For many older people, bikes were an important part of life growing up. They were useful socially and helped one get out and about. For the modern generation, bicycles are less about getting around and more about such things as the environment and economics. As a result, many younger people are opting for electric bikes as an efficient, and convenient solution to the many problems of the world today. If you love to ride, you’ve probably wondered in passing about how electric bikes and their manual predecessors compare.
The section below lays out five factors to consider if you’re young or old and wondering whether to buy an electric bike or a manual one.
Factors to consider: Electric Bikes V Manual Bikes
Where are you riding your bike?
If the scope of your use is hilly or traverses a mountain pass or a slope, an electric bicycle will serve you well. This is because just about every electric model on the market comes with a pre-installed motor.
This component converts the potential energy stored by the batteries into motile force and makes it possible for the electric bikes to move without the otherwise necessary aspect of a pedalling rider. On the other hand, if all you’re interested in is a simple commute within town or to and from work, a simple manual model might be sufficient.
What do you do regularly?
Although few people ever think this, the activities that make up most of your time are an important aspect of your consideration in whether an electric bike is more ideal compared to a manual one. If your job is a long way from home or requires a lot of movement, an electric bike is ideal because while manual utility is an option, it enables convenient travel.
This means that you can switch from manual to electric as the situation or your needs change throughout your day. On the other hand, if you live close to the office or any other locations you frequently visit, then a manual type bike might be adequate. You also have to factor in things such as grocery runs and trips to school if you have children.
How fast do you want/have to go?
While many electric bike’s offer superior speed, if you’re looking about for great bursts of pace with little to no inhibitions on your ability to burn, a manual model might be what you need. In Australia, the top-speed for electric bikes sits pretty at a modest 25km/h.
While there are a few exceptions to the rule, 25km/h is the legally acceptable speed limit for electric bikes in the country. On the other hand, while you might get an incredible burst from a manual type, electric bikes offer a greater degree of consistency in terms of speed. This means that although there are limits to how fast an electric bike can go, it can probably go faster for longer than any human rider on a manual model.
Are you a high-impact user?
Although some people buy bikes for conventional use, some prefer its recreational functions. If you’re a stuntman or aspire to perform stunts at some point, you’re probably better off sticking with a manual bicycle. Although many electric bikes are designed for exactly this purpose, aspiring stunts men are probably better off starting with a manual model to reduce the potential for injury or damage.
On the other hand, if you’re more experienced and are looking for something to take into the mountains or an all terrain vehicle to chart some of the more dangerous bike paths in Australia, then an electric mountain bike can provide you with the perfect balance of manual control and motor powered guidance to navigate your incredible adventure.
How far will you go?
While I covered this briefly in a previous section, this point gets very complicated quickly and deserves a section of its own to be properly addressed. The subject of distance cuts bothways. This is because although you can get as far as 60km on a single charge on some e-bikes, if you want to go farther, you might need to carry a second battery along or find a charging spot enroute.
On the other hand, in theory, manual models can give you limitless range. While this is factually true, even the most seasoned riders can only go a few hundred kilometers at a time without rest. To this end, in my opinion, e-bikes hold a significant advantage over manual bikes. This is because with electric bikes, you can always switch between manual and motor powered riding based on your stamina.
Are you a lone rider or not?
This is also an important aspect to consider. If you’re primarily a lone rider, or a professional, then a manual model is probably right for you. This is because it allows you to pick your pace at will and has no inhibitions whatsoever. As a result, you can compete favourably with other professionals or just enjoy a lone day on the asphalt without anything but the sound of the wind and the cold road.
On the other hand, if you’re riding recreationally with your family, or friends, electric bikes make it possible to ride easily and keep up a conversation or just laze along at pace with the group the whole time without worrying about a cramp in your thigh or missing out on juicy gist.
For the most part, what is right for you depends almost entirely on what is important to you. While manual bikes have many advantages, it is important to note that electric bikes can also be used manually to largely the same effect. In that way, electric bikes are more evolved for the demands of life in Australia today. Remember, as you decide to buy either an e-bike or a manual one, collect as much information as you can as small differences in design and engineering can meaningfully affect your experience in the long term.