As independent-minded as they are free-spirited, motorhome owners will happily agree to disagree on many subjects: favourite European drives, best weekend getaways in the UK, top places to pitch for unspoilt seascapes, which winding mountain roads lead to the most panoramic views, where pets are most welcome, tips for keeping warm at night and a myriad of other topics, but there’s one question on which they pretty much all concur. Namely, that wherever they go, and whatever they plan on doing when they get there, taking an electric bike away with you on holiday only adds to the adventure and your sense of freedom.
The top 5 essential features
Listening to feedback from owners, the opinion of industry experts, and, most telling of all, reports from many large retailers, the single-most requested accessory for motorhomes in the UK is now an electric bike. But the needs of a motorhome owner are different from someone who plans to store one in their garage. Here, then, are our top 5 considerations when choosing which electric bike to take away with you on holiday.
Anyone who’s owned a motorhome will tell you that every inch counts, and it’s here where your choice of electric bike really needs to measure up. Commonly stored on a rack outside the motorhome, your bike wants to be compact, sturdy, and light enough for you to lift up and down on a daily basis.
It’s once you arrive that the benefits of bringing an electric bike with you really come to life. It’s also why choosing one with a large battery capacity is so important. A bike with a range of up to 60 miles from a single charge will keep you going throughout the day, allowing you to explore local beauty spots, out of the way restaurants and cafes, and even pop into the nearest town or village to run some errands. Without having to worry about running out of juice on the way.
- Easy to charge
To be honest, most of the newer electric bikes are a doddle to charge these days. You certainly don’t have to worry about getting your entire bike near a socket, as the battery is usually quick and easy to remove. Good news for motorhome owners is that newer electric bikes can be charged from any mains power socket. Even when you’re touring around Europe there should be no problem finding an electricity hook up, wherever you stay.
How long does a battery take to fully charge? Normally around 3-4 hours, but many batteries have now improved to the point where you can partially charge them in a couple of hours, without damaging the battery cell.
On the whole, most electric bikes are pretty reliable, but they’re not bullet proof and the reason for this often has much to do with price, our final feature. A low-end electric bike is not the bargain it first appears to be, so buying a cheap Chinese e-bike from eBay would be a mistake. Reliability is often poor and if something does go wrong, you may have trouble finding replacement parts. On that note, let’s move on to…
A good electric bike is not cheap. Yes, you can pick up a very basic machine for around £500 but, as we’ve explained above, you can face knock-on issues with reliability. To be honest, a high performance electric bike with light frames, maximum capacity batteries, and smart control electronics costs over two grand, and bikes worth consideration start around £1,000. Like we say, not cheap but what it can add to your holiday in terms of enjoyment, new-found freedom and independence is priceless. However, it’s still a lot of money and trying before you buy is essential.
Our recommendation? It’s a tough call, but from points 1 – 5 we believe MARK 2’s new range of X-Cross and Scrambler electric bikes score top marks. Tarmac or trail, off road or on, the MARK 2 range is definitely worth a closer look. But that’s just one point of view. Motorhome owners are an opinionated bunch, and others are sure to have their own personal preferences. As they say, let the debate begin…