What is an E-bike?
Sales of electric cycles are soaring. This is why everyone likes them-and why you might like them too.
The first thing you should know about electric cycle is that they will always be there. According to current data, from 2019 to 2020 alone, sales of electric bicycles have increased by 145%, which is incredible. As of last year, this is an industry worth nearly 244 billion U.S. dollars, and there is no sign of slowing down.
Some people see the rise of e-bike as a threat, as if once everyone uses electric bicycles, standard bicycles will get what you pay for. But don’t be afraid: electric bicycles are not meant to deprive us of a human-powered lifestyle. In fact, they are likely to enhance it — especially as travel and commuting habits change with the global pandemic and shifts in work commuting. So, as we enter the peak of cycling, here is everything you need to know about the electric revolution.
1.Electric bicycles make riding easier.
Generally speaking, an electric bicycle is a bicycle with a battery-powered “assistance”, which is achieved by pedaling and in some cases the accelerator. When you step on the pedal to assist the pedal of the electric bicycle, a small motor will start and provide you with power, so you can pull up the hill and cruise on rough terrain without refueling yourself.
In addition to the pedal assist function, some electric bicycles are also equipped with a throttle, which can start the motor with the push of a button. These are a separate category of electric bicycles and obviously cannot provide a pure riding experience; they are also illegal in some cities. Interestingly, cyclists tend to prefer accelerator bikes at first, but then turn around and choose pedal assist for their next purchase.
2.They walked fast…to a certain extent.
The harder you step, the greater the boost, and the faster you ride—to a certain extent. Electric bikes keep you buzzing in brisk clips, but they are not motorcycles. You will never drive on the road at 45 mph. Depending on the bicycle, when you are driving at a speed of 20 to 28 miles per hour, the motor will stop pushing you further. As a result, you will save commute time (I shortened the five-mile trip by about three minutes), but still enjoy the scenery.
You can also control how big the assists are. Most electric bicycles are equipped with a power switch that allows you to adjust the boost setting from “eco” (low) to “turbo” (high), so that when you need more power to help you, for example, climbing steep Hillside.
3.You will ride more, even if you have already ridden a lot.
According to a survey of nearly 1,800 electric bike owners in North America, buying an electric bike can significantly increase your cycling frequency. Previously, 55% of respondents said they ride bicycles every day or every week. After buying an electric bicycle, this number soared to 91%. This makes sense: even if you are very healthy, you will still feel tired (perhaps because of training or competition), and reinstalling your bike will feel like a chore. If you have an electric bicycle, you can continue to ride while giving your sprained legs a break. You can also go faster, and even when time is tight, long-distance trips by bike are more attractive.
For those who do not often ride bicycles, electric bicycles have opened up a whole new world. Although you may not be used to riding 5-10 miles at a time, you can easily complete these distances with electric assist, which is a great way to build endurance and confidence. The same survey found that 94% of non-cyclists ride their bikes every day or week after getting an electric bike.
4.E-bikes have everything.
Say a way of riding, and then there is an electric bicycle. If your interest in electric road bikes is zero, you may find yourself dizzy with high-capacity electric cargo bikes that can haul 400 pounds while still cruising at a cool 15 mph. Electric bicycles include fat, freight, commuting, leisure, hard tail, full suspension mountain, and even high-performance road bicycles. To prove, there are more than a dozen electric bicycles of various types of cyclists that we like.
5.Can replace driving.
People buy electric bicycles to reduce car travel. According to the data: 28% of survey respondents said that they buy electric bicycles specifically to replace driving. The many other reasons buyers listed for wanting electric bicycles—including carrying goods and children, avoiding parking and traffic, and environmental issues—also indicate that they want to get rid of the constraints of the steering wheel. In addition, you don’t need to change clothes or clean up when you arrive at your destination, because you don’t have to worry about it.
Also consider that more than half of driving trips are less than 10 miles, and some survey reports state that the average single trip is only 5.95 miles. Riding an electric bicycle can easily complete this distance. In fact, the survey found that car owners replaced 46% of car commutes and 30% of driving errands with electric bicycles. All you need is a great commuter bag to hold your stuff and you are ready to go.
6.Yes, you can still exercise.
Electric bikes do some work for you, but they still count as exercise, especially for sedentary people. Researchers found that when 20 non-exercising men and women rode electric bicycles for about 40 minutes three days a week, they improved their cardiovascular health and blood sugar in just one month. Many people are in poor physical condition and cannot ride long enough to get meaningful health and fitness benefits from cycling. Put them on an electric bike, and they can go out for an hour and do a lot of exercise.
