Who's ebike riding could ALL be done on a regular bike?

The duke

Active Member
Some of us have physical limitations where our desired rides require motor assist. Others of us what to ride distances or climb hills that necessitate a motor.

I'm wondering how many of you ride your ebike in ways and on rides that you would be perfectly capable of riding on an analog bike. And I'm not talking 'occassionally.' I'm talking all the time?

I think I fit into that category. I'm fat, but not physically limited in my riding ability. The hills on my ride are steep, but not beyond my ability. And my butt really only likes to be in the saddle for 15-25 miles, so regardless of if I had a motor or not, my rides would never exceed 2 hours or 25 miles. I just feel more supermanish on an ebike. I'm more relaxed knowing if I feel fatigued, I can always kick up the assist on those last few ascents. And I'm a tech weenie and enjoy the novelty of having an ebike. I can't claim I'm doing anything I technically couldn't before.

I wish this forum had polling ability. But I'd like some anticdotal evidence. How many of you wouldnt be riding (at least a majority of the time) if not for an ebike? How many of you use your ebike to do things and go places that you could never on analog? And how many of you just have an ebike to make quicker work of rides you'd do analog anyway? Interested to hear.
 

Solom01

Active Member
I have health problems so I started out with ebikes so that I could keep riding. Personally I could care less what anyone rides, it's their choice, but I have two ebikes that I'm currently using, an SS-Glide single speed and an Orbea Gain. When going on the exact same ride of about 20 miles at about the same speed (14-21 mph) there is no doubt that I get a lot more exercise using the Orbea. My heart rate monitor shows an average rate of about 20-30 beats more on the Gain, I sweat a lot more on the Gain, and I feel a lot more tired - which is why I prefer the Gain since I ride for my health.

Although I assume that simply riding any bike gives you some benefits in core strength and beats sitting in front of the TV, all these "studies" showing that ebikes are as good in terms of exercise as an analog bike are based on riding more often and further. Let's face it, real exercise is not fun for most people, it gives you a sense of accomplishment but it is a lot of very hard work. The more one depends on a motor and power assist the more it becomes more like a motorcycle in terms of exercise. I also enjoy biking so riding a 50 pound bike loaded down with huge batteries and other weight is not the same handling and feel as riding a nimbler bike, but again, whatever floats your boat.

If you want to use a bike with a lot of power assist to get to where you're going quickly or without working up a sweat or because your health requires it that's your choice. You called yourself fat. If you want to loose weight the less power assist you use the quicker you'll loose weight. Imagine someone who goes to a gym where they have weight machines that make it easier by using a motor - wouldn't that be self defeating?
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
I did my commute to the summer camp without electricity for 10 years. It's not easy and my pulse got up to 144 bpm on some of the hills. But the winds are picking up earlier with global warming and a 5.7 hour ride at 120+ bpm at 96 deg F was not fun. With electricity I now get to control how much exercise I get irreguardless of what the weather is doing.
I had hoped to ride 45 miles to a October 5 concert this year on the bike at 15 mph, but I've concluded my butt won't last that long. I don't think the 17 AH battery will either, although the formula predicts a 70 mile range.
The electricity is not ruining my health. I've dropped another 2 lb over what I usually lose in the summer, getting lower in weight this year than I've been since 1980.
 

rexel1

Active Member
I used to commute daily around 25 miles on a standard bike, but it became too much after a few years.
Got my first ebike a while back, which I then old for a juiced CCS (I’m in the UK so they’re not easy to get over here!)

I started doing weekend rides on the CCS as well, pretty much all on roads. Couple of weeks back though I realised I was getting no enjoyment out of that type of ride, country roads in South East England are just too busy with (idiot) drivers, who have no idea how to overtake any.
So I’ve swapped out now my leisure rides (weekends etc) with using my normal bike (cotic road rat) for forest rides, local parks, quiet roads in town etc.
I noticed that the ebike was making me lazier as well.
I think they are great for specific tasks (such as commuting), or if physically not possible to ride a normal bike (heart, health issues etc). For me though swapping out leisure rides to a normal bike is so much more pleasurable, so much that I’m now looking for a non electric mountain bike.
36770
 

TForan

Well-Known Member
I have health problems so I started out with ebikes so that I could keep riding. Personally I could care less what anyone rides, it's their choice, but I have two ebikes that I'm currently using, an SS-Glide single speed and an Orbea Gain. When going on the exact same ride of about 20 miles at about the same speed (14-21 mph) there is no doubt that I get a lot more exercise using the Orbea. My heart rate monitor shows an average rate of about 20-30 beats more on the Gain, I sweat a lot more on the Gain, and I feel a lot more tired - which is why I prefer the Gain since I ride for my health.

