for EAPC bikes is 15.5mph (25km/h), after which the pedal assist will stop. If a bike meets the EAPC requirements it’s classed as a normal pedal bike. This means you can ride it on cycle paths and anywhere else pedal bikes are allowed.

And once you've experienced one, you will understand the "e-bike smile" everyone is talking about.

It is very often the case that sceptics are won over once they experience the electric bike, with the phrase “e-Bike smile” coined to reference that moment of realisation of how an electric bike could change one’s life for the better. Tarmac-going electric bikes are not ‘for’ cyclists. They are instead for those who have a journey to make. Indeed, this notion has been capitalised upon by numerous outdoor hubs in Europe and in the UK where you’ll now be able to experience the pedal assistance tailwind as part of your holiday in the mountains or as part of taking in the sights during a city break.

Realising that these vehicles will allow grandparents and even kids to summit the very same hills pedaled by the more athletic members of the family, demo hubs have become an economic boon for such outdoor spaces and should be experienced by anyone on the fence when it comes to buying their own bike.

Purists may still argue until they’re blue in the face, of course, but the electric bike is not for them; instead, it is an opportunity for those who may have no intention of becoming ‘cyclists’ to try a new means to get from A to B, no matter how far their health or willpower will stretch.

Here at Velorution, we have electric bikes for all adventures, commutes and leisure activity, so if you have any questions, or would simply like to experience the natural tailwind and understand the phrase “the e-Bike smile”, then pop in and demo one of our e-bikes at your convenience.

Airpocalypse Now

Some time ago the idea of buying water in a bottle seemed an irrational and bizarre concept. Yet today this practice is commonplace. With more than nine out of ten of the world’s population living in places where air pollution exceeds safe limits, could buying purer air become a comparable practice? In 2014 a bag of Canadian air was sold on eBay for 99 cents. A few years later Vitality Air now sells Banff National Park air globally. If buying a can of air for $20 seems a far-fetched way to safeguard the lungs of urbanites, what other measures are there to avoid the rapidly-degrading air quality in our cities? One particularly innovative product from San Francisco might be the answer.

Vogmasks are particle filtering masks that combine high efficiency with Rock Desert of Nevada at the famous Burning Man Festival. Seven years later, Vogmask founders Marc and Wendover Brown have evolved their desire to improve respiratory health by combining striking design with outstanding performance into a company which export its reusable masks to over forty- one countries around the world. The brand is recognised globally for comfort, fit, quality manufacturing, efficiency and style.

Wendover Brown describes the arduous initial process of bringing their new product to market “After one year of design, sourcing raw materials, working with the R&D division of a leading filter innovator, prototyping, initial performance testing, packaging, development of Quality Plan for manufacturing, and gaining Korea Ministry of Food and Drug Safety approval for international export, the first 60,000 Vogmasks came to market in March 2012. When we brought Vogmask to market, there were no other stylish, reusable, particle filtering masks to make mask wearing fun and cool.”

With major global cities struggling to meet NO2 emissions targets, wearing a Vogmask might shine a light on the need to change - becoming a proxy protest garment - a visual statement to symbolise the vulnerable nature of world citizens. Brown concurs. “Wearing a mask can be a statement of concern, and a demand for action as in the Clean Air Now billboard campaigns. We have worked to align our product with international efforts to clean the air and protect wellness including Clean Air Now (London), Catch Your Breath India, Utah Moms for Clean Air, Climate without Borders, Help Delhi Breathe, and others. Prevention is urgently needed now. We must change our behaviours and enforce new laws. In almost all regions of the world, Vogmask has started people talking and strategizing, taking action to influence public policy, and educating others on the civic responsibility to the environment and the future.”