Even if you are in excellent physical condition and very healthy, you can still exercise with an electric bicycle. When I made a head-to-head comparison between using a cross-country bike for commuting and a recreational electric bike, I found that my relative effort was much lower, and I burned about half of the calories on an electric bike. But I still burned something-up to 200 calories per hour, which is equivalent to the calories you burn when you walk. I choose to ride an electric bike quickly to towns where I often drive, which means I am more active overall.
7.The battery is getting better and better.
Inevitable: Electric bicycles provide you with another charging device. Now, you can expect your battery to be used for 35 to 100 miles before it needs to be recharged, and your position in that range depends on the size of the battery and the power consumed by the motor. Obviously, if you are buzzing on “turbo” all day, you will run out of juice faster than running at a lower, more economical setting, but we also hope that the battery will get in the future improve.
8.Trail visits can be tricky.
Electric bicycles are still a controversial topic in the mountain biking world, and you may not be able to ride on your favorite bike lanes right now because most non-motorized trails prohibit them. However, things have been leaning in a more forgiving direction. Over time, it has slowly been supported to allow the use of certain pedal-assisted electric bicycles on certain trails (maximum speed of 20 mph). As every major manufacturer produces electric mountain bikes, more usage may only be a matter of time. Maybe a few years later, people will realize that the off-road impact of electric mountain bikes is not greater than that of ordinary mountain bikes.
9.They are not cheap, but they can save you money.
You still can’t buy cheap electric bicycles. However, if you park your car in the garage more frequently, you will save cash in maintenance and gas costs—not to mention the increased health benefits and the number of sick days that may be reduced due to more exercise. Prices vary greatly, but you should expect to pay at least $1,500 for a decent electric bike.
10.They are heavy.
The first thing many cyclists do when inspecting a new bicycle is to lift it to measure the weight. If you try it with an electric bicycle, you will be a little shocked. Batteries, motors, additional components, and a reinforced frame make electric bicycles inherently heavier than standard bicycles—an increase of about 20 pounds. Modern geometry and engineering help them handle weight well, and it is obvious that when you start pedaling, the motor assist function can make the excess weight disappear. But you need more muscles to put them on the frame or go up and down stairs.
11.They are the future of transportation.
Every major bicycle manufacturer—in fact, there are dozens of smaller manufacturers—is already in the electric bicycle game, and car companies are not far behind. When San Francisco’s electric bike sharing system was funded, General Motors launched two of its own electric bikes. The auto industry is going all out because they realize that in high-density urban areas with more than half of the population, cars are no longer working. As large transportation companies such as Uber and Lyft have achieved great success with electric bicycles, and cities are looking for ways to alleviate traffic congestion, the project may only continue to expand.
12.Now you can even compete with them.
This is not as crazy as it sounds. In Europe, where the electric bicycle market is explosively growing, the European Bicycle Federation has created a new track for electric bicycles (including electric road and electric mountain bikes) for the 2019 season. Following that, UCI joined the electric mountain bike competition in the 2019 World Mountain Bike Championships. Yes, the rainbow jersey was awarded the best off-road electric biker in the world!.
13.It is impossible to ride a car without a smile.
This is a fact. Our testers are all passionate traditional bike riders and/or racers who like to swing their legs on pedal assisted bikes so much that they call them “Wow!” bikes. We bet you will agree.
Sell? You are obviously not alone. If you are new to electric bicycles, please be aware that although you will never forget how to ride a bicycle, electric bicycles are not ordinary bicycles. Because they are heavier and faster, you should take some extra measures to enjoy the ride safely.
Be extra careful in traffic. The people in the car have underestimated the speed of the cyclist. Until electric bicycles become commonplace, drivers won’t expect you to drive at a speed close to them. Ride defensively, assuming they don’t see you. Control the speed of the car in a crowded area. Use daytime running lights to be as conspicuous as possible.
Stop and walk carefully. Because you are heavier and faster, it takes longer to slow down and stop. Step on the brakes before the intersection. Remember that bicycles will accelerate faster than usual, so don’t start driving into traffic until you are fully aware. In addition, because the bicycle has a certain weight, you may feel wobbly when you start or stop slowly the first few times. Practice getting in, getting off, and stopping in a safe place before driving on a busy road.
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