Electric Bikes vs. Regular Bikes

Nearly noiselessly, electric bikes are starting to transform personal transportation across the world. These quiet and surprisingly swift devices have become a primary commute option in many areas of Asia, and the total market is valued at an estimated $15.42B worldwide. Why are electric bikes taking a dominant role in personal transportation? Several reasons:

  • Ecological concerns. As more people and governments adopt cleaner environmental policies, the need for clean transportation grows. eBikes offer an efficient and cost-effective solution. 
  • Scarcity of natural resources. Older methods of transportation use valuable natural resources like steel and gas, but these are non-renewable materials that may not be available to future generations. 
  • Traffic. Waiting for an hour while emergency vehicles clear up the debris from an accident is an everyday experience, but one most could do without. Also, the resulting smog is a problem that bikes don’t have.

So, what makes eBikes better than traditional bicycles? That depends on who you ask. 

Why Walk When You Can Bike

Split screen of woman riding an EB5 Pro Plus electric bike (left), photos of the handlebar and the rear wheel of the EB5 Pro Plus ebike.
An electric bike like the EB5 Pro Plus can help you cover more ground, quicker with less effort and population.

A standard bike can dramatically increase your ability to cover ground in a hurry. Sure, maybe you only live 5 miles from work, but that still means more than an hour walking, even if you hit a seriously brisk pace. On a bike, you can cover 5 miles in less than half an hour. According to Road Bike Rider, a pace of 13.5 mph is pretty reasonable to expect from a beginner cyclist. 

Of course, if you’ve ever stepped off the treadmill at the gym, certain you were about to make a run for the trashcan, that number might seem a little high. Also, flat ground is a friend to bikers everywhere, but it often seems in short supply when you’re riding. For newbies just starting to get into cycling, hills and challenging terrain can turn even a short ride into an endurance test.

Traditional bikes use a basic pedal system to provide all of the forward momentum. Yes, that means you have to pedal to get anywhere and pedal hard when heading uphill. There’s no motor and no external power source with a traditional bike. Sure, the pedal system and wheels turn less force into more motion, making it quicker to bike than to walk, but you’ll still arrive at work drenched in sweat. 

Work Smarter, Not Harder With an Electric Bike

With an eBike, you get a lot of the same benefits with a lot less work. Riding an eBike is like being on a traditional bike with an extra (probably younger) pair of legs to handle the hills. An eCycle is outfitted with a battery, motor and drive system to turn electricity into a power source that can work with your legs. Whether you’re looking for a senior-friendly transportation option, like the SWAGTRON® EB12 City Road eBike, to cut down on your morning commute without adding to your carbon footprint, electric bicycles might be the way to go.

Are Traditional Bikes Better in Any Category?

Traditional bikes are lighter than the e-powered versions. With a manual bike, you can expect to heft around 17-18 pounds. So, don’t expect to hit the road right after abdominal surgery, but the low weight does make standard bikes fairly maneuverable. 

Electric bikes, on the other hand, typically weigh in at around 45-55 pounds. If that sounds like a lot, just remember that the battery alone might weigh as much as the entire bike frame. Of course, as long as you’re not running out the battery while on the road, the weight of an electric bike doesn’t really matter. It’s not like you plan to carry the bike around. That’s the bike’s job. If you do run out of power with no way to charge the battery, the weight might become a real drag.

Pedaling 50 pounds up a hill takes a lot more effort than handling 20 pounds. Pay attention to the battery life and plan your trips to stay within range. You don’t want to be like the person trudging to a gas station to sheepishly fill up a canister for the car — or the person huffing and puffing home on top of a bike that suddenly weighs a lot more than you’re used to. 

Folded EB5 Pro Plus ebike in the rear trunk of a car.
The EB5 Plus Pro, one of the many foldable electric bikes from SWAGTRON®.

A lightweight, folding eCycle may be your best option if you want a little more portability. SWAGTRON’s EB5 Pro Plus has the power to take you all around town, and, weighing only 37 pounds, it can be toted up to your apartment for safekeeping.

Electric or Manual: What’s Your Preference?

Ultimately, choosing the right bike has a lot to do with personal preference. If you cycle for fun and don’t have a set time or track, a standard bike might work for you. If you want to leave the car in the garage on the regular, an electric bike is faster and less likely to leave you sweaty at work.

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