Do Electric Bikes Keep You Fit? Can You Lose Weight Exercising On One?

Last Updated on October 6 2022 by Sam

Do Electric Bikes Keep You Fit? Or Are They Just Recreational?


Frequent cycling creates multiple benefits including, stimulation and improvements to your lungs, heart, and circulation – burns fat and strengthens bones. Electric bikes allow cyclists to ride using less effort, however, the act of continuous pedalling still works for all major muscle groups. 

As the popularity of electric bikes continues to rise, many may wonder, how effective is the pedal-assisted bike when it comes to building fitness? We decided to look into it.

Do Electric Bikes Keep You Fit? Or Are They Just Recreational? An electric bike can be used to keep fit and for recreation. You can control how much help you receive. More pedal assistance requires less effort; therefore, turning intense exercise into a more recreational experience.

Calories will still burn. On average, an e-cyclist burns approximately 20 – 25% fewer calories per hour compared to non-pedal assisted cyclists. 

How Do Electric Bikes Work?

In short, an e-bike uses electric to assist in pedalling. It’s a pushbike with a sensor, an electric motor, sensor, battery, and display. Let’s look at how the components work together.

The motor provides a rotating force as you pedal. The more advanced the motor is, the more assistance and powerful the bike is.

The sensor is the fundamental part of the bike, typically there are two types used. A speed sensor that instantly kicks in the motor once you start to pedal. And the “torque” sensor is responsive and helps with your manoeuvres and speed, by matching your speed as you move.

The battery powers the motor which powers the drivetrain; perfect for tackling long rides and hills. It lives anywhere within the frame. Depending on the make and model, its average charging time is between two to eight hours.

The amount of assistance required can be operated from the display unit. 

Are Electric Bikes Good For Fitness?

E-bikes offer a gentler and much more pleasurable approach to developing fitness. Regular low-intensity exercise is much better than occasional high-intensity exercise. 

In addition to the energy you put into riding an e-bike, a typical motor may have assistance levels of 50%, 100%, 175%, and 250%. Let’s say you’d typically spend 100 watts of energy on an e-bike ride, on the lowest setting, the e-bike would add another 50 watts. 150 watts of power significantly increases your speed. 

From a calories burned view, if you typically burn 300 calories hourly on a pushbike, you’d burn 200 riding at the same pace in eco mode. 

Even though the e-bike allows your legs to work less. Your core strength development is the same since this happens as you balance the bike and that requirement is not assisted.

Pros and Cons of Electric Bikes

E-bike popularity continues to rise and evidence suggests that this trend will continue. Let’s consider some of their pros and cons.


  • E-bikes make cycling more accessible. The elderly and people with health problems, or those who have not exercised for a while, can use an e-bike to slowly build up fitness and strength without too much muscle and joint strain.
  • Boosts your metabolism and strengthens core muscles. With longer bike rides you get to train simultaneously for medium intensity and high endurance workouts. Major muscle groups, core muscles, and glutes are worked as you pedal.
  • Travel further and arrive faster. E-bikes add to your watt output, therefore, move you along faster than a non-pedal assisted bike could.
  • Perfect for uphill climbs. Using a selection, your 100-watt output instantly converts to 350 watts. Giving you the potential to climb hills using the same effort as flat riding.
  • A cheaper form of transport compared to the running costs of a car.


  • Typically more expensive than a standard bike. For example, a decent pushbike could cost around £1,000. While on average, a good e-bike can cost up to £3,000 to £4,000 – plus.
  • Repairs and maintenance are expensive. Having to replace components like the battery, sensors, LCD screens, any other tech will eventually need replacing, overall won’t be cheap. It may also be a challenge to find a repair specialist. 
  • E-bikes are quite heavy. Heavier than a pushbike since they include a motor and battery. A regular bike weighs around 10 kg; whereas e-bikes can weigh up to 25 Kg or more.
  • The battery can take a while to charge. Though charging times will differ for every model, the majority of them need at least four to six hours to charge completely.
  • They’re not very environmentally friendly. They may emit lower pollution than cars and motorcycles, however, their construction includes burning fossil fuels or coal. Not great for the planet at all.

Types of Electric Bikes

The three basic classes/types of e-bikes are Pedal Assist, Throttle Only, and Pedal Assist (>28 MPH).

Class one: Pedal Assist (Pedelec)

The motor on a “Pedelec” kicks in to assist in pedalling effort once you begin to pedal. Some brands may or may not include a throttle. These types can do up to 20mph, then stop assisting at that speed. There is no driver’s license requirement nor age limit.

Class Two: Throttle Only (Throttle)

The motor in this type is throttle-assisted and may be used solely to propel the bike. For power, you just need to activate the throttle. However, the less you pedal, the faster the battery will run out. The throttle only does a max speed of 20mph then also stops assistance once this speed is reached. There are no driver’s license requirements or age limits.

Class Three: Pedal Assist 28mph (Spedelec)

Fastest of the three, this legal e-bike does a maximum speed of 28mph then stops assisting at that point. Brands include a speedometer and may include a throttle. Again, the Spedelec does not require a driver’s license, but the rider must wear a helmet and be 17 or older.

Related Questions 

Can You Ride a Dead E-bike?

Yes, an electric bike will function as a standard bike once the battery is out of juice, the motor is switched off, or the pedal assist function is set to zero. However, without electrical assistance, the extra weight of the motor and battery may slow you down.

How Many Miles Will an E-bike Last?

With regular care and maintenance, an e-bike should last just as long as a pushbike  – up to 10 years. 

Best E-bikes 2021

Some of the best e-bikes so for this year include:

ManufacturerType of E-bikeModels[s]
PinnacleHybridPinnacle Lithium-Ion
DawesCommuter, Cruiser, FoldingModels include: Curve and Mojave-E
FalconCommuter, Cruiser, Folding, MountainModels include: Crest, Glide, and Serene
RaleighCommuter, Folding, MountainModels include: Felix, Stow and Centros
GtechCity roadModels include: eBike City and eBike Sport

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