A NEW venture aiming to tap into the pedal-assisted bike market has been launched with a showroom in Saltaire.

A £200,000 investment has seen the launch of Yorkshire Electric Bike Company, a division of long established bike retailer All Terrain Cycles. The firm says they will offer one of the largest selections of branded electrically-assisted bikes in the region from the showroom, in Salts Mill Road, Saltaire.

The electric bike market is expected to catch up with Europe where it is estimated that 30 per cent of bikes are now electric.

Managing director Tony Booth said: “People seem to be more open to the idea of electric bikes. Initially, they were seen as being aimed at older people, but they are now becoming ‘hip’ with much younger riders who want the thrill of some off-road fun without the slog of ploughing up hills.

“There is still an element of exercise involved as you have to pedal in order for the motor to run, but it means you don’t have to be ultra-fit to go mountain biking with your friends and you have a little extra help if you’re recovering from an injury.

“Motorised bikes are environmentally-friendly and cost-effective, which also makes them ideal for commuters or teenagers who want some independence.”

More that 50 e-bikes will be offered in store from leading names in the sector such as Cube. Customers will also have the opportunity to go for a test drive.

Electric bikes have rechargeable batteries that are charged from a normal mains socket. It takes about three hours for a full charge, which lasts for around 20 miles, with a maximum uphill speed of 15mph. E-bikes do not require road tax or a licence.