Yes! E-bikes are absolutely worth it. Whether you want to save money, get some additional exercise, remove some stress from your commute or do something positive for the environment, e-bikes are a great option for everybody. For all these reasons e-bikes are a practical option for virtually everyone.
Sales of electric bicycles are up 60% from 2018 to 2019 according to the Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry (CONEBI) in their annual report. The sales of e-bikes have been trending upwards in the past number of years. It’s no surprise – the lithium-ion batteries that power our smartphones and laptops have made their way into all kinds of devices, including our bicycles, meaning that the technology gets better and cheaper every year. There are countless makes of models of e-bikes to choose from, for every imaginable type of terrain, so there is an e-bike on the market for everybody.
Why are Ebikes Worth the Purchase Price?
Let’s dive into some concrete reasons why electric bicycles represent great value for money. We will look at the practical factors such as speed, financial aspects compared to other transport options, health benefits and the positive environmental impact.
Faster, Better, Cheaper
E-Bikes allow you to pedal faster than you normally would for less effort. In the EU, most electric bikes with pedal assist (also called ‘pedelec’) work up to around 25km/h (around 16mp/h). Above 25mk/h, the pedal assist switches off until your speed drops again. Pedal assist works as an extra speed boost when you need it- it’s especially great when starting off from a red light, or when going up a pesky hill!
E-bikes encourage many more cyclists than usual to actually try cycling- especially those nervous about cycling, such as seniors, those with injuries or disabilities, or those who are out of shape. With an e-bike, you don’t have to worry about looking like a pro cyclist in full cycling gear, on performance enhancers! You pedal at your own pace, hills are no longer a daunting challenge, and you can relax knowing that you will get to your destination without being completely breathless and sweaty. For those with vulnerable knees or hips, cycling generally is a great form of low-impact exercise, and rising an e-bike reduces the mental block of actually getting on a bike in the first place.
An e-bike is arguably the cheapest form of commuting, apart from perhaps walking! Even though some e-bikes can run upwards of €4000-5000, many basic, starter e-bikes are available for €1000 or less- much less if you are willing to consider a used e-bike.
In my hometown, a commuter train ticket costs €5.35 per day or roughly €107 per month. A monthly commuter ticket costs around €80. Let’s calculate the rough yearly cost on a €1000 e-bike (we will ignore the cost of electricity for charging the e-bike for simplicity).
|Daily Cost||Monthly Cost (20 workdays per month)||Year 1 Cost|
|Daily Train Ticket||€5.35||€107||€1284|
|Monthly Train Ticket||€80||€80||€960|
As you can see, it costs barely more to purchase a basic e-bike than to get a monthly train ticket. This also ignores the health benefits that I get from cycling. Not to mention that I can use the e-bike when ever it’s needed, it’s not just as a commuter bike. You can easily run such a calculation yourself, in case you need a further motivation to consider adding an e-bike commuter to your daily routine.
Lastly, in some countries there are special tax advantages with e-bikes. In the UK, and in the Republic of Ireland there are government tax incentives schemes to encourage cyclists to get on the road.
Riding an e-bike is a highly cost-effective way of commuting, exercising, or just having fun! With an e-bike, there are very little additional costs once you have purchased your e-bike- in most countries, there is no road tax, insurance is optional, and maintenance costs are minimal compared to owning a car. If you are feeling especially hands-on, you can attempt most basic repairs yourself, using common hand tools, unlike car repairs.
The ongoing costs of an e-bike are also favorable if you are considering an e-bike for the exercise benefits. The cost of a basic e-bike compares favorably to the cost of a gym in many cities – the yearly membership of a nice gym in my area is €1200 per year, and you can purchase a basic e-bike is cheaper than that.
When buying an e-bike, an important consideration is how often you’ll use it. If you use the e-bike daily, it’s worth investing in a more upmarket model as you’ll appreciate the extra features when using it daily.
Using an e-bike daily is a fantastic way to reach the recommended minimum exercise for adults. Multiple studies show the positive impact of e-bike cycling on your health, especially cardiovascular health. It even appears to have a higher impact compared to walking alone. Therefore, even though an e-bike doesn’t guarantee as much of a workout as a regular bicycle, it’s still a good form of exercise, particularly if it provides an incentive to actually cycle in the first place!
An e-bike is one of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint. It doesn’t release noxious fumes into the environment, it takes less electricity to charge than an electric car, and the batteries are easily recyclable. If your local electricity grid is powered by green energy such as wind or solar, the carbon footprint of your e-bike ride is very small indeed.
Additionally, there are studies which even suggest that an e-bike is better for the environment than a regular bicycle! This is because the human body is not very efficient at processing calories into energy. In a nutshell, this means that your e-bike motor is more efficient than you are at providing forward movement, leading to less energy requirements to propel you onward.
Less Stress on your Commute – Easy to Ride, Easy to Park
E-bikes are very easy to ride, easier than regular bikes in most cases. The most common form of e-bikes are pedal assist/pedelecs, which provide a speed boost from full shop at a red light, up hills, and into headwinds. You can ride faster for longer distances, with less effort, meaning you won’t get to the office sweating through your work shirt. These factors mean that e-bikes are the ideal commuter vehicle. Additionally, since you are getting exercise, you get an automatic stress reduction and a boost to your mental sharpness in the morning without guzzling lots of caffeine. Contrast that to crawling through rush hour traffic in a car, sitting in noxious fumes – no comparison.
Parking an e-bike is similarly much easier than parking a car. It works exactly the same as a regular bike – prop it against a wall, or put down the kickstand, and lock it securely with a good padlock. Many workplaces provide bike parking, often near the entrance. Take advantage of this to park your e-bike off the street to reduce the risk of theft.
Another cool advantage of cycling to work is that you can charge your e-bike battery in work, for free! Many e-bike batteries clip out of the bike frame with a key, so simply bring your e-bike charger and depleted battery to your office and charge it up! Free fuel!
In Summary: Are Electric Bikes Worth It?
Electric bicycles are absolutely worth it. They provide health benefits, mental clarity, reduce stress, and they’re really, really fun and cool! They’re as cost effective as public transport in many cases, much more cost effective than buying and using a car, they’re less stressful than commuting by car, they’re easy to park, they reduce your carbon footprint… need I continue?
Therefore, e-bikes are highly recommended!