What is the advantage of an electric bike over conventional bicycles?

The advantage of an electric bike is that it makes hill climbs and longer rides easier. This makes cycling more accessible.

Mini Electric Cargo BikeA child carrying cargo bike from Babboe
The motor makes cycling a low-intensity physical activity. This, in turn, makes cycling attractive to people with lower levels of fitness. In addition, the motor assistance allows cyclists to carry heavier loads.
As a consequence, eBikes tend to get more use than conventional bikes resulting in most owners reporting increased fitness and less reliance on cars or public transport.

The advantage of an electric bike needs to be balanced with the disadvantage. eBikes are more expensive both to buy and own. They are also heavier and harder to transport.

Advantage of an electric bike over conventional bicycles.

  1. Hill Climbs.

    Electric bikes flatten out hills. This makes it more likely that riders in hilly areas will cycle.

  2. Fitness.

    Owners of eBikes report they use their bikes more frequently and for a greater range of journeys than when they used conventional bikes.

  3. Commuting.

    Cycle in your work clothes without raising a sweat. Control your level of effort so you can decide to cruise to work. You can always choose to exercise harder on your way home.

  4. Accessibility.

    eBikes make cycling accessible. People with chronic injuries and illnesses inlcuding heart conditions, knee injuries, reduced lung capacity and people who have suffered strokes enjoy eBikes.

  5. Load Carrying.

    Electric bikes are perfect for transporting heavier loads. Children, shopping, commercial goods, passengers etc are easily transported.

  6. Use in Heavy Traffic.

    Electric bikes have greater acceleration. This makes it safer and easier to pull away quickly at traffic lights. Being able to travel around roundabouts at car-like-speeds is a lot less stressful.

  7. Mountain Climbing.

    Electric mountain bikes allow cyclists to explore more challenging and remote areas of the world on a day ride.

  8. Removing Age Barriers.

    Electric bikes take the sting out of bike riding as you get older. They attract many riders who feel they don’t always have the strength or energy to cycle up hills.

  9. Attracting Women.

    Most forms of cycling tend to be male domiated. Electric bikes help to redress the balance as they attract a larger proportion of women cyclists.

  10. Fun!

    Cycling is always fun. The exhileration of zooming away from the lights or cruising up a hill puts a smile on everyones face. It really does!

Disadvantages of an electric bike over conventional bicycles.

  1. Purchase Cost.

    Electric bikes are considerably more expensive than comparable conventional bikes. Good quality batteries and motors are expensive components.

  2. Greater Maintenance Costs.

    Electric bikes are more complex, and complexity means greater potential for breakdowns. It also means more parts to replace and more servicing. Batteries have a limited lifespan and are explensive.

  3. Heavier.

    Electric bikes are typicaly around 7kgs heavier than a regular bike. This makes them harder to cycle if you are not under power and more difficult to lift. It also makes it more difficult to carry electric bikes on normal car racks.

  4. Exercise.

    You get less exercise and in particular fewer periods of high-intensity cardio using an electric bike than you would doing the same journey on a traditional bike. Conversely, research has shown that eBikers use their bikes more frequently, and for longer journeys than regular bikes.

  5. Range.

    Whilst you can ride an electric bike without a motor it will be heavier and slower than a conventional bike. The range on a typical electric bike is 20-30 miles or 30-50 km.

  6. Greater Target for Thieves.

    Motors and batteries are expensive and hard to conceal. You can remove your battery and carry it with you but wheels with hub motors remain attractive to thieves.

  7. Harder to transport.

    The batteries for most electric bikes cannot be carried on commercial aircraft. In addition the additional weight of an eBike makes it harder to fir on a car mounter bicycle rack.

  8. Stigma.

    Like it or not, some conventional bike riders think that electric bikes are ‘cheating’. and they may feel the need to share their thoughts.

  9. Environmental Impact.

    There is no denying that Electric bikes have a larger environmental footprint than conventional bikes. Production is more energy complex and intensive and they consume electricity throughout their lifetime. Fortunately most modern batteries can be recycled.

  10. Less servicing options.

    There are far fewer local bike shops who have the tools and expertise to service electric bike components. This is a particular a challenge if you intend to take your bike to remote regions of the planet.

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