Exercising on an ebike.

Trail Cruiser

Well-Known Member
I noticed I get different degree of work out from 3 different e bikes. I used to ride a regular bicycle to school in my high school years, and continued to ride a bike in college. Now that I am 50 (and not as energetic anymore) but I still want to maintain a relatively high speed of 18-22 MPH. I wanted to have a semblance of non-ebike feel (or "natural feel"). Each of of the 3 have their prose and cons.

Bike A, 500 watt DD hub (Izip Dash). I can choose whatever gear and cadence regardless of speed and assistance level. It felt "natural" and I can have a good work out since I can increase my cadence above 100 RPM. One drawback is when I want to cadence above 100 RPM at PAS 1, the torque sensor sometimes is not sensitive enough resulting to "surging" since the motor assist comes and goes. My target cadence is near 100 RPM since it gives me a good work out.

Bike B, 350 watt mid drive (Raleigh Tekoa). The motor feels very gutsy, and it has a subtle sweet turbine-like sound when the motor comes on and off. It, noticeably, has more miles per battery charge compared to bike A. The drawback is the power assist tapers down above 80 RPM. So I usually finish my 25 mile ride and still not have a drop of sweat since my cadence barely goes beyond 85 RPM. For my kind of riding, it does not feel natural since I want to cadence from 80-120 RPM. With this ebike my cadence drops to 70 or less after upshifting and I feel that I am not contributing enough forward push to the ebike.

Bike C, 1,000 watt mid drive (Bafang BBSHD) The motor does not kick in as abruptly as Bike B but the power assist is sustained and does not taper off even above 130 RPM. I can pedal at any cadence and it is not limited by the motor cut-off. It feels very natural to me. I can choose the lowest assist level and cadence above 100 RPM to save the battery and have a great work out at the same time. It felt the most natural to me (no surging). The drawback is that the whole ebike is heavy since it is retrofitted to a full suspension mountain bike. This bike is more fun and provides more exercise than Bikes A and B.
 
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E-Wheels

Well-Known Member
I noticed I get different degree of work out from 3 different e bikes. I used to ride a regular bicycle to school in my high school years, and continued to ride a bike in college. Now that I am 50 (and not as energetic anymore), I wanted to have a semblance of non-ebike feel (or "natural feel"). Each of of the 3 have their prose and cons.

Bike A, 500 watt DD hub (Izip Dash). I can choose whatever gear and cadence regardless of speed and assistance level. It felt "natural" and I can have a good work out since I can increase my cadence above 100 RPM. One drawback is when I want to cadence above 100 RPM at PAS 1, the torque sensor sometimes is not sensitive enough resulting to "surging" since the motor assist comes and goes. My target cadence is near 100 RPM since it gives me a good work out.

Bike B, 350 watt mid drive (Raleigh Tekoa). The motor feels very gutsy, and it has a subtle sweet turbine-like sound when the motor comes on and off. It, noticeably, has more miles per battery charge compared to bike A. The drawback is the power assist tapers down above 80 RPM. So I usually finish my 25 mile ride and still not have a drop of sweat since my cadence barely goes beyond 85 RPM. For my kind of riding, it does not feel natural since I want to cadence from 80-120 RPM. With this ebike my cadence drops to 70 or less after upshifting and I feel that I am not contributing enough forward push to the ebike.

Bike C, 1,000 watt mid drive (Bafang BBSHD) The motor does not kick in as abruptly as Bike B but the power assist is sustained and does not taper off even above 130 RPM. I can pedal at any cadence and it is not limited by the motor cut-off. It feels very natural to me. I can choose the lowest assist level and cadence above 100 RPM to save the battery and have a great work out at the same time. It felt the most natural to me (no surging). The drawback is that the whole ebike is heavy since it is retrofitted to a full suspension mountain bike. This bike is more fun and provides more exercise than Bikes A and B.
Mark, thanks for sharing your experiences which are helpful in allowing me to decide on my first ebike purchase
I am still reasearching for a commuter ebike that suits my riding style which is similar to how you describe the way you like to ride
I want a mid drive ebike that I can ride most of the time without motor assistance and only have the motor kick in when needed when my speed drops below the legally allowed 25km/hr power assist limit here in Australia
I had a preference for Bosch driven ebikes to try before I buy but have had to disgard them as it would be near on impossible for me to maintain my unassisted average speed of 32km/hr with the small motor pinions giving under drive ratios
I am now looking at Brose, Yamaha and Shimano powered mid drive ebikes which have the larger chain rings and over drive ratios which will hopefully compliment my riding style and will allow me to retain the traditional bike riding experience and still allow me to get a workout which I prefer
Having an ebike with the motor assist available in the back gound to kick in when needed when I'm climbing hills, tackling a head wind or just having a bad day will be a perfect blend and allow me to continue my daily 80km commute and retain my fitness
My choice of ebikes in Australia is pretty limited but I have been advised that the Scott E-Silence 10 will be available soon https://www.scott-sports.com/global/en/products/249761007/SCOTT-E-Silence-10-Bike
Other options are Giant Quick-e + https://www.giant-bicycles.com/au/quick-eplus-2017
BH Revo Cross (Link Removed - No Longer Exists)
Wallerang M.01 (Link Removed - No Longer Exists)
Do any forum members have any of these ebikes or know anything about them for use as a commuter who could chime in with their thoughts?
 
