The bike is nothing new; it’s been around for decades, centuries even. It’s a great mode of transport and it’s great for exercise. We’ve now adapted them to become stationary bikes and this has led to the very popular form of exercise—spinning. However, the bike was adapted once again and now we have something called the electric bike. Sound a bit science fiction-y? Let’s dive in and see exactly what the electric bike is, what it’s all about and whether it’s worth investing in one.
So, what’s an electric bike? Well, it’s also called an e-bike, so if you see anything by that name you’ll now know what it is. The short answer is that it’s a bike that has an electric motor used for propelling you forward. You’re probably thinking, well that sounds just like a moped or a motorcycle, and you’re not far off. They are very similar, but the distinction is drawn by how much power it has. If it’s under a certain threshold it’s considered an e-bike, as well as what it looks like and how much effort you still have to put in to propel it forward.
Shockingly, the e-bike has been around for a really long time. Patents were documented for the e-bike as far back is the 1890s. This battery-powered bicycle wasn’t used much back in those days, but it could run off of a 10-volt battery, which was very impressive for the time. In 1969, the e-bike was reexamined and some changes were made to make it more modern and more appealing to the general public, but despite it’s improvements it didn’t really take off.
By 1992, the e-bike had been improved further and now it included NiCd batteries that were build into the frame, as well as a permanent magnet motor, but it still didn’t sell well at all. In 2001, the pedelac became a common synonym for e-bikes and people also began to use the term e-motorbike for something more powerful and more closely related to the motorcycle. However, by 2007 e-bikes had become immensely popular and experts say that around 20% of all bikes on the street were in fact e-bikes.
So what’s the benefit of owning an e-bike over a regular bike? The real benefits are simply to make cycling easier so you can do it more frequently and be more economical and environmentally friendly. It helps with hills, fighting wind and overall gives you a more pleasant experience, which means people are more likely to use them.
E-bikes are becoming increasingly popular but for good reason. It’s a great mode of transportation and it’s definitely easier on the environment. With such a varied price range, it might even be worth buying one just to try. You never know, you might replace it with your car.
** THIS ARTICLE WAS UPDATED ON 1-6-2018