What are the most important pros and cons of electric bikes?
Some people say electric bikes are the future of transportation. Others say that they are just another technological gadgets that will never replace conventional bikes. But what is the truth?
In this article, we discuss the most common advantages and disadvantages of electric bikes.
- Advantages of Electric Bikes
- 1. Electric Bikes are Environmentally Friendly
- 2. Electric Bikes are More Affordable Than Motorcycles and Cars
- 3. E-Bikes Are Suitable for Injured and Elderly People
- 4. eBikes are Good for Hauling Things
- 5. E-Bikes Don't Make You Sweat
- 6. Electric Bikes Don't Require Much Maintenance
- 7. E-Bike Motors are Almost Silent
- 8. Not Much Regulation to Deal With
- 9. You Can Still Ride Your Electric Bike After the Battery Dies
- 10. Easier to Ride Uphill and Through Headwind
- 11. Electric Bikes Allow People of Different Abilities Ride Together
- 12. No Parking Problems with Electric Bikes
- 13. E-Bikes are a Trendy Means of Transportation
- Why E-Bikes are Bad?
- 1. Quality E-Bikes are Expensive
- 2. Electric Bikes are Heavy
- 3. Long Battery Charging Time
- 4. Some eBikes Have a Low Battery Life.
- 5. More Frequent Maintenance
- 6. More Expensive Maintenance and Spare Parts
- 7. Unbranded E-Bikes Don't Have an After-Sales Support
- 8. The Manufacturing of E-Bikes Might Not Be Environmentally Friendly
- 9. Electric Bikes Have a Higher Risk of Getting Stolen
- 10. An E-Bike is Not as Good Calorie Burner as a Regular Bicycle
- 11. You Can Not Fly With an Electric Bike
- 12. The Electric Bike Laws Might be Unclear
- Conclusion – Should I Get an Electric Bike?
Advantages of Electric Bikes
Sometimes we have been asked What is the point of an electric bike? Well, here are 13 of them:
1. Electric Bikes are Environmentally Friendly
Electric bikes do not run on gas or diesel, releasing harmful carbon emissions into the atmosphere. They rely on electric energy stored in rechargeable batteries and release zero emissions while in use.
Additionally, users could employ 100% environmentally friendly energy if they charged their bikes with solar energy.
E-bikes don’t contribute to environmental pollution because they run silently and don’t release any toxic gas. Additionally, e-bikes are much more energy efficient than vehicles.
Bikes with electric motors are the perfect mode of transportation for individuals living in urban areas plagued by too much air pollution.
2. Electric Bikes are More Affordable Than Motorcycles and Cars
E-bikes have become more popular, and one of the reasons for this is their affordability. Bikes are more affordable than cars or motorcycles in terms of pricing, maintenance, and cost-effectiveness.
For instance, some bikes could be priced within the same range as motorcycles. However, bikes save costs on maintenance and fuel, eventually making them more affordable.
E-bike users don’t have to worry about things they would when using cars, like repair, maintenance, registration, parking fees, and petrol costs. Additionally, they don’t have to insure the bikes or pay taxes.
3. E-Bikes Are Suitable for Injured and Elderly People
Seniors understand how difficult it can be to exercise or keep up with modern life. Electric bikes are perfect for seniors because they have a motor that provides pedal assistance.
The motor provides extra power, preventing them from exerting their muscles too much. They provide a safe, easy, and enjoyable riding experience.
Electric bikes allow older adults to get around more easily and stay active.
The e-bikes help seniors gain necessary exercise without straining their joints or muscles. They have many other benefits, including improving cognitive function, reducing stress, and weight loss.
4. eBikes are Good for Hauling Things
Ebikes are the perfect solution for getting around urban landscapes. However, sometimes you’ll need to carry extra passengers or goods when running errands. This is where cargo ebikes come in.
Cargo e-bikes are a good alternative for hauling things because they are cheap and environmentally friendly.
