Lime Bike vs eBike: Why Owning is Better Than Renting
Lime Bike vs eBike: Why Owning is Better Than Renting

Lime Bike vs eBike: Why Owning is Better Than Renting

The Rise of the eBike

Electric bikes (eBikes) have rapidly become a popular mode of transport in urban areas. Initially appearing in the 1990s, eBikes truly entered the mainstream much later, especially gaining momentum during the pandemic. This period forced a global reevaluation of urban mobility, leading to a significant increase in eBike adoption. In the UK, eBike sales almost tripled from 55,000 units in 2017 to 160,000 in 2021.

As eBikes grew in popularity, bike-sharing schemes began to flourish. These schemes, featuring companies like Lime, have made eBikes a convenient and accessible option for many city dwellers. The ease of finding a rental bike via an app, coupled with the pay-per-minute model, has made these bikes a popular choice for short trips around the city. However, this convenience comes with its own set of challenges.

The Rental eBike Phenomenon

The convenience of rental eBikes like Lime cannot be denied. The ability to pick up a bike near your location and leave it almost anywhere makes it an appealing choice for many. This flexibility has led to a significant shift in how people move around cities. According to a 2023 Steer report, 60% of Lime riders cycle more frequently after using Lime eBikes. Additionally, 71% of female riders were not regular cyclists before using Lime, compared to 52% of male riders. Lime has facilitated over 1.25 million eBike trips in London from January 2019 to March 2023, with usage increasing by an average of 10% each month.

Despite these benefits, the rapid growth of eBike sharing schemes has not been without issues. Misuse of bikes, poor parking habits, and a rush to complete rides within the time limits have led to various problems. Paris, a leading city in green commutes, recently banned rental electric scooters due to similar concerns. This scenario highlights the need for better management of shared eBikes to prevent such outcomes.

The Cost of Rentals

When considering the costs, rental eBikes can become quite expensive. For instance, Santander charges £1.65 for a 30-minute ride, while Forest bikes have a £1 unlocking fee plus £0.29 per minute after the first 10 minutes, making a 30-minute ride cost £6.80. Lime's pricing can vary, with rates sometimes surging based on location and time of day. For example, a ride that once cost £0.19 per minute now costs £0.29 per minute, plus a £1 unlocking fee. For a regular commuter, these costs can add up quickly. Strava suggests the average London cyclist rides 9 miles a day, taking about an hour in total. This would cost around £14 per day in hire fees, or approximately £280 per month for a five-day-a-week commuter.

The Benefits of Owning an eBike

While rental eBikes offer flexibility, owning an eBike can be a more cost-effective and practical solution in the long run. Let's consider the Riese & Müller Culture Touring, priced at £3,789. Although this is a significant upfront investment, the long-term savings and benefits are substantial.

  1. Cost Efficiency: Charging an eBike is incredibly cheap. For the Riese & Müller Culture Touring, a full charge costs around £0.13 and provides up to 65 miles of range. This is far cheaper than daily rental fees.
  2. Ownership Programs: Programs like Cycle to Work can make owning an eBike more affordable. For example, on a £40,000 salary, you could reduce your monthly take-home pay by £227, saving £1,060 over the purchase price.
  3. Finance Options: Financing options can spread the cost. For instance, with a 10% deposit, you could pay £142 per month over 24 months, comparable to 10 rental rides.
  4. Quality and Enjoyment: Owning a high-quality eBike like those from Fully Charged means enjoying better ride quality, comfort, and reliability compared to heavy, commercial rental bikes.
  5. Flexibility and Freedom: With your own eBike, you're not constrained by rental zones or time limits. You can ride wherever and whenever you want without worrying about parking or additional charges.

Security Considerations

Investing in a good lock, such as the Hiplok D1000, is essential to protect your eBike. Spending about 10% of your eBike’s value on security can prevent the hassle and cost of replacing a stolen bike. While bike theft is a concern, using high-quality locks and choosing secure parking locations can mitigate this risk.


While rental eBikes like Lime offer a convenient way to experience the benefits of electric biking, owning an eBike presents a more economical and enjoyable option in the long run. At Fully Charged, we believe in the transformative power of eBikes and are committed to providing the best quality products that offer reliability, comfort, and joy in every ride. Investing in an eBike not only saves money over time but also contributes to a more sustainable and healthy lifestyle.

Written by Eilis B & Ben J