Simon Cowell is back in the news to set the record straight on his e-bike accident and offer up a little free advice for anyone considering getting in on the popular trend at home.
You might recall that the 61-year-old music exec and “America’s Got Talent” judge triggered a wave of media headlines last August after losing control on an electric bike he had recently purchased.
“I didn’t know how powerful it was till I got on it and I flew six or eight feet into the air and landed on my spine,” he told TMZ.
The accident left Cowell nearly paralyzed and with a broken back in three places. “It could have been a lot worse. When I saw the X-ray, I really nearly smashed my spine to pieces, so I literally wouldn’t (have) been able to walk,” he told “Extra” in February.
While Cowell prepped for emergency surgery, the media was swift to use the incident to warn about the dangers of e-bikes. There was only one problem: Cowell’s bike wasn’t an e-bike, but something more akin to an electric motorcycle. Treehugger design editor Lloyd Alter was quick to point out the differences and correct the media coverage maligning the e-bike industry.
“The Swind EB-01 that Cowell was riding has a bigger motor,” wrote Alter, referencing the product’s website. “‘The beating heart of this beast is an electrical motor with 15kW of power.’ That is 20 times the maximum allowed for e-bikes in North America, 60 times the limit in Europe. It has been called ‘the fastest bike on earth’– It can do 80 miles per hour, or four times the Class 1 or 2 limit in North America, five times the Euro standard. Made in the UK, the Swind website notes that it isn’t even legal there.”
Speaking with TMZ, Cowell confirmed that his accident was not caused by an e-bike.
“First of all, I bought a crazy, crazy bike,” he said. “And even though it has pedals on it, the one I had the accident on, this is not what I could call an e-bike. The one that I had was basically a motorcycle with an electric engine, where you have to wear a proper crash helmet, leathers, don’t be on the road, go-off road… So this thing was nuts.”
Cowell added he’s since reverted back to using an actual e-bike—likely the M1 Sporttechnik Spitzing—that offers a greater degree of control. He’s been spotted on the M1 – SpitzingPLUS! all the way back in 2017.
“This one I was riding on the weekend is a different kind of bike where you have to pedal and you can put the power on gently,” he said. “The other one was more like a motorcycle.”
For anyone else considering getting into the e-bike sport, which has experienced a boom in interest during the pandemic, Cowell recommends during your research and taking your time getting to know your new mode of transport.
“I would say to anyone who is buying an electric bike, buy one where you have to pedal,” he shared, “One where you can put the power in gently… and don’t get what I had before.”