Are e-bikes healthy?

Joeblake
Posts: 14133
Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2008 10:04 pm
Location: Lesmurdie WA

Are e-bikes healthy?

Postby Joeblake » Sat Jul 09, 2016 10:01 am

Healthier than no bike at all it seems

http://www.gizmag.com/e-bikes-fitness/44257/

Some people look at electric bicycles as being simply a "lazy" alternative to conventional bikes, providing the rider with less of a workout. Proponents of e-bikes, however, point out that they may open bicycle-commuting up to people who would otherwise never bother with it, thus providing them with more exercise overall. A new study confirms that in such cases, use of an e-bike does indeed still boost the user's fitness level ...
To acquire immunity to eloquence is of the utmost importance to the citizens of a democracy
Bertrand Russell

eldavo
Posts: 1587
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2009 12:21 am
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Contact:

Re: Are e-bikes healthy?

Postby eldavo » Sat Jul 09, 2016 12:41 pm

Not healthy. Take a car instead.

User avatar
find_bruce
Posts: 6853
Joined: Mon May 09, 2011 8:42 pm
Location: Sydney

Re: Are e-bikes healthy?

Postby find_bruce » Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:33 pm

I suspect it depends on what you mean by e-bike - electric pedal assist still involves exercise, electric throttle, not so much.

softy
Posts: 1663
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2014 3:44 pm

Re: Are e-bikes healthy?

Postby softy » Sat Jul 09, 2016 4:36 pm

Yes the throttle bikes can be abused, but the peddle assist do provide a level of exercise. Like everything, how you use it.

User avatar
Aushiker
Posts: 21904
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 1:55 pm
Location: Fremantle, WA
Contact:

Re: Are e-bikes healthy?

Postby Aushiker » Sat Jul 09, 2016 4:59 pm

My conversion (originally documented here but now on a Giant Defy 1) means I can still complete in a reasonable time my 42 km each way commute to work. I don't have a throttle so have to pedal. What I find is I am still working fairly hard, getting to my destination in a reasonable time (saving around 1/2 hour each way) and being able to do it back to back. Prior to going electric I had pretty much reached a point where I was no longer riding the commute at all.
Andrew
~ Aushiker.com

User avatar
Cycleops70
Posts: 257
Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:56 am
Location: Perth
Contact:

Re: Are e-bikes healthy?

Postby Cycleops70 » Sat Jul 09, 2016 8:36 pm

It opened up commuting for my wife, who now uses a normal bike.
At the time it would have been too big of a step to go straight to normal bike.

Still use the e bike for towing kids.

Mububban
Posts: 931
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2008 12:19 pm

Re: Are e-bikes healthy?

Postby Mububban » Tue Jul 12, 2016 11:23 am

find_bruce wrote:I suspect it depends on what you mean by e-bike - electric pedal assist still involves exercise, electric throttle, not so much.


My conversion kit is throttle controlled and I love the flexibility it offers. But I never use it as a scooter, I'm always pedalling. And when I don't use it, I'm pedalling a 20kg bike with no assistance :D
It got me back on the bike and cycle commuting again, and now the battery needs replacing I think I'll fit some new wheels and tyres and remove the electric kit, rather than buy a new battery. The electric assist has seen me pedal thousands of kms I would have otherwise driven.

I think e-bikes are the way of the future, just like electric cars will be. Most of us Aussies grow up riding bikes as kids but when we get our licenses as teenagers, that's where the love affair ends for most of us, and many never pick it up again. E-bikes are a great "gateway drug" back into the world of riding and many people will inevitably want a lighter faster bike minus the motor. And the more who ride, the more will advocate for infrastructure.
When you are driving your car, you are not stuck IN traffic - you ARE the traffic!!!

User avatar
Thoglette
Posts: 3143
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:01 pm

Re: Are e-bikes healthy?

Postby Thoglette » Tue Jul 12, 2016 12:00 pm

eldavo wrote:Not healthy. Take a car instead.