Cargo electric bikes are heavier and longer than average ebikes. They have a sturdy frame incorporating storage platforms to which users can strap packages.
The bikes can haul more goods and travel further because of well-designed motors. Users can carry kids, packages, or the family dog between locations.
5. E-Bikes Don’t Make You Sweat
Most people hate regular bikes because of uphills and excessive sweating. Ebikes are the perfect solution if you don’t want to sweat while enjoying a cycling experience.
Research by Shimano reveals that e-bike users sweat less than regular bike users by 350ml. Additionally, the rider’s clothing looked less sweaty, with small or no damp patches.
This could be convenient for individuals planning to cycle to work. Some electric bikes even work without pedaling.
6. Electric Bikes Don’t Require Much Maintenance
You’ll need to maintain your electric bike like your car or regular bike. However, electric bikes don’t require as much maintenance as you may think.
For instance, you only have to maintain the bike’s brakes and tires. You must ensure your e-bike is clean, properly lubricated, and inflated.
You must also check the brake pads and care for the battery. Proper maintenance is vital, and the good thing is you can do all this by yourself.
Alternatively, you could take them to your local bike dealer to help you have a better riding experience. Maintaining your bike is not too expensive and will help extend its life.
7. E-Bike Motors are Almost Silent
Ebikes produce two types of noise: motor and chain noise. The small noises from the e-bike’s motor and chain are an advantage since they help pedestrians hear cyclists coming, especially if you approach them from behind.
Ebikes are the best alternative for individuals that prefer riding two-wheeled vehicles but aren’t particularly pleased with the noises motorbikes make.
These noises are comfortable for most bike users. However, they could get louder if something is wrong with your bike.
8. Not Much Regulation to Deal With
Most countries have laws and regulations governing how riders use electric bikes in public spaces.
For instance, the US has federal regulations governing the bikes’ standards of manufacture and safety requirements. However, they’ve done this to ensure riders stay safe in public spaces.
The bikes are perfect for individuals who don’t have a driving license and are looking for a convenient means of transport.
However, many regulations are not as strict as those governing motorcycles and vehicles. As such, electric bike users find an easier time using their bikes in public spaces.
9. You Can Still Ride Your Electric Bike After the Battery Dies
The bike’s pedal assist will help you and make your experience easier. However, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to ride your bike without it.
Electric bikes are the perfect means of motorized transport because users can ride them without the battery. Your electric bike will operate like a regular bike when the battery runs out.
You may be worried that riding your e-bike without a battery may affect the motor; however, the opposite is true.
You don’t place unnecessary strain on your motor by riding the bike while it’s off. The only strain you’ll feel will be on your muscles.
10. Easier to Ride Uphill and Through Headwind
For me, one of the most annoying things about cycling is riding through the headwind. And it’s always a headwind during my commute.
The electric bike has been a great solution to this problem. With an e-bike, I don’t even notice the wind. The pedaling is so much easier.
The same goes for riding uphill. It’s so much less exhausting to ride on hilly streets with an electric bike.
11. Electric Bikes Allow People of Different Abilities Ride Together
A cyclist who is not as fit as his friend can easily keep up with him using an e-bike.
The electric assistance of an electric bike makes up the skill difference so people of different fitness levels can bike together. And the faster cyclist doesn’t have to make any compromises.
12. No Parking Problems with Electric Bikes
Parking a car is frustrating since finding the perfect spot is almost always impossible.
Electric bikes are perfect for you if you don’t enjoy circling the block looking for the perfect spot.
Parking an electric bike is so much easier than parking cars. It’s convenient to reach your destination, find the nearest post or bike rack, and lock your bike to it.
Additionally, parking your electric bike is free, and you get to save the money you’d have spent paying for your car’s parking.
Add up all the money you’d have spent paying for your car’s maintenance, fuel, and parking, and you’ll find it’s almost equal to buying an ebike.
However, you should lock your bike properly and use a good lock to avoid theft.
13. E-Bikes are a Trendy Means of Transportation
Most people consider ebikes more popular than other types of electric transportation.