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JayVee

Well-Known Member
@E-Wheels - The Wallerung is similar (as far as drive & shifting goes) to the 2015 era bikes made by Swiss company TDS (they've switched to Bosch for 2017). Thanks to a free loaner program sponsored by the city of Geneva, I rode that bike for about 1000 miles during Summer 2016. I assume that the Wallerang would be about the same weight as the TDS (~25-26 kilos), so the experience should be about the same. I also rode the STEPs powered Gepida bike shown below about 2 weeks ago.

gepida-p.jpg

My favorite way of using the STEPs with Di2 is to drop 1 or 2 gears before a red light and select max level of assist. When the light goes green, I can then get off the line quickly and, thanks to Di2, the upshifting of the gears is seamless. Once I'm back up to cruising speed I switch back into ECO mode. But if the terrain is more or less flat I will quickly exceed 25Km/h and keep going under my own power. This gives a respectable range if you do it systematically. However, if you want to pedal along under your own power for miles and miles, your terrain will need to be fairly flat. An e-bike is 10-15 kilos heavier than a regular bike... ECO gives a great workout on the STEPs, you just need to travel slower. The main advantage of the STEPs system is that it comes with the Di2 electronic shifting which makes the little red light trick given above possible. So for start/stop in traffic it's a pretty good choice IMHO. The only thing which can be somewhat annoying with the STEPs is that it always wants high RPMs. Although this characteristic makes the drive annoying to ride at times, it also makes the system highly predictable: if you reach a hill and don't feel the power, just drop a gear and it will kick in instantly.

Edit: And I'm waiting for my Yamaha powered SDURO to be delivered, although it will be the 45Km/h variant. I suspect I won't exceed the max assist speed as often.
 

Trail Cruiser

Well-Known Member
I noticed I get different degree of work out from 3 different e bikes. I used to ride a regular bicycle to school in my high school years, and continued to ride a bike in college. Now that I am 50 (and not as energetic anymore), I wanted to have a semblance of non-ebike feel (or "natural feel"). Each of of the 3 have their prose and cons.

Bike A, 500 watt DD hub (Izip Dash). I can choose whatever gear and cadence regardless of speed and assistance level. It felt "natural" and I can have a good work out since I can increase my cadence above 100 RPM. One drawback is when I want to cadence above 100 RPM at PAS 1, the torque sensor sometimes is not sensitive enough resulting to "surging" since the motor assist comes and goes. My target cadence is near 100 RPM since it gives me a good work out.

Bike B, 350 watt mid drive (Raleigh Tekoa). The motor feels very gutsy, and it has a subtle sweet turbine-like sound when the motor comes on and off. It, noticeably, has more miles per battery charge compared to bike A. The drawback is the power assist tapers down above 80 RPM. So I usually finish my 25 mile ride and still not have a drop of sweat since my cadence barely goes beyond 85 RPM. For my kind of riding, it does not feel natural since I want to cadence from 80-120 RPM. With this ebike my cadence drops to 70 or less after upshifting and I feel that I am not contributing enough forward push to the ebike.

Bike C, 1,000 watt mid drive (Bafang BBSHD) The motor does not kick in as abruptly as Bike B but the power assist is sustained and does not taper off even above 130 RPM. I can pedal at any cadence and it is not limited by the motor cut-off. It feels very natural to me. I can choose the lowest assist level and cadence above 100 RPM to save the battery and have a great work out at the same time. It felt the most natural to me (no surging). The drawback is that the whole ebike is heavy since it is retrofitted to a full suspension mountain bike. This bike is more fun and provides more exercise than Bikes A and B.
I am describing my ebike experience while doing my target sustained speed of 18-22 MPH.
 

