Tom Burnett| An introduction to E bikes

Shaz interviews Store Manager of PURE Electric (Birmingham) Tom Burnett

PURE Electric sell E bikes and E scooters. They can be found on Colmore Row in Birmingham City Centre.

Q1) What is an E bike?

An E-bike in the UK is a pedal assisted bicycle, which requires a battery powered motor to assist the rider.

E-bikes will help you go further for longer, make your ride a little easier, make your hill climbs a bit faster or make your commute to work effortless so your ready to start the day fresh.

They are also really helpful in some instances where riding normal bikes has become awkward or uncomfortable for people returning to cycling from injury or operations.

Q2) Are there any limits as to what can be an e bike? Eg engine size.

There’s quite a lot of legislation so there’s no grey areas or misinterpretation I’ve included what the government deems as legal E-bikes.

(As per the direct gov website.)

Electric bikes: licensing, tax and insurance

You can ride an electric bike if you’re 14 or over, as long as it meets certain requirements.

These electric bikes are known as ‘electrically assisted pedal cycles’ (EAPCs). You do not need a licence to ride one and it does not need to be registered, taxed or insured.

What counts as an EAPC

An EAPC must have pedals that can be used to propel it.

It must show either:

·         the power output

·         the manufacturer of the motor

It must also show either:

·         the battery’s voltage

·         the maximum speed of the bike

Its electric motor:

·         must have a maximum power output of 250 watts

·         should not be able to propel the bike when it’s travelling more than 15.5mph

An EAPC can have more than 2 wheels (for example, a tricycle).

Where you can ride

If a bike meets the EAPC requirements it’s classed as a normal pedal bike. This means you can ride it on cycle paths and anywhere else pedal bikes are allowed.

Other kinds of electric bike

Any electric bike that does not meet the EAPC rules is classed as a motorcycle or moped and needs to be registered and taxed. You’ll need a driving licence to ride one and you must wear a crash helmet.

The bike must also be type approved if either:

·         it can be propelled without pedalling (a ‘twist and go’ EAPC)

·         it does not meet the EAPC rules

This should have been done by the manufacturer or importer before you bought it. If it’s been type approved, it will have a plate showing its type approval number.

Q3) From a rider perspective, how is the riding experience different from a conventional bicycle?

I ride an E-MTB(Electric mountain bike) occasionally for fun but mainly for my 8 mile commute into Birmingham.

I can ride my 8 miles get off my bike and open the shop without the need to have a shower, I’m not shattered and can just crack on. At the end of a full days work on my feet having some help to cycle home makes my commute a lot easier. If there’s a headwind the E-Bike just pedals through it easily. I can still get a sweat on if I pedal a bit harder or turn down my power level.

When I take it off road usually up the Lickey Hills it’s handles really well and means climbing those really steep hills that I’d normally push up, I can now ride up, as it utilises increased torque in EMTB climbing mode.

I’ve included our Buyers guide below:

PURE Electric E-Bike Buyers Guide

Q4) Is there much difference in the maintenance required from an e bike to a conventional bicycle?

The overall maintenance is still the same, as ultimately it’s a pedal bike built around a motor and battery, so lubrication minor adjustments and normal monthly/quarterly/annual services would continue.

However From an Electrical point of view you would normally take it to a E-Bike dealer to update or fault find, as they have access to dealer apps to be able to connect and diagnose any issues.

Drop us an email for booking info at

Q5) We need to shift our society away from car dependence. How can e bikes help achieve modal shift away from cars?

The cost of E-bikes can be quite high however they can soon pay for themselves.

Take my car for instance I paid

£150 finance p/m

£45 fuel p/m

£15 road tax p/m (Vehicle Excise Duty. Road Tax has not existed since 1937)

£20 insurance p/m

£120 car parking

Total £350 p/m

From 2021 there is the inclusion of the CAZ (Clean Air Zone) at £8 per day which would add another £160 p/m assuming I drove in every day which on paper is quite a large spend every month just to get to work.

After 10 months I’ve paid off the bike from the savings of getting rid of my car.

On average it’s costs about 3-5p charge the battery so it’s kind of a no brainer with that kind of saving going from nearly £400p/m to £1.00p/m.


In terms of carbon footprint it’s a huge drop as the emissions are minimal.

Since riding my E-bike to work I’ve found my stress levels had dropped considerably as I’m no longer sat in traffic, there’s no road rage it’s a quick ride home instead of an hour and half sat in traffic and if I fancy a detour on the way home I just cycle off a different way.

Q6) E bike shops are becoming increasingly common, does this reflect e bikes increasing popularity?

There’s been a significant uptake in the sales of E-bikes and this market is still in its early stages in the UK.

Pure Electric was founded by entrepreneur Adam Norris and his passion for new, game-changing technology that improves everyday lives.  PURE Electric believe that electric scooters and electric bikes can play a pivotal role in reducing society’s reliance on cars, lowering air pollution and congestion in cities across Europe, alongside walking and taking public transport.

In Birmingham I’m regularly selling more and more E-Bikes, and as the market share increases there will be a need for more E-Bike specialists to service these bikes.

Q7) What advice would you give to somebody considering buying an e bike for the first time?

Come along to see me and the team at Pure Electric Birmingham (next door the the Alchemist) on Colmore Row and take a bike out for a test ride to find the style of riding that suits your needs.

Don’t buy the cheapest bike in the market just to get into Electric, do some research and come and have a chat and we’ll find a bike to suit you and your riding needs as there’s a bike for every style of riding.

The big things to think about are where will you ride? How far do you want to go? What style of riding do you prefer now? And have a budget set in mind.

Q8) What has the reaction been like from the cycling community to Pure Electric opening in Birmingham City Centre?

With the loss of Cycle Republic, Cycle Surgery and temporary closure of Evans it’s meant that servicing and advice has been very lacking across the whole of the city centre.

Our return with a fully operational workshop has been welcomed back into town along with the easing of lockdown. The rise in commuting means repair for E-bikes, Push Bikes and E-Scooters has kept my team busy.

Jess my workshop manager is a top Mechanic and all the team are keen cyclists and passionate about getting people into riding and getting them on the right bike, servicing all our regular customers has kept us at the heart of our community and we’d like to think for the cyclists returning to us after covid we’re their LBS .

Like I said although we are an electric bike store we still run a full workshop for all styles of bike and scooter repairs.

Q9) Lockdown has seen bike sales skyrocket, how do we keep people new to cycling as lockdown ends and cars return to dominate the roads?

Clarity on where is safe to ride and where to ride a lot of people don’t realise you can cycle miles and barely come near a main road, we need some improvements in cycle lanes (There’s some post covid cycle lane extensions coming) maybe some introductions to road safety, and basic bike maintenance tips, these key things would in my opinion keep people going and keep the cycle interest going….

We’re happy at PURE Electric, with enough interest, to set up some basic workshops for small groups of new riders to keep them riding post covid!!

If your aware of anyone or any family groups that would like some info get them the drop Jess and the guys an email.


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