Believe it or not, electric bikes are not a recent invention. The first electric bike patent for a rear hub motor belonged to Ogden Bolton Jr in 1895. Fast forward to 1997, and Yamaha invents the first pedal-assist electric bike.
These early electric bikes of the 90s were hefty and used lead-acid batteries; it wasn’t until the use of lighter Li-ion (lithium-ion) and nickel-metal hydride batteries that electric bike sales began to take off. And take off they have!
The global pandemic resulted in enormous sales growth due to people looking for transport and exercise while maintaining social distancing. Global sales in 2020 saw an increase of 145%, over 32 billion USD from 2019. E-bike sales will continue to grow and exceed 52 billion USD by 2028.
In most areas around the world, it is difficult to ride a bicycle without encountering hills, and for many, this is enough of a deterrent to avoid cycling altogether. Electric bikes remove the hill-climbing barrier with two solutions: pedal assist and throttle systems.
Pedal-assist is a motor system that produces upwards of 400% assistance when pedaling the bicycle, whereas a throttle system requires zero effort from the rider when engaged. The advantage is that electric bikes allow riders to choose a specific level of effort produced; essentially, you work only as hard as you want to.
They can help increase fitness
Pain and injury can result from over-exertion for people with low fitness. Electric bicycles give riders a choice to ease into cycling workouts and progress at their own pace, removing pain and discomfort from cycling results in new e-bike riders being more likely to ride the next day.
Additionally, they allow riders of all levels to cycle together, which means that friends and families can enjoy cycling together without over-exerting themselves trying to “keep up” and rids the negative feeling of holding the group back.
Having a sense of community means you will want to repeat the experience repeatedly. E-bike studies show that owners of electric bikes are twice as likely to ride as those with pedal bikes.
They can aid in recovery from illness and injury
Cycling is a gentle form of exercise and is commonly prescribed for people with hip or knee injuries. E-bikes are optimal for people returning to sport after an illness or injury because they choose their effort. E-bikes take that one step further by eliminating the need for exertion when riding up hills or when transporting a load like bags of groceries or items for work.
They are great for your mental health
Getting out of the car and not dealing with aggressive drivers makes for a more peaceful commute. Studies show increased anxiety especially for those traveling on mass transit.
Getting onto a bicycle is a more carefree and relaxing experience plus aids in boosting serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine; all mood enhancers produced through exercise.
They are safer than cars or pedal bicycles
Because electric bikes cannot produce the same power and speed as a car, they do cause the same level of damage when accidents occur. It is easier to get up to speed on an electric bike compared to a pedal bike, therefore cyclists are less likely to run lights or stop signs in fear of giving up the effort need to get back up to speed.
They can reduce and even eliminate the need for a car
In many cases, electric bikes can replace the need for a car to travel to work or school. Electric bikes can travel longer than ever before with distances upwards of 180km and mileage capabilities are ever-increasing as battery technology advances.
Riders can choose maximum assistance for traveling to work to avoid arriving hot and sweaty but then choose a lower level of assist for the ride home when they want to get a workout in.
They help reduce emissions and traffic congestion
With more people choosing an e-bike to commute to work, school, or run errands, electric bikes help reduce the number of people traveling in cars which leads to less traffic congestion and vehicle emissions.
They save you money
The purchase price for electric bikes is much lower than a car, and so are the maintenance costs. Most maintenance costs are no more than the costs associated with maintaining a pedal bike plus electric bicycles do not require insurance or parking fees.
They help you explore places you may not otherwise travel to
Many electric bikes offer front suspension and fatter tires making offroad travel comfortable and stable. While it may be difficult to travel the same distance hiking or walking through the woods, an electric bike will allow you to explore safely and comfortably.
These fat-tire bikes provide the stability and comfort to ride on various terrain and in all weather conditions: asphalt, trail, mud, snow, and sand.
They are fun to ride
It’s hard to replicate that feeling you had when you rode your first bicycle as a kid. Electric bikes give you that same exhilaration and youthful feeling of freedom but better.
Imagine riding your bike in the best shape of your life, or at the fitness level of a professional athlete; that’s the experience that electric bikes bring.