- E-bikes have become increasingly popular as a way to get outdoors and commute to work easily.
- Over 88% of e-bikes use pedal assist, and they can connect wirelessly to the internet to track ride details.
- Safety considerations include the risk of motor vehicle collisions and user control issues, particularly for older riders.
- E-bikes can be expensive, with prices ranging from $500 to $6,000, making them more costly than traditional bikes.
- Alternatives to e-bikes include electric motorcycles, adult tricycles with rear storage baskets, electric scooters with seats, and conventional pedal bicycles.
Are there good reasons to avoid a new e-bike? E-bikes, or electric bikes, continue to grow in popularity. They became popular during the Covid-19 quarantine as a way for people to get outdoors but not be near others. Sales slowed a bit in 2021 but picked back up in 2022. And they have continued selling at high rates since.
E-bikes make it easy to get outside without working too hard, and they make commuting to work a breeze. But there are some drawbacks. We’ll discuss reasons to avoid a new E-Bike, but first, let’s learn more about them.
Some Background on the E-Bike
Electric bicycles were patented in the late 1800s, but there was no production to speak of. And many of the designs never saw the light of day. However, e-bikes continued having short periods of success in niche markets. However, the last several years have seen their production levels grow by leaps and bounds.
Consumers like the alternative to relying on gas-powered vehicles. So, e-bike and e-scooter ownership is on the rise. Three e-bike classifications currently exist:
- Class 1: Pedal-assist bikes only have electric power when you’re pedaling. E-assists cuts off at 20 mph and higher speeds.
- Class 2: Pedal-assist or throttle-controlled electric propulsion that works up to 20 mph.
- Class 3: Requires a speedometer and limits pedal-assist or throttle control to 28 mph.
There are also more powerful e-bikes for off-road-only use. They look like bikes but function similarly to motorcycles. Some cities and localities prohibit e-bikes on bike-only trails.
So, it’s a good idea to check regulations where you live before hopping on one. Additionally, manufacturers and safety agencies suggest wearing a helmet, even if it isn’t a requirement where you live.
|E-Bike Attributes||Fun Facts|
|Pedal-Assist Popularity||Over 88% of e-bikes use pedal assist.|
|Wireless Compatability||E-bikes connect with the internet wirelessly to show you ride details like your heart rate, average speed, and distance traveled.|
|Safer Charging||Since December 2022, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has asked manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers to comply with established UL safety standards.|
|Smarter Charging||Smarter systems monitor temperatures when charging. They transfer charge to different battery cells to keep the system from overheating.|
|Smart Assistance||Smart Assist technology works like your car’s automatic transmission. So, you don’t need to change gears or settings manually.|
|Walk Assistance||This technology lets you walk your bike around obstacles without feeling gravity’s heaviness. You can even push the bike up a hill quickly.|
Reasons to Avoid an E-Bike
Electric bicycles are continually gaining innovative technology and safety features. However, there are several reasons to avoid a new e-bike that you may not have thought about. Here are four of them.
1. Electric Bike Pricing
Low-end electric bikes start at around $500, but those models don’t offer much more than basic pedal assist. To benefit from the newer technology and safety features, consumers spend $2,000-3,000, on average.
However, there are also e-bikes at the top end, at around $6,000. But when you compare average e-bike prices with a traditional midrange commuter bike at $1,000, you’ll see that electric bikes cost more than double a conventional one. And that is the main reason to avoid a new e-bike today.
2. Safety Considerations: Motor Vehicle Collisions
Since E-bikes can travel at similar or faster speeds than traditional bikes, they carry some of the same safety risks. But e-bikes take risks to a higher level when you travel at 20 mph and higher.
- 48V 13.6 AH removable battery
- Charging time from 0-100% is about 6 hours
- 750W high-speed brushless motor
- 1-5 gears
- 26-inch diameter, 4-inch wide thickened tires
- High-performance hydraulic disc brakes
Even low-speed tip-overs and crashes leave you feeling sore and beat up. But should you be speeding along and not see an approaching car or truck, e-bike crashes can even be fatal.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says injuries from micro-mobility devices, including e-bikes, e-scooters, and hoverboards, increased by 127% between 2017 and 2021. And while e-scooters accounted for many of the injuries and deaths, e-bikes have some of the same safety considerations.
