7 Reasons Analog Cyclists Should Embrace Ebikes

By Chris Carmichael
CEO and Head Coach of CTS

Recently, while riding a lightweight Pinarello F10 on the 10-mile commute between my home and office, a middle-aged man in work boots and overalls blew by me like I was standing still, and it brought a big smile to my face. Like many of you, I’m a diehard analog cyclist, but it’s time for all of us to embrace ebikes.

There is no downside to getting more people outside on two wheels. None. It’s good for the new people riding, good for the environment, good for a struggling cycling industry, and yes, it’s even good for devoted cyclists like you and me.

Ebikes eliminates fear of hills

In my experience, hills are second only to safety concerns as the most intimidating factor that keeps people off bikes. You and I may seek out hills for training and enjoyment, but most people get tired just looking at them. An ebike eliminates the fear of not being able to make it to the top. Put another way, an ebike expands the range and routes people consider rideable, which increases the likelihood they’ll choose the bike for recreation or transportation.

Ebikes make commuting more realistic

A lot of people like the idea of riding a bike to work, until they show up to a meeting in sweaty work clothes. Ebikes eliminate, or at least minimize, that concern. In my travels I’ve seen people in business suits and painters’ overalls riding ebikes, and everyone in between. In some places, commuting by bike can be as fast or faster than driving, but up until recently that was only true for reasonably fit cyclists. Ebikes enable people who are not – and may never be – very fit to achieve financial and time savings that make bike commuting a reasonable option.

Ebikes are still exercise

There might be a small percentage of people who start riding a pedal-assist ebike and transition into traditional road cycling or mountain biking, but the bigger potential benefit is the public health impact of simply getting more people to be more active than they are now. Plus, they provide a great draft for you and me.

Ebikes might save your local bike shop

Local bike shops are struggling to adapt to a changing marketplace and flat to diminishing demand. Ebike sales are one of the few bright spots in the industry. According to market research firm NPD, US road bike sales declined 12% in 2017 compared to 2016 and mountain bike sales grew 3%. Ebike sales made up a much smaller portion of the market ($77M vs $557M for mountain bikes and $413M for road bikes), but ebike sales increased 91% compared to 2016. Trade publication Bike Europe estimated sales growth of 21% across Western Europe, a more mature market for ebikes compared to the US. Purists may not like to see ebikes lined up on the shop floor next to carbon race bikes, but selling – and particularly servicing – ebikes could help stem the steady decline in the number of specialty bike shops in the US since 2000.

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Ebikes increase visibility of all bikes

More people on bikes make cyclists less of an anomaly for drivers and pedestrians. Although research on the theory of “safety in numbers” is not conclusive, habituating motorists and pedestrians to expect the presence of cyclists may reduce the risk of collisions. Even more than the potential for safety in numbers, increased visibility normalizes cycling as a means of transportation and recreation. Perhaps the less we are seen as outliers the more we will be included in conversations about city planning and cycling-related legislation.

Ebikes make cycling infrastructure a priority for more people

It is hard to get people behind spending public money for cycling infrastructure when they have little to no personal connection to it. People tend to prioritize issues and expenditures they benefit from directly. While the ‘build it and they will come’ model of increasing ridership by first improving cycling infrastructure has proven effective, more people on ebikes is a way to apply positive pressure and influence on the demand side of the equation.

You might need one

As much as I love being the only motor on my bike, I’m not getting any younger and there may come a time when I – or you – need or want the assistance of an electric motor. Like many of you, cycling is an integral part of my life and I want to ride for as many years as I can. If years from now an ebike enables me to spend more time pedaling outside on two wheels, I’ll gladly trade my F10 for a Pinarello Nytro.

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Comments 67

  1. Interesting article. I’m debating whether or not I should get an ebike. I’ve been a serious cyclist for 40 years and I raced road and mountain when I was much younger. I find I’m not enjoying the big climbs on the mountain bike as much as I used to. I also worry about overtaxing my heart. I value Carmichael’s opinion on this subject and I can see that even fit, strong cyclists can benefit from riding an ebike, especially as they get older (like me). I might take the plunge.

