That's all very sensible, given that the great majority of e-bikes are used for short-ish urban or suburban journeys, but it's perhaps no surprise that e-bike manufacturers are keen to expand their reach.
Equally unsurprising, much of this innovation has come from Germany, where electrically assisted machines are big business. Around 300,000 e-bikes are likely to be sold in the country this year, according to its bike industry association, making up as much as 15% of the entire new bicycle market. While early models were "big, heavy and simply unsexy" this had now changed, a spokesman told Reuters.
All this brings me to perhaps the strangest bike I've ever ridden. I still can't decide if it's the likely future of cycling or an absurd, laughable indulgence. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the snappily named Haibike eQ Xduro FS; in other words, a flashy, full suspension mountain bike with a motor attached.
On the face of it, the notion is ridiculous – mountain biking is all about the joy of conquering summits under your own power, before gleefully careering down the other side. But according to James Fitzgerald of the JustEBikes website, who lent me the Haibike, it's aimed at people who love cycling and the rural outdoors but, whether for reasons of injury, age or fitness, can't quite manage the climbs as they'd like.
It's certainly a cut above the commuter e-bikes I've tried out before, with high-end components and, at a shade over 20kg, a not absurdly high weight. The motor directly powers the centre of the cranks rather than the rear wheel, permitting 10 well-spaced gears on a standard rear derailleur set-up. Even the graphics are loud and bold. "Yes, I'm an e-bike," the say. "What of it?"
As for riding it off-road ... well, for anyone who's tried mountain biking it just feels like cheating. Once you get used to the inevitable jolt as the motor kicks in, even on the lowest power setting you can more or less cruise up the steepest slopes. Descending isn't quite as hairy as the weight might make you fear, though bunny hops are clearly that bit more tricky.
But even writing as a hypothetical MTB nut with a rare knee condition which precludes climbing, I'd have two principal doubts. Firstly, while Haibike claim a range of up to 50 miles this depends on many factors, not least the amount of hills and the power setting used. It does have a snazzy range gauge, but that yo-yos alarmingly depending on the terrain. I've tried riding the Haibike up a hill with the battery turned off, and let's just say you wouldn't want to do it for too long. You can, of course, bring a spare battery in your bag, but they're weighty things.
Secondly, for legal reasons the electrically assisted speed is limited to a modest 25kph (just over 15mph). The moment you reach that – ie much of the time on the flat or downhill – the motor cuts out and that magic helping hand suddenly vanishes. Every time it feels like the tyres have just hit a big patch of treacle.
Bringing back the real me, there's a host of other possible reservations. For the £2,795 price I could get myself a far more versatile off-road bike, at less than half the weight and with a range limited only by my physical endurance. But that's largely pointless carping, as I'm clearly not the target market.
What's more interesting is the wider trend illustrated by the Haibike, one which might soon stretch beyond Germany and, the other big e-bike market, the Netherlands. Electric assistance is, it seems, no longer just for practical commuting.
Note: e-bikes and electric bikes
When referring to e-bikes here, I've only been discussing models without a throttle, meaning you have to pedal to engage the electric motor. In the UK you can buy machines with throttles. Some even have a "boost" button or setting which take them beyond the 25kph EU limit for electric bikes, marked in the manual, with a knowing wink, as "for off-road use only". Some of these can be very zippy, like the Ultramotor A2B we tested a while back.
However, they're a different category, and particularly in the UK their legal status remains uncertain. James from JustEBikes said he decided, after taking advice, not to sell them.