Are E-Bikes Worth It? Everything You Need to Know
Chances are, if you are reading this, you are considering buying an e-bike. That’s great - but you probably have a few questions and queries before you jump right in with your purchase, right?
What actually is an e-bike?
Are there different types of electric bicycles?
What are the benefits and downsides of e-bikes?
…and perhaps most importantly…
Are they worth the money?
Well, you have come to the right place. Read on to find answers to all these questions (and more).
What Will We Cover?
In this article, we are going to walk you through everything you need to know to decide whether an electric bicycle is right for you. This will include:
- Defining what is meant by the term ‘e-bike’
- The types of e-bikes available
- The difference between conversion and purpose-built electric bicycles
- Benefits of electric bicycles
- Downsides of electric bicycles
So, are e-bikes worth it? Read on to find out…
What is an E-Bike?
Before we dive into the ins and outs of whether an e-bike is worth it, let’s start by defining exactly what we mean when we use the term ‘e-bike’.
An e-bike or an electric bike is a bike that is either fully powered, or assisted, by an electric motor. These bikes are growing in popularity due to their versatility and the benefits they bring to modern living. Electric bikes can often be identified due to the small battery packs attached to them and the quiet hum the electric motor makes.
There are different types of e-bikes, which we will explore in more detail in the next section.
What Types of E-Bikes Are Available?
There are many different styles of electric bikes available. However, the majority of these fit into two camps which are defined by how they are powered:
Pedal-assist (pedelec) e-bikes are the most common type of electric bike you will find in your day-to-day lives. These bikes work by using a battery-powered electric motor to assist in pedalling. This offers two benefits, making it both easier to tackle inclines and to increase your speed.
Although pedal-assist bikes are highly versatile and can be used for a huge range of reasons, they have primarily grown in popularity with city and town commuters.
Throttle e-bikes are much like motorbikes and scooters, except instead of using a fuel combustion engine they are driven by an electric motor, powered by a battery pack. This type of electric bike requires no human effort to move. Throttle electric bikes are also growing in popularity, largely due to the rising cost of fuel and the environmental benefits of electric vehicles.
For the remainder of this article, we will be focusing specifically on pedal-assist e-bikes and whether they are worth buying.
In the last section, we discussed the different types of electric bikes available. In this section, we will explore the two options available to you when buying a pedal-assist electric bike:
- E-bike conversion kits
- Purpose-built e-bikes
An e-bike conversion kit is much as it sounds - a kit comprising of everything (well, almost everything) you need to convert a traditional bicycle into an electric bike. There are some benefits to this approach, the biggest of which being that it is usually cheaper than a purpose-built electric bicycle.
However, there are downsides. These include:
- Having to install the kit yourself or paying someone to do it for you
- Potential issues with weight distribution
- Often lower levels of security
- Potential for original bike hardware such as breaks and tyres not being adequate
- Wiring can look messy
- Some kits do not include a battery
- Potential for a voided warranty on your original bike
Purpose-built e-bikes are bikes that are built from start to finish for use with an electric motor. These bikes tend to be more expensive than conversion kits, but this is for good reason as they are typically:
- Lighter in weight
- More efficient
- More reliable
- Look nicer
- Easier to maintain
Benefits of E-Bikes
Before you can decide whether an electric bicycle is the right option for you, you need to weigh up the pros and cons. Here is a quick an easy to reference list of pros to consider in your decision-making process.
E-Bikes Are Easier to Ride
The first time you jump on an electric bike you will immediately see what the fuss is all about. These bikes are super easy to ride and make any commute or casual bike ride an absolute pleasure.
Because these bikes are power-assisted, they get you to your destination looking fresh and ready for anything. This is just part of the reason why these bikes are loved by commuters.
Electric Bicycles are Eco-Friendly
When compared to other modes of transport such as cars, electric bikes have great eco-credentials. This is especially true if you charge your bike using a renewable energy source such as solar power.
E-Bikes Are Better For Your Physical Health
Although electric bikes are power-assisted, they still take human energy to power. This makes them a great way to get in your daily exercise. The big difference between an electric bicycle and a traditional bicycle is that with the electric version you won’t reach your destination flustered and covered in sweat.
Electric Bicycles Are Better For Your Mental Health
Alongside the mental health benefits of getting regular exercise, it isn’t difficult to see why jumping on an electric-powered bike and experiencing the great outdoors is better for your mental wellbeing than other forms of transport such as spending time stuck in traffic or on an overcrowded bus.
E-Bikes Are Fast
Due to the power-assisted nature of electric bikes, they can be surprisingly nippy. Not only does this make them faster than walking, running or traditional bikes. But in busy towns and cities, it can also make them a much faster alternative to cars, buses, and trains.
Electric Bicycles Are FUN!
When you strip away the practical benefits of electric bicycles, you are left with one thing - the fact that they are simply great fun to use.
Downsides of E-Bikes
Of course, as with anything, there are some downsides which should be considered when balancing whether they are worth it. We have outlined these below:
E-Bikes are Expensive
Although there are some cheaper options, such as conversion kits, given the advanced nature of electrical-powered bikes they are typically more expensive than traditional bicycles. However, these costs can often be offset against other costs such as bus tickets or fuel costs when the bike is used for commuting.
Electric Bicycles Can Be Heavy
Electric bicycles have batteries and motors, which means they are heavier than most traditional bicycles. However, because the battery and motor help propel the bike, this doesn’t make it harder to pedal (in fact, it makes it easier).
The only time the additional weight can be an inconvenience is when handling the bike without motor assistance.
E-Bikes Need to Be Recharged
Just like electric cars, electric bikes need to be recharged.
As long as you create a habit of plugging in your bike when you reach your destination, this is unlikely to ever be an issue.
Electric Bicycles Can Have a Low Range
Electric bike batteries have come on considerably in recent years, helping to drastically increase their range. Yet, some lower-end options still have a pretty poor range, which makes them unsuitable for some journeys.
When looking for a bike, check the battery technology and suggested range to work out whether it will meet your needs.
Summary: Are Electric Bicycles Worth It?
It is clear that electric bicycles are a great option for practically anyone.
Although they are more expensive than traditional bikes, they offer users a considerable number of benefits. Whether you use your bike for your commute, but want to turn up to work looking professional or you use your bike for a weekend ride, but don’t want to wake up the next morning aching from head to toe - an electric bicycle could be the perfect option for you.
Electric bikes really are a fantastic option for anyone who wants a convenient, cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative to other methods of transportation such as driving or taking the bus.
How a WAU E-Bike is Made
Q: What is an e-bike?
A: An e-bike is an electric bike. The term e-bike typically refers to one of two types of bikes - pedal-assisted (pedelec) or throttle (power-on-demand). Pedal-assisted electric bikes work by using a motor to assist the pedaller, making it easier to pedal and faster. Throttle electric bikes are similar to motorbikes and scooters, with the entire bike being driven by an electric motor.
Q: Are e-bikes worth it?
A: Whether an electric bike is worth it depends on your needs. Electric bicycles are a great option for those that want to cycle but would like to find it easier. This is especially beneficial for those who use cycling for their commute as an electric bike will get you there quicker and looking fit for work.
Q: What are the benefits of e-bikes?
A: There are lots of benefits to using an electric bike. The biggest benefit is that it makes any journey much easier, whilst still letting you exercise and enjoy the great outdoors. It can also be a much quicker method of commuting when compared to walking or traditional cycling. It can also be faster than driving or public transport when used in busy towns and cities. Best of all - riding an electric-powered bike is great fun.