It's still a very limited form of exercise. It's tough getting your heart rate up to 120 BPM , if you are in good shape. And zero core and upper body workout. I ride for fun only and the small amount of exercise is just an added benefit.
Sure, and yet the average weight of American males has increased by over 28 pounds since the 60's. I'll assume that riding an ebike gives you more exercise than sitting on the couch eating doughnuts, but it's amazing how many people are looking for bikes that can handle over 200 pounds of weight. Part of that is that a lot of them are carrying everything but the kitchen sink on their bikes including spare batteries since the thought of actually having to power the bike without electrical assist scares them, but at least based on my experience people I see on the trail riding regular bikes are huffing and sweating while those riding ebikes don't look like they're doing a lot of work. If your health doesn't allow it fine, but for a lot of people it just seems like it's a way to avoid effort. Kind of like the folks clogging the grocery aisle on electric mobility scooters. Some are very elderly or have huge health problems and it's great that they have these available, but for a lot of them maybe if they actually took the effort to walk they wouldn't be so big that they needed a scooter.
I agree that too. Those ebike haters always call riding an ebike is cheating. Ofcourse you won't spend as much calorie as riding a regular bicycle. But most forgot one point. If there weren't any electric bike most of e-bike riders won't be riding a regular bicycle but driving our cars or sitting on sofa.
I wish I can ride a road bike for 35 miles but that isn't possible. So e-bikes let me at least ride for 20 miles every day and burn good amount of calories and keep me active.
Call me lazy. I like to have fun. Pushing my mountain bike up hills is not fun. I'd be doing a lot of that around here.
I walk about an hour most days for aerobic exercise. I ride my bike for fun and to run errands. I do huff and puff sometimes while going up those hills that I'd be pushing my regular bike up. They are long enough grades and steep enough that you work a bit with an ebike.
I guess I could stay home and clean house, clean out the garage, trim the rose bushes and putter around in the yard.
On this topic, I did my own little experiment about my own regular bike versus e-bike commute.
I purchased an e-bike two months ago: a 20 mph maximum pedal assist, no throttle. Health stats, time, and speed were obtained pre- and post-purchase using my Apple Watch Workout app. My daily 12-mile round trip commute is relatively flat and mostly on a bike path, but requires to cross several busy streets. There is a 80-foot elevation drop on the way to work and 80-foot rise on the way back. This small change in elevation creates a significant difference. Before I went electric, I rode two different bikes: a heavier touring bike with fenders and a lighter racing style without. No spandex in either case.
Heart rate: 105 bpm regular bike/99 bpm e-bike. This is the average over the ride, not peak. Six bpm less on the e-bike.
Active calories: (168 regular bike/168 e-bike). Same energy output.
Heart rate: 107 bpm regular bike/93 bpm e-bike. A whopping 14 bpm on the e-bike.
Active calories: 192 regular bike/219 e-bike. Seems counter-intuitive to me. Perhaps the watch accelerometer is measuring for the fact that I am pedaling faster because I want to get home.
On the e-bike, I average 2.5 mph faster downhill and 3.5 mph faster uphill. I stop for traffic lights.
E-bike commute averages 5m 30s faster downhill and 9m 6s faster uphill.
Commute time is about 23m both ways door-to-door, the same as driving my car, finding a parking spot, and walking, for which, I estimate a combined heart rate of 80 bpm and 60 calories burned.
With the e-bike, I have yet to be tempted to drive my car. So, that's more exercise there.
I agree with TForan that it is harder to get my HR to 120. It does get to within 60% of my maximum HR (not hard to do at my chronological age). Still, the easier bike commute allows me to engage in my main form of aerobic exercise, which is running. Even after a hard run, electric power allows me to bike on down the road for commuting.
For me: advantage E-bike.
I have loved riding bikes since a child and started exploring my region by bike before I could drive a car. 30 mile rides were not uncommon (3-speed sturmey archer hub). At 65 I've had to concede that 10% grades and ambushes by loose dogs were making me reluctant to engage in my favorite fitness regimen, biking. So I started riding a road style, pedal assist bike (Yamaha Urban Rush). The highest assist levels allow me to accelerate away from hostile dogs and even the second lowest will make a 10% grade possible, but not easy. Since I ride for fun and fitness, I've used a heart rate monitor for decades. My typical ride on my ebike has an average heart rate of 130 bpm with peak efforts over 150 or 160 bpm. So I'm certain this helps my fitness. I intentionally make the effort on hills to increase my heart rate. I don't mind working when I'm out on the road.