The E-Bike Revolution

One of the newest crazes right now are E-bikes.  Okay, so it might be quite so new in other parts of the country but here in the midwest, like any other fad, it’s just starting to really take off.  So what is with these electric bikes and why are they getting so popular?  Aren’t they expensive?  If you are using them for exercise, isn’t that cheating?  Let’s see if we can answer those questions here.

E-bikes are really any form of bicycle that includes an electric motor to either assist the rider or do all the work for them.  E-bikes have actually been around for a long time as the first ones were built in the 1890’s.  These bikes never really took off commercially though.  It took the development and integration of torque sensors and power controls in the mid to late 1990’s to really help get E-bikes off the ground.  Older, cheaper models used lead acid and NiCd batteries while the newer, higher end models today use Lithium Ion batteries.  Today’s newer technology is making the bikes lighter, with greater power output and longer battery life.

Current E-bikes can cost anywhere from $800 to $5000 and possibly more.  Isn’t that expensive?  Well let’s look at the different uses for them.  As a commuting tool, even the upper end of the spectrum is far less expensive than a new car or even a new motorcycle.  When you add in the fuel cost savings it’s pretty much a no brainer that this is definitely one of the cheapest commuting options available.  If you are buying it for the sake of exercise, consider that a good quality treadmill will cost anywhere between $2500 up to $10,000 for commercial models.  And those sit in one spot.  If you are looking at an ebike as a purely recreational item, consider that the cost of a new jet ski is $5000 up to $18,000 and motorcycles and ATVs can cost even more.  So when you put it into perspective E-bikes really aren’t that expensive.

Now you can’t really call these things exercise machines, can you?  Good question.  Take into consideration that many E-bikes can be set to simply assist when you peddle.  This assistance takes the fear and challenge of big hills out of the equation.  So let’s look at a de-conditioned individual or maybe someone who is starting to get a little elderly.  This person might really enjoy the thought of going out for a bike ride but is deterred by the amount of effort that it would take to complete a ride in their area because of not being able to go a very long distance or not being able to tackle the hills where they are at.  With an E-bike, they can now not worry about those obstacles.  They can now go out, use the peddle assist setting, and get their body moving.  If you have ever ridden an E-bike, you will find that even with the assist, you will still naturally get your heart rate up.

So you can see there is a reason these E-bike things are starting to really get popular.  They are a great economical choice for commuting purposes.  They are a viable exercise tool for those that might be deterred from exercise otherwise.  They are also an economical choice for recreational “toy” to get one outside enjoying a day off.  So go ahead and stop into your local E-bike retailer and take a test ride to see what all the hype is about!