Over the years, slews of different bicycle technologies have sprung up, promising to “change the way we ride”. Not much stuck, except among niche users. Today, one of these technologies, the e-bike, seems to be a fast-growing favourite of many cyclists.
More and more people are abandoning regular bikes for e-bikes to satisfy their recreation and commuting needs. So what makes e-bikes special? Why are e-bikes better than regular bikes?
Here are nine reasons why e-bikes are better than regular bikes.
1. E-bikes provide assisted pedaling
One barrier to cycling is the fear of exhaustion. People want to ride bikes, but they also don’t want to be stuck halfway to their destination because they’re too tired to keep going. With e-bikes, every rider has a battery-powered assistant attached.
This assistant comes in the form of an electrical drive system. When you push on the pedals or throttle button, a motor is engaged, giving you the boost you need.
With this extra boost, you can ride long distances, up hills, and over rough ground with no physical exertion.
With the assistance of motors, e-bikes make for a more reliable mode of transportation. You can cycle to work, school or other commute stops without being drenched in sweat every time.
You can disengage the motors to get some fitness benefits and re-engage them as needed. Your cycling experience now comes with a full range of options.
2. They can go faster with less effort
One of the advantages of cycling, especially in urban areas with high congestion rates, is speed.
Cyclists can maneuver through bigger vehicles to get to their destination quicker. With e-bikes, you can outpace other cyclists too. You can boost your speed using the motor to a set limit.
With both assisted pedaling and speed boosts, you can cover long distances within a shorter time frame.
3. E-bikes make up for the first mile/last mile problem
Cyclists with regular bikes usually reserve their rides for first-mile and last-mile needs. For example, let’s assume that someone works 40-minutes away from home.
They are more likely to cycle from their home to a bus/train station, use the public system, then walk the rest of the way to work.
Alternatively, the person may rent a bike from a bikesharing service, use public transportation, then rent another bike to complete the last stage of their commute.
E-bikes can completely remove this problem. Users can cycle to-and-from work faster and at their convenience. Bikes can be considered as a major vehicle for transportation rather than a supplement.
4. E-bikes are the better substitute for vehicles
E-bikes are better considered as an upgrade from cars, not traditional bikes. One survey showed that 28% of e-bike buyers bought the e-bike as a substitute for a car, not as an upgrade to a bike.
In the US, the most reported reason for buying an e-bike is to replace car trips. E-bikes are not just the future of cycling. They are the future of transportation. There’s an e-bike for every need.
The innovation in the e-bike industry has gone beyond single-person commuting use. Manufacturers are creating everything from cargo e-bikes to fat bikes, full-suspension mountain bikes, and performance road bikes.
Brands like UPS and Dominos Pizza are already experimenting with electric cargo bikes for better delivery service.
5. E-bikes offer both personal and commercial users with better functionality than traditional bikes.
For example, the delivery of a dozen pizzas on a traditional bike could overwhelm the driver. With an electric bike, they could manage their weight and speed better.
The Dominos Pizza trial recorded better satisfaction and higher reviews from the customers who received an e-bike riding delivery person.
6. Even the seasoned cyclists will ride more.
If you enjoy a few hours of cycling with a traditional bike, getting an e-bike will boost your number of hours spent on a bike. A recent survey gathered supporting data from 1,800 e-bike owners in North America. Before owning an e-bike, only 55% of the respondents said that they rode daily or weekly. After owning an e-bike, the number of respondents who rode daily or weekly jumped to 91%.
E-bikes make cycling easier and faster, prompting experienced cyclists to push their limits. The benefits of an e-bike can be integrated with already existing confidence and expertise to use bikes for their daily commute.
Even if you don’t own a traditional bike, e-bikes will still appeal to you. The same survey showed that 94% of non-cyclists began to cycle daily or weekly after owning an e-bike.
7. E-bikes create inclusive transportation opportunities.
Cycling is not the most inclusive mode of transportation. People with health concerns and who are of advanced age may struggle to use a traditional bicycle. Even seasoned cyclists will be cut off if they develop an injury.
With e-bikes, this entry barrier can be lowered. Electric bikes reduce the amount of physical effort that is needed to ride a bike over a significant distance.
They can also provide better rehabilitation exercises for people who are recovering from injuries. Old people can also use e-bikes as a moderate but effective form of exercise.
8. E-bikes offer better sustainability in transportation.
While regular bicycles are emission-free, users often have to pair them with driving or public transportation. This means that they will contribute significantly to CO2 emissions over some time.
Electric bikes are also emission-free, but require careful disposal due to the heavy metals in their batteries. Their advantage lies in the fact that an e-bike owner can cycle around their city or town easily without the need to drive or use public transportation. This makes e-bikes a more sustainable option for people looking to reduce their contribution to emissions.
9. With e-bikes, you can exercise at your own pace
Cycling is one of the most daunting forms of exercise. Especially for people who don’t have a good history of fitness. Some of the biggest concerns are lack of skills, quick exhaustion, and isolation on the road when they may need help. Choosing an e-bike could help a new cyclist to overcome these concerns. They can exercise at their own speed, pedaling when needed, and allowing the motor to take over for break periods. An e-bike is the best option to ease into a cycling habit.
Both e-bikes and regular bikes are important to the cycling culture. Most people gained their interest in cycling because of regular bikes. The feeling of freedom as your thighs burn with the speed of your pedaling while the wind hits your face cannot be replaced.
However, e-bikes offer new (and needed) benefits by reducing the barrier of entry for so many people. The experience of cycling has been successfully replicated and improved thanks to their advancement in technology and design.