  2. I’ve been seriously Mountain Biking since 1987. In the past 2.5 years I’ve been riding an eMTB. I’ve ridden in 6 different countries and 3 different states – a little over 6,000 miles. During that time I have never encountered any of the issues and conflicts that are said to manifest with the introduction of ebikes – not once.
    The so called problems/issues/conflicts are a complete fabrication by people who have no direct experience with an ebike it would seem.
    You can’t stop a rising tide – and the biggest problem for the anti’s – the bikes are just so much fun – hard to hate that – though for some hating is a way of life.

  3. My aunt has been thinking about how she needs to go biking more to make more fun. She would really like to get some help from a professional to rent an electric bike when she has to go to work. I’ll be sure to tell her about how it is good for the environment, and will be able to reach the top of a hill.

  4. It’s cool that you point out that electric bikes are ideal for commuting to work. Riding my current bike causes me to arrive at work covered in sweat from the effort, so I’m considering buying an electric one. I’m going to search for a good business in my area that can sell me an electric bike.

  5. It’s cool that you point out that riding an e-bike is a great way to exercise. I am trying to become more physically fit this year, so I’m thinking about buying an e-bike that I can start riding to work every day. I’m going to look for a good business that can sell me an electric bike.

  6. Electric bike and regular bike both are different. So this is true every cyclist who likes to cycling must embrace electric bike.

  7. Yeah, we should embrace electric bikes. Thanks for your valuable article. Your blog is so useful please keep sharing.

  8. I liked it when you mentioned that e-bikes can benefit public health because they get more people to be active. I have been looking into ways to get into shape for a workplace competition that started a week ago. I will be sure to consider investing in an e-bike so that I can ease myself into working out again and start exercising using something I enjoy.

  9. Thanks Chris.
    I’ve been riding for fun and exercise >50 years. Spent a few years racing too.
    Got my first mt bike almost 40 yrs ago. Got my first e-mtb in June and put 1500 mi on it by the end of Sept. At age 75, I’ve never had more fun on a bicycle.

  10. The only people I personally know riding ebikes are non-cyclists. So non-cyclists are saving the industry? Great for business, bad for the sport. Out on the road (or trail) ebikes are not helping me as a cyclist. They are competing for access and muscling by me like I’m standing still. I see no reason why I should be happy to share the bike lanes with a much faster and heavier machine. And I certainly would not wish to ride with ebikes in the group…totally different mindset. Will we be stopping to recharge these bikes on long rides?
    As I approach 60yrs, I ride slower and have no problem with that. When I get to the point where I don’t want to ride a real bike anymore, I’ll find an electric motorcycle, which has the E-bike beat in terms of range and safety and fun.

    1. I agree. EBikes are just another way to sell to non cyclists who really desire a Vaspa or Scooter of some kind. But with ebike they think they can ride all the same places. And No ebikes are not taking the Nederland’s by storm! I saw only single speeds there. I spoke to many people who commute. That do it for their health and to not drive to work. But as an exercise physiologist I can tell anyone that your are not going to get the real workout with your natural VTwins, your quads and legs and heart and lungs as your power. You will never get totally fit on anything motorized. Too heavy as well. Motorized bikes are nothing new. Then they graduated to Harley’s and Etc. The same will happen with ebikes. They will become Electric motorcycles and scooters etc. they are not going to save the true cycling industry. True cyclists will take that on as they always have had to fight the lazy man’s way of thinking they are fit. Look
      there is nothing more irritating then to have someone totally out of shape
      laughing with attitude as they sit passing you on a hill and you are standing in the drops and sweating your ass off only to have a fat and totally out of shape person and with an attitude pass you with their chest out like they are Greg Lemond!🤣 In fact I told a guy, look if you can take on the west side of 228th in Bothell and wipe me out, with Just your legs and your supreme fitness do it! He tried. I let him ride my bike! He couldn’t even ride 1 tenth of it! So if you are thinking an EBike is going to turn you into a Tour De France winner, ah you better think again. It’s called physics and exercise and hard ass training. A whole different ball game. The minute they start letting
      Motorized cycles do the Ram Rod around Mt Rainer, well, better bag that as a true cycling event. Same with the STP. Which I don’t do anymore because of too many wildebeest. Hmmm.., Electric cycles which will eventually become eMotorcycles and scooters why bother when it has been tried years ago with the combustion engine and became a motorcycle from a powered bike. So there ya go. Everything old is new again. Now go out and by yourself a useless $100k Raptor while your at it to haul your ebike. You know a 4×4 defines you and all you do recreationally doesn’t it?🤣 Go ahead and waste your millions on bs consumerism. I’ll stick with being old school! Steel and Is real! Tailwinds Foever-Greg Lemond.