3. User Control Issues
Some older e-bike riders have difficulty mounting or dismounting the bicycle. And these user control issues cause injuries. For example, bike riding is the norm in the Netherlands, and you often see families of four on one bicycle.
The country saw bicycle injuries and deaths rise after the emergence of E-Bikes. Men over 65 saw e-bike deaths double from 15 to 31 in 2016-17. User control issues account for some of the injuries and deaths, in part due to the heaviness of the e-bikes.
4. Battery Fires
Lithium-ion batteries power e-bikes and occasionally catch fire due to improper storage or charging issues. As a result, the CPSC gives some tips for your safety.
- Don’t charge your e-bike while sleeping. Instead, be present.
- Don’t use any charger except the one that your e-bike came with.
- Use only manufacturer-approved replacement battery packs.
- Follow the e-bike’s instructions to re-charge properly and unplug promptly once complete.
- Don’t use a modified battery pack with used or re-purposed cells. Take your bike to a qualified repairperson.
And, in case you think it won’t happen to you, here are statistics from CPSC from the beginning of January 2021 through the end of November 2022:
- 208 overheating incidents or fires from 39 states
- 19 fatalities: 11 hoverboards, 3 e-bikes, and 5 e-scooters
- 22 injuries: 10 e-bikes and 12 e-scooters
Alternatives to the E-Bike
If you want to avoid a new e-bike but still want an easy commute, here are some excellent alternatives.
More acceptable to some insurance companies are motorcycle-style electric bikes that don’t have pedals. They are fully throttle-controlled and street-legal with headlights, tail lights, and turn signals.
Some have a top speed of around 35-37 mph and a driving range of approximately 40 miles. So, commuting to work has never been more accessible or more environmentally friendly.
Adult Tricycle with a Rear Storage Basket
- Equipped with 26-inch wheels
- V-brake and rear band brake
- Redesigned basket with a solid bottom, steel mesh sides, and nylon canvas liner
- Single speed
For anyone commuting to work with their dog, this option is perfect. It is a conventional pedal bike with an extended rear for a storage basket between the rear tires.
So, you’ll feel stable and secure pedaling through town with your pup, office supplies, or groceries. Or throw in an ice chest and some towels for a day at the beach. You’ll find many uses for this stylish ride if you’re trying to avoid e-bikes.
Electric Scooter with a Seat
Another alternative to an e-bike is an electric scooter with a seat. It has a wide platform so you can stand or sit for a more comfortable ride. The most significant difference between this and an e-bike is the lack of pedals.
Many are foldable for easy storage and lightweight enough (under 40 pounds) for quick maneuverability. Electric motors take you about 20 miles between charges and reach a maximum speed of about 15 mph.
Conventional Pedal Bicycle
Of course, if you want to avoid a new e-bike, then try a new conventional bicycle instead. Choose from all the standard equipment you’re familiar with:
- On- or off-road tires
- Step-over or step-through frame
- Contemporary or retro styling
- Basket or cargo rack
- Cruiser or mountain bike
The beauty of conventional pedal bikes is the ability to transform them into the perfect solution for your needs. And they come in a wide range of prices, so you’re sure to find one within your budget.
Wrapping Up: Reasons to Avoid a New E-Bike
Battery-powered bikes continue to rise in popularity worldwide. And more regulations will likely follow in order to make them safer to charge, store, and ride. However, now you have more information about today’s systems and the reasons to avoid getting a new e-bike.
They have higher prices and more safety considerations, so you’ll want to think carefully before buying one. Conventional bikes, electric scooters, and electric motorcycles are some of your options.
|1. Electric Bike Pricing||Higher prices compared to traditional bikes, ranging from $500 to $6,000|
|2. Safety Considerations: Motor Vehicle Collisions||Higher speeds increase the risk of accidents and injuries|
|3. User Control Issues||Difficulty in mounting or dismounting especially for older riders|
|4. Battery Fires||Lithium-ion batteries can catch fire due to improper storage or charging issues|
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Ruslan Sitarchuk/Shutterstock.com.