The Advantages and Disadvantages of E-Bikes

Advantages and Disadvantages of E-Bikes

Biking has always been my favorite way of going anywhere, anytime. This form of activity is teeming with benefits, from being eco-friendly to making for an awesome workout.

However, I’ve discovered e-bikes, which to say the least is an incredible upgrade from normal bikes. Due to their features, their sales have jumped considerably in the last few years.

In this article, we’ll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of e-bikes. This way, you’ll have all the information you need before you make the decision to buy one.

The Differences Between E-Bikes and Traditional Bikes

The first thing you should know is how e-bikes are different from normal ones.

The major point is that e-bikes depend partially – or fully – on electric motors to keep them going. These engines come in a wide range of power based on the model of the bike, usually between 150 watts to 1000 watts.

As for its speed, you’ll find that the average e-bike can reach a maximum speed of about 30 miles per hour. In case of a regular bike, it can get to a speed of 25 miles per hour at most.

Another valid point in this discussion is the difference in weight between e-bikes and conventional bikes. Because they’re equipped with motors and additional attachments, electric bikes can weigh up to 90-150 pounds.

Of course, regular bikes are much lighter, their weight ranging from 18-30 pounds.

Now that you have a clear idea of what there’s in store for you, let’s learn more about the types of e-bikes.

Types of Electric Bikes

There are mainly two kinds of e-bikes: manufactured e-bikes and converted bikes.

Manufactured E-Bikes

These bikes come factory produced by various brands that you can easily find in the market. They come in special designs with built-in batteries.

Converted Bikes

Image demonstrating a modified bicycle with a retail conversion kit to transform the bicycle into and e-bike.
Image Author: Mikefairbank from Wikimedia.org

As for converted bikes, they’re not so simple. These have been transformed from regular bikes to electric bikes with the help of several modifications.

For instance, you can install some parts on your bike to convert it to an e-bike. These attachments are:

  • A motor
  • A battery and a charger
  • A speed controller
  • A control unit

Some people take the activity of converting their bikes to electric ones as a hobby, especially that the process is simple and quick to do. In fact, some companies have launched conversion kits to the market to make matters easier.

For people who can’t afford to buy a factory produced e-bike, this solution can be a lifesaver.

No matter what type of e-bike you choose to have, it’s time to understand why it’s becoming more popular than a regular bike.

The Advantages of E-Bikes

We get to the fun part! There’s nothing better than buying a product that combines numerous benefits on multiple levels. In this case, it’s a nice electric bike that’s snatched our attention.

Let’s find out what makes it a great investment of money.

Great for People With Physical Challenges

For some seniors, riding a bike might require a level of exertion that they might be advised against. In this case, getting an e-bike can help them out a good deal.

It can allow them the opportunity to practice and move their body muscles without putting too much effort into it. As we previously mentioned, an e-bike can partially depend on a motor to propel it. This feature is called pedal-assistance.

Thus, a physically challenged person can still work their body without taking full responsibility for the bike’s propulsion.

As a matter of fact, some seniors can still full-on cycle, but sometimes their destination might be too far. In this case, they can still use an e-bike as a normal one until they’re tired.

Then, they can allow it to work on its own the rest of the way to the place that they want.

For these reasons, an e-bike can do wonders to improve the health of seniors and other individuals who find some difficulty in cycling.

Faster Than a Regular Bike

The second point we’re going to discuss is its speed. You know by now that an e-bike is faster than a conventional bike, which can be beneficial for you.

For instance, when you’re riding uphill, it might be a bit tough to do it on a regular bike. Your speed becomes slower and it requires about double the effort as when you’re moving horizontally.

When you’re on an e-bike, it doesn’t have to be this way. Due to its speed that might reach 50 miles per hour, it can be a better option when climbing to higher elevations.

Also, it’ll help you reach your destinations more quickly. If you’re someone who commutes to work or goes to school by bike, you can rely on an e-bike to get you there on time.

Another factor that makes e-bikes perfect for commuting is that you wouldn’t have to get stuck in traffic. With its speed and mobility, you might end up not using your car to get to work.

You Don’t Have to Worry Much About Maintenance

One of the top things anyone thinks about before buying any product is how easy its maintenance is. An e-bike can let all your doubts evaporate in this regard.

Just like a normal bike, it doesn’t need much maintenance. Its size makes it simple to repair and its parts aren’t complicated at all.

Also, its maintenance is almost always available for whenever something goes wrong. You’ll easily find someone to look at the motor or the battery without having to search too much.

When thinking about maintenance costs, you’ll also find them quite affordable. There’s clearly plenty to like about electric bikes!

An Energy-Efficient Means of Transportation

Uber electric city bike demonstrating the advantages and disadvantages of E-Bikes as alternative transportation method instead of cars os buses.