Trail Cruiser

Well-Known Member
@E-Wheels - The only thing which can be somewhat annoying with the STEPs is that it always wants high RPMs. Although this characteristic makes the drive annoying to ride at times, it also makes the system highly predictable: if you reach a hill and don't feel the power, just drop a gear and it will kick in instantly.
[/QUOTE

I am curious with the shimano STEPs. Can you check if you still have power assist at cadence 100-120 RPM?
I know the Impulse, Brose, and Yamaha tapers down above 80 RPM and the Bosch tapers down above 105 RPM. The Bafang BBSHD tapers off above 150 RPM.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
Hopefully not too offtopic and esoteric: but if you are fitness tracking, do you count all bike miles the same regardless of the bike? Last year I had no ebike and logged about 1000 miles on my human powered bikes as just a casual rider. This year I set a fitness goal of 3000 miles total (you know, those New Year's resolutions). But it doesn't seem right to count an ebike mile as equivalent to a regular bike mile. Well for distance sure they are equivalent but for measuring fitness goals they don't seem equivalent. So I was thinking maybe I need to set separate goals for regular vs ebike. Maybe 1200 regular bike miles and 1800 ebike miles ... thinking out loud ...
 

Trail Cruiser

Well-Known Member
Hopefully not too offtopic and esoteric: but if you are fitness tracking, do you count all bike miles the same regardless of the bike? Last year I had no ebike and logged about 1000 miles on my human powered bikes as just a casual rider. This year I set a fitness goal of 3000 miles total (you know, those New Year's resolutions). But it doesn't seem right to count an ebike mile as equivalent to a regular bike mile. Well for distance sure they are equivalent but for measuring fitness goals they don't seem equivalent. So I was thinking maybe I need to set separate goals for regular vs ebike. Maybe 1200 regular bike miles and 1800 ebike miles ... thinking out loud ...
They're all on the same route, so all of them are on 25-mile rides. If there are bike Sundays, then it's 50-mile rides. But I don't count bike miles, I just count the fun factor miles:).
 

pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
Hopefully not too offtopic and esoteric: but if you are fitness tracking, do you count all bike miles the same regardless of the bike? Last year I had no ebike and logged about 1000 miles on my human powered bikes as just a casual rider. This year I set a fitness goal of 3000 miles total (you know, those New Year's resolutions). But it doesn't seem right to count an ebike mile as equivalent to a regular bike mile. Well for distance sure they are equivalent but for measuring fitness goals they don't seem equivalent. So I was thinking maybe I need to set separate goals for regular vs ebike. Maybe 1200 regular bike miles and 1800 ebike miles ... thinking out loud ...

From a fitness perspective, wouldn't it make more sense to count time riding as a better comparison than miles traveled?
 

DWN

Member
From a fitness perspective, wouldn't it make more sense to count time riding as a better comparison than miles traveled?
Ebike for exercise? Heck yes!! I have ridden road bikes for 40+ years. Competitive road racing, triathlon etc. Ebikes, my Rad Rover, bring a whole new level of fun to the experience. I use a heart rate monitor while exercising. Running, riding, swimming etc. The monitor confirms how much my body is working. So, go ride whatever, work as hard as your want to, monitor it if you want to, and have FUN.
 

mrgold35

Well-Known Member
From a fitness perspective, wouldn't it make more sense to count time riding as a better comparison than miles traveled?

This make the most sense to me. An ebike is like an escalator or the walking sidewalks at the airport. I still put out the same amount of effort walking up the escalator stairs as it moves; but, I do is faster and I save time. I would have to climb longer escalators stairs for the same amount of time as shorter regular stairs to get the same level of exercise.
 

Luv2ride

Active Member
I have ridden road bikes for many years, I have 100,000 miles from 2005 to 20015. No racing just fast cycling club rides.
I use a Heart rate monitor to track how hard I am working based on my maximum HR. Those numbers are the same no matter what bike I am riding
Now I ride a Trek XM700+ and my workouts based on my HR are not as hard because I enjoy more assist, but if I want to work hard it is very easy to do.
I did an 85 mile ride with a fast group and I had to use the lowest level of assist to finish the ride, I worked very hard!
 

mrgold35

Well-Known Member
A lot of us over 50 folks can relate.

I've noticed a pretty good side effect since I started ebiking to work in the fall of last year. I don't hear my knees "crackling" when I walk up stairs anymore. I also feel less stiffness in my knees and legs when I walk down stairs the first thing in the morning. I checked my BP on one of those home use devices my mother-inlaw had and I was below the 120/80 range for the first time in a long time. I was usually at the borderline of 140/90 range when I drove to work and bike/walk far less often. If biking can reverse my salt and pepper hair more towards the pepper range, I would sell my car.