Electric Bikes or “E-bikes” « Pros and Cons

Electric bikes are currently gaining popularity as a form of urban transportation. They are enjoyable to ride, quick, effective, and environment-friendly. Certainly, there are certain drawbacks as well.

While a major chunk of the consumer base still prefers a normal bicycle, electric bikes are slowly entering the limelight all over the world. One of the major differences between the two can be boiled down to the amount of effort required to ride.

Read on as I highlight some of the major pros and cons of riding an e-bike.

What Is an Electric Bike?

Electric bikes, or e-bikes, are bicycles with built-in electric motors and storage batteries that can be used to propel the vehicle. Typically, the motor is housed inside one of the hubs or close to the crank.

They have been in the market for quite some time, so there’s a variety of options to choose from. 

How Fast Is an Electric Bike?

The majority of electric bicycles have a top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h) and a range of 20 to 35 mph (32 to 56 km) per charge.

Of course, the weight and size of your bike and the load you carry also play a significant role in how fast your e-bike goes.

Are E-Bikes Difficult to Ride?

If you’re a seasoned cyclist, then certainly not. The feeling and sensation are almost the same as riding a regular bicycle. For most e-bikes, you just need to get used to the pedal-assist function, where you essentially get a boost as you pedal, thanks to the electric motor.

Bicycling enthusiasts who are new to the arena of e-bikes may take some time adjusting to them.

Pros of Electric Bikes

Eco-Friendly

Just like a traditional bicycle, an e-bike is environmentally friendly. Because it runs on electricity rather than liquid fuel, it does not release harmful emissions into the atmosphere. 

Source of Healthy Exercise

Biking is a very healthy activity. Your entire body—including your arms, shoulders, and core—work together when you turn the pedals in addition to just your legs. 

It’s quite similar to swimming, but with air currents as opposed to water ones.

The best part: riding an e-bike will make you physically active. Quite different from using an electric scooter, for instance.

You can use an electric bike, if you enjoy riding a regular bike, to participate in sporting events as well. 

Even today, there are numerous electric bike competitions. 

Info: Well-known traditional bike races like the Giro d’Italia have an electric bike alternative called Giro-E.

Effort and Movement In One

Just to be clear: you must pedal an electric bike! Yes. Electric bikes do not move on their own, contrary to what may have been believed. 

When you pedal, the motor turns. Pedal-assisted electric bikes are what these vehicles are known for.

Having said that, there are some bikes that you can ride without pedaling, but they are not very common. Since they essentially function as motorcycles or mopeds, you cannot operate one on public roads without a license.

Riding an electric bike is simple because the motor assists your pedaling. You exert less effort, perspire less, and riding is even more comfortable and enjoyable. 

Speed

In motor assistance mode, you can travel up to 15.5 miles per hour (25 kilometers per hour). This is sufficient both for riding on city streets and elsewhere. 

Note: An e-bike moves much faster than a car typically does during rush hour (7 miles per hour).

The motor will assist you in pedaling an e-bike until you reach a speed of 15.5 miles per hour. 

» Read more about this in my post: How Fast Do Electric Bikes Go? (Models, Speed & Facts)

The legal maximum speed is this; any faster, and the bike will ride too fast (more like a moped or a motorbike). After that, you are free to move as quickly as you like while using your strength. 

As a result, motor manufacturers set a speed limit for you. (However, if you pedal more, you can ride more quickly; it just takes more work.)

Battery Power

For the electric bike, the time it takes to recharge from zero fully varies depending on the battery and charger. 

You can still ride an e-bike if the battery dies while you’re out on the road, just like a regular bike. You just have to keep pedaling along.

Reduction in Traffic Congestion

Additionally, using electric bikes might help with traffic congestion. Every day while commuting to work in large cities, many people become stuck in traffic.

However, if there were more e-bikes, there would be fewer cars on the road, which would reduce traffic. 

Consequently, there is a chance that the overall volume of car traffic will decrease if we make electric bikes very popular.

It would be much simpler to commute, and fewer harmful gasses would be released into the atmosphere as a result.

Lightening the Load on Public Transportation

The public transportation system is very congested in many cities as a result of the growing population of the world and the expansion of urban areas.

Therefore, using electric bikes could be a great tool to reduce the load on public transportation since fewer people would need them.

Especially Beneficial for Seniors Citizens

Most often, older people are no longer in good physical condition. As a result, riding regular bikes would be too taxing for them.

E-bikes, however, are ideal for these elderly individuals because they eliminate the majority of the physical effort and allow for easy transportation.

For instance, many elderly people lack family members who can care for them daily. 

These people only need to use their electric bikes to travel to the store and back home to purchase groceries or other items for daily necessities.

Beneficial for Those With Health Issues

E-bikes are not only very beneficial for the elderly but also for those with serious health problems. Take joint pain, for example, or any other condition that might make it difficult for you to ride a traditional bicycle.

E-bikes would be a great substitute because you could still feel like you’re riding a bike while not putting too much stress on your joints. 

For those who are overweight, the same holds true: for them, electric bikes can be a great transportation option in place of traditional ones.

Distance

If you’ve ever traveled 20 to 30 miles on a regular bicycle, you know how far that is. With the same amount of effort, an electric bike allows you to travel further. 

Generally speaking, depending on the battery’s capacity, the terrain, and how you ride, the distance traveled can range from 40 to 75 miles per charge. 

Climbing

The ease with which an e-bike can be ridden over rough terrain and up hills or mountains is one of its main advantages. If you’re not an especially active person, riding up hills or mountains can be very challenging.

Additionally, riding an electric bike makes it simpler to combat brisk headwinds. 

Family Friendly

Another excellent option for getting around with your family is an electric bike. 

