Electric bicycles seem to be popping up everywhere, and with good reason. The self-sufficiency mixed with a little help here and there has allowed riders across the world to rediscover the fun of biking and, possibly, reconsider driving to and from work.
With so many positive benefits revolving around electric bikes it’s hard to see anything wrong with them, however there are a few cons worth discussing. This list weighs the major pros and cons of electric bikes.
Pros of Electric Bikes:
Electric bike pro #1 – The efficiency and experience of electric bikes
It’s hard not to love the feeling of hopping on an e-bike, turning it on and then flying like the wind. Thanks to the pedal assist, you get a lot more from your pedaling than on a standard bike. A common stigma revolving around electric bikes is that it takes the exercise out of biking, but that’s not true. A recent study showed e-bike riding made for a meaningful workout.
The ability to choose how hard you work when riding is a unique characteristic of e-biking; when riding with assistance you receive a consistent workout and difficulty level throughout the span of your ride, ultimately resulting in a more predictable strain level.
Commuters, off road riders and those getting out for a simple cruise are all going to benefit from being able to alter how difficult the ride is and how fast the bike is moving.
Electric Bike Pro #2 – Electric bikes are good for you and the environment
Electric bikes not only benefit your health, but also benefit the world we live in. It’s commonly accepted that electric bikes and cars are better for the environment than their gas powered predecessors, and with good reason.
Not only does electric biking benefit the environment, it benefits you. I’ve found my work day is always better if I’ve got some exercise prior to clocking in. I’m more focused and ready for the task at hand. Being able to ride an electric bike to and from work combines exercising with eco-friendly commuting. That’s two birds with one stone!
Electric Bike Pro #3 – Electric bikes are a mood enhancer
If you’re having a bad day, something as simple as a bike ride can bring a much needed fresh perspective. Especially when that bike ride doesn’t have to be hard. Electric bikes are great tools for clearing your head and improving your overall mood; you feel superhuman when riding and there’s plenty of time to be alone with your thoughts.
For a lot of us, biking can be therapeutic. Electric bikes open that same door to those who never would have considered hopping on a standard bike prior. Throughout my time working at bike shops and for Electric Bike Report one of my favorite things is to see somebody’s life changed for the better because of a bike.
I can note a couple of instances when working at the shop where somebody walked in feeling not so good, but after a test ride on one of our electric bikes their demeanor changed completely.
It doesn’t matter if you’re young, or old, fat, or skinny, it’s pretty much proven that if you go for a ride you’re going to feel better after. While all bikes are mood enhancers I really think electric bikes yield the highest fun factor for the average person.
Electric Bike Pro #4 – Riding an electric bike is so easy anyone can do it
Electric bikes can help create some special experiences that make for cherished memories. It is one of the coolest things to have my mother ride at the same speed as I do when I’m giving it my all up a steep climb. She’s able to climb the same hill without paying for it at the top like me. There are unique ride experiences that simply wouldn’t be possible without electric bikes.
Electric bikes allow less capable riders to keep up with their more fit/spry friends and family members. Gone are the days of getting separated on a ride due to the fatigue and fitness of the less experienced rider.
It’s great to see the fun restored in riding for those who thought the days of riding were behind them. I worked at a local shop for a couple of years and I loved hearing stories about how people would ride farther than they could have ever imagined once they purchased an electric bike.
Cons of Electric Bikes:
Electric Bike Con #1 – Etiquette and e-bike “cheating”
Pat shared a story about his friend responding to a rider accusing them of cheating for riding electric bikes. “ I’m not the cheater, you’re the cheater. You’re cheating yourself out of as much fun as I’m having.”
There are many unwritten rules of cycling, including etiquette and courtesy difficult to know as someone new to bicycling. The general rules of thumb is to be courteous to other users, yield to walkers and don’t sneak up on anyone. But, the most important thing to know as an e-biker is to moderate your speed and be aware of the fact that you’re riding a lightly-motorized vehicle.
Electric bikes are more appealing to the casual masses and because of that you’re going to run into some “nubies” — just be nice, follow the rules of the road and remember common courtesy goes a long way.
Electric Bike Con #2 – Potential safety concerns with electric bikes
They say learning to ride an e-bike is just like riding a bike. Well, it is just like riding a bike, only a little quicker.
Electric bikes are typically heavier than standard bicycles and they can take some practice getting used to when it comes to the speed capabilities and initial “kick” e-bike’s give when assisting you. The throttle can also be potentially hazardous if accidentally pressed when getting on or off the bike.
Basically, e-bikes are as safe as you make them and if you familiarize yourself with their features they become about as safe as a standard bike. I would recommend going to an open lot or grass field if you are feeling out an e-bike for the first time, it won’t take long until you’re comfortable.
There are also concerns with lithium ion batteries experiencing thermal runaway, where the battery heats up to the point of catching on fire. While this is very uncommon it does happen from time to time, but usually only if the battery is compromised or damaged in some way. If you buy an electric bike from a reputable dealer/company, and take care of the battery I’m willing to bet you’ll be okay.
Electric Bike Con #3 Electric bikes are usually pretty heavy
With time, electric bikes have gotten lighter and lighter, but they still have a motor and battery which is going to weigh a little bit. While you can spend a pretty penny on e-bikes that are close in weight to traditional bicycles, a majority of the electric bikes people purchase today are upwards of 45 lbs.
This isn’t much of an issue until you try and carry one up the stairs or try and put it on your bike rack. The same parts that made the bike feel like a feather are now making it challenging to lift. For the older demographic of electric bike riders, lifting and moving around their bikes can be a real issue that should be considered.
There are some other inconveniences that come with the weight of electric bikes, such as needing a bike rack that is e-bike rated, and the added weight causing more potential for the bike to tip over. With the way things are headed the average weight of electric bikes should decrease to the point where special equipment isn’t required.
The Advantages & Disadvantages of E-bikes.
At the end of the day I think the pros outweigh the cons of electric bikes.
With time we will see electric bikes become safer, lighter, and more affordable; ultimately making them better for the masses. With that being said a lot of the current “cons” of electric bikes will go away or become less of an issue.
There is so much to love in the world of electric bikes, and it’s no question why electric bike usage and sales have skyrocketed in the past couple of years. The versatility and utility of electric bikes is hard to beat. They’re efficient, good for the environment, good for you and a lot of fun.
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for the bike industry, we are already seeing a lot of the major manufacturers put time and money into designing and manufacturing electric bicycles. The popularity of e-bikes has become hard to ignore and the crowd of “haters” seems to get smaller and smaller every year.
I think people are realizing that there isn’t really anything wrong with electric bikes, but there is a lot that’s “right” with them. Time will tell what happens in the industry, but for now I would bank on electric bikes playing a large role within it.
Electric bikes are efficient.
Electric bikes are good for the environment.
Electric bikes get you outside more.
Electric bikes give you more mileage per same amount of effort.
You can go places you otherwise avoid on electric bikes.
Great alternative to a car.
Those who thought their riding days were behind them like e-bikes.
Electric bikes are mood enhancers.
Most electric bikes are a little bit heavy.
There tends to be some grey area with electric bike restrictions and regulations.
Stigma around E-MTB and E-Road biking.
There are some safety concerns with electric bikes as there is a little bit more of a learning curve than on standard bicycles.
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