      1. I find these arguments mean-spirited and disingenuous. Ebikes are here to stay. I ride an eBike and am grateful that I can. As for the argument about fitness and ability to pedal a non-electric, I can offer my own experiences as to why I’m a big proponent of eBikes. I raced competitively for over 40 years at what one can consider a high level, was a ranked USAC/ABR competitor and a fully supported member of one of America’s premier Masters cycling teams; I have the jerseys and podiums to show for it. Yet, for whatever reason, after riding 80+ USAC nationals on the road and track, I unfortunately lost all my power and ability to turn the pedals. A complete devastation to my cycling career, let alone an ability to ever again enjoy riding and feeling the sheer pleasure of having two wheels under me that I could ride at pace. Fortunately, I was introduced to an eBike by my LBS and was reluctant to go that route because of the expense and my lack of fitness, even if on an eBike. But I took a chance and now have rediscovered the enjoyment of riding again and am gaining a new level of fitnes, certainly not close to that of my racing days, but enough to make me feel more like my old racing days self, healthier overall and probably most important, being able to ride and socialize again with my old riding and racing companions. This is my personal eBike expewrience. As for Carmichael’s eBike rationale, I fully agree that eBikes are the future and will do nothing but further support bicycling in general and offer more people an opportunity to feel the pleasures of two wheels and the rewards that it offers. As for the ego-driven position of having an eBike pass while you’re having to push a non-electric, if you can’t accept that you are who you are, tough. I know how fast I once was and how slow I now am. That’s simply life. I’m comfortable with that reality.And grateful for my eBike.

        1. Agree with MG, I’ve raced both triathlon (sprint to Ironman distances) and road at an elite level for many years, hardly what I would consider a non-cyclist. I also ride the wheels off my Specialized Turbo Creo SL (150 -200 miles/week) and absolutely love it! Not sure I would trust or recommend any exercise physiologist who doesn’t believe I am getting any fitness benefit out of that.

      2. John, you really are kind of a prejudiced son of a …gun aren’t you ? Here is a guy who has done more for the sport and more hard distance rides than you will ever do and he is a great advocate for ebikes.


        Also, 1- They take a significant load potential off your heart. (what Chris C. calls something like the un-natural motion of the spin that peaks your heart rate up much higher than it would be with a more ergonomic circle), 2- you can do group rides with your friends when one of the idiots violates the plan of the ride and jacks the intensity up too high for proper training load for different individuals. 3- Yes, they are heavy and we back in the 7-11 days used to fill our water bottles with pennies for the extra hard hill training. Not needed with ebike, just turn the motor to lowest assist levels or turn it off !!!

        4- It is good enough for guys that ride the Tour that are now training on them and during the tour are actually taking them out on rest days !!!

        There are many more reasons, such as if you blow up and you will overtrain, legs not good and you did not know it at the time, Colorado high mountain hail storm, much safer if you have to share traffic and get away from it as fast as possible. But, you won’t get any of that because you are you; and sorry there is one old thing that applies here. You can’t fix stupid. Oh yea, and obviously no exercise physiologist….

    2. It sounds like you may just be bothered by people passing you who didn’t put in the work to “earn” the right the pass you or “earn” that sort of speed. Really, though, riding on public trails is not something that one must earn a right to do, and nobody must conform to a particular regimen or bike style or UCI regulation to be considered a cyclist. The only time such a definition actually matters is in a regulated competition or event. Otherwise, people are free to ride recumbents, trikes, e-bikes, velomobiles, “fixies,” old steel Huffy’s, new carbon bikes with electronic shifters, tri-bikes, cruisers, hybrids, uphill only, downhill only, on dirt, on pavement, and anything in between. Your personal opinion of what constitutes a cyclist or non-cyclist is of little use unless you happen to be a regulating body determining the parameters of an event. How, when, and where people want to ride is their own business, right? Ultimately, what’s bad for the sport is people trying to act as gatekeepers to keep otherwise enthusiastic people out. Also, it is worth noting that the actual sport of cycling is a tiny niche of cycling as a whole, and the fastest way to kill that tiny niche is to attack people who don’t arrive there by an arbitrarily chosen “right” way. All boats rise with the tide, particularly in an industry stressed by dwindling interest.

