Electric Bicycles Are Not Electric Motorcycles

guy holding a laptop and on an electric bike

PSA - Electric bicycles are not electric motorcycles. 

If you are expecting them to accelerate as such then you will be disappointed. Electric bicycle riding has to be thought of like riding any other bike, just with your pedalling power multiplied.

An Electric Bike (E-bike) is a bicycle that makes it easier for you to cycle by adding electric assistance to the equation. An Electric Assist Bicycle uses an Electric Motor powered by batteries that can push out 250 watts or more of Electric-Assist, where the Electric Motor only provides additional power when the pedals are rotated – this type of Electric Bicycle is also known as a ''Pedelec Electric-Assist Bicycle''.

The Riding Experience Of An Electric Bike

An Electric Bike is a normal bike with an added electric drive system. This drive system is powered by a battery. Electric bicycles can vary greatly depending on

  • How much assistance they provide
  • How that assistance is delivered
  • The weight of the bike
  • The weight of the rider and bike together
  • Tire type (slick vs treaded & narrow vs wide)
  • Tire pressures
  • And more...

There are numerous factors, that affect the riding experience to varying degrees. When looking for a new e-bike, I think it comes down to your budget first. Then the riding experience you want from the bike and how it relates to your budget. Because to expect a $1,600 bike to be the same as a $16,000 bike is setting yourself up for disappointment.

Once you settle on a budget and a set of needs you want to be met by your chosen steed, that's a good starting point. If they are reasonable things to expect of a bike within your chosen budget, even better. There will be things you can reasonably expect within different budgets and its about narrowing down on what are the most important things, with some compromises. Remember, you cant get $16,000 worth of bike for $1,600!

From there, understanding what you are buying doesn't hurt either. Because like I said in the beginning, if you are expecting a road legal electric bike to accelerate like a motorbike then you will be disappointed. It isn't how they work.