Ebike vs regular bike: Which is better?
Here's everything you need to know about electric bikes vs regular bikes, including speed, price and ease-of-use.
Whether you're new to cycling or you're an old hand (or foot), you've got plenty of options when it comes to purchasing a bicycle. One choice you'll have to make is between an ebike or a regular old analogue version. It can be a very difficult decision, with plenty of variables to consider.
That's why we've assembled this guide, covering everything you need to know to make an informed purchase. If you want to know more, check out our guides to the best electric bikes and analogue bikes in Australia.
Ebike bike vs regular bike: Ease-of-use
Bicycles are famed for being exceptionally simple to master, with most of us never forgetting how to ride them since we were taught as children. But if you're looking to jump back on after some years away from the pedals, or if you aren't as young and spry as you used to be, there are some pretty significant differences between electric bikes and regular bikes to consider.
The most notable difference between an ebike and a regular bike is the presence of a motor. And no, that doesn't mean you can take off on an ebike like its a motorcycle. Ebikes have wheels, handlebars, pedals and gears that all operate virtually identically to a regular bike. All the motor does is give you an extra push to make the riding experience that much easier.
Ebikes allow you to control the motor, either via a display screen or simple buttons. You'll set it either up or down to achieve your perfect riding experience. At minimum power, there's only a small discernible difference between an ebike and a regular bike. At maximum power, your legs will simply go through the motion of cycling, barely providing any actual propulsion.
You can even turn the motor off altogether, but its weight makes riding in this manner a pretty serious effort. This is one area where regular bikes win out in the ease-of-use debate. While most regular bikes weigh around 10kg, an ebike can weigh in excess of 25kg. This can make transport or storage a massive pain compared to a regular bike. You'll also need to remember to keep it charged.
Ebikes feature a display screen, with information like battery life level, speed and distance travelled. More advanced models can include features like fitness tracking and GPS. Like regular bikes, ebikes come in varieties like road bikes and mountain bikes, depending on your planned usage.
So if you're a novice or an older cyclist, or if you want to get to work on your bike without sweating up a storm, ebikes are a great option.
Ebikes vs regular bikes: Rules and regulations
If you're worried about tedious regulations ruining your ebike experience, don't. The only rule to know is that any ebikes capable of exceeding 25km/h via motor power are not road-legal, and may only be ridden on private property. The vast majority of ebikes sold in Australia are designed to be road-legal, but if you're unsure, don't be afraid to double check with the vendor.
As the owner of a road-legal ebike, all you need to do is ride in a safe manner, wear a helmet and be clearly visible at all times. In this manner, ebikes and regular bikes are identical.
Ebikes vs regular bikes: Speed
If you want to exceed the the 25km/h limit on an ebike, the motor will cut out and you're on your own. The average amateur cyclist travels around 27km/h on flat ground. So if you take cycling seriously and like to push your speed, you might find yourself consistently exceeding the motor's limits. And if you plan on entering official cycling races, ebikes are naturally disallowed.
Of course, there's more to this question than the raw numbers. The assistance that ebikes provide when going uphill is very significant, and the constant propulsion of an electric motor is a huge boon to your stamina. Over longer trips, ebikes can certainly provide a speed boost.
Once again, ebikes are a great option for beginners, but for experienced riders who treat cycling as a sport, the benefits of an ebike are lessened.
Ebikes vs regular bikes: Price
Since ebikes are essentially just regular bikes with a motor and other bells and whistles, they generally cost a fair bit more. A basic ebike can cost $800, while the most expensive models can range all the way up to $12,000. A decent analogue bike will cost around $350, but if you take riding seriously you might pay over $1,000 for your model of choice.
The other major cost associated with a bike is maintenance. An ebike has all the standard features of a regular bike, so if you encounter issues with any of these elements your local bike repair shop should have you covered. You shouldn't be charged anything extra, either. The day-to-day maintenance for an ebike and a regular bike is the same.
If you encounter a defect in your ebike's electrical components, it will in most cases be covered by your ebike's warranty. Individual components of an ebike and analogue bike will need to be replaced over time, but in both cases the frame itself can last a lifetime if properly cared for.
You should have a great view into the ebike vs regular bike debate. Beginners, those with reduced mobility and commuters will likely get a lot out of an ebike. But if riding is a serious passion in your life, the benefits of an ebike might fail to outweigh the increased price tag – and the derision of your fellow cycling purists.
Ultimately, the 2 are very similar, and your personal situation is the deciding factor.
Best deals on ebikes
Can't wait to get your hands on a motor-assisted bike? Check out these great deals from eBay. Use the code SNSMAY to apply the full discounts.
Best deals on bicycles
Prefer to keep things old-fashioned? We've rounded up some great deals on analogue bikes too.