Although I assume that simply riding any bike gives you some benefits in core strength and beats sitting in front of the TV, all these "studies" showing that ebikes are as good in terms of exercise as an analog bike are based on riding more often and further. Let's face it, real exercise is not fun for most people, it gives you a sense of accomplishment but it is a lot of very hard work. The more one depends on a motor and power assist the more it becomes more like a motorcycle in terms of exercise. I also enjoy biking so riding a 50 pound bike loaded down with huge batteries and other weight is not the same handling and feel as riding a nimbler bike, but again, whatever floats your boat.

If you want to use a bike with a lot of power assist to get to where you're going quickly or without working up a sweat or because your health requires it that's your choice. You called yourself fat. If you want to loose weight the less power assist you use the quicker you'll loose weight. Imagine someone who goes to a gym where they have weight machines that make it easier by using a motor - wouldn't that be self defeating?
Let's go with lose weight .
 

christob

Well-Known Member
My riding consists of frequent office commutes (5 miles one way, shortest route) and leisure rides / exercise rides. All done on paved trails and a small amount of residential side streets.
The ebike definitely made riding possible again after a 25+ year gap without biking (nor much in the way of exercise at all!) Weighing in at 303 when I started, I likely would not have been able to force myself to stick with it on a pedal bike...
Now, 50-ish pounds lighter and with much more stamina and strength after 6,500 miles accumulated, I can do all of my usual rides on a pedal bike. I only recently confirmed this when I “rediscovered” in mid-July that my original 1992 Bianchi 21 speed Advantage was still in my possession, forgotten about for those 25+ years in a storage locker. I got it all fixed up (tires, tubes, pads, accessories) and have put 100 miles on it so far... easily more miles than I ever rode it, total, back in 92, 93 before quitting it entirely!
I was pleasantly surprised by how, effort-wise, the rides were comfortably “doable” on the Bianchi. It is ~23 pounds lighter than the ebike, and rides very differently (not in a bad way) as a result. The 21 gears come in handy, it turns out, for the few short-but-serious inclines that are scattered around my routes.
But I’ve realized the ebike will remain my summer commuter, because while I currently work up a small sweat on the morning commute on the ebike, I’m far, far sweatier when commuting on the Bianchi... that ultimately would require showering at work, and I don’t want to introduce the added hassles that entails... so I won’t reattempt regular Bianchi commuting until the morning temperatures are reliably in the 60’s, and will reevaluate then to see how much of my extra sweating is from “effort under hot weather” or, simply due to the nature of pedal-bike added effort in general...
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
...I'm wondering how many of you ride your ebike in ways and on rides that you would be perfectly capable of riding on an analog bike. And I'm not talking 'occassionally.' I'm talking all the time?...I wish this forum had polling ability...
My weekend leisure riding certainly could be done by regular bike. The grocery hauling with my cargo e-bike, yes, I could have purchased a regular cargo bike for ... My commute though, I think would be possible on a regular bike but not very practical.

A full commute for me is normally around 35 miles and I average 14.5 mph on Class 1 bikes and close to 17 mph on Class 3 bikes. The other day, I did 20 miles on my non electric and I averaged 11.5 mph. So for commuting on a more regular basis, I feel for me the electricity is an enabler. I think I could do it on my regular bike but besides taking longer, it would be harder on my knees and I would need more recovery time. I think too the electricity might be saving my body from more wear and tear.

The Forum used to have polling capability. I haven't started a thread in awhile so not sure if it still is enabled ...
 

Figs

Active Member
I simply cannot ride a road bike anymore because of the riding position. But, I could replace my eBike with a decent hybrid, and ride pretty much the way I ride now. I just don’t want to. :)

The fun and safety factors keep my on my eBike.
 

David Berry

Well-Known Member
The forum used to have a polling capability.
It still does. A poll can be added at any time…
  • Open any of your threads.
  • Find the green box labelled Watch.
  • Next to it is a drop down menu – another green box, this time containing three dots followed by a down arrowhead […v].
  • Click the arrowhead.
  • Create poll appears.
Back to the question posed…
  • Whose ebike riding could all be done on a regular bike? Not mine! (Well, not by me!)
… David
 
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Alaskan

Well-Known Member
On a recent 17 mile ride my recorded average power output was 113 watts. This was after a snack break from the 31 miles outbound route putting out 105 watts. These wattage values are quite close to the normal average output for a fit road biker. Given the condition that regular riding on my ebike has put me in, I suspected that riding an acoustic might be not only feasible but fun.

A few weeks ago I test road a nice carbon fiber road bike. I found that I could maintain 16-18 mph on flat ground with an effort that I could sustain for many miles. What I also discovered is that climbing back up the hill to my house put my heart rate too close to the limit my cardiologist set for me. I experienced no symptoms but knew that I should not chance it.

