Electric Bike vs Regular Bike: 9 Pros & Cons

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When it comes to transportation, cycling is widely regarded as a great option for people looking to save money on gas and help the environment.

If you're in the market for a new bike, you may be struggling to decide whether to get an electric bike or stick with an ordinary pedal bike. So which one is better?

This guide will compare the pros and cons of electric bikes vs regular bikes to help you decide which is best for you.

How Electric Bikes Work

If you're used to riding an ordinary bike you may be wondering how exactly does an electric bike work?

Electric bikes, also known as e-bikes, are a type of bicycle that uses a battery-powered electric motor to assist the rider.

Unlike traditional bicycles, some e-bikes have a throttle that allows the rider to control the amount of power provided by the motor. Others have pedal assist, which means the motor kicks in to assist you when you start pedaling.

In most cases, electric bikes also have pedals, which allow the rider to move the bicycle forward via pedal power, without relying entirely on the motor.

While electric bikes have been around for several decades, they have only recently gained popularity in the United States.

Electric bikes are appealing to a wide range of riders, from those who want a bit of help getting over hilly terrain, to those who want to replace their car with a more sustainable form of transportation.

electric bike pros and cons

Mechanics

The only noticeable difference between an electric bike and a regular bike is the added battery pack, a motor, and in some models, a display screen.

The battery powers the motor, which can provide pedal assistance or (depending on the class) power the bike without pedaling being required. The motor cutoff switch is located on the handlebars, near the grip, within easy reach of the thumb.

There are three basic types of electric bikes: pedal assist, throttle on-demand, and speed pedelec. Pedal-assist provides power when you pedal; throttle on demand allows you to control the amount of power with a thumb throttle, and speed pedelec limits the bike’s speed to 20 mph or less.

Electric bikes also come with different levels of assistance, which can be adjusted on the display screen.

Emissions

When it comes to choosing a bike, one of the most important considerations is the impact that your bike will have on the environment.

In general, regular bikes are more eco-friendly than electric ones. An e-bike relies on battery power, which means that they produce emissions from the manufacturing of the batteries as well as from generating the electricity used to charge the battery (this can obviously be reduced by using renewable energy).

Pedal bikes, on the other hand, have no emissions from their operation. In addition, pedal cycles are more likely to be recycled than e-bikes, as their components can be reused or repurposed.

As a result, if you are looking for a bike that has the lowest environmental impact, you should choose a pedal bike over an electric bike.

Cost

Electric bikes are becoming increasingly popular as people look for alternative ways to get around. They are powered by electric motors, which can make pedaling easier and allow riders to travel at higher speeds.

However, e-bikes can also be more expensive than ordinary bikes. Here's a look at the average cost of each type of bike:

Traditional pedal bicyclescan range in price from around $200 to $2,000 or more. Good quality mountain bikes range in price from $400 to around $1500.

E-bikes start at about $1,000 but can go as high as $10,000 or more for top-of-the-line models. So, there is a significant difference in cost.

Repairs & General Maintenence

From routine maintenance to annual repairs and servicing, taking care of an e-bike is practically the same as a regular bike. The only time you'd need to see a professional is if something went wrong with the electronic components.

You may get your e-bike fixed or replaced at a bike store or work with the outlet where you purchased it.

Just like regular bicycles, it is easy for a competent person to handle most of their own maintenance and repair. But defects in an electric bike system are rare, and if you're buying a new one it will come with a warranty that should cover any repairs for the first few years.

Ease of Use

One major advantage of e-bikes is that they take the effort out of pedaling. Whether you're climbing a hill or cruising on level ground, their electrical drive system can give you a boost when you need it. This can be a huge relief if you're tired of dealing with an assistive condition that makes pedaling difficult.

E-bikes also tend to be equipped with features that make them easier to ride than regular bikes. For instance, many models have built-in lights and a horn, which can make you more visible to cars when you're riding at night or in low-light conditions.

In addition, electric bikes typically have a built-in display screen that shows your speed, distance traveled, and other information. This can come in handy if you're trying to track your progress or just want to know how far you've gone.

Speed

Speed is one of the main advantages that electric bikes have over pedal cycles.

E-bikes are capable of reaching speeds of up to 20 miles per hour (or 28mph for class 3 models), while most regular bikes top out at around 10 miles per hour for beginners or 15mph for intermediate riders.