The best thing about bikes in general, and e-bikes specifically, is that they pose no risks to the environment. They don’t emit any harmful gases as cars do, nor do they consume a lot of energy.

An e-bike uses electricity to charge its battery. However, if you look at the consumption, you’ll find that it should only cost you a few cents for a charge that should last 60-80 miles.

We’re speaking on average, though, since charging times can vary from one battery to another.

Nevertheless, no matter how large its battery’s capacity, an e-bike doesn’t consume much power to charge. This way, you’ll be doing Mother Earth a favor every time you use it for transportation instead of a car or the bus.

Versatile

Another valid point is that an e-bike can take you different places without having to worry about your terrain.

Most e-bikes are manufactured to withstand some challenging paths such as:

  • Off-road paths
  • Dirt
  • Snow

With their powerful build and sturdy designs, cycling can be done almost anywhere you want to go.

A Good Way to Work Out

You don’t have to go for a normal bike to exercise. Instead, you can get an e-bike and manage to combine the best of both worlds.

Yes, an electric bike will take some effort off your back, or rather, legs. However, it’s still a better option than not moving your body at all. In fact, using an e-bike for a while might encourage you to cycle more often.

In addition to that, if the battery dies while going somewhere on your e-bike, there’s nothing to worry about. You’ll only have to use it as a normal one.

This way, you’ll be working a lot of muscles including:

  • The hamstrings in the upper leg
  • The quadriceps in the upper leg
  • The calf muscle

Money-Saving

We get it that an e-bike might be a bit pricey to buy. However, in the long run, it can save you a lot of money that you’d have rather spent on filling your car tank with gas.

As we previously pointed out, an e-bike doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. Its parts are almost everywhere and its repair costs aren’t a big deal.

Therefore, if you limit the use of your car and start using your e-bike more often, chances are your bank account will take a little break.

By now, you probably get why we’ve quickly fallen in love with e-bikes. The benefits of using them far outnumber those of a regular bike.

But what about their drawbacks?

The Disadvantages of E-Bikes

It’s hard to think that there might be anything wrong with e-bikes since they have many great features. However, there are a few downsides you should be aware of.

More Expensive Than Traditional Bicycles

To buy an e-bike, you might have to spend twice as much as you’d need to get a normal bike. Therefore, if you have a tight budget, buying an electric bike might not be an option.

Yes, there’s a wide range of prices when it comes to e-bikes. However, for some people, they might be over-the-top.

No matter, there’s always a solution to this sort of problem. For instance, you can get a regular bike and transform it into an e-bike with the help of a few tricks.

As we mentioned before, e-bike conversion kits are a thing, and they aren’t pricey. This way, you can get all the benefits from your converted e-bike without spending too much.

Short Battery Life

An e-bike’s battery life is considered relatively short when you compare it to the distance it might last. For instance, an average 36V battery with a capacity of 10ah and energy of 360-watt hours can keep the motor working for about 22 miles before it dies.

For the majority of people, it’s no big deal. They’ll only have to cycle the rest of the way to their destination.

However, for people with physical disabilities or seniors who can’t use a bike for long distances, this might be problematic.

Another thing about these batteries is that they might take too long to recharge. While they don’t consume a lot of electricity, leaving them to charge can cause you to be late sometimes.

Naturally, you can avoid these negative points if you pay enough attention to the battery status of your e-bike. The key here is to plan for everything so that your battery doesn’t die while you’re on your way to an important meeting.

Much Heavier Than Standard Bikes

If you recall us discussing the difference in weight between these two, you’ll remember that e-bikes can weigh from 90 to 150 pounds. This can be an inconvenience in many ways.

For starters, this makes an e-bike harder to store inside. Due to its heavy weight, it can be a bit challenging for most people to carry it to its designated storage area.

There’s also another point you should keep in mind. As far as we’re concerned, e-bikes can outsmart conventional ones when riding up a slope. But this only works if the battery is charged and your ‘pedal-assist’ feature is on.

Now, what if your battery dies while you’re climbing up a hill? Being a lot heavier than a normal bike, an e-bike can be much harder to ride upwards. 

Again, to keep yourself from overexerting your body, make sure that you have everything planned.

To Wrap It Up

It’s quite easy to understand what all the fuss is about when it comes to e-bikes. For their great features, they’re becoming more and more popular with each passing day.

As a matter of fact, in 2017 alone, the electric bikes market reached about 16 billion dollars. In addition to that, this number is expected to climb all the way to 23 billion dollars in 2025.

Some market researches have even predicted that, at some point in the future, the sales of e-bikes will outnumber those of normal bikes.

Of course, there’s no doubt that e-bikes deserve this recognition. They’re easy to use and maintain, energy-saving, and eco-friendly. Also, they give everyone the chance to practice cycling with assistance.

After reading the advantages and disadvantages of e-bikes, you might even consider buying your own road buddy.