Electric bikes have come a long way in the past decade, from seldom seen oddities to skyrocketing sales. It’s hard to argue against the obvious transportation advantages of e-bikes; they simply help people to get to their destination faster and without much sweat.
However, the same reduction in pedaling pain also leads to a nagging criticism that e-bike riders can sometimes find difficult to shake off: the misconception that e-bikes don’t provide good training.
This may have a certain basis for North American e-bikes that are only operated on gas (sorry Europeans, no fun for you!).
But when it comes to e-bikes used in pedal-assist modes where the user must provide their own muscle power before using motor-assist, the proof is in the pudding. And kicking.
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence supporting the benefits of e-bike training, such as: B. Drivers who have lost more than 45 kg thanks to their e-bikes.
But hard data extrapolated to a wider range of drivers usually tells a more complete story.
San Diego-based electric bike company Juiced Bikes recently set out to break the record for pedal-assist e-bikes and their fitness benefits.
The Juiced team took the company’s latest model, the RipCurrent S ST, and used a fitness monitor to test how many calories a rider burned on a bike ride.
The bike has thick tires that would normally be difficult to pedal without assistance, but are perfectly manageable on an e-bike with several levels of pedal assistance.
The tests included a 45-minute ride on hilly terrain, performed entirely with level 2 pedal assistance. With a total of five levels of pedal assistance, level 2 keeps riders at the end of the spectrum with higher exertion. Level 1 is usually reserved for fit riders looking for some serious workout, while Level 5 makes it easy to go fast with minimal effort.
The end results were 498 calories burned at a rate of 664 calories per hour. According to a handy chart I found, this rate roughly equates to activities like playing basketball, a firefighter hauling hoses, or a rousing game of the ultimate frisbee.
As Juiced explained:
“At the end of the ride, with an average heart rate of 106 beats per minute, a total of 498 calories were burned. These statistics are quite encouraging to those looking to add some physical activity to their routines. “
These results should come as no surprise to anyone. We have seen many examples of field tests showing that electric bikes powered by pedal assistance can provide a calorie burn rate equivalent to several common types of exercise.
Rad Power Bikes from Seattle carried out an interesting field test with riders of different sizes who used different e-bikes with different levels of pedal assistance. The results were fascinating as they gave insight into a wider range of drivers and driving scenarios.
An academic study of e-bikes carried out earlier this year by Miami University concluded that while riders using a non-electric bike exercise higher levels of intensity, exercise on electric bikes still provides the moderate levels of intensity that recommended to avoid or reduce the risk of serious health problems.
And while this may sound counter-intuitive, some studies have actually found that electric cyclists get more exercise than pedal cyclists over the long term. This is usually because such studies have shown that e-bike riders are on the road much longer and more frequently than pedal cyclists. Although pedal cyclists burn more calories per trip, e-bike riders burn more calories overall and move more because they spend more time exercising.
I’ve definitely noticed that on my own rides. And even if I like to ride my e-bikes with higher power, I can still get a great workout. A 1,500 W electric bike might sound like a dirt bike, but it makes my heart (literally) beat faster.
The fitness and weight loss argument is just one of the many advantages of electric bikes. The list of e-bike perks is long, but getting healthy and having fun at the same time is definitely a chart topper.
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