An In-depth Comparison: Electric Bike vs. Regular Bike

An In-depth Comparison: Electric Bike vs. Regular Bike

Cycling is a staple past time all over the world. Aside from providing leisure it also has tangible health benefits some of which include:

• Lowered body fat content. 
• Stronger bones. 
• Better mobility of your joints. 
• Stronger and more flexible muscles. 
• Reduced degrees of stress. 
• Improved cardiovascular health. 

While today’s world is busy and full of urban sprawl, bicycles still manage to offer convenient transport despite growing traffic levels. Technology has brought innovation to cycling and e-bikes are now seeing rising adoption as an alternative to traditional ones. If you’re contemplating cycling here is a detailed primer on both types of bicycles to assist your decision making.

How Does An Electric Bike Work?

Regular bikes are a pretty straightforward affair in how they work. You hop on a bicycle, start pedalling as you steer and you’re on your way. Pretty simple. An e-bike, however, works differently. So how does an e-bike actually work? 

An electric bike differs from a regular bike primarily because of the motor. Broadly speaking there are two types of e-bikes based on the difference in the way the motor powers the bicycle: 

• Full-power e-bikes: They are crafted for the least pedalling level over relatively short distances. They are big and feature a hub motor and a battery. If you like the idea of using a bike but detest having to pedal, then this is the bike for you. They have a limited range of between 16-30 kilometres primarily because they are always on power. They can be difficult to pedal as the hub-motor effectively acts as a generator as you need the power to turn it. 

• Power-assist e-bikes: They are designed for more pedalling and can cover relatively long distances of 80-145 km. The greater range is due to the fact that they aren’t on power all the time. Rather, power-assist bikes behave like hybrid cars in that they utilize traditional pedalling but can deliver electric power when necessary. They spot a separate electric motor mounted on the back wheel which turns with little to no resistance when you pedal.

Related Article: A Comprehensive Guide to Electric Bike Maintenance

What Distinguishes an E-Bike from a Traditional Bike?

While a regular bike shares several parts in common with an e-bike, there are three things in particular that distinguish the latter from the former:

• The Motor 
The motor is what generates the e-bike’s power. There are three different positions where you can find the motor on an e-bike depending on the riding style you prefer and its function. 
The front hub motor’s located at the center of the front wheel, and it gives you as a similar feeling to that of the front wheel of a vehicle. The central drive motor is located on the frame, and it makes you feel like you’re on a traditional bike. That’s because it directs all the energy you generate when pedalling into the drive system. Given that the motor lies lower on the bike you don’t feel a great difference from a conventional bike. 
The rear hub motor delivers better traction (since it’s located at the rear) via interacting with the gears and other parts

• The Battery 
The battery stores the power you need to go electric. It generates about 350W-500W and charges in five to six hours. Lithium-ion batteries are the most preferred type over the lead-acid ones as they are lighter. 
If you opt for the latter, know that you will expend a significant amount of the charge bearing its weight as you cycle along. You can always carry a spare battery to change and extend the total time you can cycle with an e-bike. 

• The Sensor 
The sensor regulates the amount of power the bike can receive based on your activity. There are two types of sensors you can find on an e-bike. Torque sensors ease cornering and speed maneuvers as they increase the amount of power when they detect you are exerting more effort by speeding up. When in slow traffic it will kick in just a touch of power to help you cycle along. 
Speed sensors automatically inject power into the motor when they detect you’ve started pedalling. You can feel it kicking in, and as a result, there’s a discernable on and off feeling when using them. 
In contrast to the above, a normal bike will accelerate or decelerate in direct proportion to the pedalling effort you put in. There is no power assistance when facing various terrain.

Is Maintaining an E-Bike Different From a Normal Bike?

Since both types of bikes share some psychical components, there are maintenance issues that cut across the two. Problem areas such as the handlebars, the brakes, the frame, and the gears are handled the same way. 
The only difference will come in when the electrical components of the e-bike need repair or servicing. With the connecting leads, you need to look for potential water ingress that might cause damage. To remedy this take them out, clean them and apply fresh grease to keep them water resistant. 
Another electrical component that should receive special attention is the battery. You need to measure its charging capacity levels to determine whether it can still serve you in an optimum manner. If you don’t do this regularly, you will begin to notice shorter periods between charges as it loses its capacity to store charge due to chemical wear and tear.

How Fast is an E-Bike?

Fundamentally speaking an e-bike provides the advantage of generating more power as you pedal faster, implying more speed. But this is only up to a point. Regulatory consensus places the average speed limit for an e-bike at 20 mph. The bike is designed to throttle power when you hit 20-28mph. It is worth noting that just like vehicles many e-bikes come designed with a speed setting for you to choose the level of assistance you desire.

Is It Still Exercise When I Use an E-Bike?

Although an e-bike has a motor to power you along, it still requires you to pedal just like a normal bike. Therefore you still exert yourself and reap the health benefits associated with cycling. Research from a Colorado university study discovered that when 20 men and women who don’t exercise rode e-bikes for 40 minutes thrice a week, they got healthier. Their blood sugar and cardiovascular health improved within 30 days of this regimen. 

survey of almost 1,800 e-bike owners in North America showed that using power-bikes leads to more cycling, which leads to better health.55% of the surveyed bike owners rode daily or weekly before owning e-bikes. After they switched to e-bikes 91% of the surveyed bike owners cycled daily or weekly. 

E-bikes present a distinct advantage in today’s world where not many people have the time to cycle long enough for it to positively impact their health and fitness. If they use an e-bike for an hour, they will cover significant exercise that will help improve their health.

How Much Does an E-Bike Cost?

The cost of e-bike averages at around $2,500-$5,500 for a premium model spotting a motor from a major maker. An average e-bike will cost at least $1,500. 
Cycling has immense health benefits. As a result, more and more people seek to tap into them and break free from their sedentary lifestyles. Whether you’re a hardcore cyclist who lives for traditional pedalling or an adopter of e-bikes, there is something for everyone via the variety of bike types and the needs they serve.

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