Introducing Electrics!

These Motorized Marvels Would Make ol' Ben Franklin Proud

Shown: Lafree Electric Bike

Electric bikes sound space-age yet they're simple in concept. These modern marvels are akin to your favorite two-wheelers and are equipped with battery powered electric motors that help propel you, all or part of the time. E-bikes as they're commonly called, are catching on because they're quiet, non-polluting, and can make cycling a lot more fun for a lot more people.

For example, they're ideal if you'd appreciate a little boost when climbing hills and covering longer distances. Commuters find that the motor provides enough extra oomph to eliminate sweating. So, you arrive at work calm, cool and collected. Plus, the motor makes it easier to carry the extra weight of garment bags and work-a-day gear such as laptop "luggables."

Because electric bikes are classified as bicycles, no license, registration and insurance are required, saving you a bundle (and there are no gas costs and only cheap, basic maintenance needs). What's more, these zippy (top assisted speed is about 18 mph) bikes let you sneak around traffic jams, are a breeze to park and can be recharged in a few hours so they're always ready to roll. These advantages have prompted many city dwellers to buy battery bikes as a viable and hip transportation alternative to the automobile.

Don't think that you won't get any exercise buzzing around on your assisted steed, either. You're repaid for pedaling with longer battery life. Plus, it feels great to pedal when it's so easy to, so most e-bike riders actually spin a lot!

Understanding The Different Types

There are two basic categories of electric two-wheelers:

Pedal Assist (also called Pedelec) is an electric bicycle on which you must pedal in order to use the motor. It's just like a conventional bicycle except that there's a motor that senses that you're pedaling and kicks in to aid the pedaling effort. It feels like you've suddenly become an Olympic athlete.

Power on Command is an e-bike equipped with a motor controlled by a throttle. On these electrics, you don't have to pedal to benefit from the motor. When you want power, just crank the throttle and away you go. Of course, the less you pedal, the sooner you run out of juice in the battery. So, it's best to help the motor by pedaling.

Besides the motors, electric bikes usually come equipped with comfortable seats and handlebars, flat-resistant tires, wide-range gearing and quick-release seats for easy adjustment. You'll find other nifty features on some models such as fenders, built-in locks, removable batteries and sturdy kickstands.

Which is best?

Both types work great and the best thing is to check some out. Visit our store for more information about the electric bicycles we carry. We can point out differences, arrange for a test ride and demonstrate the features and benefits that are making these amazing new vehicles the latest personal mobility craze.