Electric Bike Buyer’s Guide

Fancy a healthier and easier commute to work? Or maybe you simply want to receive an added boost to tackle those hills? Whatever your needs, an e-bike is the perfect solution.

Practical and a huge amount of fun to ride – e-bikes are more popular than ever before, and it’s easy to see why. They can help you ride without limits and there are now e-bikes available in every shape and size – so there’s sure to be the perfect option for your needs.
Like what you hear? Here’s everything you need to know before buying your first e-bike.

With more components than a regular bike, you've probably got lots of questions about how to maintain an electric bike. For more information on how to care for your e-bike and its battery, view our handy guides:

  1. How to Maintain your Electric Bike & Battery
  2. E-Bike Battery FAQs

What is an e-bike?

With an electric bike, you get all the amazing features of a regular bike with the added bonus of a motor to help power you along.

This motor is paired with a battery and provides assistance as you ride, helping take the strain out of steep hills and making rides easier. You’ll only receive this assistance as you pedal so you’ll still be putting the work in, but with a range of assistance levels to choose from, you’re in full control of how hard you ride - whether it’s an easy commute or a leg-burning workout.

From electric hybrid bikes to folding electric bikes, e-bikes now come in every shape and size so there’s sure to be the perfect option for your needs!

Electric Mountain bike

Why choose an e-bike?

With so many amazing benefits, it’s no surprise that more and more people are joining the e-bike revolution. Need a little more convincing? Here are a few reasons why you should consider an e-bike:

  • Environmentally-friendly – Most major cities throughout the UK now have clean air zones to help combat climate change; that means more charges for those driving a car. However, e-bikes release zero tailpipe emissions and are the perfect solution for those who want to avoid the cost of driving through these zones and reduce their carbon footprint
  • Commuting made easier – Congestion is a major problem in most UK cities, but not if you’re on an e-bike. You can take advantage of extensive cycle networks and choose quieter roads away from the traffic. You’ll often find that an e-bike is actually quicker than your car when it comes to inner-city commuting
  • Make big savings – E-bikes are much more affordable than you might think and once you’ve made the initial purchase, the cost of charging it is much cheaper than filling a motor vehicle up with fuel. Making things easier, Halfords also offer multiple finance options so you can spread the cost of a new e-bike over a period of time that suits you.
  • Take the strain out of riding – E-bikes have electric motors that provide assistance as you ride, and you can choose between multiple levels of assistance depending on your needs.
  • Still get a workout – However, owning an e-bike isn’t ‘cheating. That's one of the biggest e-bike myths we hear. You’ll only receive assistance while you’re actively pedalling, so you’ll still be working. Plus, if you want more of a workout, you can turn the assistance level down to a lower setting.
  • Long range – You won’t need to worry about range either as most e-bikes can provide assistance for at least 40 miles – more than enough for most riders. In fact, you’ll most likely find you can ride further on your e-bike than you can on a regular bike.


Choosing the right e-bike

Clearly, e-bikes have lots of amazing benefits, but how do you pick the best one for your needs? Here are the various types available and some other things you’ll need to consider.

Electric folding bikes

Folding e-bikes

Electric folding bikes can be folded and unfolded in seconds, making them easy to stash away in train compartments, next to tables and even under your desk at work.

Like all folding bikes, folding e-bikes have small wheels, which makes them speedy and manoeuvrable – perfect for city streets and quick commutes.

Perfect for: Commuting and urban riding. They’re also a convenient option for those with little storage space or those who take their bike on public transport.

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Electric hybrid bikes

Hybrid e-bikes

Hybrid bikes combine the best bits of a road bike and a mountain bike, making them a versatile option suitable for rugged rides, challenging commutes and light touring alike. Expect flat handlebars, knobbly tyres, mudguards and racks.

Electric hybrid bikes are the same, except of course there’s a battery and motor that kick in when you’ve had enough of pedalling!

Perfect for: Electric hybrid bikes are equally at home on commutes as they are exploring on off-road paths. So, if you value versatility and plan to do a range of riding, an electric hybrid bike may be for you.

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Electric mountain bikes

Electric Mountain Bike

Electric Mountain Bikes are revolutionising what’s possible in off-road adventuring. Fitted with a rechargeable battery and a powerful motor, they enable riders to tackle higher climbs and more challenging obstacles than ever before.

Here at Halfords you’ll find electric mountain bikes from trusted brands such as Carrera and Voodoo that are built for the toughest trails and tallest mountains.

Perfect for: All off-road adventures. Whether it’s shredding your local trails or heading for adventures on smoother off-road tracks, electric mountain bikes are at home on the rough stuff.

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E-bike range

Once you’ve decided which type of bike is best for your needs, you'll want to consider range. This can vary anywhere between 20 to over 100 miles, so choose a bike that you know is practical for the amount of assisted riding you’ll be doing. It’s also a good idea to get a bike with more than enough range as you’ll soon be addicted to riding your new e-bike, and you’ll probably find you start riding more and further than ever before!