A study done by Deloitte uncovered that most people prefer using electric bikes, and 18% of those asked said they used electric bikes to commute daily.
The study suggested that most people prefer e-bikes because of their attractiveness.
The researchers asked the people to state which forms of electric transportation were active and electric bikes came out on top.
The respondents stated that electric bikes were practical, fun, sustainable, and a better alternative to other vehicles. This shows that ebikes are a trendy means of transportation that has sucked in many commuters globally.
Why E-Bikes are Bad?
What are the cons of electric bikes? Here are a handful of disadvantages of electric bicycles:
1. Quality E-Bikes are Expensive
Many factors affect the e-bikes’ price tag, including the motor, battery, quality of components, and the fact that they are still relatively new.
Often manufacturers have to specially craft and fit the motor, increasing the cost of labor and parts. Manufacturers pass these costs along to the buyer.
Additionally, manufacturers fit quality e-bikes with specialized batteries that cost up to or more than $1,000.
For instance, they could fit your bike with Lithium-Ion batteries because of their efficiency and small size. However, these batteries are expensive and increase the ebike’s overall cost.
Also, the bikes are relatively new, and supply is lower than demand forcing manufacturers to increase the bike’s price.
Related: Why are Electric Bikes So Expensive?
2. Electric Bikes are Heavy
Electric bikes are heavier than regular bikes because of the electric motor and battery.
The ebike’s weight is not an issue for riders to peddle, gain, and maintain a higher speed thanks to the motor assistance.
However, the extra weight can be problematic when carrying or storing your bike. This can be challenging for senior citizens and individuals living in an apartment building.
3. Long Battery Charging Time
Fully depleted Lithium Ion batteries can take between 3.5 to 6hrs to recharge, while partially empty batteries will take a shorter time.
However, batteries use the last hour of charging to top off the cells. Thus, some batteries can take 2.5 hours to charge fully.
Taking time to do this can be problematic if the e-bike is your main source of transportation. You should deplete your battery and charge it fully before using your ebike if you want it to last longer.
This can be inconvenient and frustrating, especially if the bike has a short range.
However, there are electric bikes with removable batteries. You could purchase an additional battery to help with this problem. But, it’ll cost you more.
4. Some eBikes Have a Low Battery Life.
Nothing is as inconvenient as spending thousands on an ebike that develops battery problems later.
Most ebike batteries are built to last. However, they aren’t as efficient as electric car batteries. They are prone to failure, especially if you don’t care for them adequately during their lifetime.
A few things could cause a low battery life, including swelling, poor charging, and poor usage. You could solve most of the issues with good charging, maintenance, and usage practices.
However, there is a chance your battery will fail at some point. You should prepare and have a backup in case this happens.
5. More Frequent Maintenance
Ebikes may require more frequent maintenance and care than regular bikes to help them last longer.
In most cases, ebike maintenance isn’t different from maintaining a regular bike. However, various components, including the chain, sprockets, and cranks, are exposed to greater forces that increase wear.
You should use your bike as directed by manufacturers, clean it appropriately, and perform regular maintenance to get the most out of it.
Regular maintenance is unavoidable; however, it could become a headache, especially if the bike develops mechanical issues. You should take it to an experienced ebike repair professional if something breaks.
6. More Expensive Maintenance and Spare Parts
Unlike regular bikes, ebikes require more expensive spare parts and maintenance.
The cost of spare parts and maintenance isn’t the same as what you would incur with motorcycles or vehicles. However, it could be high depending on the type of damage.
If there is a need to replace or repair something on electronics (battery, motor, controller, etc) it may be quite expensive.
Bike parts are exposed to increased wear, and getting high-quality parts for maintenance is costly. You could opt for less costly replacements; however, these could lead to other problems later.
Additionally, the fact that ebikes are still a niche market adds to the costs since manufacturers dictate the price of spare parts and, by extension, maintenance.
