Electric bicycles (E-bikes) are the most used form of transport in the world. This type of transport is currently experiencing an exceptional boom; which is great news! Indeed, the E-bike allows people to practice their sport to get around work or to train, regardless of their physical fitness. The increasing use of active transportation reduces cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. Not to mention that active transportation prolongs life, in good health, away from chronic diseases. The E-bike also renews the pleasure of riding and gaining speed, especially on the climb.

E-biking

What is the energy demand of the E-bike?

This issue has been analyzed in several scientific studies in recent years. Several physiological results were compared between those obtained with an E-bike and those of a conventional bicycle (C-bike).  Among the points compared:

 

  • Oxygen consumption;
  • The energy demand for metabolic equivalents (METS) and total calories expended;
  • The total power output.
 

Various studies have looked at cyclists of all ages and backgrounds who train indoors and outdoors, on flat terrain as well as on mountain trails. The verdict? The practice of E-bike is associated with an oxygen consumption of about 20% less than that associated with the C-bike.

 

On the other hand, when riding outdoors, the number of calories burned by C-bike is comparable to that recorded on a partial-assisted E-bike (which requires pedaling). Also, the use of the E-bike would be associated with an average heart rate of only 5 to 8 beats per minute lower than that measured on a C-bike.  However, the difference in the maximum heart rate reached increases in mountainous terrain.

What are the gains on fitness indices?

Regular E-bike practice generates considerable gains on aerobic capacity. Indeed, when comparing the benefits of active transport on inexperienced cyclists, we notice more marked increases in oxygen consumption with the E-bike than with the C-bike. For higher-level cyclists, the gains would be comparable between E-bike and C-bike. This means that experienced cyclists, who benefit from partial electrical assistance, are simply faster… especially in the climbs!

Are there precautions to be taken?

Sports or overuse injuries with an E-bike and a C-bike are not very different. In fact, the E-bike would be the ideal way to start the cycling season since it avoids musculoskeletal injuries related to the fact that on a conventional bike, you have to weigh a little harder on the pedal to move forward.

 

Also, E-bike is more often practiced on the road than on designated tracks. And users are on average older. As a result, the risk of head injuries is slightly higher with the E-bike. Caution is therefore required.

Bike Precautions

Bring your Tools!

Make sure you’re carrying the right hexagonal keys for your E-bike. Often, the ones that are useful for E-bikes are different from those used for C-bikes. The same goes for spare tires and the air pump… In short, be sure to leave with compatible tools.

 

The use of the E-bike allows to renew the pleasure of riding in addition to being faster on the road. The beneficial effects on overall health are essentially similar. The E-bike gives a significant advantage in the climbs. Gains on fitness are more pronounced among those who start cycling and on sedentary people. For more experienced cyclists, E-bike increases cruising speed by about 20% for the same cardiovascular demand as a conventional bike. Keep this data in mind, especially if you are trying to follow your bike partner who is equipped with electric assistance.