My average rides have gotten increasingly longer, over 40 miles. I doubt I could routinely ride that kind of distance on an acoustic bike. I am also certain, given the hilly terrain around here, that there are many rides that I really enjoy, that would be inadvisable without an ebike.

I am contemplating a bike like the Orbea Gain, designed for occasionally using the e-power to negotiate inclines or strong headwinds but otherwise well suited to unassisted cruising. On a straight up acoustic bike I would have to be so selective about which rides I used it on and would have to drive down the hill first before taking off to avoid the last homeward climb up a 14% grade. Reality is , it would not get enough use to justify the expense.
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
I live in an area where street riding is neither practical nor safe so I ride for pleasure and exercise only. Since I gave up single track 20 years ago, my riding has been done almost entirely on more conservative trails. I typically would ride 2 - 3 hours and log 15 - 25 miles on one of my conventional Trek MTB's, depending on slope and trail surface. I'm 6' 2", 260# and at 72, I'm having joint issues which now somewhat limit my riding ability. Although I ride my conventional bikes on occasion, my capabilities aren't what they used to be just 5 years ago.

My e-bikes have renewed my enthusiasm for biking and I now log 30 - 50 miles in a 3 - 4 hour period on these same trails. I can reach places I couldn't with my Trek without fear of having enough strength to return. I worry less about joint related issues since I can rely on my bikes throttle to get me back if necessary. I no longer avoid uphill climbs or rough trail surfaces since they are easily managed by the e-bike.

Some of the trails I ride are lengthy with a considerable slope. In the past, the slopes were manageable on my Trek MTB but now, not so much. More recently, I would ride with a friend so we could "stage" a ride by leaving a vehicle at the bottom. We would then take our conventional bikes to the top in another vehicle and ride one way downslope. That is no longer necessary since most slopes are manageable with the e-bike.
 

ilanarama

Member
I suspect I'm younger and fitter than most on this forum. I get my exercise primarily from running and mountain biking (on an acoustic bike), and my e-bike is a car replacement, not a bike replacement. When we lived in town I ran errands on foot with a backpack, but when we built a house on the rim of a mesa 330' above town, with a 200' climb in 0.75 mile, I bought an e-bike. I can (and do) ride it on my acoustic bike, but when I'm hauling 30 pounds of groceries in my panniers, the e-bike is a welcome assist. I do a track workout with my running club at the high school track on Tuesday evenings; there's no way I could climb that hill on my acoustic bike after a hard run, but the e-bike means I don't have to drive the measly 3 miles each way to the workout and back.
 

Solom01

Active Member
Alaskan, you actually sound like a perfect candidate for an Orbea or other "light" ebike. You should try one to see what you think. No one should do anything that may hurt their health, but a light ebike that uses power only when needed may be great for getting back to more exercise without putting your health at risk. If you wanted to go for longer distances there is an optional water bottle battery that doubles your battery capacity.

The problem with standard ebikes for people that want exercise is that as humans our bodies try to cheat whenever possible. That's why one constantly has to check their form at the gym especially with free weights since we're such experts at avoiding energy expenditure. With light ebikes you have a great incentive to not depend on the electric part of it and even if you do you're going to have to use a lot of your own power or have very little range. When you are using your own power they ride like real bikes being light and nimble and not like a tank. If I were using a bike to commute to work where I had to arrive fresh, if my health gets worse or as a cargo vehicle I would definitely buy a "normal" ebike or maybe even just a motorcycle so I could get there quickly and with little effort. But for fun rides, a good cardio workout and the feel of riding a real bike there's nothing like this new category of light ebikes.

I wish they would actually review one on this site but I guess most of the vendors have been surprised at how well these things have sold and probably do not see any value in spending for reviews when they're getting great reviews in bike magazines. All we get seem to be reviews from bigger, heavier and faster ebikes, which is great to have but leaves out an entire segment of the biking population.
 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
Alaskan, you actually sound like a perfect candidate for an Orbea or other "light" ebike. You should try one to see what you think. No one should do anything that may hurt their health, but a light ebike that uses power only when needed may be great for getting back to more exercise without putting your health at risk. If you wanted to go for longer distances there is an optional water bottle battery that doubles your battery capacity.

The problem with standard ebikes for people that want exercise is that as humans our bodies try to cheat whenever possible. That's why one constantly has to check their form at the gym especially with free weights since we're such experts at avoiding energy expenditure. With light ebikes you have a great incentive to not depend on the electric part of it and even if you do you're going to have to use a lot of your own power or have very little range. When you are using your own power they ride like real bikes being light and nimble and not like a tank. If I were using a bike to commute to work where I had to arrive fresh, if my health gets worse or as a cargo vehicle I would definitely buy a "normal" ebike or maybe even just a motorcycle so I could get there quickly and with little effort. But for fun rides, a good cardio workout and the feel of riding a real bike there's nothing like this new category of light ebikes.