Consider that you want to take your family on a bike ride. You might run into trouble if you have young children because they might not be able to drive farther.

However, even your young children might be able to travel great distances on electric bikes.

Electric bikes are a great way to get around physical limitations and enjoy a nice day outdoors with your family.

Maintenance

Electric bicycles require very little maintenance if you purchase a new model as opposed to a used one. 

The two most crucial things are to keep it clean, especially the chain, and to keep an eye on the brake pads. Don’t forget to lubricate the chain regularly, similar to a normal bicycle.

Finding a repair expert might be challenging, but maintaining and repairing an electric bike shouldn’t be more expensive. 

Manufacturers of bicycle components like Bosch and Shimano have a network of certified dealers who can repair any bike with their systems.

Trendy

Currently, riding an electric bike is chic and in vogue. E-bikes are considered to be a workable, environmentally friendly alternative. 

As the eco-movement continues to gain ground, we observe the e-bike trend accelerating daily.

Laws and Permits

Both a license and taxes are not required to ride a bicycle. However, as with riding a regular bicycle, you must abide by all traffic laws. 

The advantages of an e-bike over a motorcycle or car are that you can go shopping in the same way, but there aren’t any yearly expenses like road tax, yearly maintenance, and insurance.

Note: You will need to register, have a license, and pay tax if you choose a more powerful or faster bike.

It’s crucial to keep up with international regulations if you plan to travel with a more powerful bike you purchase here or if you want to bring it on a bus, train, or airplane. E-bike-related laws are still being drafted.

Cons of Electric Bikes

Initial Costs

Electric bikes have the drawback of typically being quite expensive. They frequently cost twice as much or even more than traditional bicycles.

» I have covered more on this subject in this blog post: How Much Does an Electric Bike Cost? (No.1 Price Guide)

Electric bikes may not be suitable for everyone, and families on a tight budget, in particular, may find it difficult to afford them.

Although it stands to reason that they may still be a viable alternative from an economic standpoint because they remain more affordable and require less maintenance than motorbikes.

Recharge Required Over a Short Distance

There are some new models whose batteries only last for a few miles, even though many of them can travel up to 50 miles before needing to be recharged.

Therefore, if you intend to travel long distances frequently, you should determine whether this is realistic and then select a battery model accordingly.

Battery Replacement Might Be Costly

The cost of replacing the batteries in e-bikes is yet another drawback. Your battery will likely need to be replaced sooner or later because it will deteriorate with time.

As a result, you should account for the cost of a new e-bike battery, which should be at least $500.

E-bike battery models costing thousands of dollars exist as well.

Faster Depreciation

E-bikes also experience significant value loss in the initial years. As a result, if you intend to sell your e-bike in the future, you should be aware that you could lose a lot of money relative to the cost of the original purchase.

Therefore, from an economic standpoint, purchasing a used electric bike might be preferable since you can even profit from the high depreciation.

Repairs are Difficult Than Regular Bikes

Repairs for electric bikes are typically more expensive and complicated than those for traditional bikes.

You need advanced technical knowledge to fix problems with your e-bike, and the majority of us lack this kind of experience.

Therefore, if your electric bike needs to be fixed, this could indicate a serious problem. Additionally, you might have trouble finding a mechanic near your neighborhood, who has the skills necessary to fix your bike correctly.

Increased Likelihood of Theft

Since electric bikes are more expensive than traditional ones, there may be a greater chance that your bike will be stolen over time.

As a result, you should always make sure to purchase a quality lock to reduce the likelihood that your bike will be stolen.

Large Weight

On average, electric bicycles are also much heavier than conventional bicycles.

As they might not be able to operate those bikes properly, this could present problems for older people or those with physical health issues.

Therefore, even though e-bike models get lighter over time, heavy versions could be extremely problematic for some.

Fewer Models Available

Since there aren’t as many options for e-bikes as there are for traditional bicycles, you might have to compromise on the features and appearance of your bike.

The fact that they may not want to spend a lot of money on an electric bike that does not exactly meet their requirements may discourage some people from purchasing them all together.

Customization

An e-bike cannot have a more powerful motor installed because doing so is against the law. But other than the motor and battery, it’s really just a regular bike, so you can find a tonne of extras and parts to customize it.

Insurance Concerns

Electric bikes might also raise some insurance-related issues.

Since electric bikes are relatively new and have only gained popularity in the last ten years, there is a good chance that there will be a lot of uncertainty regarding insurance matters. 

There may possibly be some legal action regarding the issue of fault with accidents involving electric bikes.

To avoid any unpleasant surprises, confirm that you are covered by your insurance before purchasing an e-bike.

Batteries Deteriorate Over Time

Almost all batteries deteriorate over time. The batteries in electric bikes also adhere to this rule.

As a result, the amount of distance you can travel on your electric bike may gradually decrease.

This could end up costing you a lot of money over time, especially if you frequently want to drive long distances.

Recharging Requires a Sizable Amount of Time

Recharging an electric bike takes much longer than refueling a car. Your bike battery may even require several hours to charge for some models fully.

Therefore, electric bikes might not be a good alternative for you, especially if you don’t want to spend that much time charging and don’t have a charging station at home.

Conclusion

There are many similarities between regular bikes and electric bikes, as well as almost equal numbers of advantages and disadvantages. 

It is important to highlight here that riding a bicycle is a choice for a more wholesome and environment-friendly mode of transportation, not a contest between motors or the strength of your legs.

Therefore, the electric motor, which aids in pedaling and makes riding an electric bike easier, is obviously its main advantage over a regular bike. From 40 to 75 miles can be covered on a single charge.

The greater weight and higher price are the main drawbacks.

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