Sunday, March 3, 2024

The Purpose of Electric Bikes: 11 Ways They’re Different from Normal Bikes

Thinking about getting an electric bike but not sure if it would be useful or even any different from a regular bike? Well, there’s a reason for the uptick in the electric bike trend. Once you have one, you’ll never want to go back!

Electric bikes allow for more flexibility in how and where you ride them than standard bikes. With the battery and electric motor, you have the ability to ride longer, faster, and farther, which increases an e-bike’s utility for most people, regardless of fitness. Additionally, it provides greater access for quickly riding to work, school, on remote trails, and wherever you need to go.

Speaking from my own experience and gathering ideas from other e-bike riders, I’ll show you 11 ways that e-bikes have a unique purpose as compared to a normal bike! 

1. You Can Ride Longer and Farther with a Battery and Motor

For most riders, this is the number one purpose for having an electric bike. An e-bike is simply much easier to ride farther and for a longer distance than a traditional bike. An electric bike is powered by a battery, which then powers a motor, which then gives you assistance in pedaling. Standard bikes move forward simply through your own exertion.c

So, having electric power can definitely make the ride easier and faster. Plus, you don’t have to tire yourself out as quickly because you always have backup assistance. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the battery will lose its charge eventually.

And while it may be easier to ride farther and for longer, you’ll need to keep an eye on the battery level so that you aren’t left stranded in the middle of your ride! Most e-bikes can travel about 22-50 miles on a single charge and are sometimes even able to go up to 80 miles (but only if you have an e-bike model with a battery that can do this). 

2. E-Bikes Offer Assisted Pedaling

Riding a standard bike can get exhausting, and while feeling the burn in your legs is a sign of a good workout, sometimes you might just want to be able to pedal without hurting yourself too much.  E-bikes make it much easier to pedal with the assisted pedaling options. 

You can increase the electric gear (generally on your left handlebar) to allow less effort for pedaling while still traveling at a good speed. By bumping up the electric gears, pedaling becomes easier and the bike can pick up speed.

Many e-bikes can be increased to Level 5 pedal assist. And when you consider the difference you feel when you turn on the electric assistance (like going from 0 to Level 1), you can bet that being able to increase to level 5 will seem almost unbelievable at first.

On a standard bike, you can really only ride as far as your body can handle. This could be 3 miles, 10 miles, or 30 miles, but odds are there will be a point where your body, or even just your legs, needs a rest. On an e-bike, you can take a break while still being able to cover a lot of ground.

Additionally, many e-bike models have an electric assist throttle that will propel the bike at a decent speed without pedaling at all.

3. Commute to Work or School Faster on an E-Bike

An e-bike serves a direct purpose in this case. It’s a very efficient and enjoyable way to travel to work, school, or around town, perhaps to the grocery store! In some cases, you can actually get there faster by cutting through traffic.

It is much more eco-friendly than a car, not to mention that you can save gas and beat traffic by not having to stop at as many lights. You can take back roads or the bike path to get to where you need to go, and depending on where you live, this may be more efficient than driving a car. 

You also won’t have to worry about waiting for the bus or sitting next to a stranger. And because it’s much faster than walking or riding a standard bike, you might find it easier to give up driving your car as frequently. You can even have a basket added to the front or back of the electric bike where you can store your backpack, briefcase, or grocery bags. 

4. More Flexibility in Customization

E-bikes have a great deal of flexibility in their functions, therefore making them more versatile than normal bikes.

Like traditional bikes, you can adjust the seats, handlebars, or pedals, and can install baskets to the front or back to help you carry your dog, groceries, books, or even your cat!. If you love the bike, but the seat just isn’t comfortable, you can easily order a new seat separately and install it yourself.

However, e-bike customization does differ from a standard bike when it comes to speed and motor. 

For example, if you’re a thrill-seeker or professional bike rider, you can customize the speed of your e-bike to go faster than it typically allows. This can happen by swapping out the battery, motor, and/or tires for better ones, and even rewiring your LCD settings!

You can also purchase a conversion kit to customize your bike. Electric Bike Conversion Kits are a set of prepackaged tools and items that are made to fit on a traditional bike that can be converted to fit on an e-bike. These kits are an easy and efficient option for e-bike users to purchase compatible parts all at once.

Some kits may include DIY kits with minimal parts while others will include a complete package of parts to make your electric bike top-notch. Conversion kits range from roughly $500-$1,000 in cost. Take a look at this one.

Here are the multiple parts in this e-bike conversion kit
Example Conversion Kit

5. Allows the Disabled and the Elderly to Ride a Bike 

Once you ride an e-bike you’ll realize that it has great purpose when it comes to people with disabilities, injuries, or less overall strength, such as the elderly population in general. Access to bike riding itself, fresh air, and exercise suddenly become a reality for those who couldn’t manage it before.

As mentioned previously, the electric pedal assist makes it so that you need to exert less energy to get where you want to go. But, with an e-bike, you can still get there!

Further, getting the proper amount of exercise can get increasingly more difficult as we get older, or if you have an injury or physical disability. Perhaps going for a jog can be hard on your knees, and riding a standard bike just isn’t good for your back. On an e-bike, the elderly and disabled will have a much easier time riding a bike.

Because E-bikes are a lot larger and heavier than traditional bikes though, it’s important to be more cautious while braking and making turns to avoid being injured. If you are concerned about your safety, a step-through e-bike may be a better option as it is easier to get on and off as well as put your feet down on the ground.

Here’s something you might want to consider… an electric trike. These are 3-wheeled tricycles that are adult-sized. If you’re uncertain about balancing on a standard 2-wheel bike, you can get an electric trike that provides an extra wheel for stability (you won’t have to worry much about balancing).