Love the irony. :D :D

(Other half will be getting an e-bike so that the whole family can ride together. Wonders of bike paths and back roads to follow.)
Stop handing them the stick! - Dave Moulton
"People are worthy of respect, ideas are not." Peter Ellerton, UQ

User avatar
Comedian
Posts: 5247
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:35 pm
Location: Brisbane

Re: Are e-bikes healthy?

Postby Comedian » Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:23 pm

Joeblake wrote:Healthier than no bike at all it seems

http://www.gizmag.com/e-bikes-fitness/44257/

Some people look at electric bicycles as being simply a "lazy" alternative to conventional bikes, providing the rider with less of a workout. Proponents of e-bikes, however, point out that they may open bicycle-commuting up to people who would otherwise never bother with it, thus providing them with more exercise overall. A new study confirms that in such cases, use of an e-bike does indeed still boost the user's fitness level ...

As a normal bike owner, and an e-bike owner this is of interest.

I agree riding an e-bike is beneficial as long as it's a type that requires pedaling. The local e-bike distributor posted a video of one of their new range of e-bikes and it was only in the last 20 seconds of the 2 minute video that someone actually pedaled. The rest of the video was people hanging on and smiling.

How beneficial is it? I wore my Garmin and HR strap and did a test. A commute on the e-bike is equivalent both in time and exertion to me taking it **very** easy on the roadie.

User avatar
Thoglette
Posts: 3143
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:01 pm

Re: Are e-bikes healthy?

Postby Thoglette » Tue Jul 12, 2016 3:50 pm

Comedian wrote:I agree riding an e-bike is beneficial as long as it's a type that requires pedaling. .


It's going to be beneficial even if it's not a pedal type: physically, keeping any two wheel vehicle upright requires the use of core muscles not needed in a power-everything-car. Mentally, the riders are not in cars. Suddenly they are "one of us" and their attitudes will adjust.

Finally, as a group, the more drivers interact with cyclists, the less SMIDSY occurs. So we all benefit.
Stop handing them the stick! - Dave Moulton
"People are worthy of respect, ideas are not." Peter Ellerton, UQ

User avatar
Comedian
Posts: 5247
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:35 pm
Location: Brisbane

Re: Are e-bikes healthy?

Postby Comedian » Tue Jul 12, 2016 4:34 pm

Thoglette wrote:
Comedian wrote:I agree riding an e-bike is beneficial as long as it's a type that requires pedaling. .


It's going to be beneficial even if it's not a pedal type: physically, keeping any two wheel vehicle upright requires the use of core muscles not needed in a power-everything-car. Mentally, the riders are not in cars. Suddenly they are "one of us" and their attitudes will adjust.

Finally, as a group, the more drivers interact with cyclists, the less SMIDSY occurs. So we all benefit.


Look... yes I agree.. but I think the benefit is so little from a fitness perspective that it can be considered to be of no societal value. IE walking would be far more beneficial. Further.. you could argue encouraging people to ride motor bikes or scooters would have the same benefits.

If if was the case that riding a motorbike/scooter/e-bike (non pedaling) offered health benefits then I'd expect to note that people who ride motorbikes a lot to be fit trim examples of the human form. This does not match my experience.

User avatar
VeloGiro
Posts: 193
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:19 pm
Location: Ashwood, Vic

Re: Are e-bikes healthy?

Postby VeloGiro » Tue Jul 12, 2016 5:58 pm

Aushiker wrote:My conversion (originally documented here but now on a Giant Defy 1) means I can still complete in a reasonable time my 42 km each way commute to work. I don't have a throttle so have to pedal. What I find is I am still working fairly hard, getting to my destination in a reasonable time (saving around 1/2 hour each way) and being able to do it back to back. Prior to going electric I had pretty much reached a point where I was no longer riding the commute at all.


x 2 Aushiker my commute is about 40k's (each way) but i do have a bike and train option of 20k's (again each way). I try to (and mostly do) ride the full 40k's one way each day and train and ride the other way ~ 60k's/day. The ebike allows me to do this without hesitation and i can also carry the laptop - reference books - change of clothes - toolkit - lunch etc etc...

