It’s official: electric bikes are going mainstream in the UK. From this month, Halfords – the nationwide chain responsible for a third of the country’s new bike market – will stock two electric assisted bikes.
Known as pedelecs, as the power only kicks in to help when you start to pedal, these ‘Urbanmover’ models will be available at 80 Halfords shops and online.
The UM44L U-Sprite, a Dutch-style townie step-through bike, will cost £649.99, while the mountain-bike-style UM33X will be priced at £899.99. Both use a 200w motor mounted on the rear wheel, with a simple handlebar-mounted controller. The UM44L U weighs in at around 22kg (48.5lb) including battery.
Both models give you up to 20 miles on one battery charge, and can be fully recharged in about four hours. It’s claimed the battery is good for 800 recharging cycles, the downside being that a new battery will set you back almost £300 – something that’s definitely worth factoring into the running costs if you’re likely to use the bike day in and day out, all year round.
The Urbanmover UM33X borrows styling cues from the mountain bike scene
But assuming you ride a 20-mile-a-day round trip commute, and work about 250 days a year, you’re still talking over three years of electrically assisted pedalling. And at roughly 2p a full recharge, this has to be a one of the cheapest motorised ways of commuting.
Add to that the possibility of getting either of these bikes at roughly half price through your company’s cycle to work scheme – with the likelihood of being able to pay for it in monthly, interest-free instalments over a year – and suddenly the maths start to add up.
200w rear hub motor kicks in quicker than most to give you a helpful push up to speed: 200w rear hub motor kicks in quicker than most to give you a helpful push up to speedPaul Smith
The 200w rear hub motor kicks in quicker than most to give you a push up to speed
And that’s without considering the benefits to your health, state of mind and independence. Some cyclists might say pedelecs aren’t bikes. But you get all the same pedal turning, wheel-spinning fun and independence of an unassisted bike, plus the versatility of easy load hauling – even up hills – not to mention the extra safety of quicker getaways from traffic lights. Sold? We think they will be…
The um44l, now available in halford’s, is an aluminium framed step through, with an all-up weight of 21.4kg and a electric-assisted range of about 20 miles – and it’s even fun to ride on the flat without the power on: the um44l, now available in halford’s, is an aluminium framed step through, with an all-up weight of 21.4kg and a electric-assisted range of about 20 miles – and it’s even fun to ride on the flat without the power onPaul Smith
Cycling Plus magazine’s Neil Pedoe aboard the Urbanmover UM44L U-Sprite