Sick of queuing for petrol? Here's how to take an e-bike for a six-hour test ride

Diamondback Union 1
(Image credit: Diamondback)

Halfords has launched a scheme that will let you take an electric bike for an extended test ride before deciding whether to splash out (and possibly replace your car). As Cycling Weekly explains, you can sign up by visiting the Halfords website, clicking 'Book your test ride', and typing in your postcode.

Select a store from the list that appears, and you'll be presented with a list of available e-bikes. It won't be an exhaustive range, but there should be a good variety, including hybrid, mountain, road, and folding e-bikes.

If you can't see the exact model you've been considering, it's still well worth booking a ride; there's likely to be a model with similar specs, and you may discover something important after riding it for half a day. Perhaps you need more range, or an electric road bike is too heavy for lifting onto a train as part of your morning commute.

The time slots are likely to fill up quickly, though; demand for e-bikes has risen sharply in recent weeks due to soaring petrol prices and shortages around the UK, as reported in The Times

You'll be asked to pay a deposit of £101, which will be refunded when you bring the bike back, and you'll need to provide two forms of ID (at least one of which should be a photo ID, like a passport or driving licence). 

Three of the e-bikes available to test ride at Halfords

There's a good range of e-bikes available to test, including mountain bikes, road bikes, and folding commuter bikes (Image credit: Halfords)

Want a little longer? There are no guarantees, but there's a chance you may be able to extend your test ride if you speak to a member of staff in store before heading out.

How to choose an e-bike

So, how can you decide which e-bike to book for a test ride? One of your first considerations will almost certainly be price. We've tested a huge range of e-bikes over the years, and we've come to the conclusion that you're unlikely to find a good quality all-purpose e-bike for under £1,200. Below that level, you're going to be making a sacrifice of some sort.

An entry-level e-bike should have a range of around 40-60 miles, and there are some important components to look out for, such as disc brakes to cope with the additional forces created by the bike's motor. Any e-bike should also have a good IP rating, indicating good resistance to water and dirt, and ideally it should also have internally-routed cabling to protect the electronics from damage.

An e-bike doesn't need a great deal of extra maintenance, though. As Shimano's head of training Julian Thrasher told TechRadar in a recent interview, the most important things are to always put it away clean, make sure it's fully charged before heading out for a ride, and take it to a service centre once a year to ensure you have all the latest firmware updates.

That's something Halfords can handle, which is handy if if you fall in love with your test bike and want to put your deposit towards buying it. 

Cat Ellis
Homes Editor

Cat is Homes Editor on TechRadar, specializing in kitchen appliances and smart home technology. She's been a journalist for 15 years, is a keen home cook, and is here to help you choose the right tech for your home, get the best deals, and do more with your new devices.