Automatic for the people

Halfords have teamed up with power-assisted bike, skateboard and scooter manufacturer Urban Mover to distribute their range of electrically-assisted bikes. The bikes are available exclusively online at Halfords.com and they range in price from £739 to £1149; there's eight models to choose from.

All the bikes use Pedelec technology, which assists you as you're riding rather than simply powering the bike like a scooter. Urban Mover's Variable Pedal Assist Controller (VPAC) is a torque-sensing system, meaning that the more you push, the harder the motor works. This has the benefit of adding assistance as and when you need it, and it prolongs battery life over simpler systems. The Urban Mover bikes have claimed ranges of 21 miles to over 40, although we're used to these being on the optimistic side.

All the bikes feature 200W brushless hub motors (the legal maximum) and the bikes' assistance is limited to a 15mph maximum as per the current regulations. Batteries are all Panasonic Lithium Ion units and there's two basic electric specs, a cheaper 26v and a pricier 37v which has a smaller, higher capacity battery for a longer range. The frames cover all bases: as well as male and female commuting steeds there's a cruiser, a mountain bike, a shopper and two folders, one with front and rear suspension. All of the bikes with the exception of the full suspension folder mount the motor in the rear hub, which is normally better in terms of feel and traction.

These aren't particularly cheap electric bikes so it'll be interesting to see what the performance is like, we're already trying to get some samples to ride. Weight is always a factor in the power-assist market; we were pleased to see a stated weight of 19.5kg for the cruiser on the Halfords website, less convinced when we saw that was the stated weight for all the other bikes too but the Urban Mover site has them all weighing in between 19kg and 21.5kg too, which is pretty reasonable. We'll see.


Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.