There’s no denying the freedom and flexibility you get from investing in a motorhome. The world, even if it’s just the UK and occasionally continental Europe is your oyster. You and the whole family can pack up the motorhome and hit the road, heading anywhere, with many of the creature comforts you miss out on if you go on alternative holidays.
It gives you the chance to discover and experience the wider world out there, at your own pace and to your own schedule. One of the issues many have with touring vehicles, but more particularly with motorhomes is their size. The size is perfect for heading along the motorways and country roads of this country and any other you are visiting. What they are not so great for is nipping about small towns, villages and even cities. Those quick little trips to the local Morrison’s that normally take 5-minutes’ worth of driving in a normal hatchback or saloon, are not nearly as quick or simple when you are behind the wheel of a motorhome.
That’s why you may have seen some of the fancier models have space to park a small car in the undercarriage of the vehicle. Now, pipe dreams aside, did you know there was a similar option open to you, though one that is not quite as expensive as having a whole car in your motorhome?
We’re talking about the rising trend in motorhome users investing in e-bikes.
First up in our look at e-bikes for motorhomes is this awesome option from Cyclamatic. Do you have limited storage space on your touring vehicle? You should consider this as it is foldable and reduces into a very small package. Despite it being practical and compact, there has been no major sacrifice made on the engine it is supplied with.
The 250-watt motor allows you to travel at 15-miles an hour and as it is waterproofed, you can even ride it through the rain and other inclement weather. What we really love about this product, though, is the fact it provides you with different operational modes to choose from. Therefore, if you are feeling fit and healthy and want to give your legs a bit of a workout, you can use it as a normal bike. Whereas, if you feel up to doing a bit of the work at getting from a to b, you can select the partial-electric mode. Ensuring that it falls in line with strict European laws and regulations, it does not have a completely automatic mode. There is always some peddling required.
On a single charge, you can cover distances of between 25 to 31 miles. When it’s time to charge it, you only need to wait 4 to 6 hours.
With a 16-inch robust steel frame and 20-inch wheels, this is a bit of a dream to ride. The saddle is suitably padded and there are 6-speed gears to help you out when the electric-assist mode won’t do it alone.
Another great option from Cyclamatic, the Power Plus CX1 electric mountain bike with lithium-ion battery is a nice and affordable choice of an e-bike for those motorhome adventures. It is very similar to the model above in that it benefits from high quality, quick-change 21-speed Shimano gears to help you tackle any terrain and conditions. It features a steel frame and very comfortable padded saddle and has all the looks of a film from the 1920s with the modern e-bike innovations of the 21st century.
Further similarities to this and the folding option from Cyclamatic include the fact that for it too to meet European law, it does not feature an automatic electric-powered mode. You always need to pedal to some extent. With the normal bike mode, it is all on your strength and ability to get from a to b, whereas with the assisted mode, your legs can take a bit of a breather and don’t need to work quite as hard.
It is a very simple in design bike, but one that offers huge benefits and given that it lasts for up to 28-miles on a full charge when traversing across normal terrain, it is one e-bike you won’t want to dismiss too quickly.
Now, this next option is more expensive than the Cyclamatic offerings. However, there is no getting around its popularity and high ratings. With an aluminium alloy frame, it is very robust and durable, and it has luxuriously large 26-inch wheels that make light work of most terrain.
Similarly, to the other offers it features a set of 21-speed Shimano gears that help you to cover ground, whatever the terrain and conditions, quicker and with greater ease. Rather than just relying on one set of brakes, this model is equipped with two like a more traditional cycle, one to the rear and one to the front. As is standard these days, it is powered by a 250-watt motor and can cover between 25 and 30km on a single charge, particularly when travelling at a steady speed of 25km/hr or lower.
Charging the motor to full power only takes between 4 and 6 hours, so when you stop for the night or are going to be spending a long time at one location during the day, you can simply stick it on to charge and it will be ready to go when you are.
What if you have a perfectly great bicycle sitting at home? Rather than investing in a completely brand-new, purpose-made e-bike, you could take that existing bike and convert it into an electric bike with this kit from ReaseJoy. ReaseJoy has an impeccable reputation for producing products and accessories that are made to a high standard of quality and are highly functional and effective.
With this kit, you get everything you need to transform your bike into an electric vehicle. It features a drive system that does not require gears or chains, therefore reducing the chances of the chains breaking or any part of the bike failing. We’re really impressed with the fact the kit comes with a 1000W motor that is capable of helping you achieve speeds of between 45 and 48hm/hour. It also has a near-universal design that makes it compatible with most bikes.
