Do you get more exercise riding an electric bike?

Discussion in 'Help Choosing an Ebike' started by Court, Apr 7, 2014.


How much exercise do you get on an electric bike?

  1. More than a regular bicycle

    31 vote(s)
  2. Same as a regular bicycle

    7 vote(s)
  3. Less than a regular bicycle

    11 vote(s)
  1. Court

    Court Administrator Staff Member

    Okay guys... I'm asking this because I think a lot of traditional cyclists look at ebikes and think "that's for weaklings" but in my experience, the adrenaline and help with hills and winds actually gets me amped and I tend to pedal more frequently to go even faster (maybe not pedaling as hard... but that saves my knees, and I still get cardio). The other thing about my electric bike is that I ride it more often because I don't dread hills, sweat or getting tired. So yeah... what do you think, can you get more exercise riding an electric bike than a regular bike?
    Clelie and ChristelG like this.

  2. Please support your local electric bike shop! These guys work hard offering test rides, sharing expertise and performing support.
    EBR strives to be impartial, we don't sell bikes ourselves and keep ads limited and relevant. Donations are greatly appreciated.

  3. James

    James Well-Known Member

    More for me! I commute rather regularily so it's a no brainer. I also find more excuses to go around town on my ride, so that contributes to it too
    JoePah and Court like this.
  4. Aushiker

    Aushiker Active Member

    Well I am yet to get my bike finalised (kit ordered) but I expect it to provide less exercise as I will not be working as hard on the same rides I do now but without e-assist. Of course for others it will be a different story.

  5. Vern

    Vern Active Member

    When I was telling my extended family about my experiences commuting on my e-bike, someone asked me how the effort and exercise compare to when I take my regular bike. I said it is about the same. Most of the people were confused at that statement. "How can that be? What's the point then?" were the responses I heard. I am sure individual personality and the bike choice play a big role here. Some bikes, read cadence sensor, just "want" you to move your legs and the bike does the rest. Some people pull their twist throttle and "motor" along. For me, I want the e-bike to be a practical transportation alternative and making the commute in a "reasonable" time frame makes it practical from my standpoint. So I hustle. I push myself. I work my ass off e-bike or not. I VERY obviously work harder on my regular bike going up hills, but on gentle climbs and downhills, I think I actually work harder on my e-bike. This is especially true when hitting the half way point. On my regular bike I get discouraged at times, or back off a bit because I am saving myself for a hill I have to climb. On my ebike I am encouraged by the speed/fun factor and keep going at it. Also, the torque sensor of the Carbon/Neo series actually does encourage you to work. Haters keep in mind that e-bikes are freaking heavy!! If you don't use higher levels of assist, the motor barely compensates for the extra weight of the bike!!

    All in all I think I get a similar aerobic workout on both bikes, but the the time is greatly decreased on the e-bike so commute for commute it is MORE exercise on the regular bike. Once again personality and bike choice play a huge roll here. Before I got my e-bike, I rented a couple of Pedegos at the beach with a friend. I had so much fun, and barely worked at all on that thing. I pulled the throttle and zoomed along enjoying all the beautiful CA beach scenery.
    Court and Aushiker like this.
  6. Ralph

    Ralph Active Member

    Vern summarized it very well. For me, the thought of extended rides made be worry about the return trip. I find myself almost always pedaling and rarely use the twist and go except for starts in high gear on the E3 Dash to get going. It is a nice feature. I ride longer, further, pedal harder and without a doubt get more exercise because I use it more and click off more miles. For me, the electric bike is a game changer and all for the good. I am sure we will add a pedal assist beach cruiser to ride up and down the beach as fatter tires would be more desirable.

    The Dash bike computer has lots of info, but I got a iPhone holder for the handle bars and use a cool app called Strava that records my rides and shows them on a GPS map. I keep up with my progress and it just makes it more interesting. I am amazed at how many miles I ride and to Vern's point, I feel the pain at the end of the ride when I push it. Bottom line, it is not cheating and electric bikes are a good thing:)
    goose2die4, Aushiker and Court like this.
  7. My ebike replaced my car. Definitely getting more exercise than driving my car.
    Clelie, Court and JoePah like this.
  8. JoePah

    JoePah Well-Known Member

    There is no question that riding a regular bike is 4x to 5x more work than riding an electric bike. However, only YOU can be the judge about the exercise.

    How many miles a year were you riding your regular bike before you bought that electric bike?
    And how many miles a year are you riding your electric bike?
    If you weren't riding that electric bike, what would you be doing?

    I went from riding a bike maybe 200 miles a year, to 3000 miles year on my electric bikes, going on 5 years now. No question about the benefits, plus my cars take hardly any wear and tear.
  9. FitzChivalry

    FitzChivalry Active Member

    I've put more miles on my bike (850) in three months than I put on a regular bike in the past 5. I definitely feel my heart rate go up when I ride, and my legs have bulked up noticeably in the time I've been riding. I've managed to avoid breaking a sweat (so far) by choosing appropriate attire for the temps (I'm still figuring out at what temps to switch between types of clothing, but I'm getting better). But, one should not judge one's workout by the amount of sweat, since many things impact your sweat production, from humidity, to hydration, to ambient temperature.

