As sad as it may sound, now is the time to start thinking about returning to school (sorry, kids). We strongly recommend collecting some of the gear you might need at uni, like laptops and other accessories, to beat the crowd at the end of August. It's also prime time to consider how you'll go back and forth between school and home and to weigh up whether using an electric bike for commuting is a good idea.
At first, buying an electric bike (see also: best electric bikes) might feel overkill. They are often more expensive and heavier than standard road bikes (see also: best road bikes) and often attract unwanted attention from thieves. However, you should consider getting one anyway, as using an e-bike over a standard two-wheeler has numerous benefits. Let's break down the misconceptions around electric bikes once and for all.
Get more transport ideas along with gadgets for returning to work, uni or even the gym as part of T3's Back to Class Month.
Unlike performance cycling, electric bikes are generally accepted as viable means of transportation for commuting. After all, no one's going to snicker at you for using electric assist for climbing a hill on the way to uni or work, unlike if you try to pull the same stunt on a group ride out, surrounded by a group of MAMILs, who will hesitate not to tell you how that's cheating.
We doubt many commuters are concerned about what people think of the electric assist of their bikes; a more pressing issue is what happens when the battery runs out, forcing you to carry around the heavy e-bike using pedal power only. Indeed, on average, e-bikes are heavier than the non-electric variety, some weighing as much as 50kg/ 110 lbs (Rad Power Bikes RadWagon 4, which is a cargo bike, mind).
However, modern electric bikes have an extensive range – the distance the bike can travel before the battery runs out – and different assist modes, ensuring the chance of running out of juice is very slim indeed. Our top e-bike pick for commuting, the aptly-named Honbike Uni4 (see what they did there?), has a range of up to 100 km/ 62 miles, enough for a daily 20 km roundtrip, five times a week.
What about security? Modern e-bikes are equipped with advanced anti-theft features, providing added security and peace of mind. One of the key features is GPS tracking technology. Integrated GPS systems allow e-bike owners to monitor the real-time location of their bikes through a smartphone app or a dedicated tracking service.
Many e-bikes also include remote locking capabilities. You can remotely activate an electronic lock with your smartphone, rendering the bike immobile and deterring potential thieves from quickly riding away. Electric bikes often incorporate built-in alarm systems to further enhance their anti-theft capabilities. These alarms are triggered by tampering attempts, such as unauthorized movement, shaking, or attempted disassembly.
Once activated, the alarm emits a loud and attention-grabbing sound, drawing the attention of passersby and alerting the bike owner of the potential theft. And, you know, you can always use one of the best bike locks to ensure your bicycle stays where you left it.
Go with the flow
Our money-no-object e-bike option is currently the Gogoro Eeyo 1, not least because it brings together all the best features mentioned above. It's super lightweight (only 11.8kg/ 26 lbs), has a decent range (up to 55 miles/ 88km in Eco mode) and its Smartwheel technology is also equipped with anti-theft technology. The Eeyo 1 also looks pretty snazzy.
If you're after something more affordable, especially for commuting, the Xiaomi Mi Smart might be an excellent option for you. This folding e-bike is also on the light side (15kg/33 lbs), can support riders up to 100 kg/ 220 lbs and costs a quarter as much as Gogoro's top dog bicycle. The range could be better, but we can't expect the Mi Smart to be flawless at this price point, can we?