Why an e-Bike?
We understand your reservations because surely e-bikes are just a passing trend. If that were true, we would be on your side. The truth is, e-bikes are growing in popularity by the year, even month. Sure, you could invest in a motorbike or a bicycle to take along with you on your travels.
However, not everyone likes the idea of ripping around on a motorbike and while cycling can be fun if you have the energy and don’t have mobility issues if you are tired or have weak bones and muscles, cycling is the last thing you want to do on holiday.
Hence, the e-bike. An e-bike allows you to have a mode of transport that’s perfect for nipping about smaller towns and villages, where there is a lot of built-up traffic and no room on narrow roads and streets for a hulk of a motorhome.
They are also perfect if you don’t really want to overwork yourself. You can simply climb aboard, start the engine and you’re off.
What’s more, they are more environmentally friendly than petrol- and diesel-guzzling motorbikes.
Therefore, open up your motorhome holidaying experience a little and add an extra dimension to it with an e-bike. To help whet your appetite and give you some ideas of the kind of options available right now, we have highlighted some of the best e-bikes below.
Some Things to Consider
Although we have gone to great lengths and a lot of research to highlight only products we would buy ourselves, there are still some things you need to consider before investing in an e-bike to take on board your motorhome and open the world to you even more.
Take a Test Run
There is nothing wrong with buying an e-bike online. After all, it is usually the best way to get the benefit of better prices than you would if you bought one from a physical brick and mortar store. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t test drive some before investing all that money.
We can think of nothing worse than spending upwards of 500 quid on a product only to find it is not suitable at all. Therefore, we recommend that you go to your nearest e-bike dealer and ask if you can try out some models you’ve seen online, then once you have decided which suits you best, you can always buy it online with full confidence that it will provide you with the experience you are after.
Understand European Law
You need to also make sure you understand the strict European and UK law regarding e-bikes. As of 2015, both sets of laws were harmonised and within the law, e-bikes are categorised as being Pedelec. Pedelec bikes are those that offer pedalling assistance with the use of an electric motor while you are pedalling.
According to the law, the following is expected:
- You are only allowed to get cycling assistance from the motor of your Pedelec when you are pedalling
- Powered assistance bikes are only allowed to reach speeds greater than 25km/hour.
- Motors should not be more powerful than 250-watts
Important Terminology You Should Understand Before Buying An Electric Bike
When you are looking at the specification and product details of the e-bikes above, you will notice that there are lots of important information you need to understand. To help you decipher what each of these means, we have provided this handy guide to e-bike terminology below.
The overall weight of a bike is obviously crucial, particularly if you need to lift it onto a rack. You need to ensure that the bike falls below the maximum weight set for the motorhome mounting points and the bike rack itself.
The battery range is obviously very important as it determines how far you will be able to travel on a single charge. Normally this will be listed as between 20 and 90km. However, it is important to note that although it may say it is capable of riding a specific distance, several factors can impact whether it’s actually possible to achieve that distance or not. That includes the temperature outdoors, your weight and the terrain among many others.
The speed it is capable of achieving is important as you will want to make sure you can ride along with the normal traffic if on the main roads. All pedal-assist vehicles for the moment, according to European and UK law, as noted earlier, are only allowed to reach maximum speeds anyway.
Motor Amp/Hour or Ah
The motor amp/hour rating is normally displayed between 8 and 15 Ah and indicates the full battery capacity. The general rule of thumb is the greater the motor am hour the better.
The number you really should be looking for with regards to this is 50nnm (or Newton-meters)
This is the power the motor provides. This ranges from 250-watts, the street-legal and European standard spec, to 1KW and more to offer additional range and speed. Although it should be noted it would not be street legal, fine in off-road settings.
The total charge and fast charge can range from 1 to 7 hours depending on the charge rate and capacity of the battery.
This determines where the power hub with the motor is located on the bike.
You will find that the batteries powering e-bikes have voltages that are either 24, 36 and 48-volts. It is often the case that batteries with higher voltages are capable of delivering higher wattages, meaning better speed and better range.
If you are interested in improving the flexibility and freedom you have when you are on the road in your motorhome with a quick way to get around the towns and villages you visit, an e-bike as an awesome choice. We hope our guide has helped show the benefits of these practical and lightweight transportation options, as well as highlighted some of the models you should consider and the important factors you need to think about when choosing the best one.