Drive systems

Front hub motors

Front hub motors fit onto the front wheel. A front hub motor will efficiently pull you along and can feel a little like a front-wheel-drive car.

Front hub motors are often fitted to entry-level e-bikes.

Rear hub motors

Rear hub motors are fitted to the rear wheel. They provide more traction than front hub motors and can feel more stable on the road. They can be found on mid-range and high-end e-bikes.

Central-drive motors

Central-drive motors sit right on the bottom bracket, where the pedals attach to the frame. All power is directed through the entire chainset, so powered cycling feels more natural. Plus, the motor’s weight is in line with the rider’s centre of gravity which again, can make the power delivery feel more natural and the bike more stable. These motors tend to be high-output motors, and give greater levels of support, in some cases up to 300%.

Central-drive motors are fitted to mid-range and high-end bikes, including some electric mountain bikes.

Electric bike battery care

Choosing an electric bike can be a daunting prospect and the safety around electric bike batteries is often at the forefront of people’s minds. At Halfords we have a rigorous process to ensure these batteries are as safe as can be.

We inspect production facilities to ensure they meet the necessary safety standards; we also ask our manufacturers to run third party tests to guarantee an impartial opinion.

There are a several UK and European laws regarding the standards that electric bikes must meet. Our batteries comply with international standards EN62133 which specify the requirements of the safe operation of lithium batteries and UN38.3 which certifies the safety of our batteries during transportation.

Buying from a reputable retailer like Halfords gives you piece of mind that your products meet the relevant safety standards. We also offer Free Bike Health Checks that are carried out by a fully trained technician in store, for peace of mind that your e-bike is operating as it should be.

Like a phone battery, the strength of an e-bike battery can deteriorate over time and can be affected by extreme temperatures, so it’s important to take that extra bit of care with your battery.

Try to reduce the number of charges

The process of fully discharging a battery then recharging it back to full capacity is known as a ‘cycle’. The more cycles your battery goes through, the less effective it will be. To ensure you get the maximum lifespan out of your battery, simply charge it less often. One way to do this is to only charge it when it contains less charge than you need to complete your ride, rather than recharging it after every use.

You can also extend battery length by using the motor more efficiently. Try not to use it when it isn’t necessary and save it for those moments when you really need the assistance.

How long will an electric bike battery last?

This will depend on the battery your bike has, so it’s best to check this with the manufacturer.

However, by following the tips above, you should be able to maximise your battery’s life.

Can an electric bike battery be repaired?

For safety reasons, we can only look at bike batteries from one of our authorised brands. If your battery stops working, bring it to your nearest Halfords store where one of our technicians can advise you on whether we can help.

If required, replacement batteries are usually easy to source.

Important safety note: Never attempt to dismantle an electric bike battery. Batteries can contain harmful substances and give electric shocks, so always leave any battery repairs to the professionals.

When you reconnect your electric bike battery, take care to make sure it is fastened securely in place. Loose connection points can damage the battery, plus you’ll probably notice that your e-bike isn’t performing as it should.

For more information on how to maintain your e-bike battery, read our handy article

Maintaining an e-bike battery

Why buy an e-bike through Halfords?

Here at Halfords, we understand that buying a new e-bike is a huge decision, and that’s why we want to help you every step of the way. From finding the perfect bike to post-purchase care, here’s everything you can expect when you buy a bike through us:

  • Flexible finance options - Want to spread the cost of an electric bike? No problem! With our range of finance options available through Klarna, buying an e-bike has never been more affordable. Learn more about our options here.
  • Free build - For any bikes over £350 and collected instore, we can take care of building the bike for you – completely free of charge!
  • Warranty - Every bike sold through Halfords comes with either a manufacturer’s guarantee or a Halfords limited lifetime warranty on the frame and rigid forks of all Halfords and Halfords exclusive brands. So, you’ll have peace of mind that you’re covered if anything goes wrong. You can learn more here.
  • Unrivalled expertise - With over 350 stores nationwide, we’re always on hand to help with any queries or issues you may be having with your e-bike. You can find your local Halfords store here.
  • E-bike battery replacement - You’ll know if you have a mobile phone that constant recharging can affect performance. If your battery does eventually stop working or doesn’t hold a charge, then you can purchase a replacement e-bike battery from Halfords. We only sell genuine, branded replacement batteries that are guaranteed to perform. It’s important to care for your e-bike battery by regularly charging it and only using the charger supplied with your e-bike.
  • Premium E-Bike CycleCare - And if that wasn’t enough, we also offer an e-bike our CycleCare package . And if that wasn’t enough, we also offer an e-bike CycleCare package. For either one or three years, we’ll provide a host of benefits worth up to £587, including unlimited puncture repairs, unlimited gear and brake adjustments, an unlimited 15% discount on bike parts and much more.
  • E-bike user manuals & guides - At Halfords we are here to support you with life's journeys. That's why we have placed all our e-Bike user manuals and guides into one convenient place - which are available for you to read online or download to view as you wish. Our specially made manuals are here to support you with getting you set up and on adventures with your E-Bike.