I wish they would actually review one on this site but I guess most of the vendors have been surprised at how well these things have sold and probably do not see any value in spending for reviews when they're getting great reviews in bike magazines. All we get seem to be reviews from bigger, heavier and faster ebikes, which is great to have but leaves out an entire segment of the biking population.
I hear you and am giving it serious consideration. I have no problem dialing back my assist to Eco. However on a Bosch powered bike, turning off the assist adds resistance from the 2.5/1 gearing on the motor making it sluggish. One issue that gives me pause from jumping in on the Gain or something similar is that I like doing long rides. Last month I averaged almost 47 miles per ride. Both my Riese & Muller ebikes, a Delight and Homage have full suspensions which greatly reduce discomfort in the saddle. Even with a Kinekt body float seat post, I fear that a hard riding, unforgiving bike with no suspension would force me to shorten my rides. If so that would sort of defeat the purpose of getting more exercise. Nothing is perfect under the sun or moon.
 
I bought an ebike because I wanted to ride to work. The cruiser and road bikes in my garage hadn't been ridden for almost 20 years and I couldn't really use them. The ride is only 5 miles, but I would end up working up too much of a sweat or else it would just take too long to get there.

At first I started out using PAS both going to work and coming home, but have build up my strength so that I turn off the PAS on the way home and get a quick little workout in, especially if I take the long way home. I'll use about 10% going into work, and 2% coming home (using PAS just for a boost to get started up after a stop).
 

Marci jo

Well-Known Member
Today I rode my acoustic Trek FX. Nice little light weight bike with flat handle bars. What the heck was I thinking!!
Although the bike was super agile and light, it took forever to get anywhere. Made it 5 miles round trip.
Then brought out the Vado speed pedelec for a quick 20 miles and all was right with the world 😊😊.
 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
Alaskan, you actually sound like a perfect candidate for an Orbea or other "light" ebike. You should try one to see what you think.

I wish they would actually review one on this site but I guess most of the vendors have been surprised at how well these things have sold and probably do not see any value in spending for reviews when they're getting great reviews in bike magazines. All we get seem to be reviews from bigger, heavier and faster ebikes, which is great to have but leaves out an entire segment of the biking population.
I test rode the Orbea Gain...great concept but not that well implemented. The weak rear hub motor was fine on flat ground and all but useless on steep hills. I can ride without assistance on flat ground but need it for the hills. Also riding using a throttle and pedaling was really hard to get smooth...so jerky and unnatural feeling. Perhaps that part can be learned. Better the more seamless integration of a mid drive motor with a torque and brake sensor.

The new Specialized Creo series looks promising with its compact mid drive motor, adequate battery, albeit quite expensive. It is not in shops yet nor is the gen 4 Trek Domane+. I have ridden this years Domane+ but having the gen 3 Bosch it cannot be ridden without at least some power because of the motor drag and the bigger motor sticks out like a sore thumb. The gen 4 motor is 25% lighter, 46% smaller, 20% more torque and takes a full size chain ring with no drag when the electric is shut off.

As to why no reviews this is a relatively new and thus small, albeit fast growing segment of the ebike market with most models coming out this fall and only seen thus far in press releases. What is out now from Orbea, Biancci etc is utilizing small rear hub motors hidden behind the rear sprocket cassette, low capacity batteries. IMO these are not great on hills, so what's the point? An stealthy ebike? Great, but they fail to adequately address the key problem helping you up hills.
 
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Solom01

Active Member
Hi Alaskan, it's cool that you tried a Gain. Obviously it's not the right choice for you, but I'm confused by your reference to a "throttle"? All Gains are Class 1 - they don't have throttles.

I spend a lot more of my time on Euro forums now, where people seem to like Gains a lot more and use them to complete rides in the Alps and Pyrenees - which have grades that make the Pacific NW look like gentle hills - that they weren't able to do before, so I couldn't figure out why opinions differed so much. The more I look at it, it seems like these bikes are meant for a different group of riders - basically fairly hard core cyclists who are still fit but need a bit of help because of age or health. For these riders who haven't gotten used to really heavy bikes with huge motors and a bit of help seems to be the perfect solution.

By the way, although the "stealth" part is maybe a bit of the appeal the main reason to have the battery in the tube is aerodynamics. When one rides a 50-60 pound machine with mirrors, kickstands, and all sorts of stuff aerodynamics isn't a big deal since the huge motor and batteries take care of it but when most of the power is coming from your body every little bit of wind resistance adds up.