I have used the car to get to work <20 times in over 8 years - Just like Aushiker if i am riding the ebike (Gazelle - pedelec) i also pedal pretty hard and I also save about half an hour each way on the full commute... that's gotta be healthier than sitting in a car doesn't it :)
Image

User avatar
Thoglette
Posts: 3143
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:01 pm

Re: Are e-bikes healthy?

Postby Thoglette » Tue Jul 12, 2016 8:20 pm

Comedian wrote:Look... yes I agree.. but I think the benefit is so little from a fitness perspective that it can be considered to be of no societal value. IE walking would be far more beneficial. Further.. you could argue encouraging people to ride motor bikes or scooters would have the same benefits.
If if was the case .... I'd expect to note that people who ride motorbikes a lot to be fit trim examples of the human form. This does not match my experience.


You've made two classic flaws:
1. Presuming that walking would be substituted for an e-ride with the family/partner on normal bikes.
2. That "trim fit examples" are an appropriate control group for fat bikies.
Stop handing them the stick! - Dave Moulton
"People are worthy of respect, ideas are not." Peter Ellerton, UQ

eldavo
Posts: 1587
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2009 12:21 am
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Contact:

Re: Are e-bikes healthy?

Postby eldavo » Wed Jul 13, 2016 2:09 am

Mububban wrote:
find_bruce wrote:I think e-bikes are the way of the future, just like electric cars will be. Most of us Aussies grow up riding bikes as kids but when we get our licenses as teenagers, that's where the love affair ends for most of us, and many never pick it up again. E-bikes are a great "gateway drug" back into the world of riding and many people will inevitably want a lighter faster bike minus the motor. And the more who ride, the more will advocate for infrastructure.


This rings a bell. I had no interest or knowledge of cars, or bicycles for that matter, I just rode my Dad's old commuter road bicycle as transport freedom. I had no rush to get a license until several months after eligible age since it was fine summer weather and life was local. I ended up influenced by friends, got into cars and 4WD's. I think it was back to me getting into motorcycles then scooters and finally evolving to bicycles.

It feels like the license and motor vehicle is a right of passage. The license is an assumed necessity for economic advance of tax payers. A guilty party is seen as a victim if losing their license, and will have an E class almost guaranteed if half witted enough to turn up with basic criteria met.

There's a deep long cultural grooming of children to adult motor vehicle users, our society is like a USA social derivative moon that is aligning to a partial eclipse (and we'll all be blinded while looking at it happen). Cars are integrated into the right of passage. Finding a species mate for procreation while in the mainstream 20 to 30 age group, each other note vehicle as asset and status symbol representing disposable income and a suitor's mark of success.

With our distances more like USA than Europe, our European level electric assistance laws, nanny state ADR's barrier to simple proper moped registration, many single occupant vehicles could be getting around on e-bikes but those same people are probably part of the constituents perpetuating the problem. Time to turn into a pumpkin...

cj7hawk
Posts: 1143
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2015 9:00 pm

Re: Are e-bikes healthy?

Postby cj7hawk » Wed Jul 13, 2016 12:06 pm

I think it's funny that many of the comments here follow a similar pattern of people who don't use something commenting on what it's lacking without any real experience of the product.

E-bikes make getting from somewhere to somewhere else easier. To ask are they healthy is ridiculous. What they do, is reduce the effort equivalent to a normal bike.

* Do you have to pedal an ebike? Yes. You have to pedal. All kinds. They are not motorcycles.
* Do they make it easy to go on long rides? Yes. They make it much easier - if they have the range.
* Do they allow people who couldn't otherwise ride to ride? Yes, they do.
* Do they allow you to choose how much effort you put in? Yes, they do.
* Is there any real difference between throttle and pedal? No. Both require input. On both, you find yourself pedaling.

So it's like this. Rephrase the question like;

"Biking on the flat - Is it healthy? ( Compared to biking in hills )" - Of course it is. You're moving your body, putting in effort and getting something in return. You can adjust your effort in both cases, based on speed and distance. Suggesting that ebikes aren't a good form of exercise ( which is what I think is meant by "healthy" is like suggesting riding on a flat path isn't good exercise.

