The primary question I get asked when a new customer walks into Piccadilly Cycles is precisely, “What is an Electric Bike?”
The technical part of the question is fairly simple to answer. An electric bike, or E-bike for short, is first and foremost a bicycle with a motor and battery attached to assist the rider when needed. There is also a method for the rider to control the amount of assist the motor will deliver. Some e-bikes will have a throttle or boost button but most of the bikes currently on the market do not have a throttle and thus need to be pedaled to get assist. Granted this is a fairly simple explanation and there are many differences between motor types and performance. Most of the batteries in the industry are a type of Lithium-ion and relatively similar to one another.
The more important question might be “What can an Electric Bike do for me?” This is a much more complex question than you would expect because an electric bike can be many things to different people. To some an e-bike is a form of low impact transportation while others a source of freedom if driving a car, walking or riding a traditional bicycle are out of reach. Still, many users find an electric bike can be a wonderful source of recreation to increase ones physical movement and quality of life. Believe it or not the user of an electric assist bicycle is still getting exercise, just at a lower intensity. This allows the user to ride more frequently and/or longer distances while also gaining strength.
There was a study completed in 2013 by Portland State University and OTREC (Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium) regarding electric bikes and their use. The researchers found e-bike owners are far more likely to use their bikes than owners of traditional bicycles. Some of the statistics from the study are as follows.
- 93% of E-bike owners use their e-bikes weekly or daily
- 75% ride to different destinations on their e-bikes than they did on their traditional bikes
- 6% of respondents had not ridden a bicycle as an adult, of those, 89% ride their e-bike daily or weekly.
Some of the main advantages to riding an e-bike;
- Ride with less effort/help on hills
- Cheaper transportation
- Increased speed/range
- Car replacement/environmental
- Allow to ride when otherwise couldn’t
- Increased cargo capacity.
This post was an attempt to answer the question “What is an E-bike?” I purposely kept the answer brief and simple. I will get more detailed in future posts regarding batteries, motors, range, maintenance and so forth.