In the last few years, sales of ebikes have steadily been on the rise. In fact, in bicycle-mad places like the Netherlands, ebike sales have far surpassed those of traditional bikes. This trend is catching on globally and South Africans are not being left behind. But what makes these bikes so popular and why should you invest in one?
What Is An eBike?
Let’s start off with looking at what an ebike actually is. The “e” in the name stands for electric, meaning that there’s a battery and motor powered by electricity. Now, this isn’t a motorbike or scooter by any stretch of the imagination – they still look and function like normal bicycles.
The major difference with an ebike is that the rider gets a little extra help along the way. You still have to pedal to keep moving and stay upright, but you aren’t entirely responsible for your forward momentum. It’s an assist as opposed to an engine that does all the work. In fact, you generally have to start pedalling in order for the motor to kick in.
In many ebikes there is an option to select high power or low power, meaning you can choose how much of an assist you want. Many countries have also placed restrictions on how fast the engine can make the ebike go. They are generally capped at 15.5 miles per hour (nearly 25 km/h) and the engine will cut out once you reach that speed. If you want to go any faster, that’ll be up to you and your legs.
Who Is Using eBikes?
For the bicycle purist, the ebike can seem like an affront to the tradition of riding. However, these bikes still require a fair amount of input from the person on it, so you are getting a workout even with the battery on high power. This makes an ebike a great choice for a number of different groups:
- Those recovering from injuries – By taking a little bit of the work out of your workout you can go further and do a bit more while you are still in recovery. This means that you can keep your fitness levels up without risking more strain on your injury. Just be sure to talk to your healthcare professional before you take up cycling on an ebike.
- Those who don’t have time to train regularly – If your job or lifestyle has suddenly changed and you no longer have time to train as often as you used to, these bikes can be a lifesaver. You can still get out and enjoy your long ride thanks to that extra bit of assistance.
- Those who aren’t too confident on bicycles – Sometimes you just want to get out and enjoy a little sunshine with your friends, but you can’t always join them if they’re fitter or more comfortable cycling. If you get the added assistance of an ebike, you can keep up with ease.
- Mountain bikers – That’s right, even the trail lovers have taken up ebiking. The motor gives you that extra push up a serious incline so that you can save your legs for the fast, technical downhill. You’ll also be able to cover more ground in one trip.
- Commuters – If you use a bicycle to get wherever you’re going, you can go further and be less sweaty when you arrive at your destination. This is great if you’re heading into the office or going out on a date.
Who Is Making eBikes?
As these bikes have risen in popularity, many of the biggest brands have started producing their own versions. Manufacturers such as Cannondale, Titan, Avalanche, Bianchi, Scott and Merida have all produced excellent examples, each with their own specs and features.
While many of the brands have focused more heavily on models suitable for the MTB community, there are more than enough options for cyclists looking for a road bike that gets them from A to B a little quicker and with a bit less pedal power.