A good Ebike shouldn't punish you for putting in effort though - And pedalecs do this - while throttle bikes do not - So I'll add one thought on this topic - Throttle-only bikes are more likely to contribute to good health than Pedelecs.

Because on a thottle bike, you get rewarded for effort as the entire effort is added to the bike's capabilities - On a Pedelec, the electronic circuitry detects the amount of effort you're putting in, and removes an equivalent amount of assistance.

Now, people either ride a bike for one of two reasons - For exercise, or to get somewhere. If you're exercising, then you would be better with a throttle-bike as it lets you control your effort without punishing you for doing so. If you want to get somewhere, then you're also better with a throttle bike and you're rewarded for effort with shorter commute times...

So choose the carrot or the stick - Carrot = Throttle, Stick = Pedelec.

But, from an exercise perspective - Both contribute positively towards Health. Probably equally so.

Regards
David

Joeblake
Posts: 14133
Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2008 10:04 pm
Location: Lesmurdie WA

Re: Are e-bikes healthy?

Postby Joeblake » Wed Jul 13, 2016 12:16 pm

The original Gizmag article I referred to compares riding an e-bike, specifically a pedelec, to riding nothing at all. In the published paper linked in the article:

CONCLUSION:

Participants rode a pedelec in the real world at a self-selected moderate intensity, which helped them meet physical activity recommendations. Pedelec commuting also resulted in significant improvements in 2-h post-OGTT glucose, [Formula: see text], and power output. Pedelecs are an effective form of active transportation that can improve some cardiometabolic risk factors within only 4 weeks.


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27299435

Make of that what you will.
To acquire immunity to eloquence is of the utmost importance to the citizens of a democracy
Bertrand Russell

User avatar
Comedian
Posts: 5247
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:35 pm
Location: Brisbane

Re: Are e-bikes healthy?

Postby Comedian » Wed Jul 13, 2016 1:29 pm

Thoglette wrote:
Comedian wrote:Look... yes I agree.. but I think the benefit is so little from a fitness perspective that it can be considered to be of no societal value. IE walking would be far more beneficial. Further.. you could argue encouraging people to ride motor bikes or scooters would have the same benefits.
If if was the case .... I'd expect to note that people who ride motorbikes a lot to be fit trim examples of the human form. This does not match my experience.


You've made two classic flaws:
1. Presuming that walking would be substituted for an e-ride with the family/partner on normal bikes.
2. That "trim fit examples" are an appropriate control group for fat bikies.


But if I'm saying that peddling an e-bike is equivalent to walking. And you're saying that just sitting on one and not pedaling is still worth something..

I'm saying that there are lots of things that people do that are still worth something... that add up to nothing really... :roll: I'd argue that an activity that is worth less than walking is really not very beneficial.

I think that if you have hoards of e-bikes that don't even require pedaling then the only benefit they offer is one less car. This may well be worthwhile - but remember one of the big benefits of cycling to society is it's fitness benefits and e-bikes that require no user input dilute this.

The title of this thread is "are e-bikes healthy" and my testing of one that you have to pedal is yes - about as healthy as walking.

User avatar
Cycleops70
Posts: 257
Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:56 am
Location: Perth
Contact:

Re: Are e-bikes healthy?

Postby Cycleops70 » Wed Jul 13, 2016 1:35 pm

cj7hawk wrote:I think it's funny that many of the comments here follow a similar pattern of people who don't use something commenting on what it's lacking without any real experience of the product.

E-bikes make getting from somewhere to somewhere else easier. To ask are they healthy is ridiculous. What they do, is reduce the effort equivalent to a normal bike.

* Do you have to pedal an ebike? Yes. You have to pedal. All kinds. They are not motorcycles.
* Do they make it easy to go on long rides? Yes. They make it much easier - if they have the range.
* Do they allow people who couldn't otherwise ride to ride? Yes, they do.
* Do they allow you to choose how much effort you put in? Yes, they do.
* Is there any real difference between throttle and pedal? No. Both require input. On both, you find yourself pedaling.