Frequently asked questions

An e-bike, or electric bike, is a bicycle that is assisted by an electric motor. When you cycle, the motor kicks in and adds some additional pedalling power to each stroke. The motor will help propel you to a speed of about 15mph (the legal limit). If you’re going quicker than that, you’re on your own!

Electric bikes still have everything you’d expect on a normal bike, including pedals, gears and brakes. The rider is in control of the motor and can switch it on and off at will. Even if the battery power goes flat, you can still ride the bike under pedal power.

Riding an e-bike is the same as riding a regular bike. You climb on, put your feet on the pedals, and off you go! It really is that simple.

When you switch on your e-bike you’ll need to choose between various modes, which provide different levels of pedalling support. The simple rule of thumb is, the more support the motor gives you, the shorter the battery life. You’ll also need to plug your battery in and recharge it regularly. If the battery runs out, your electric bike will simply become a standard bike with a battery and motor fitted.

When you start riding, the motor kicks in and provides pedal assistance up to a maximum speed of 15.5mph. Beyond that, you have to rely on your own power to propel you.

The first time you ride an electric bike, it can feel a little odd, but you’ll soon get used to it. Once you feel the extra pedalling power, you’ll wonder how you ever pedalled without it.

At Halfords, we’ve created lots of information to help you get the most out of your electric bike. If you still have any questions, drop into your nearest Halfords store where our e-bike experts can offer advice.

Electric bikes are legally referred to as “electrically assisted pedal cycles” or “EAPCs” under EU law EN15194. Your e-bike only falls in this category if:

  • The e-bike is powered by pedalling and not just a battery and motor
  • The electric motor won’t assist you if you’re travelling more than 15.5mph
  • The power output doesn’t exceed 250 watts (not to be confused with watt-hours)

If your e-bike meets these requirements, then you can legally ride it on the roads. All e-bikes we sell at Halfords are legally safe to ride on the roads.

If the e-bike you’re looking at exceeds these regulations – for example, it has a motor over 250 watts or provides assistance above 15.5mph - then you’ll need to register it as a motor vehicle, tax it and insure it. You’ll also need a driving license to ride it, and you’ll need to wear a motorcycle helmet!

The ultra-light motors fitted to electric bikes are powered by a super-efficient battery. Electric bikes use highly efficient Li-Ion batteries similar to those used in phones, laptops and some electric cars.

Electric bikes have a handlebar-mounted computer or display which is used to control the motor. The rider can choose from various modes, each providing different levels of powered support. Eco modes will provide a gentle contribution to each pedal stroke, with more intensive modes providing a stronger powered push.

Electric motors can provide rider assistance for up to 120 miles – depending on the size of the battery. You’ll see an estimated range figure for each electric bike, but be aware that this is an average and can depend on various factors, such as rider weight or the terrain your riding on.

The good news is that all electric bikes come with a battery level indicator, which will tell you if your battery needs a top-up. Every e-bike comes with a manufacturer-approved charger, with battery recharging taking a few hours, depending on the size of the battery.

Electric bikes are not motorbikes. The motor on an electric bike provides assistance for each pedal stroke but does not replace it. If you ride an electric bike, you’ll still need to do some pedalling!

Unlike motorbikes, you don’t need a license to ride an electric bike on the roads.

Electric bikes are a different type of bike and are neither better nor worse.

Electric bikes appeal to a huge variety of riders because of their versatility. You can use the motor when you want, or simply switch it off and pedal along as usual. They enable cyclists of all ages, and abilities the freedom to ride, safe in the knowledge that the motor is there to help them if they need it.

E-bikes and standard bikes don’t differ when it comes to size, so you can choose your e-bike in the same way. Check out our bike sizing guide to find out which size e-bike to get.

The law around electric bikes can be confusing, but it doesn’t need to be. Electric bikes are entirely legal, and you don’t need a licence or insurance to ride one as long as the motor is rated no higher than 250W, and the assisted top speed of the bike doesn’t exceed 15.5mph.

To ride an electric bike, you will need to be over 14 years of age. You can read the full government guidance on e-bikes (or to give them their full name, electrically-assisted pedal cycles) here.

It’s safe and legal to ride your electric bike anywhere you would ride your normal bike, including cycle paths. It isn’t a legal requirement, but we’d always recommend that you wear a helmet.

All our electric bikes are tried and tested and meet all current UK regulations. They’re built by our experienced technical experts and conform to all rules, which means you can jump on and ride without worrying about breaking the law!

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Why Choose Halfords?

We can build your bike

We can build your bike

Our experts can build and check your electric bike in store for free, with a detailed handover to get you ready to ride away. We can also build your electric bike and deliver to your home for £35.

Learn more >
Finance options available

Finance options available

We’ve got several finance options to help you spread the cost, covering spends over £99.

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Cycle2Work scheme

Cycle2Work scheme

Save up to 42% on an electric bike and accessories whilst reducing your carbon footprint and getting fit on your commute to work.

Learn more >