  11. Pingback: eBike News: Lightweight Budnitz, eCargo During Construction, National Park Riding, 22 States w/ eBike Law, & More! [VIDEOS] | Electric Bike Report | Electric Bike, Ebikes, Electric Bicycles, E Bike, Reviews

  12. For all the fussing about “ebikers makin’ me mad!”, I would rather have a crappy interaction with an eBiker than a crappy interaction with a driver. Much less life threatening. And please don’t even get into the whole “hurf durf ebikers can kill TOO!!!”. That’s a lame strawman argument.

  13. Chris Carmicheal,
    Thank you for speaking out.

    Your career accomplishments in Pro Racing and Training of Pro Cyclist from around the world, who are on top of their game in World Competitive Cycling is both admirable and astonishing at the same time. Few people are able to sustain such a pinnacle vocation.

    We have known each other for about 6 years now. Never did I ever imagine meeting you in person. That day happened during the Tour de Cure Executive Ride held at my Bike Shop, “Stans Bike Shop” when it was in Monrovia (We have moved to Azusa –Just 5 miles east of our previous location).

    We connected and I knew that you completely understood the struggle of ordinary people getting on Bicycles. You demonstrated that passion for Cycling in general when you flew in to join the Eastside Bike Club -on one of our community Summer Night Bike Rides through the communities of El Sereno, Hazard, Lincoln Heights in Northeast Los Angeles, where we hundreds of disadvantage children come out to ride.

    You are a tremendous Cycling Ambassador for the world to embrace.
    Thank you for taking a lead in speaking out on behalf of ordinary people.

    Carlos Morales
    Stans Bike Shop

  14. Thanks for putting this discussion out there! I’ve got 30 miles of bike commuting under my legs most days. When I get home, I still don’t want to use the car, but I’m a little beat from the commute. Now with my e-bike, I can cruise around running errands not taxing my body and saving my powder for weekends filled with gravel riding. I definitely have mixed feelings about them offroad, but when I see older people or injured people at the top of a big climb on their ebikes, I’ve got to respect their desire to be there.

    The Gravel Ride Podcast
    Bike Index

  15. Pingback: Carmichael e-bike blog post generates plenty of debate | Bike Repair WorldBike Repair World

  16. too bad you left preach’n and went to meddling. E bikes are for the city, countryside and roadways but on the mountain biking trails? still considered a motorized vehicle.

  17. Years ago, I read an interview with Gary “the father of mountain biking” Fisher, in which he was asked how America could get more bike paths. His reply was that we already have enough of them, but “the problem is, there’s cars all over them right now.” I feel like e-bikes will be the way Gary’s vision will eventually be realized; I live in a small community where most residents’ drives are less than ten miles, frequently less than five, and if more people had e-bikes there would be a lot fewer cars on the road… and people would be fitter, and they’d probably be happier, and the air would be cleaner, and… and… and.

  18. As a first-responder to local mountain roads & trails as well as a physician to several cycling teams, I have yet to see any eBike injuries. Speaking with the assistant GM of our local open space district (an eBike commuter) there have been no reports of conflicts/mishaps specific to eBike use on local (currently prohibited, but frequently eBiked) trails. I am hoping that I can help him change local trail use policy. As a competitive MTB/cross/road racer over 60, I look forward to the evolution of eBikes as I age (In just 2 years the range on my Turbo Levo Expert has been increased by 40%). I am hoping that like computers, the technology will advance as the price goes down (Even with a “pro” discount, I paid as much for my eBike as a new BMW G310GS motorcycle).