So it's like this. Rephrase the question like;

"Biking on the flat - Is it healthy? ( Compared to biking in hills )" - Of course it is. You're moving your body, putting in effort and getting something in return. You can adjust your effort in both cases, based on speed and distance. Suggesting that ebikes aren't a good form of exercise ( which is what I think is meant by "healthy" is like suggesting riding on a flat path isn't good exercise.

A good Ebike shouldn't punish you for putting in effort though - And pedalecs do this - while throttle bikes do not - So I'll add one thought on this topic - Throttle-only bikes are more likely to contribute to good health than Pedelecs.

Because on a thottle bike, you get rewarded for effort as the entire effort is added to the bike's capabilities - On a Pedelec, the electronic circuitry detects the amount of effort you're putting in, and removes an equivalent amount of assistance.

Now, people either ride a bike for one of two reasons - For exercise, or to get somewhere. If you're exercising, then you would be better with a throttle-bike as it lets you control your effort without punishing you for doing so. If you want to get somewhere, then you're also better with a throttle bike and you're rewarded for effort with shorter commute times...

So choose the carrot or the stick - Carrot = Throttle, Stick = Pedelec.

But, from an exercise perspective - Both contribute positively towards Health. Probably equally so.

Regards
David



+1

Very well written.

diventare
Posts: 165
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:41 am

Re: Are e-bikes healthy?

Postby diventare » Mon Jul 18, 2016 9:51 am

Comedian wrote:.....
The title of this thread is "are e-bikes healthy" and my testing of one that you have to pedal is yes - about as healthy as walking.


A major point being missed here is that electric assist can be dialed up or down to the level of exertion preference of the rider.
10%, 20%, 30% etc are all options at the press of a button but the uninformed observer (and many forum commentators) presumes that all e-bikes are ridden on 100% assist.
At zero assist you have a heavy bike requiring greater than standard bike input to motivate and at that level as healthy an exercise aid as you would find. Probably even more "healthy" than a standard bike in the context used here (that health is a product of exertion).
Image

User avatar
Comedian
Posts: 5247
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:35 pm
Location: Brisbane

Re: Are e-bikes healthy?

Postby Comedian » Mon Jul 18, 2016 1:07 pm

diventare wrote:
Comedian wrote:.....
The title of this thread is "are e-bikes healthy" and my testing of one that you have to pedal is yes - about as healthy as walking.


A major point being missed here is that electric assist can be dialed up or down to the level of exertion preference of the rider.
10%, 20%, 30% etc are all options at the press of a button but the uninformed observer (and many forum commentators) presumes that all e-bikes are ridden on 100% assist.
At zero assist you have a heavy bike requiring greater than standard bike input to motivate and at that level as healthy an exercise aid as you would find. Probably even more "healthy" than a standard bike in the context used here (that health is a product of exertion).

Absolutely it can. Owning one I'm well aware of this, and I've dialed it down too and seen how suddenly this effortless bike is suddenly not effortless. However the only time I can ever remember riding it with the assistance off was when it failed one day..

I think that while this is a "major point" it's pretty well irrelevant. Because I never see and electric bike riders travelling slowly. Can't remember ever.. I see lots of legit people riding legal e-bikes. IE ones that require some input from the rider. They travel at what I would call a "moderate speed".

But I also see lots of e-bikes where peoples only input into the process is twisting the throttle. I'm quite ambivalent about these for reasons I've mentioned earlier. I also think that that's what people want, and so the industry is trying to give it's customers what they want. So, we can look forward to lots more e-bikes that offer no health benefits to their riders (but are still one less car).

User avatar
Comedian
Posts: 5247
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:35 pm
Location: Brisbane

Re: Are e-bikes healthy?

Postby Comedian » Mon Jul 18, 2016 8:41 pm

I think.. if people think they are going to buy one of these bikes and pedal as much as is shown in the video.. if they think they are going to see big health benefits they are kidding themselves. One less car though.

[shareyoutube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcsZn70xoG8[/shareyoutube]

Mububban
Posts: 931
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2008 12:19 pm

Re: Are e-bikes healthy?

