Electric bikes are becoming increasingly popular, and seven fundamental truths highlight the reason. As owner and founder of Piedmont eBikes, I have tested dozens of different brands and styles. My experiences, research and customer feedback have helped identify these truths that will help you evaluate and validate an eBike purchase.
1) The choices and customization options are extensive.
The major styles are customizable for each rider use, including commuter/urban, road/gravel, cargo, and mountain. They come in different styles, frame types, pedal-assisted levels, drive systems and tire sizes. Where should you start?
Many consider commuter/urban bikes a good style for leisure and getting around town. However, most eBikes are versatile and used for a variety of purposes. It is essential to think about how you intend to ride your eBike. Will it be for running quick errands, commuting to work, or getting off the beaten path?
Since eBikes come in different sizes, getting fitted and test riding makes sense. This will help you find the right eBike to serve your needs.
2) Affordability is not an issue, with prices ranging widely.
While prices can run to more than $6,000 for a high-performance full suspension carbon-fiber mountain bike, there are some nice eBike options in the $1,299 to $1,999 range. The sweet spot for higher quality eBikes tends to be in the $2,000 to $3,500 range. Electric bikes offered at bike shops come typically equipped with quality components and materials such as hydraulic disc brakes and Shimano group sets. Quality eBike frames use 6061 aluminum alloy, the same material used in aviation.
So, is there a checklist? I have found these four key consideration points will help you find an eBike you will love:
Comfort – How does the bike fit? From saddle to handlebars to pedals, to how you sit on your bike, fit your riding style? Will you be comfortable riding for just about any ride?
Confidence – Do you feel in control when riding? Riding an eBike should feel as natural as a traditional bike, but with more power. Does it inspire you to go farther and longer?
Aesthetics – Do you like the look of your potential new ride? Does it identify with your identity, personality and values?
Budget – Can you rationalize the expense based the potential savings and fun?
Taking the time to kick the tires and test ride a selection of eBikes is a crucial first step.
3) eBikes positively benefits your health.
There are several studies that show that, like traditional bikes, electric bikes encourage exercise, and provide similar positive physiological effects. While it is easier with pedal assist, you can have a similar calorie burn as a standard cycling. An eBike enables you to go further, longer, and more frequently. I find when using a heart monitor, I use 70 to 80% of the calories that I typically burn when riding my regular bike. Supporting this notion, researchers at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio found in a study that eBike riders burned, on average, 344 to 422 calories per hour on an e-bike, versus 505 calories per hour on a regular.
Any cardiovascular exercise has a profound effect on your cognitive function. Releasing your feel-good endorphins will enhance your sense of wellbeing. In short, riding an eBike is a fun way to control weight control and maintain a positive mental state.
4) Riding an electric bike is extraordinarily fun.
Whether it’s going faster, climbing previously unsurmountable hills, running quick errands, or going bike touring, your fun quotient will go off the charts. Riding an eBike brings back the joy and freedom of riding as a kid. Again, experience that natural high by biking and moving.
5) You will connect to where you live.
Riding an eBike allows you to explore more of your neighborhood, town, or nearby park and new side streets. Getting off the beaten path will fuel your curiosity to explore more. You will take alternative routes and take the scenic commute to work. And you will find better ways to connect with others where you live, work and play.
6) eBikes are planet friendly.
Compared to other forms of transportation, electric bikes generate a fraction of the carbon footprint, making them a sustainable choice for quick trips. According to Bike Radar, cycling has less than a tenth of the carbon emissions, which account for 41% global transportation emissions. These quick trips add up. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics found that in 2021, 52% of all car trips were less than three miles. Electric bikes do not emit greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide or other pollutants like cars. And they are more energy efficient. Did I mention fun?
7) Economics come into play when choosing eBikes.
For those who want alternative means to get around in town or forgoing a car for commuting, saving can be significant. According to AAA, the cost of owning and maintaining a car is more than $10k a year. More young families are eschewing the second vehicle for a cargo eBike to enjoy weekend adventures and run errands with the kids. There is no denying a car is convenient and necessary for certain situations but an eBike will mitigate some of that expense.
Ultimately, eBikes are a great way to improve your health, save money and to do something positive for our planet. Riding is fun and can help you enjoy your connection with people and the places you live and visit. If these fundamental truths spark your interest, come by and test ride some bikes at Piedmont eBikes (piedmontebikes.com) and begin an adventure you won’t regret.