Are you considering buying an electric powered bicycle? Have you heard that an electric bicycle (or e-bike) can help you get to and from work, save money, on gas, and maybe even get a bit of exercise? Those are all tempting factors, but you’ve probably also heard some not-so-tempting issues with electric bikes. Have you read that they’re heavy? That they are sluggish and difficult to pedal if the battery is discharged? That they have a long charging time?
Well, let’s look through some of the pros and cons of electric bikes. Then you can make an informed decision about whether or not this alternate mode of transportation and exercise is right for you.
Let’s start with the advantages, shall we? Most e-bikes have a range of fifteen to twenty miles per charge like the eZip Skyline. That’s assuming you have the motor engaged the entire time you’re riding. So, if you live seven miles from your destination, you can get there and back again without recharging.
If you live this close to work, you can save a ton of money on gas by commuting on your electric bike. If you live close enough to work, the grocery store, your friends’ homes, and/or public transit, you could potentially get rid of your car entirely. Then you’ll not only be saving on gas, but also on registration and insurance. That’s right, with an electric bike, you won’t need to register or insure it. All you need to do to get around on an e-bike is hop on and ride.
While you’re decreasing your commute’s hit to your wallet, you’ll also be decreasing your carbon footprint. And when you ride, you can decide whether to pedal or not. If you need to look and smell clean and crisp when you get to work, you can just use the motor the whole way there. Then you can decide whether to pedal or relax on the way home. This, of course, is assuming that the weather is nice.
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That leads us to the cons. Commuting by bicycle, electric or traditional, leaves you exposed to the elements. If you need to show up to work dry, you’ll need to consider rain gear and a change of clothes, or you will need to drive or carpool on days when the weather is chancy.
Another issue that arises with electric bicycles is the battery charge time. If you plug it in when you get home at night, you should be fine. However, if you forget until morning, you may not get enough battery charge between the time you wake up and the time you have to leave to fully charge it.
And that brings us to another con. If the battery dies on you, you’ll have to pedal to wherever you’re going, which doesn’t sound terrible until you consider how heavy electric powered bicycles are. A “light” e-bike generally weighs just a little bit less than sixty pounds. A normal bicycle weighs between twenty and thirty pounds. Add to the weight of the bike anything you might be carrying, like a change of clothes, your briefcase, or a load of groceries, and you could easily be pushing a hundred pounds of weight, plus your own weight. If you aren’t prepared for this, it might be time to call a friend with a truck to get you home.
Those are the general pros and cons. If you’re organized and remember to charge your battery, and if you’re prepared for weather, one of these might be