    1. Hi Rich, Thanks for your great service !!! I am retired critical care nurse. I noticed that Lakewood and Open Space response management are equipping first responders with ebikes now so they can get up the trail for first response quicker. I stayed with a injured cyclist on Green Mountain recently and it was great how fast help arrived for him.
      As far as the price of your bike. Yes, you did get burned. What Specialized pioneered and Trek has copied is dumbing down the motors of really expensive carbon ebikes that have not much range or power and people are buying them like crazy. These guys get much bigger margins on these bikes than guys like *Canyon that offer incredible carbon bikes with big motors and at a competitive price of around 5 grand.
      Btw, you want a slightly heavier ebike if it takes that to get good a good range of power and battery life. Why, turn it to the lowest settings and train hard, or off !!! Train on a few hills with it like that !!! I have an 2 time olympic team member mountain biking friend that used to put rocks in his back pack for training. No need to now, just turn the engine off 🙂 Also, train hard then when you have met your goals boost up your assistance for a spin home like Chris would probably recommend to not over-train.
      For instance: Grail:ON CF 7
      *$4,699.00 Full carbon frame, crank, handlebars, seat, big motor 85nm and only about 37 pounds.
      No sales pitch just don’t get ripped off. 😉

    2. Hmmm, don’t know where you live but I have two friends who sustained life changing injuries on ebikes and my wife had a coworker who died in an ebike accident. I’m not saying ebikes are bad but I do see a lot of people who probably haven’t been on a bike in 30 years screaming down the road at 40kph on an ebike when they don’t have the skills or road sense to handle speeds like that.

  19. As a community of e-bike enthusiasts we need to inform and educate regulatory bodies that are still suspicious of e-bikes (most likely because they haven’t ridden them).
    For instance, the U.S. forest service still relies on a March 2016 directive that classifies e-bikes a motorized vehicles and therefore bands them from trails where otherwise analog bikes are allowed. My wife, an avid analog rider, and I cannot go together on these trails, which is a pity here in Colorado.
    This reluctance to embrace new technologies reminds me of when metal racquets were first introduced in tennis. They were banned from tournaments. Look where we are today…

    1. Cam,

      PeopleForBikes and BPSA (Bicycle Product Suppliers Association) is doing just that! Off-road access is slowly getting better, but don’t hold your breath. Here’s PFB’s e-Bike link:


  20. Two years ago, my wife used an EBike on a VBT tour thru Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic for our 25th wedding anniversary, and she fell in love with riding. After we returned, we bought her one (a Breezer with the Shimano STEPS system) and now we ride together all the time. I am a Masters 60-64 racer and she has no problem keeping pace with me. These Ebikes are great, count me as one who fully supports these as legitimate bikes.

  21. Could not agree more! Great article. We need to be doing more to make cycling more inclusive for all. Here are a few examples of my own experience with the ebike

    Broke my femur in late November last year. Right before our busy season ( I have a cycling tour bison in Mexico). The e-bike not only was a great option to help me recover, it allowed me to work as a guide well before i could have on my road bike. Believe it or not, if you are riding with fast people and climbing is involved, you are still working hard. It’s just letting you keep up.

    I have a 75 year old guide who also uses one to be able to guide the younger or faster groups.

    Was on a VeloGuide ride in Calgary a few weeks ago here a 74 year old guest was able to participate in a tour because of the e-bike.

    I’ve been traveling on business lately and discovered Lime bikes. Now they are slow and clunky but they are pedal assist. Great option for inner city movement so you don’t have to show up to a meeting all full of sweat and other benefit is one less car.

    I’m off to CDMX Monday and riding to 3100 meters with Jasper Verkuijl and a local VeloGuide. I’m still a bit out of shape so I might just take that ebike for a spin 😉

    I think the purists need to chill.

  22. I love my Ebike. It is one of my favorite of my 15 bicycles. I use it to commute, train and just ride around and I have a lot of fun. It is a huge resource for saving gas, keeping motivation up and staying active. I use it on easy spin days and can go up behind my house, climb 3000 feet and come down and still have an easy ride. I can use it for trails and Not have to shuttle.I go pick up the mail on my E bike instead of driving. Because it is fun. In fact, I can probably go faster on my road or cross bike then this bike As there is no assist over 20 mph and due to the weight in my lower weight, it is difficult for me to ride it very fast without assist. Even though I usually ride at least 10 hours a week, I have been actually riding more hours with my E bike. I do not think it is let people believe it to be especially people who have not tried one out. I feel that it will be revolutionary to our culture, eventually if allowed to be.