    I've been thwarted the past few weeks in riding in more than a day or two a week (combination of weather and two visits from family) and have crept back up from my low of 172.2 to 179.6 a few days ago. I'm going back on low carb which, with more-regular cycling (crossing-fingers) should get me back down in no time!
    Court likes this.
  10. rafe

    rafe New Member

    I have a 60t front chain ring and i get more excercise than a regular bike. The thing i find impossible to explain to people you can get excercise yet not sweat. the 60t front chain ring means i cant airpedal even at high speeds and the motor guarantees there is enough airflow that the body does not build up enough heat to turn sweating on. Yet when i get to office after 20 minute ride my legs hurt for hours.

    And nobody believes me that i am exercising on an ebike.
    E-Wheels likes this.
  11. mattbytes

    mattbytes Member

    I sweat less and my legs aren't as tired so I'm pretty sure I'm burning less calories for the same ride. However, the electric bike has me riding a bike more often and because of this, my vote is I'm getting more exercise than a regular bike.
    sideliner, ChristelG and Rincon like this.
  12. Bicyclista

    Bicyclista Active Member

    I ride farther and longer with my ebike. I am not afraid of any hills, and feel I can go anywhere. Not so with my conventional bikes. The end result is that I exercise more.
    sideliner likes this.
  13. Rincon

    Rincon Active Member

    If you are not sweating, then you are not getting a good workout. It takes about 15 minutes in a meaningful workout to consume the free glucose in your blood stream. After that is gone you will sweat as calories are extracted from other stores.

    I certainly ride my ebike much more, much further than my regular bike. However the bike I sweat more on, burn more calories on, and get a better workout with is my stationary bike in the virtual world of Zwift. I ride almost every day and it is a blast riding through the core of an active volcano with other riders from all over the world. It keeps me in shape, builds muscle in my legs, helped me lose weight, and has improved my cardio. The ebike is certainly exercise, but really it is just for fun—and it is a lot of fun. I took a 27 mile ride today through the oak covered hills of Santa Barbara, but never broke a sweat and had a great time.
  14. Dunbar

    Dunbar Active Member

    You're missing the point that e-bikes are faster for the same effort so you sweat less (or not at all.)
  15. pxpaulx

    pxpaulx Well-Known Member

    Agreed, the pace and resulting wind mitigate sweating for me. heart rate is consistently between 120-140 during my rides with virtually no sweat...and I normally sweat a lot.
  16. Mark Peralta

    Mark Peralta Well-Known Member

    I get more exercise simply because I ride the bike more often than before (non-ebike). The ebike makes the riding fun and makes me want to ride as frequently as my free time allows me. It also allows me to ride along the professional cyclists and even pass them. Passing professional cyclists made my riding even much more fun, knowing that they spend more money on their carbon fiber bikes, high end components, expensive aerodynamic suits, helmets, and other gadgets.

    Here's an article of people getting more exercise on ebikes since they now enjoy riding bikes and spend more time riding.
  17. Rincon

    Rincon Active Member

    I have bikes and I have ebikes. I'm not missing anything. Enjoy the Kool-aid.

    Nevertheless if the choice is between riding an ebike and not riding at all, then ebike riding for exercise is certainly commendable.

    The wind blows no matter what bike you ride. Pedal bike riders regularly ride 15-20 mph. Plenty of wind, plenty of sweat. Don't laugh too hard as you pass them. They are getting more fit than you.

  18. More, because I commute to work 7.5 miles and get there without breaking a sweat. Without pedal assist for cruising and throttle for intersection crossing, riding in the city would be too dangerous for me. Remmber, life isn't a test, so its ok to cheat.
  19. Dunbar

    Dunbar Active Member

    I've done 35-40k miles on regular bikes and 4.5k miles on my e-bike. You are mistaken if you think somebody will sweat just as much on a e-bike set to the higher levels of PAS. I ride 10-14 hours per week so, if I wanted to feel superior, it's a safe bet that I'm fitter than 99% of the population.

    Here's a little experiment to test your theory. Set up one of your regular bikes on a stationary trainer indoors and ride the bike hard with no fans. Now get two strong fans to blow on you and repeat the test. Let us know if you sweat the same amount in both cases...
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2017
  20. Calm down dude, what's good for you is good for you, but some of us aren't super fit spandex wearing cyclists. Anything that gets a 54 year old fat guy like me off the couch is a good thing. No need to be so competitive about it.‍♀️
    Dewey, america94 and Rincon like this.
  21. Rincon

    Rincon Active Member

    Of course they won't. We agree on that. The more work the bike does for you, the less exercise you get, the less you will sweat.