By now, most cyclists and non-cyclists have heard about e-bikes. E-bike technology is progressing quickly with lighter, longer lasting batteries — and there are bikes for every conceivable application from hauling groceries to shredding mountain bike trails. As the popularity and capability of e-bikes keeps increasing, the question is not will you get one, it’s when will you get one?
Here are a few good reasons to give an e-bike a try:
YOU WANT TO KEEP UP WITH A FASTER RIDER
For couples and grandparents, there are already great stories of family members and friends being able to ride together thanks to e-bikes. One of my best friends is quite fit and skilled and has been riding with his father now that his dad has an e-bike. My friend loves the challenge of keeping up with the motor, while his father has a blast being able to keep up with his son (while still getting a great workout in himself).
YOU HAVE A LONG OR HARD COMMUTE
Since you can pedal along at a very easy pace and still go quickly, e-bikes open the cycling commute to cyclists who don’t actually want to train anymore or who are worried they will be slow on days they are tired, making them late for work. Similarly, would-be commuters who don’t commute because of the length or difficulty of the route can also benefit from e-bikes. Cities like San Francisco, where e-bike shares are popular, are perfect examples of how an e-bike can flatten out a ride and let you arrive at work on time without breaking a sweat.
YOU’RE INJURED OR NEED TO FOCUS ON RECOVERY
If you are off the bike because of an injury like back or knee pain, an e-bike might help you ride without stressing the injury. As you get stronger, you could use the electric assist to gradually add load back to your rides by using a lower assistance level or the motor for less of the ride. Similarly, if you struggle to ride easy enough because you live in a hilly area (or just don’t like going slow), riding an e-bike might be the recovery hack you’ve been looking for.
YOU WANT MORE TIME OFFROAD
Mountain bikers of all types should be watching the rapid progression of mountain e-bike technology. Whether or not you want to ride e-bikes, the ability to get more time off-road at steady outputs, or with limited time at high outputs, lets you ride mountain bikes more. This means you can ride more downhills and technical sections to practice technique and get faster, while still making sure you aren’t going too hard on easy days. Off-road cycling coaches can also easily ride with athletes during training sessions. There will be some issues to overcome laws and trail access with e-bikes, but I expect we will see e-bikes used in some form by many more mountain bikers in the coming years.
YOU WANT A NEW WAY TO RACE YOUR BIKE
If you have been riding bikes for a while and are finding yourself getting bored with traditional race styles, you might be excited to hear e-bike races are becoming a reality. The UCI announced it would host a series for e-bikes on the road and mountain bike, including a 2019 E-Bike World Championship. With high-level races scheduled, there will no doubt be races in your local area that you can add to your race schedule.