We've heard it all before. Ebikes are a form of cheating, because you get help from an electric motor discreetly integrated into the hub or frame of a bike. It might pedal assist, or gosh forbid, a thumb or twist throttle. Well, we don't buy it. We think that ebikes are an amazing invention - a way to get people out of their cars and into the world. A way to say goodbye to rush hour backups, car registration and insurance, gas and vehicle maintenance.
In fact, we'd like to share with our friends and customers a few facts about ebike riding. Then tell us if this represents a cheat (hint: it doesn't!)
Thanks to some recent research, we now have proof that there are real benefits that come from riding electric bikes (no more calling us "cheaters"). Research that supports our experience that riding an electric bike gives you at least the same great workout as riding a regular bike.
Professors at the University of Nebraska Omaha are studying the psychological effects of riding an electric bicycle as compared to a standard bike. You might expect that there would be fewer physical benefits from riding an ebike compared to a regular bike, but you would be wrong. Their studies show that people who ride ebikes tend to ride longer distances, and take on more challenging terrain, than riders on standard cycles, because the ebike raises their confidence level in their riding ability.
Moreover, we have seen that many people are now choosing to use ebikes as their primary means of commuting, riding up to 30 miles a day to and from work. All on a single charge. If you need extra juice, get a spare battery, and swap them out between charges.
There are a number of myths surrounding the growing phenomenon of ebikes, and we want to take a few minutes to shoot down the worst of them.
Myth #1: Ebikes Are Crazy Fast
Fact: Almost all ebikes in the US have built-in speed controls, so the bikes cannot go faster than 20 mph unassisted. Of course, if you pedal hard or are riding downhill, you can easily go faster than 20 mph, but bikes are designed so that PAS or throttle controls do not go faster.
Myth #2: Ebike Riders Are Inexperienced and Reckless
Fact: Ok, this one is true (just kidding). As with any sport, there will be people who play safely, and those who don't. We advise our customers to ride with extreme caution, whether on the urban jungle roads of a big city, or the stump-thumping back roads of the outback. Wear a brain bucket. Follow the rules of the road. Don't be a doofus.
Myth #3: Ebikes Are Too Heavy
Fact: Well, there is some truth to this, since there is about 10 lbs of additional weight when you add an electric motor and lithium battery to a standard bike frame. But that's a marginal increase in weight when compared to the weight of the rider and any payload they may be carrying.
The important thing to consider with ebikes is how that weight is distributed across the frame of the bike. For example, a mid-drive motor will put the weight of the motor low and center on the bike, contributing to a balanced weight distribution. A rear-hub motor, in contrast, will be heavier in the rear, which can aid in good road grip and traction. The battery is also a heavy component, and the idea location is integrated into the downtube portion of the frame. Behind the seatpost is also a good location, and on folding bikes, batteries placed just in front of the folding mechanism are hidden from view and add to the rigidity of the bike frame.
Myth #4: Ebike access is a slippery slope and will lead the way to full motorized access on all non-motorized trails
FACT: Haha, we used "slippery slope" in a sentence related to off-road trail riding. Aren't we clever. But seriously, pedal-assist (PAS) ebikes are fundamentally different from ATVs, off-road motorcycles and internal-combustion off-road vehicles. Motorized vehicle regulations were written before the invention of ebikes and shouldn’t be used to regulate ebike use. Ebikes are emissions- and noise-free, and have no more impact on trails than conventional bikes.