What is it like to ride an eBike

What Does It Feel Like to Ride an Electric Bike?

Riding an electric bike can be quite like riding a standard bicycle. The most obvious difference is the pedal-assist technology that many eBikes are equipped with. Torque-sensing technology on many eBikes delivers a more natural feeling and is not so different from a traditional bicycle. You should begin your eBike journey on the lowest pedal assist setting so you can get used to the assistance before bumping it up to the max.

Riding an eBike is as easy as a regular bike
Riding an eBike is as easy as a regular bike

What I Love About My eBike

One of the main advantages of having an eBike is you can ride farther while expending less energy. When I ride a traditional bicycle, my legs burn out quicker than when I ride my eBike. Pedal assist on my eBike helps me to go longer while still getting a cardio workout. The difference is I am not completely worn out after an eBike ride like I am after riding a traditional bicycle without pedal assistance.

Besides keeping fit, eBikes get you riding more. Studies from the Transport Research Laboratory in the United Kingdom state that traditional bicycles are ridden 25 times per year or less. Around 46 percent are used once a week. By comparison, eBikes had higher percentages of use. 30 percent of users rode them daily, and just over 80 percent rode them weekly. eBike users are two times more likely to ride than those with traditional bicycles.

RIDE eMTB Pro Tip: Have you wondered about all the features electric bikes offer? After you read this article you’ll wonder why you own a regular pedal bike. Check out 👉 What Are the (great) Features of Electric Bikes

eBikes can also be good for the planet. We all know larger cities are often plagued by smog, mainly stemming from the use of standard vehicles. The Federal Environmental Protection Agency states that a typical vehicle emits 240 gallons of carbon dioxide per mile, while public transportation emits from 80 to 176 gallons of carbon dioxide per mile. eBike power consumption shows an average of 3.2 to 8 gallons of carbon dioxide emissions per mile. This is a significant reduction in carbon emissions! (Source)

Another major perk of riding an eBike is saving money on gas. Gas is expensive no matter where you live, and it is much cheaper to charge your eBike battery than to buy a tank of gas. eBikes can also be safer than traditional bicycles. This stems from the time it takes a stationary bicycle to move versus the time it takes a stationary eBike to move. Those few seconds can keep you out of danger and avoid a potentially fatal interaction with a vehicle.

Probably one of my favorite parts of my eBike is it is just fun to ride! Feeling the increased speed as you press your pedals in comparison with the speed achieved with the same power on a traditional bicycle is thrilling!

The Cons of an eBike

Potentially the biggest disadvantage of an eBike is the price in comparison to a traditional bicycle. This stems from eBikes coming with motors and batteries, as well as the other electrical components necessary to the function of the bike. It is not all bad news, however, as many electric bikes fall within a lower price range so nearly everyone can enjoy them. Traditional bicycles can also be converted into an eBike with a conversion kit.

eBikes are also heavier than traditional bicycles and have a limited lifespan. As with all things with electrical components and batteries, eBikes have an expiration. They require more maintenance than a standard bicycle due to the added components, too.

Riding an eBike For the First Time – Here’s How

If you are new to riding an eBike, here are some tips to get you started out on the right foot (or pedal, as it were). Ensure everything is functioning properly on your eBike before you leave the house. Make sure you are in a comfortable position, the seat is the proper height, and you have a protective helmet on.

Pedal Assist on an eBike
Pedal Assist on an eBike

Turn the eBike on. Keep your pedal assist system, or PAS, set to zero. Pedal the bike normally without assisted power. If your eBike is fitted with a throttle system, give the throttle a small push. Throttle systems are variable, so do not go full throttle. Just give it a little press to learn how the throttle feels and the power it gives you.

RIDE e MTB Pro Tip: With eBikes growing in popularity learning all the terms and definitions can be a bit overwhelming. Let me help with this comprehensive glossary. 👉 eBike Glossary

Once you are comfortable with the throttle, change the PAS to setting one, the lowest setting. You will feel the pedal assist system engage and give you a little extra power as you pedal. You will notice that you are going significantly faster with the PAS engaged than you would be if you were pedaling with the system off.

As you master the PAS system and throttle system (if your eBike is fitted with a throttle), you can begin to adjust your PAS to the proper level for your ride.

Bafang Mid-Drive Electric Bike Conversion
Bafang Mid-Drive Electric Bike Conversion

Did you Know You Can Convert a Regular MTB to Electric?

Bafang a leader in DIY electric bike conversions has a mid-drive kit that will fit on most regular bikes. I’d recommend the BBSHD kit, it’s a complete setup with a huge capacity battery and a 1000 watt motor. Why this setup?

  • Heavy duty 1000 watt motor (built for cargo bikes)
  • +50 volt 17.5 Ah battery for speed and distance
  • Easy installation with provided tools.

If you’re considering a conversion, do what I’m doing get the BANFANG BBSHD 1000w eBike Conversion with Battery

Is an eBike Difficult to Ride?

eBikes are no more difficult to ride than a traditional bicycle. The only real difference is the speed you can achieve due to the PAS or throttle system. An eBike is just a normal bike ride with a little bit of help. If you are riding uphill or on a long commute or trip, the PAS or throttle can allow you to go longer with less effort.

It should be noted that the motor power will stop when the pedaling stops. So, if you quit pedaling to coast down a hill or on flat terrain, the power will shut off. The brake system also disengages the power.

If you have properly familiarized yourself with your eBike, you can expect the ride to be as easy as a normal bike ride.

RIDE e MTB Tip: Are you thinking about building an eBike? It isn’t very hard – Heck I’ve got step by step instructions with videos along with all the tools. Check it out 👉 How to Build a Mid-Drive Electric Bike

Can an eBike Go When Not Pedaling?

If your eBike features a throttle system, yes. Many eBikes feature pedal assist, which only works when pedaling. If your bike has a throttle, you can simply stop pedaling and use your thumb to press the throttle, giving you power without pedaling. It should be noted that using the throttle exclusively will drain the power from your battery quicker than using pedal assist. Pedal assist gives you more range than using a throttle.

Is an Electric Bike Scary?

Riding an eBike may sound scary. The truth is, once you are accustomed to it, it is not scary at all. If you ever feel like you are going too fast for the conditions of the road or trail, you can hit the brake or stop pedaling and the power will be cut. You always have the option to completely turn off the power so you can pedal as you would on a normal bike.

Can I Pedal an Electric Bike Like Normal?

Absolutely! On a pedal assisted eBike, when you stop pedaling, the power from the motor stops. You can always turn the power off completely and use the eBike as a traditional bicycle. Keep in mind that this bike will be heavier and harder to move due to the motor, battery, and other added components that are absent from a traditional bicycle.

Pedal Assist Quick Definition

Pedal assist on an eBike is an operating mode where once activated, the motor kicks in so long as you are pedaling. There are different types of pedal assist, but the outcome is the same. If you pedal, the motor will assist you. If you stop pedaling, the motor stops assisting.

Experience the Future of Cycling with an eBike

Riding an eBike is a fun and unique experience. If you like riding a traditional bicycle, you will love riding an eBike! You can achieve greater speed and ride longer without feeling completely drained. Pedal assist is great for helping you up tough hills or on long commutes. Throttle assist is a great option when your legs are feeling fatigued.

So, strap on your helmet and try out an eBike! Some locales have rental eBikes so you can try them before you buy them. Enjoy and happy riding!


David Humphries Author at Ride e MTB

Hi David Humphries here the guy doing all the pedaling behind the scenes with this blog. I’ve been in the MTB world for a while and recently started getting into eMTBs. You can check out more about me HERE and on my other passion project – DIYMountainBike.com