While the standard bicycle has been the go-to option for basic personal transportation for as long as anyone can remember, it seems as if its more modernized electric option is beginning to overtake it in terms of popularity. The ongoing debate of e bike vs normal bike is what we’re here to discuss.
But are the electric options truly superior?
While these different bike types certainly have a lot in common, they also have key differences that should be known before making a purchase. Ebikes vs regular bikes is by no means a cut-and-dry debate. That’s why we’re going to go over all of their benefits and cons with a fine tooth comb.
By the end of this article, you’ll know with full confidence which bike type is the best for you.
When looking at an ebike vs a normal bike, the defining differences between the two ultimately lie in the components that are added to a regular bicycle to turn it into an electric one.
In fact, some people can have a hard time even telling the difference between an ebike vs regular bike because they can look so similar at times.
While electric bikes are often outfitted with many fancy bells and whistles, there are four main components that define a bike as electric: the motor, the battery, the different handlebars, and the different gears.
The motor is arguably the most important characteristic of an ebike. This is where ebikes get their power from. The wattage of the motor is what allows ebikes to zoom around the way they do with minimal pedal assistance.
The battery is another contraption equipped to the frame of the bike, just like the motor. It provides energy to the motor and any other part of the ebike that requires energy, like an LCD screen or speedometer.
The handlebars of ebikes vs regular bikes look extremely similar, but ebikes actually have a throttle function that activates the motor. Sometimes they come in a twist throttle build, and other times it’s merely push-activated with a small button.
Finally, the gears of ebikes tend to be more varied as many electric bikes come with gear shifting features that allow you to control your speed on the fly. Many different kinds of gear functions can also be combined with low or high pedal assist functions to adjust how much or how little speed, resistance, and exercise you’re looking for.
To cut a long story short, electric bikes are just like regular bikes but are powered by the motor and battery rather than your feet on the pedals. However, keep in mind that any electric bike can also be used with a pedal assist as an option.
One of the best things about regular bikes is something that everyone can appreciate: the price. By and large, regular bikes tend to be considerably less expensive than their electric counterparts.
Because regular bikes don’t have motors, batteries, or any other extra electrical components, they are much easier to build and install. This helps cut down on costs. Many motors and lithium-ion batteries can also be pretty pricey, another important reason why regular bikes are cheaper.
Another benefit standard bikes have over ebikes is that they are much lighter. This is for the same reason that they are cheaper: there are no motors, batteries, or other extra components on them.
The lightweight nature of normal bikes has a few benefits of its own to focus on. For one thing, this makes normal bikes easier to pedal manually. When it comes to ebike vs normal bike for weight, ebikes typically weigh 50 pounds but can be more, whereas a normal bike will rarely weigh more than 25 pounds.
Normal bikes inherently have an edge over electric bikes as they are easier to carry and transport. They are also easier to store away, whether indoors or in a vehicle, because they’re much easier to pick up.
Another benefit of normal bikes many people overlook is that they are completely waterproof. E-bike components these days tend to be water-resistant and can handle some light rainfall or some puddles, but they are never 100% waterproof.
With a normal bike, you can always use it in the rain without worrying about damage to any components.
So while normal bikes are very dependable in a few areas, there are some cons that need to be addressed.
For one thing, normal bikes are more difficult to use when riding uphill. This is because manual pedaling can get really tiresome pretty quickly if you ride uphill very often.
Similarly, normal bikes don’t come in as many varieties as ebikes. For example, there are fat tire electric bikes that have wider wheels that provide more stability on rougher off-road terrain. As a result, normal bikes tend to fair worse on bumpier bike trails or woods and forests.
Another con of normal bikes is that they’re not the most ideal choice for long rides. Bikes are great for when you need to be somewhere in 20 minutes or so. They’re unfortunately not the best option if your ride will be an hour or more.
Some people really like the exercise, but others just want to get to their destination without any hassle. Because of this, normal bikes aren’t great for longer trips.
Let’s look at what makes ebikes so good in this battle of an ebike vs normal bike:
Electric bicycles are extremely fun to use. While that may seem simple, it really is the honest reason why they’re so popular nowadays. Ebikes allow you to cruise around town for long distances without having to exert your legs at all.
Many ebikes even have a cruise control function that sets the bike at an automatic pace and doesn’t require any throttle input from you – just steer and enjoy the breeze.
Like with cruise control, ebikes are known to come with many extra functions and features that all help make your riding experience feel smoother and easier.
A gear shifting system is very common for ebikes these days, and this level of customization of speeds is a great bonus feature to have.
Speaking of which, one of the main reasons why people love ebikes is because they’re so much faster than standard bikes. With a regular bike, you need to exert a lot of energy just to reach 15 mph. With ebikes, you can reach speeds much faster than that without having to move your legs or feet at all.
This ability that ebikes offer is very tempting, and it makes it clear why they are so popular. Imagine speeding across town, whether it be 20 mph or 40 mph, without having to break a single sweat. Sounds refreshing, doesn’t it?
Because of this, you can use ebikes to arrive at work or your friend’s place without having to worry about being sweaty or smelly.
And another neat feature of ebikes is that if the battery runs out of juice, you can still use it as a regular bike by pedaling normally! This gives ebikes an edge over other electric transportation devices like escooters or segways.
This does, however, lead us into our first con about ebikes, which is that they are considerably heavier than regular bikes. So in the event that you are forced to pedal manually, you will be pedaling a bike that will probably be at least twice the weight of normal bikes, thanks to the battery and motor weight primarily.
Ebikes can be subject to various bylaws or regulations depending on where you live. This means that they can’t go beyond a certain max speed, or there are age requirements for riding.
Another big issue is that ebikes are almost always more expensive than regular bikes. Ebikes can also be harder and more expensive to maintain. You not only have to worry about the chain, wheels, or frame but the electrical components as well. These are the most expensive parts of the ebike.
If you really need to settle the ebike vs regular bike conversation for yourself, think about what it is you want out of a bicycle, how often you’re going to be using it per day, and how you will be using it.
If you want to exercise, something cheap and simple, and you’re a younger rider, you will probably get more out of a standard bike.
If you need speed, are older, or want to prioritize fun over exercise, an electric bike will be more your style.
Thanks for reading today’s piece on the e bike vs normal bike debate. Hopefully, you’ve already made up your mind on which one you’ll be purchasing for yourself. Normal bikes are tried and true method of transportation, whereas ebikes are really paving new ground for a revolutionary method of commuting.