Postby Mububban » Tue Jul 19, 2016 3:48 pm

Comedian wrote:I think.. if people think they are going to buy one of these bikes and pedal as much as is shown in the video.. if they think they are going to see big health benefits they are kidding themselves. One less car though.

[shareyoutube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcsZn70xoG8[/shareyoutube]


I think it's safe to assume that they told the riders in the promo video "don't pedal" to really make it 100% clear that they are on an e-bike.
They should have shown granny overtaking someone going up a hill to really make the point clear :D

Every single e-bike I've seen on the road has always had the rider pedalling as well. Lots of them look to be pedalling lightly in a high gear, but none of the e-riders I've seen so far has been coasting along like a scooter. The few times I've done it I've only lasted a few seconds because it's too slow. Why do 20kph cruising when I could do 30kph+ pedalling?

The advantage with the e-assist was when I had to catch the train into the city for a training course, I rode gently to the station in my jeans and hoodie and didn't get all sweaty. Kept the car off the road all that week. Normally when I finish my commute I'm sweating and breathing fairly hard but being able to cruise at a still decent speed while not overdoing it in normal clothes was useful.
Last edited by Mububban on Wed Jul 20, 2016 10:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
When you are driving your car, you are not stuck IN traffic - you ARE the traffic!!!

diventare
Posts: 165
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:41 am

Re: Are e-bikes healthy?

Postby diventare » Tue Jul 19, 2016 5:43 pm

So my experience is commuting every day on one on a pedelec - 40km round trip.
My usual goal is to maximise the distance (no of days) that I get from a charge and as a result I ride between 30% and 70% depending on the mood.
That means pedalling - sometimes hard.
Why do it on this and not my p-bikes? Because there are times on the p-bike around Thursday and Friday where I found commuting a slog, problem goes away by turning up the assist. I can challenge myself when I feel like it or cruise when I CBF, sometimes both in the one ride.
Sure feels like exercise to me with all the usual signs too.
Image

Mububban
Posts: 931
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2008 12:19 pm

Re: Are e-bikes healthy?

Postby Mububban » Wed Jul 20, 2016 10:31 am

Mububban wrote:Every single e-bike I've seen on the road has always had the rider pedalling as well. Lots of them look to be pedalling lightly in a high gear, but none of the e-riders I've seen so far has been coasting along like a scooter.


I must amend this - I've seen a few 3 wheeled e-trikes coming back from the shops, laden down with grocery bags. These are the only e-bikes I've seen the riders using in electric-only mode, without pedalling. Mind you that's only for the few seconds I've passed them so who knows.

It's still taking a car off the road for a presumed short trip, and they're out there enjoying the sunshine and likely getting some very light exercise. Win win for everybody.
When you are driving your car, you are not stuck IN traffic - you ARE the traffic!!!

User avatar
Comedian
Posts: 5247
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:35 pm
Location: Brisbane

Re: Are e-bikes healthy?

Postby Comedian » Wed Jul 20, 2016 2:45 pm

Mububban wrote:
Mububban wrote:Every single e-bike I've seen on the road has always had the rider pedalling as well. Lots of them look to be pedalling lightly in a high gear, but none of the e-riders I've seen so far has been coasting along like a scooter.


I must amend this - I've seen a few 3 wheeled e-trikes coming back from the shops, laden down with grocery bags. These are the only e-bikes I've seen the riders using in electric-only mode, without pedalling. Mind you that's only for the few seconds I've passed them so who knows.

It's still taking a car off the road for a presumed short trip, and they're out there enjoying the sunshine and likely getting some very light exercise. Win win for everybody.


Look e-bike riders get very defensive. I own a gazelle electric and ride it a couple of times a week. I would estimate probably 40% of e-bikes have a similar performance to mine. Maybe another 30% have performance that's clearly better than mine but not massively (Ie they can cruise low 30's with light pedalling). The rest have performance that just makes a mockery of legality.

But that's what I see in Brisbane. It's probably different everywhere. Since the bosch mid drive motors I'm seeing far more "legal" e-bikes than ever.

Return to “Electric Bicycles”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users