Riding an electric bike, or ebike, is a different experience from riding a non-assisted bike. Riding any bike provides a sense of freedom, allows you to enjoy time in the great outdoors, be active and get exercise, and you have a sense of certainty in getting to appointments. An ebike provides all these benefits, plus it allows you to get where you want to go with less effort, you’ll be less sweaty, take a chance on going longer distances knowing you will be able to get back home with no problem, carry a heavy load, and ride with a faster friend. But if you are new to riding an ebike, you should be aware of the differences so you are as safe and confident as possible starting with your very first ebike ride.
What makes an ebike different from an acoustic bike is the motor, battery, and display. When deciding on which ebike to purchase, your first priority should be to find a bike that accommodates your primary style of biking. Popular bike styles are urban, hybrid, mountain, road, recumbent, folding, fat tire, etc. Second in consideration might be the motor, whether hub or mid drive and the brand of motor followed by the power and range of the battery. The display is far enough down the list that it will probably not be a significant factor in impacting the ebike you select, but it is good to understand the options and determine in advance if you will be satisfied with the display that comes with the ebike.
Ebikes have exploded in popularity but as with anything new, it will take a while for them to be understood and accepted. If you ride an ebike, you may have been subjected to insults, harassment, and negativity. Motorists may have shouted that you do not belong on the road and other cyclists may have told you ebikes are “cheating.” Why do they hate ebikes? Here are some reasons people resist this new form of transportation and recreation:
If you are interested in purchasing an ebike and researching the options, you probably discovered there are two types of motors on modern ebikes: the hub and the mid drive. Besides your budget, where the motor is located is the biggest decision you will have to make. While both options will provide you with assistance when you pedal, there are big differences in the technology and it is helpful to understand what these are before you commit.
You’ve heard about ebikes, or electric assist bikes but is one for you? Some people rave about them, others say “no way”, so to help you decide if you should look further, here is a summary of the pros and cons compared to other modes of transportation so you can decide for yourself.
An ebike is essentially a regular bike with the addition of a motor, display, and battery. There is little the average ebike user can do to impact longevity of the motor and display, but the battery is within our sphere of control. It is within our “power” (pun intended) to take steps that will keep the battery in top shape for years to come. A well-maintained battery will result in greater range, performance, and increase the time before the battery needs to be replaced. Specific practices can vary from brand to brand, so always follow the guidelines for your battery manufacturer.
When you mention you ride an ebike to someone who is an avid cyclist who goes on 50-100 miles rides on a road bike or is a year around daily commuter who rides 70 miles per week you can almost hear the sneer. An ebike has a motor so is that even cycling? Are you getting any exercise? You may be outdoors but are you working hard enough to get your heart rate up?
Ebikes have exploded on the scene, and for good reason. They are an efficient and environmentally friendly way to get around. With the sustainability of a bike and the assist of clean electric energy, an ebike might be what you need to get around in the COVID-19 world.
An ebike is for you if you want:
Sharon Kaminecki and others comment on adventures in bicycling and other stories