7. Unbranded E-Bikes Don’t Have an After-Sales Support
You could opt to purchase an unbranded ebike. After all, they have various upsides, including a lower price tag and cheaper spare parts.
However, the downside is that they have a lower quality than branded variants.
For instance, manufacturers making unbranded ebikes don’t provide sufficient warranties, if at all, or after-sales support.
Thus, it’s left to the buyer to fix their bike if it breaks down or has a faulty part. This is bad for individuals who don’t know how to fix their bikes or don’t have access to a professional eBike repair shop.
8. The Manufacturing of E-Bikes Might Not Be Environmentally Friendly
Similar to manufacturing electric vehicles, manufacturing e-bikes may not be environmentally friendly.
For instance, there have been many controversies about whether manufacturing Lithium Ion batteries could cause a negative impact on the environment, and research says there is a high possibility it could.
However, the debate remains about whether e-bikes are a sustainable and greener form of transportation than diesel-powered vehicles.
For instance, manufacturers must access minerals used to make the battery from mining fields. Such fields negatively affect the environment, and processing the minerals used in products doesn’t help either.
9. Electric Bikes Have a Higher Risk of Getting Stolen
Ebikes pose a higher risk of getting stolen than vehicles, motorcycles, and other forms of transportation.
Most recent statistics show that most users lose their ebikes to theft, especially if they don’t put sufficient measures in place to keep their bikes safe. However, manufacturers have devised measures to ensure the bikes are safe.
For instance, most manufacturers have installed a GPS tracker on their e-bikes, allowing users to track the bike whenever someone steals it.
Additionally, some manufacturers design their bikes with an alarm to deter individuals from trying to steal them. These measures are not adequate, but they’ve significantly reduced instances of theft.
10. An E-Bike is Not as Good Calorie Burner as a Regular Bicycle
While ebikes help users exercise and lose weight, they aren’t the best calorie burners compared to regular bikes.
Because of the pedal assist, the bikes are perfect for:
- senior citizens
- individuals who already have a workout routine and are in shape
- and people looking to have some fun while cycling.
You could burn some calories, especially if you cycle in hilly terrain. However, it won’t be sufficient if it’s your only means of exercising.
The bike has a motor helping you pedal, and often it does more work than you. Thus, you should purchase a regular bike if you’re looking to cycle as a way to work out.
11. You Can Not Fly With an Electric Bike
You cannot fly with most ebikes since most airlines don’t allow Lithium batteries in passenger planes.
Lithium batteries can catch fire if you short-circuit the terminals or if they are damaged. This is dangerous for you and other passengers on the plane. The FAA permits passengers to carry lithium batteries of up to 100Wh on the plane.
Electric bike batteries exceed this limit making it impossible for you to fly with your ebike. The best alternative would be to ship your batteries to your destination or rent some batteries once you reach the destination.
However, finding the right store to rent the batteries and waiting for your batteries to arrive makes this inconvenient and a hassle for most people.
12. The Electric Bike Laws Might be Unclear
While there’s little regulation to deal with when riding electric bikes, the rules are unclear.
For instance, some regions allow users to ride their e-bikes in traffic while others don’t. Other factors, like how your e-bike is manufactured, determine where and how you use your e-bike.
Governments regulate various parts of your e-bike, including top speeds, motor power, minimum age, and the presence of a throttle.
These rules confuse most people, especially since they vary by country and state. In the United States, People for Bikes has done a great job bringing together the rules and laws of electric bikes in different states.
Conclusion – Should I Get an Electric Bike?
Owning an e-bike has lots of advantages and disadvantages. However, the decision to purchase one depends on the buyer.
For instance, you could buy an electric bike because of the listed advantages. However, you should also be ready to commit to learning and updating yourself on the rules and regulations of use.
At the same time, you may decide not to buy an e-bike because of the listed disadvantages of electric bikes. Instead, you can walk more and ride a regular bicycle.
In general, e-bikes are considered green transportation. Yes, they have some drawbacks, but nothing that cannot be solved.
Have fun cycling, and stay safe.