If your thinking about making the switch from your regular bike to an electric bike, you might be wondering how an electric bike feels to ride.
Does it feel like riding a normal bike? Is it natural? Well, riding an e-bike can feel very natural and fun, as you can zoom along at nearly twice your normal speed without getting fatigued. However, different factors will affect how an e-bike feels, according to the assistance you choose and where the motor is on the bike.
So as you can get a feel for what riding an e-bike is like, we have put together a little description below of what to expect in an e-bike, different factors which influence how one feels and how to use one as a beginner.
High-quality e-bikes offer something called pedal assistance, which in other words means the more your pedal on your bike, the more assistance is given from the motor, making your ride seem more natural and less tiring.
It's common to describe riding an e-bike as feeling if you have very strong legs when using the PAS, however, this assistance can feel more unnatural if you use the throttle on your e-bike which we will explain more about later.
With the assistance from the motor on an electric bike, you might think that riding an electric bike in comparison to a regular bike would not make you any fitter, but in fact, riding these bikes can still help you get fit and even lose weight as you are required to pedal on the bike, even with help from the motor.
For example, if you are using your electric bike to replace sitting on the bus or using a car, then you will benefit more from pedalling than someone switching from normal cycling without any assistance.
We have listed out some tips below to try implementing if you are looking to get fit from your electric bike.
As we mentioned above, the type of assistance your e-bike has and the placement of the motor on your electric bike can affect how it feels to ride.
We have listed out the two types of assistance on an electric bike below and the various motor positions you can have so you can see which type of e-bike will give you the most natural ride.
First of all, the most common type of assistance on an electric bike is pedal assistance. This assistance depends on how fast you pedal, giving a more natural feel to the bike. This assistance can typically be set from the LCD on your electric bike and will come with three-five different assistance levels depending on the model that you buy.
Higher assistance will mean you have to work less and low assistance will mean you have to work more, a high-quality torque sensor on your e-bike is responsible for controlling the amount of assistance given in correspondence to how fast you are pedalling.
Some e-bikes will come with a throttle which makes them more like a scooter, this throttle will provide power assistance when it is engaged and usually come with a twist button on the handlebar. Unlike PAS, throttle power on an electric bike is less natural and doesn't require you to be pedalling on the bike for it to work.
Many e-bikes can come with the option of having PAS and throttle so as you can have a stronger burst of power from the throttle when you need it. However, keep in mind the throttle assistance will feel more like a motorcycle than a bike.
Depending on whether you have a front hub, rear hub or mid-drive motor, all these different motor positions can impact how the e-bike feels when ridden.
Front hub motors mean the motor is placed on the front wheel of your bike, people often opt-out of this type of motor placement in comparison to rear hub motors as the assistance can make you feel like you are being pulled along when riding the e-bike.
A rear hub motor placement is on the rear wheel of your bike, this type of electric bike feels very natural to ride as the assistance is coming from the back, and the extra weight on the rear wheel of the bike is much easier to control.
The type of motor placement will be more beneficial when using the throttle too.
Lastly, mid-drive motors have the motor placed in the centre of your electric bike by where you pedal on the drivetrain, these bikes only work on PAS and are also very natural to ride.
This is because the motor is more in the middle of the bike which means the weight is distributed evenly.
Now you know how an electric bike feels to ride, you will want to know how to use one too if you are a beginner. Understanding how to use an e-bike for the first time correctly can make a huge difference in how your bike feels when you ride and make you more confident.
We have listed out some beginner tips below for using your e-bike if it is your first time.
Is the assistance adjustable on an electric bike?
Yes, most electric bikes will come with varying levels of pedal-assistance, some throttle only bikes however may have the assistance pre-set on the bike.
Are electric bikes safe to ride?
E-bikes are just as safe as normal bikes to ride as long as you follow safety precautions and abide by the speed limit in your area.
Will I still get a workout with an electric bike?
An electric bike can still be good for your fitness as it needs you to pedal and maintain balance while you use it. To get a good workout in you can always lower the assistance.
Can I ride an electric bike without assistance?
Yes, you can ride an electric bike without any assistance by turning the pedal assist off and not engaging the throttle on the bike, do bear in mind that the e-bike will feel heavier due to the electrical components.
To conclude, an electric bike feels very enjoyable to ride once you get used to the assistance and how to control the e-bike. For a more natural feel, try only using the PAS levels on your e-bike and choose a mid-drive or rear hub motor so as the assistance can feel more natural.
E-bikes can allow you to face inclines you wouldn't dare with a regular bike, as well as speed up your cycling time, making you feel fitter and more powerful.
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