Ten Ebike Myths and Misconceptions BustedFebruary 24, 2023
E-Bikes are becoming more common all over the world, but many people still have misguided views about how they work. E-Bikes can be our answer to the exorbitant cost of automobile commuting and the environmental impact fossil fuels cause, but yet the amount of hate towards them is astonishing. So today we have put together a list of the most common misconceptions and myths people may have about e-bikes so we can put them to sleep once and for all…
1. Electric bikes don’t last long because the battery wears out.
Many people think that electric bike batteries become useless after a fairly short time of riding and recharging. This might have been true on older sealed lead-acid battery-powered bikes, which have a life span of about 500 charges before they drop to 80% capacity. However, today most bikes use Lithium Ion batteries or LiFePO4 batteries which can be recharged 1500-2000 times before dropping to 80% maximum capacity. This means if you fully drain your battery every day, the battery will last 4-5 years before dropping to 80% capacity. They will last about 15 years under normal riding conditions, which is usually longer than the bike lasts.
2. You can’t ride an electric bike in the rain
This is completely untrue. Most e-bikes today have waterproof and airtight wire connections and completely sealed electric motors and batteries. You can ride your bike in a hurricane and not worry about getting an electric shock, or the motor shorting out. Also, the bikes don’t operate at an amperage that could harm a human. If you somehow manage to get a shock from the battery (you have to really try hard to do this!) you will only get an uncomfortable jolt, but no bodily harm. As always we do suggest you ask about your e-bike’s IP rating to be sure that it is indeed waterproof.
3. Electric Bikes are too slow to commute with
On rides under 15-20 miles this is usually untrue. The electric bike comes into its own at rush hour when cars are jamming the road and only moving at a slow pace. On an e-bike, you can use the cycle paths which are usually completely clear, so you can skip the traffic. You can also use shortcuts through parks, alleys, dirt paths and the like, which can cut the distance down dramatically. Not to mention you are outdoors enjoying your commute instead of being trapped in traffic.
4. Electric bicycles require a ton of extra maintenance
Electric bikes don’t require you to do anything different than a normal bike, except plugging them in and flipping a switch to turn them on. The electric drive systems have the same moving parts as a normal bike, except sometimes a few gears in the motor on geared drive motors. A good electric bike requires no special maintenance that a normal bike wouldn’t require. You may need to oil the motor or clean an electrical contact if you let the bike sit too long, but really that’s about it.
5. The batteries are worse for the environment than burning fossil fuel
Would you rather be breathing in motorcycle or car exhausts? Electric bikes don’t create any unhealthy vapours. The batteries do need to be disposed of properly. They can be recycled or placed in sealed landfills so that they don’t pose a threat to the environment. And they really don’t take that much electricity to charge when compared to an electric car.
6. Electric Bikes are too hard to pedal
Electric bikes can be pedalled just like a normal bicycle. Most good motors don’t add any resistance, while some of the direct drive motors have a negligible amount of resistance due to the magnets. The bikes are generally about 20% heavier, but if you use your gears properly this extra weight won’t be noticed half as much as you would think. Most e-bikes have pedal-assist, which uses the electric motor to double your effort, which, in turn, means you only need a small amount of effort to get the bike moving quite fast. So unless you are used to riding a carbon fibre road bike, electric bikes are as easy to pedal unpowered as any normal bicycle.
7. Electric Bikes are too Expensive
These days e-bikes are becoming amazingly inexpensive while still maintaining good quality. Online they usually go for less than what a local bike shop would charge you for a similar people-powered bike. They aren’t exactly as cheap as a normal bicycle when you compare prices online, but they are usually far better quality, and better equipped. You could always buy an e-bike conversion kit which will save you even more money!
8. E-bikes Are Cheating
If I have heard this once, I have heard it a hundred times while on my travels. E-bikes are for cheaters. Now, that would be true if you rode them in a bicycle race against normal human-powered bicycle, but when out in the real world they are more equalizers than cheating devices as it allows people to keep up with others, even when they are unfit, e-bikes allow older people enjoy riding as well taking all the strain off the legs and hips. Does that sound like cheating?!
9. E-Bikes Are Dangerous
Electric bikes are generally not dangerous if used responsibly and in accordance with local laws and regulations. However, like any form of transportation, there are potential risks and dangers associated with e-bikes like their higher speed and power. To minimize the risks associated with e-bikes, it is important to use them responsibly and this may include wearing appropriate safety gear, using designated bike lanes or paths where available and following traffic laws and signals. In the wrong hands, even a normal bicycle can be dangerous! It’s about not riding like an idiot and respecting other people and road users.
10. E-bikes Are For Old People
It’s true that older people do benefit a lot from e-bikes, but the demographic of people buying them is getting younger all the time as younger riders enjoy the benefits of them. Want to ride to work without getting tired and sweaty? Buy an e-bike! Want to power up those steep hills so you can ride down them again a lot quicker? Buy an e-bike! Want to make more money from your e-bike courier job? Buy an e-bike.
And that is ten of the more common myths and misconceptions people have about e-bikes. If you know of any others or have a different question about e-bikes do let us know in the comments below.