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Sunapee Offers The Wave Of The Future

Aug 22, 2023 06:12PM ● By Virginia Dean
Sunapee eBikes and More! opened in June 2023 in the former Village Sports location at 428 Main Street in New London, New Hampshire. Their other store, Lakes Region eBikes, is located in downtown Franklin, New Hampshire, and offers rentals for the Northern Rail Trail and Winnipesaukee River Trail. Both locations offer retail sales of e-bikes, parts, accessories, and carriers and service all types of bikes. We chatted with owner Audry Barriault to get the inside scoop. 

Q: What are the advantages of an e-bike?

A: An e-bike has a battery-powered motor that makes pedaling easier for the rider; it kind of feels like someone is giving you a push from behind. Class, I e-bikes assist you with pedaling only, while Class II also have a throttle, so the bike can move without pedaling at all, and both are limited to 20 miles per hour.

Q: How popular is the e-bike, and why?

A: Though e-bikes have been around for a while, manufacturers really started upping production of them in the last several years. They’re a great option for commuting, take up little space compared to a car, and charge quickly.


Q: Do riders still get exercise with an e-bike?

A: I think e-bike riders may actually get more exercise than they would on a traditional bike because they can go farther, and they’ll actually want to go for a bike ride. Even if you love fresh air, it’s daunting to get on a bike if you know you’ll have to contend with steep hills, and there are a lot of those around here! I still get a workout on an e-bike, but it’s less strain on my joints.


Q: How long do the batteries last and where are they recharged?

A: Depending on amperage, most batteries have a range of 50 to 70 miles before they need to be charged. The battery charger looks just like a laptop charger and plugs into a regular outlet, which is very convenient. If you care for your battery properly (don’t overcharge it, don’t expose it to extreme temperatures), it should last for years.


Q: Are e-bikes able to be used on nonmotorized trails? Mountain biking circles?

A: In New Hampshire, Class I and II e-bikes can be used on public rail trails and are treated like regular bicycles, but you should always check local regulations before you ride. There may be some private trails that only allow Class I.


Q: How much are they to rent? To buy?

A: Hourly rentals from our Franklin location start at $40, and we offer full-day rentals from our New London shop. We plan to expand our fleet to allow for hourly rentals in New London next summer. We offer e-bikes for different budgets, from $1,300 up to $5,000 and beyond. I tell every prospective customer to buy something that can be easily serviced by a local bike shop, whether they buy it from us or not. It’s no fun having a toy you can’t play with.


Q: Do you think e-bikes are the future of transportation?

A: If you live in a city that has bike lanes, secure storage, and charging options, then it’s not difficult to get around with just an e-bike. But the layout of more rural areas usually doesn’t allow for this, so using an e-bike as transit takes a bit of planning. Good panniers, a comfortable seat, and a charged battery will make getting to your destination a breeze!

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