I ’ve been something of a sceptic about technological bike gizmos over the years, add-ons that too often seem to represent a solution in search of a problem, an attempt to reinvent something – the bicycle – that was not far short of perfect anyway.
I’m no luddite. New developments make cycling even more enjoyable and useful, not least near-puncture proof tyres and tiny, retina-searing lights. Plus, of course, there’s the amazing world of electric-assist bikes, or e-bikes.
There’s not space to fully get into why e-bikes can be a cycling gamechanger, but they are increasingly common, even in the UK, whirring along with a passenger, or cargo of kids and shopping.
If I have an issue with e-bikes, it’s that some can be slightly … overengineered. Once you clamp a battery and motor on to a bike, weight becomes a slightly moot point, and the motors on modern e-bikes are so powerful they can easily get riders up to the 15mph maximum-powered speed allowed.
And so, some e-bikes tend to be awash with, well, extra bits. Cheap suspension forks. Extraneous racks or baskets. Overly clunky components. There are, of course, many excellent e-bikes, but the world of conventional bikes is that bit more straightforward. Plus, of course, e-bikes can be expensive, and those below £1,000 tend to involve some compromise.