So, you’ve heard about electric bikes, but are not quite sure what they are and whether you should buy one and ride it? Here are some of the basic facts about e-bikes, as well as their features, advantages and other facts which can help you decide whether you want one or not.
The main types of electric bikes
E-bikes are bikes which have a motor and a battery to power it.
There are three main types of electric bikes:
1. Pedelecs. These are bikes which require that you pedal in order to activate the electric motor assist. In the US these electric bikes are classified as bicycles by law and have a speed limit of 20 mph. Their motors are up to 750 watts.
2. Power on demand. These electric bikes have a drive system which is activated either by pedaling or via a throttle. The throttle can be in the form of a button a handle grip twist mechanism or other. The speed limit is again 20 mph and the power output of their motors is limited to 750 watts like in the pedelecs. But because of the throttle there can be more restrictions for this type of e-bike depending on where you live.
3. Speed pedelecs. These electric bikes will turn the motor assistance on once you start pedaling, but they can reach speeds of up to 28 mph. In some states, these e-bikes are regarded as mopeds and require a license and registration. Also, they are commonly restricted from use on bike lanes.
The advantages of electric bikes
E-bikes are pure joy to ride
Riding an electric bike is much easier and effortless than cycling. You will feel that magical push of the motor just when you need it, like when you are climbing a very steep hill, or riding against the wind. The pedal assist will enable you to ride at much longer distances, much faster and much more often than a conventional bicycle.
You will love riding an electric bike because it won’t make you sweat, you can get anywhere you want to faster and without getting stuck in traffic, and you can enjoy your surroundings while riding because you will be in a comfortable upright position.
Electric bikes are perfect for your daily commute
Not only will an e-bike help you pass through the stuck cars in the traffic jams, and take shortcuts or use the bike lane instead of the road, but you will be able to ride to work no matter how far it is without getting there soaked in sweat, flustered and in need of a shower. You can wear your work clothes or anything you want when riding an electric bike because you won’t get all gross and mussed, and will look like you have just gotten out of your car or off the bus.
You can save a lot of money
If you switch from driving to riding an e-bike for your daily commute or for running errands, you will save loads of money. Even though an electric bike can be more expensive than a regular one, it is still much cheaper than buying a car. You won’t need to spend money on gas, insurance and expensive maintenance for your electric bike. You will also save money if you use public transport, which also can be quite costly per month.
You will decrease your carbon footprint
Electric bikes are more eco-friendly and do not emit harmful emissions as cars do, they are also quieter so you will be helping reduce the noise pollution in your area as well if you choose to ride an electric bike. Yes, it is made of metal and has a battery which are not completely sustainable materials, but if you look at the bigger picture these vehicles are much more environmentally friendly than the cars which run on fuel.
The electric bike will make you exercise more
This is especially true if you are used to driving to just about anywhere and if you don’t lead a very active lifestyle. An electric bike does provide motor assistance, but it still requires that you do some pedaling, balancing and steering. These are still forms of moderate aerobic exercise, so you will be getting the recommended amount of weekly exercise of 2.5 hours if you switch to commuting or using your e-bike for shopping and other daily errands.
You will save time
Electric bikes will get you from one point to another faster than a conventional bike and you can even reach to work or school faster with an e-bike than with a car, especially if there are good bike routes in your area and if there is a problem with traffic jams.
You will spend more time outdoors
Once you start riding an e-bike you will see for yourself just how much easier, faster and safer it is than riding a regular bike. This will make you want to use it more often and to cover larger distances than you would with a conventional bike.
An electric bike will build up your confidence
You will be able to keep up with the faster cyclists and manage even the steepest hills with your e-bike, which is a definite confidence booster and will make you want to ride more.
The cons of electric bikes
- They are costly
- They are heavier than regular bikes
- You will need a safe and dry place to keep your e-bike
- You need access to a power outlet to charge the electric bike
- In some states, you will need to be of a certain age, wear a helmet and have a license to ride an electric bike
- Cyclists and pedestrians may not be too happy with you when you pass by them at a speed of 20 mph without being too careful
- The batteries do have a life, so they need to be replaced at some point, which adds to the cost
- You may feel like you are cheating if you are used to riding a conventional bike
But even though e-bikes have their cons, their pros definitely outweigh them.
Even if you are worried about feeling like a cheater, you shouldn’t fret too much because you can use your pedelec bike as a regular bike as well, and turn the assistance on only when you really need it.
Also, you can choose between the different types of electric bikes being sold to get the best one for your needs. You can get a road bike, a mountain bike, a cargo e-bike and even a foldable one which you can take on the train or to the office with you.
Sure, it will cost you more than an analog bike, but in the long run it will save you tons of money for gas, for transport fares and will allow you to get to your destination faster, easier and looking perfect.
So, if your dilemma is – should you get an electric bike or not, my suggestion is – go for it! The advantages of riding an electric bike are so many and so attractive, that there is no doubt that an e-bike is an excellent investment to be making.