    1. Exactly ! This article and many others by people that have not opened their minds “*really”…; to the great training opportunity these bikes are for fit, highly accomplished cyclist such as Ned Overend (who uses one for training as do several other advanced, accomplished cyclist. (Mostly mountain bikers who are more free thinkers than roadies.))
      All of us that have been doing this for years as we get lighter and lighter weight “stuff” (and now our bikes “cheat” the weight and wind barrier), have loaded a water bottle full of pennies or 2; Or weights in our back pack for extra training. With the right brand ebike, you don’t need to do that. You can use the weight of the bike to train against (leg weight training through the specific cycling motion added to your weighted leg lifts at the gym.)
      With Specialized ebike you have a control panel 0-100% on each setting so you can set very specific training levels you want to have. Maybe 1 level – heavier dual suspension mtb1 to level 2- feel like your super light road, etc. (Also, Giant Motors have such an app, Shimano Steps motors also with StUnlocker add on app, Bosch sadly have not a clue.)
      Then, adjust the settings to simulate motorpacing without the car need. Stimulating fast twitch. Another example for us distance mountain goats, weather looks bad today in the mountains so I will do the loop with the ebike to get to safety quick in that next hail store at 12,000 feet. 🙂
      *Amazing the myriad of training opportunities are lost on people that are experts on training endurance athletes. So Chris will eventually ride one when he is old and feeble. Just pushing the stereotype that Ebikes are for not fit or handicapped in some way. That is still helping push the stereotype and confirming the prejudice of the phobic luddite types.
      Many Coaches need to catch up using a bit of neuroplasticity and maybe “Using no way as way, having no limitation as limitation” in their training that other open minded multidisciplined trainers are now starting to do with ebikes. Sermon over lol.

  23. I know there are already tons of responds to this topics. I have been following CTS for years. Never thought I would see the day ebikes would be a topic. This topic should be in the same place as mobility scooters. I may one day need one and that’s where ebikes fit. Add it to the best reviews for mobility and keep it separated from bicycles….


  24. Totally agree. Thanks for writing this piece. I have seven mechanical bikes and love riding all of them. I purchased an E-bike this year as a car replacement for commuting. It is as fast as driving, and way more fun as well as exercise (compared to car commuting). I wear work clothes and shoes, allowing me to immediately begin working when I arrive. E-bikes are not only for people trying to regain fitness and lose weight but also for avid riders trying to reduce the number of cars on the road. Did I mention that they are a lot of fun to ride too?

  25. I like what Ken Kilmurray said:
    “I’m with Chris. I’d rather see folks on e-bikes than cars and the more bike advocates out there, the better for all of us. I’ll probably never ride one…”
    I can see the conflict with riders in “bike only” lanes since they are motorized vehicles though. Have to work on that one but I like to see more folks on two wheels than in four wheels.

    1. Is this the CUNA Mike? I agree completely that ebikes will help the industry and be good overall. After all, the number of bikes we need wil always be n+1. I am not getting any younger.

    2. I think a lot will depend on the size and speed of the ebike. There are ones that look like a Vespa and go about that fast. On narrow paths like one here in Montreal on the Jacques Cartier bridge they are too big.

  26. You’ve hit all of the major points, the positive effects and looking to the future.
    Someone else commented on the safety aspect and this point is important; that people who don’t know how to actually ride a bike are nicely going uphill with their spouse, Then comes the downhill.
    We know that’s where skill, balance, position, where you place yourself around others and speed all come into play.
    I’d rather not have one near me when I’m descending.
    I agree that once something is motorized, speed over 25kph, riders need a process of making sure they can control their vehicle.

  27. On the positive side, I got my 81 year old dad a trek 29er ebike. He now rides everyday and we can ride together on my Cervelo and he is so happy to hang with his kid for a good 20 mile ride. It’s been transformational for him. The bad side, we take lots of pride here in Phoenix with strava segments and the ebikers are steeling them all over. Given the choice, seeing my Dad’s fitness dramatically increase with his new bike is worth the strava headache.

