What's an eBike?
An electric bike—or eBike for short—is a bicycle. It uses the same designs and components as any other bicycle; however, it also includes an electric motor that gives riders an extra boost of power. This motor, which is powered by a rechargeable battery, ultimately provides a smoother, more convenient, and less strenuous cycling experience.
An e-bike’s motor eliminates many of the obstacles that keep people from cycling—such as steep hills, health or fitness difficulties, and commutes that leave riders tired and sweaty. By allowing riders to decide precisely how much or how little they pedal, e-bikes actually make it possible for a large variety of people to enjoy the many benefits of cycling; regardless of age, body type, health condition, cycling experience, or fitness level. Anyone can ride an electric bike.
The Benefits of an eBike
Fun! Bring out your inner youth
No expensive parking fees
Faster than bicycles, and Ride further
Complete repairs yourself
Bike to work without getting sweaty, tired or worn out
Environmentally friendly way to travel, Zero emissions
Less expensive way to travel, less than $.10/day for electricity
Take your eBike in/on your motor home for flexible travel at destinations
Take a short-cut Reduce money spent on gasoline and upkeep of your car/truck
Use with public transportation (ex. bike to bus, load bike, bike to work)
Electric bikes have a high resale value - hold value better than cars or bicycles
No License, Registration, or Fees Use bike lanes, bike paths, and ride where a regular bicycle is allowed
eBikes are used more frequently than regular bikes (as much as 10x)
Combine physical activity with your day-to-day transportation
Return to nature on a trail ride Easy to park and lock, no circling the lot looking for parking
Flexible, and effective way to exercise; lose the gym membership
Can be made smaller by removing tires, handle bars (some models fold)
Travel 35 times farther per dollar than an electric car
Keep up with children, grandchildren (or spouse)
Enjoy the bike home without traffic or stress
Improve your heart and lungs
Go on an Eco-Tour with your eBike
500 miles of riding for $1 of electricity
Customize your e-bike, get it exactly how you want it
Take your eBike on Vacation
More visibility, enjoy the experience
Half of all trips in the US are less than 3 miles.
Biking makes good sense!
No bridge or highway ‘tolls’ Explore!
Friendlier, Wave at other people, meet other people
Take side streets, explore the wilderness
Be a role model for others to follow
Electric bikes are safer than bicycles
Be young and free again
Easy to ride!
Zoom up a hill
What is an Electric Bike?
by Electric Bike Report
I meet a lot of people who have never seen or heard of electric bicycles. Actually… maybe a few have seen them but just didn’t realize it. In any case, I want to help spread awareness for these vehicles because I believe in what they offer and am excited to help other people benefit from using them in the same ways that I have.
Electric Bikes consist of a modified or custom bicycle frame with pedals but include an electric motor, usually in the form of a hub motor, mid-drive motor or belt drive connected to the rear wheel. They allow a rider to either pedal the bike or leverage the power of a battery and motor drive system.
To use an electric bike you have to charge the battery, turn the controller system on and then twist a throttle, pull a trigger or pedal the bike forward to initiate the motor drive system. Throttle only drive behaves much like a traditional gas powered scooter because the rider doesn’t have to pedal, the bike just goes! By contrast, pedal-assist mode uses the rider’s input as the throttle signal and is more popular in Europe where bicycle laws are a bit more restrictive regarding motor and battery power. European bikes are usually limited to 250 Watt motors whereas the US has many bikes with motors as strong as 500 or even 600w. These bikes go faster and can power up steeper hills more easily.
The benefits of electric bikes are many and often go unrealized by car and scooter owners. In my opinion they include the following:
- No drivers license or insurance required to ride
- Can be used on sidewalks and to cut through parks
- Lighter, cleaner and more reliable than gas powered vehicles
- Less expensive than gas powered vehicles, especially over the long term when using electricity vs. gasoline or other fuel source
- Safer than street-legal scooters or motorcycles because they run slower and are not fully usable on highways or high-speed intersections
- Easily avoid and skip through congested traffic areas
- Environmentally friendly, no exhaust created on site for the user to enhale. Easily use locally produced solar or wind power to charge
- Efficient and affordable parking options, fits on any normal bike rack or to a pole/railing
- Easy to use with public transportation like busses, trains and light rail systems
- Provides an opportunity to exercise and practice balance
- Social opportunity to get in touch with your community and become more social
- Relaxing and focusing because you cannot use your cell phone or eat at the same time
To get a really good electric bike that will last for many years and be strong enough to act as a full vehicle, you may end up spending in excess of $1,500 and it is true that there are some downsides to electric bikes. I want to cover those to be fair here and to help you understand the trade offs:
- Harder to take passengers, there are tandem electric bikes and those with rear seats and trailers but there is definitely a limit on passenger capacity
- Cannot be used on highways or other high speed roadways
- More expensive than a traditional bicycle and more complex
- Exposes the rider to the weather and makes them more vulnerable to injuries than if they were in a fully enclosed car
- Slower than a full powered car, moped or motorcycle
- More physically strenuous to drive than a car or some scooters based on body positioning
An electric bike is not the perfect tool for every transportation occasion but I have found that car rentals, borrowing from friends or family, using bus systems, Car2Go or Zip Car and other public transportation options compliment electric bike ownership very well. I own a Subaru Outback and regular bike in addition to an electric bike and use each of them on different occasions. What I have found however, is that my electric bike is perfectly suited for commuting to and from work; it actually gets me there faster than driving because I work downtown in a big city with lots of traffic and I don’t have to pay for parking!
I love riding my electric bike for many reasons but I think these are the top three:
It is less expensive than buying gas and is environmentally friendly.
It is easy and affordable to park.
It exposes me to the fresh air and friendly faces of the community.
I used to drive a lot more and I’m not a huge fan of busses so that meant I was alone a lot and being alone in traffic is stressful. Once you’re outside seeing people’s faces the world gets a lot friendlier and it’s easier to have little adventures and meet new people.
Electric bikes are catching on in America but are already in widespread use throughout Europe and Asia where gas and vehicle ownership is cost prohibitive. Explore this site to find reviews on electric bikes and more articles covering their use and maintenance
Electric Bike Review