This makes e-bikes much better suited for commuting or other applications where speed is a factor.

Another advantage is that they require less effort to pedal. This is because the motor assists the rider, making it easier to ride up hills or go long distances.

As a result, e-bikes can be a great option for people who want to get around without having to put in too much effort.

Rules & Legislation

One major difference is in the rules and regulations governing their use. In most jurisdictions, e-bikes are treated like regular bicycles and can be ridden on the same roads and trails.

However, there are some exceptions; for example, in California, e-bikes are not allowed on state park trails or off-road areas.

Additionally, e-bike riders must be 16 years of age or older to ride without a parent or guardian, while regular bike riders do not have this requirement.

Benefits of E-Bikes

There are many benefits to riding an e-bike, including:

  • Ease of Use: E-bikes make it easier to ride for longer distances. Longer rides mean increased physical activity, which is beneficial to your health.
  • Improved mental health: Cycling gets you out in the fresh air, which can help improve your mood and reduce stress levels.
  • Environmental benefits: Electric bikes produce zero emissions, so they are better for the environment than cars or motorcycles.
  • Economic benefits: E-bikes can save you money on transportation costs, since you won't need to use public transport or drive a car.
  • They are easy to ride: E-bikes have an electric motor that helps you pedal, so you don't have to work as hard as you would on a traditional bike.
  • They are comfortable: E-bikes often come with features like suspension and comfortable seats, so they can be more comfortable to ride than

Disadvantages of E-Bikes

So e-bikes are a popular option for those who want to enjoy the benefits of biking without all the effort. However, there are some disadvantages to consider before making the switch to an E-Bike.

  • E-Bikes can be expensive, with some models costing several thousand dollars.
  • An electric bike can be less environmentally friendly than a regular bike, depending on how they are powered
  • They can be heavy and difficult to transport, making them less convenient than regular bikes.
  • They require regular maintenance and battery charging, which can be time-consuming and expensive.
  • Electric bikes may not be allowed on certain trails or in certain parks, so it's important to check the rules before using one.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are electric bikes better than normal bikes?

It all depends on what you want to use your bike for.

An e-bike is a better option if:

  • You want to make longer journeys or ride faster, particularly in an urban environment.
  • You are looking to reduce your carbon footprint by cycling instead of using your car.

A regular bike is a better option if:

  • You are fit enough to manage without pedal assist and want to eliminate your carbon footprint entirely.
  • You want to ride recreationally, off-road on steep hills or rough terrain.
  • Your budget is limited and you cannot afford an electric bike.

Can you ride an electric bike like a normal bike?

Yes, all classes of electric bikes give you the option to use pedal power only. You do not have to use the motor at all if you don't want to.

However, bear in mind that class 3 models have legal restrictions on the areas in which they can be used, and also a minimum age requirement. Both these rules vary by state.

Is it worth getting an electric bike?

If you are looking to ditch your car, help improve air quality and get fit, then yes it is worth getting an electric bicycle.

However, if you have the physical capability to use a regular bike instead then these are cheaper and even better for the environment.

Is riding an e-bike good for you?

Riding an electric bike is better for you than driving a car. They promote better mental health as well as physical health.

Even if you only pedal a little, it's better than doing no exercise at all.

Are electric bikes faster than regular bikes?

Yes, potentially the top speed of an electric bike would be faster than that of its regular equivalent.

A class 3 electric bike can reach up to 28mph, and classes 1 and 2 max out at 20mph. The average pedal cyclist will ride at around 15mph, although obviously experienced and professional cyclists would go a lot faster.

Next: Find the best eco-friendly e-bike for your budget.

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With her Master of Science in Renewable Energy Engineering (MSREE) from Oregon Tech, Steph is supremely well qualified to write on all aspects of renewable energy. She has already achieved a zero carbon footprint and her goal is to help as many other people as possible do the same. Her other hobbies include music, yoga, swimming and horror movies.
Stephanie Cole
With her Master of Science in Renewable Energy Engineering (MSREE) from Oregon Tech, Steph is supremely well qualified to write on all aspects of renewable energy. She has already achieved a zero carbon footprint and her goal is to help as many other people as possible do the same. Her other hobbies include music, yoga, swimming and horror movies.

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