Such symbolic application of an air respirator was very publicly adopted by Greenpeace in 2016, with activists attaching a mask to the statue of Admiral Lord Nelson, at the peak of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square. Further masks were applied to statues across the city as part of a stunt to highlight the dangerous levels of toxic air in the capital. With governments slow to accept action is needed, can the person on the street effect any meaningful change? “Addressing the global issue of air quality requires reducing carbon footprint and instituting healthy behaviour individually, together with public policy to enforce decisions to protect the air and health of the planet.” She continues “The quality of air we breathe poses one of the most pressing global public health issues of the day. We do not have consensus or adoption of a solution outside of large cities which have experimented with restricted vehicle access, bike lanes, cleaner fuel mix, improved public transportation, incentives for sustainable energy use, controls on wood burning,and other measures to urgently improve air quality. Prevention is urgently needed now. We must change our behaviors and enforce new laws. There are many benefits to mask use, but we should not have to wear a mask to breathe clean air.”

Urban mask wearing evolved from Asian ‘smog couture’ - with city dwellers donning flimsy paper forms in an effort to avoid inhaling toxins and spreading airborne viruses. Later appropriated by K-pop, what was once a utilitarian medical necessity has now transformed into an à la mode fashion accessory. Might Vogmask be the logical progression of this trend into the mainstream? “Yes,” agrees Brown. “Vogmask has played a role as an avant accessory contributing to health and style, and making mask wearing happy and acceptable.” She expands on this idea “There are two distinct types of masks: surgical and particle. Surgical masks’ primary purpose is to prevent particles being expelled by the wearer into the environment while particulate respirators are designed to protect the mask wearer from inhaled airborne contaminants. General use respirators as personal protection dramatically increased beginning October 2013, when WHO (The World Health Organisation) declared particles in air pollution as carcinogenic, China’s 31 ‘airpocalypse’ attracted global media attention, and experts in global public health confirmed the public benefit of mask use.” In a post-modern world where sharing and ‘openness’ is a primary objective of being a valid member of the global community, mask-wearing could present a paradox or contradiction. Can covering your face therefore present a barrier to emotion and individuality? “We offer a range of styles precisely for this reason,” says Brown. “We hope that within our range, people can find something which expresses their identity and doesn’t isolate them from other people. In our experience, wearing a Vogmask provokes more random interactions and conversations than wearing no mask at all.”

Some of the larger fashion houses, including Chanel, Gucci, Dior, and Dolce & Gabbana, have included head covering styles in recent catwalk events. This spring Nike launched the ‘Pro Hijab’. Mask wearing is rapidly becoming symbolic of membership to the ‘urban tribe’. With re interpretation of the hijab (“modesty”), or even niqab as street wear, face covering suggests fellowship to the global social scene - one which thrives on breaking down boundaries. Is masking indicative of this new movement? “We certainly hope so. Haute couture brands predict fashion trends in a globalized consumer culture. We are happy to see face coverings as an accessory, especially as it makes it more acceptable.”

As a jazzy banderol to advance a worldwide dialogue for change, or a sub-culture lifestyle choice, Vogmask leads the way in the urban melting pot, where function meets fashion. Brown summarises this most succinctly “Vogmask is a beautiful tool for a healthy lifestyle.”

“When we brought Vogmask to market, there were no other stylish, reusable, particle filtering masks to make mask wearing fun and cool.”

Velorution acquire alwaysriding.co.uk to accelerate online growth

Following a year of rapid expansion Velorution, London’s leading Electric and Urban cycling retailer is really thrilled to announce the acquisition of Always Riding the global online retailer of stylish and technically advanced cycle clothing, accessories, bags, bikes and cycling lifestyle products.

Conrad Lewis Velorution’s managing director:  "The Always Riding online business was established in 2008 and has grown an extensive customer base of over 20,000 active customers ,a top notch customer service (a Google Certified Store no less) and unique brand selection for road, trail and urban / city cycling."

Velorution shares similar values which makes the acquisition a perfect fit for our business and will accelerate our online growth to reach a larger global audience alwaysriding.co.uk will continue to run as an independent web business enhanced by the addition of our sales and marketing team and extensive product lineup."

Jonathan Cole Velorution’s Chairman: "2019 is going to be a very important year for Velorution. We are currently crowdfunding on the Seedrs.com platform to enable the opening of two more electric and folding bike stores and grow our online business and we are currently at 74% of our target."

"The acquisition of AlwaysRiding comes at a perfect time and will supercharge our global online ambitions as we continue to grow the Velorution brand."