  28. I’m with Chris. I’d rather see folks on e-bikes than cars and the more bike advocates out there, the better for all of us. I’ll probably never ride one but would like one for my wife so we can ride together. If I can draft her, even better.

  29. Chris you are dead wrong on this one. Ebikes are another indication of the softening of society. There is no such thing as “too hard” or “too far”. Yes I’m getting older too, and my “errand bike” is the same bike I raced as a junior (531 frame, dt friction shifters etc) but with clinchers Yes I live in the north, but snow/ice/cold aren’t barriers any more than moving it under my own power

    1. I am all for E-Bikes. There might come a day when medical issues preclude you from riding
      without assistance. Same concept for wheelchairs, crutches, and all forms of assistive devices for the disabled. Staying active with your disability is the key.

    2. Hmm. Stage 4 BC with Metastasis to my lung lining. Hills were a killer for me with my diagnosis. My new Ebike has me riding 28 miles at a clip up and down rolling hills here in Northern MI. I’m a mere 56, happy, riding and thriving. Go pound salt.

    3. Funny how some factions of American cycling took a left turn back in the ’70’s and cycling became only about the road racing sport, and not part of a lifestyle. Glad to see that overly macho position “softening”, as more people in the U.S. embrace the many aspects of cycling.

  30. E-bikes are motorized vehicles and therefore cannot legally go where bikes go and cannot legally ride in bike lanes. Nuff said

    1. Roger, check this out–E-Bikes are NOT motorized vehicles per federal law!

      What is an E-Bike?

      The first step in selecting an E-Bike is to learn the legal definition.  Per federal law (U.S. Public Law 107-319 in 2002; 15 USC 2085, SEC. 38. (b)), “For the purpose of this section, the term ‘low-speed electric bicycle’ means a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p.), whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 mph.” In the words of PeopleForBikes’ Morgan Lommele, it is a “Bike with a Boost”.  E-Bikes are regulated by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) as consumer products.  More specifically, they are subject to the same regulations that govern conventional, human-powered bicycles – NOT motor vehicles, which are regulated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

      This is where things can get confusing.  Federal law DOES NOT preempt any state traffic laws or vehicle codes that regulate use of E-Bikes.  While some states regulate them as “bicycles,” others do so as “mopeds” or other types of vehicles.  To alleviate this confusion, and with the goal of establishing a nationally recognized, standardized definition, the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association (BPSA) and PeopleForBikes refined the federal definition as follows: “An electric bicycle is a bicycle equipped with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts.”  Within their Model Electric Bike Law General Rules, they created the following class system:

      Class 1:  an electric bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, to a maximum of 20 miles per hour.  This (and Class 3) is commonly known as a pedelec (derived from pedal electric cycle). 

      Class 2:  an electric bicycle equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, to a maximum of 20 miles per hour.  This is typically an E-Bike with a throttle. 

      Class 3:  an electric bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, to a maximum of 28 miles per hour. 

      A current list of E-Bike laws, including a list of states which have adopted the model legislation, is maintained by PeopleForBikes.

      1. Hi Clint,

        As you mentioned definition for the 3 classes of e-bikes was developed by People for Bikes and Bicycle Product Suppliers Association (BPSA). 22 States, including my home state of Colorado have adopted e-bike laws that use the 3 class definition. Furthermore, the manufactures that abide by this legislation cannot sell kits to make the e-bikes faster and non-compliant. E-bikes that exceed the speeds in the legislation are considered motor vehicles and cannot legally be operated in bike lanes or on bike paths. However, non-compliant that are capable of 40 mph+, are often operated on shared bike paths as the law governing non-complaint e-bikes is rarely enforced.

        My girl friend has a Pedego class 2 e-bike. When we ride together, she wants me to ride my slowest road bike, which is a 3×9 speed Breezer Discovery. I call this flat bar road bike the “Iron Dog”! My fast bike is an 2×11 speed Specialized Roubaix Comp. I can run away from in-class e-bikes with my fast bike. I only have an issue with the illegal non-class e-bikes that high-speed and terrible handling are a menace to pedal bikes and legal e-bikes.