Read this article to learn more about e-biking for seniors:

Are E-Bikes Good for Seniors: Pros and Cons

6. To Get You Where You Need to Go Much Faster Than on a Regular Bike

E-bikes can definitely go much faster than a standard bike! While it depends on the power and battery level of the model you buy, most e-bikes are limited to 20 miles per hour with the electric assist. But depending upon the terrain and how much you are pedaling along with it, you can go up to around 30 miles per hour on some e-bikes.  

The average e-bike (250W-750W) will go up to the same general speed of 20-30mph, at its fastest. However, a specialized 3000W one can go almost 50 mph (but it’s still the safest option to stay under 30 mph). Unless you are a professional and very fit cyclist, you probably won’t be able to travel this fast on a standard bike.

7. You Can Cut Back on the Expense of Driving a Car

Driving a car requires a lot more work and expense than riding an e-bike. Cars are constantly needing to update old parts or have damages repaired, and these modifications can leave a fairly large hole in your wallet. While you may need to occasionally replace the parts on an e-bike, it is much less expensive and there aren’t as many parts, in general, that would need repairing.

Not to mention, buying a new car would cost thousands of dollars at a minimum while most e-bikes are only within the $1,000-$3,000 range. Gas is also growing more and more expensive and can be a pain to have to keep refilling. And if your car is dirty, you might take it to an expensive car wash. But your e-bike can be cleaned with a simple wipe.  

8. Get Exercise (in more places)

Many riders use their e-bikes to get fit, primarily because they can ride them just about anywhere (but you’ll want to make sure you have those padded bike shorts handy for long rides). (but you’ll want to make sure you have those padded bike shorts handy for long rides).. With the right bike, you can enjoy varying terrain, paths, and locations while still getting a workout.

E-bikes can also be more motivation for going up large hills that would otherwise be too daunting or exhausting to go up. With larger tires and pedal assist, traveling uphill isn’t much of a challenge. Because of this, you can exercise for longer and get more of a workout since you aren’t over-exerting yourself all at once.

But you will need to find the right e-bike. Although you can get electric mountain bikes or dirt bikes that let you ride on rough terrain, you can also choose from a hybrid e-bike that’ll allow you to ride wherever you want to. 

Being a hybrid generally means that the bike is good for street riding as well as riding on dirt roads, gravel, sand, or even grass. So, if you’re riding on a paved path but then find yourself on a rocky road, you won’t have to worry about turning around and can continue riding right through. And riding on the street won’t be a problem either.

Can you really get any exercise on an e-bike? Read this:

Do YOu Get Any Exercise on an Electric Bike?

9. Age Restrictions on an E-Bike

Electric bikes are made for adults, the purpose originally being to get them from point A to point B, such as to work and back.

So, it’s important to remember that, unlike a normal bike, there are age limitations to riding and owning an e-bike. This age limit varies in different states in the United States, but a majority of the states require you to be 16 or older in order to ride one.

However, in many European countries, acceptable rider ages are lower and range mostly from 14-16. But some countries have the lowest minimum age set at 12 years old.

Check out the chart below to see a few of the countries and U.S states and their minimum age requirement for riding an e-bike.: 

Age 16States: California, Arizona, Oregon, Florida, Tennessee; Countries: Mexico, Canada
Age 15States: Hawaii, Georgia, Texas, Idaho, Minnesota; Countries: Spain
Age 14States: Alaska; Countries: Scotland, Ireland, England
Age 12Countries: Japan, Italy, Portugal, Russia 

So you really do need to check with the laws in your state or country before letting your children ride an e-bike.

But, if you’re old enough to ride an e-bike, it’s an efficient, fun, and safe way to get to school or work, especially if they don’t have a car! Plus, they’ll get more exercise and probably enjoy it more than taking the bus or walking. 

10. Environmentally Friendly: Improve Air Quality

E-bikes have an environmental purpose as well. They don’t emit any toxic gas into the environment since they’re battery-powered. So, instead of driving your car everywhere and releasing toxic chemicals into the air, you can choose to take your eco-friendly bike to go to work, pick up groceries, or visit a friend. 

And, the less that people drive gas-fueled cars and turn to green e-bike options of transportation, the better our air quality will be! 

E-bikes also cause less damage to roads since they’re much lighter than a car and have much smaller tires.

11. Recreational: Way More Fun Than a Normal Bike!

Don’t forget that one of the main reasons to ride an e-bike is that you have more fun on it than on a traditional bike. Because e-bikes can go much faster and generally have bigger tires than a traditional bike, riding them tends to feel more like riding a recreational motor vehicle than a bike, especially if yours has a powerful motor.

Plus, it feels great to get out into the fresh air and nature while being able to take a long ride, either for exercise or without too much effort at all if you prefer it that way (just crank that pedal assist to level 5). Exercise, in addition to fresh air, has proven to be great for your emotional health as well. It’ll help you release endorphins, facilitate blood flow, and reduce stress. And riding an e-bike will ensure that you spend more time exercising just because it’s tons of fun.

Let’s face it, sometimes riding a standard bike can be frustrating, like when you aren’t able to make it up a hill or when you’ve traveled far and realized that you still need to go all the way back. With an e-bike, you won’t have to worry about this and can focus more on just enjoying the ride. 

Electric Bikes Serve Many Purposes

In summary, e-bikes are quite different than normal bikes in that they serve many purposes for riders. These include a faster ride for college students or commuters, a comfortable way to exercise, being able to ride farther and faster, and even reducing toxic emissions!

Still not sure why you should ride an e-bike over a traditional bike? Take a look at the related articles below.