  31. I am on the fence on this one as I have had mixed interactions with “E” bikes. While I agree that more road users on bikes is good thing for the reasons cited it appears that many “E” bike users are not very good at respecting other road users. Mostly this is in reference to the “E” bikes that appear to be small motor-scooters or even looking like a motorcycle. Both my wife and I have close encounters with these buzzing by unexpectedly on cycle tracks and cycle trails. I have also witnessed frequently users disobeying road user rules like stop sign, stop lights, failing to signal etc.
    Of course I have seen cyclist do the same.

    There is a clear difference between these type of “E” bikes and the type I think you are referring to which are very similar to bicycles in appearance and are pedal assist. However motorists and other road users will invariably lump these all into the same category.

    1. I quite agree. A world of difference in rider behaviour between those on pedal-assist and those that incorporate a throttle and both groups will be lumped in with the generic ‘cyclist’.

    1. Hi Ed!

      They do! Team Big Bear Series, Boogaloo eMTB Series, Sea Otter Classic, and here now for the 1st time–UCI World eMTB Champions! Crazy good!

      1. Thank Clint! I am behind the times on classifications. I might have to run out an get an EBike to complete an event that might be too tough without one.

        1. Hi Ed!

          Some events will let you demo one in a Class 1 eMTB race–first come, first serve. Depends on event and eMTB sponsors…

  32. Many of my riding buddies scoff at them, but they are great to draft! And as with you, I’m not getting any younger. Hopefully by the time I concede, the Pinarello will be a little more affordable.

    1. Great for drafting (especially into a head wind). Great for training too ‘set me up on 25kph Hugh’ and keep it steady. Perfect 🙂

  33. Thank you for this article Chris! It was needed and very timely!

    You’re SO right about what e-Bikes can do and how they are saving the bicycling industry! They do REMOVE the “Too” Barriers: Too hard, too far, too hilly, too sweaty, etc.

    With ALL the advantages, there are disadvantages and other things to consider, including: cost, weight, laws governing, maintenance, warranty, etc. Of course my passion is education and training for persons who choose to ride/drive an e-Bike and are NOT used to the higher speeds–especially on a Class 3 or Speed Pedelec; 28 mph assisted–and the ADDITIONAL understanding of the traffic envirnoment and additional skills needed for riding faster on a heavier bike (e-Bike).

    Through CyclingSavvy presentations and my law enforcement presntations/trainings here in SoCal and nationally, we ARE getting the word out on e-Bikes and their safe, legal, relevant, respectful, and FUN use!

    I would love to discuss this further with you Chris and CTS!

    Clint Sandusky
    Former longtime CTS athlete
    Retired LEO
    CA POST Bike Patrol Instructor
    E-Bike Educator & Presenter

  34. There are too many implications to count when it comes to ebikes, but one by one they continue to become positive. Raising awareness, getting new people on bikes, improving infrastructure and local economies.

    After recently doing a bike tour around Havana Cuba where a majority of people commute by bicycle, it’s impressive how riding in an insanely busy city can feel safer when the cyclists are in the majority.

  35. Yep. Borrowed one when recovering from knee injury which meant easy pedalling was good but wasn’t allowed to push hard. E-bike allowed me to do that (as did indoor trainer) AND get around when driving (manual transmission) was also out. Even went to physio on W-bike and could gradually reduce assistance as knee recovered.
    Back on my road bike now but seriously considering getting one to replace the car so road bike is for sport and e-bike for getting around.
    Son was pinching it to get to music practice with his big instrument on his back too – not really possible on his normal bike…

  36. The only people that should be embracing the e-bikes are doctor’s and lawyers
    that are going to make a fortune off them from the injuries and death that they
    will cause.

    1. So true, I was getting frustrated getting dropped after I had a few surgeries. I now ride with my group again on a class 3. I don’t ever do anything on that bike that I wouldn’t do on my regular bikes. I ride @ 250 miles a week and getting ready to ride the rockies in a few weeks. I am also a great training aid for riders. And I don’t always have the battery on, it is a heavier bike and it still makes me work hard.

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