Ebikes Bad for knees?

Giant Warp

Local time
7:12 AM
Jul 19, 2020
So on a traditional mountain bike I am a masher on the pedals. On an ebike I have a crazy fast cadence and my bike rides are twice as long as before. I hate to say it but I think the ebike is bad for my knees. LOL

I used to be big into running and biking. The problem was if I skipped biking for a week to run, then my biking would suffer. If I skipped running to bike, my running would really suffer. I think that since the ebike really takes the edge off of mountain biking I may focus on running most of the time and ease up on the ebike . What say?
Erm, sounds like you should ditch the e-bike and just do what you were doing before? What do you mean by "biking would suffer"? Are you competing on the bike or running?

Nobody who is a serious runner spends a ton of time on a bike, and vise versa. They're semi-complimentary but not enough that you'd do 50/50 bike/run if you wanted to concentrate on one or the other. So yeah, if you spend most of your time riding your bike, you won't be as good of a runner as if you ran most of the time. Not real complicated...

Ditch the ebike? Not going to happen. The ebike is the perfect companion to the runner. That way I don't have to be in "biking shape" all the time and can focus more on running.
You think it's bad for your knees or it is bad for your knees? A higher cadence is generally better IME. You also might just be getting old ;-)
Ok, you just contradicted your original post, at least inasmuch as I understand it. If you prefer running, and the e-bike hurts your knees...seems like the logical move is to not ride the e-bike?

Agreed with Harry, too - higher cadence is generally good for knees.

I'm confused.

Usually runners end up with bad knees and take up pedaling for less impact, FYI. I tried running once, found out there was no coasting.....
I have also heard it said that people should ride bike if they have bad knees. Although the phrase may be common to hear, from what I have read it is not true. There are many different types of knee injuries. Biking may change the type of stress on the knee but the actual number of times the joint is moved can be much more prevalant while biking.

I am not sure what other people do with their ebikes but I use mine to augment my mountain bike abilities. Maybe other people are hitting fire roads or going to the grocery store. I use mine to climb areas that are only reserved for hikers, motos, or extremely fit mtn bike riders.

Before the ebike I may have done a ride that was 10-12 miles. Now I ride double the mileage and double the time. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to realize that is twice the workout on the knees. Before the ebike I would attack a hill in granny hill, mashing most of the way, stopping for breaks if needed, stopping at the top of the hill if needed. Now with the ebike, there is no stopping for breaks to catch my breath, the cadence could be double what it was before (read double the knee movement), and I never get to the point on a ride that I need to stop and rest. I think this may be a recipe to aggravate the knees.
I don't understand the higher cadence thing.

If I'm reading that right you're going the same speed as you do on your mountain bike? Seems like you'd be going faster with the motor but either way you should be able to use a gear that allows you a comfortable cadence.

I agree with others that at least on a bicycle higher cadence is generally a good thing as far as knees go.
Also whenever my knees are hurting hard effort is always the most bothersome, the cure is to take it a little easier until they feel better. Since you're obviously producing less watts while riding the e-bike it doesn't make sense that it would bother you more than the mountain bike, I guess it must be because you're just riding it a lot more.

You should check the fit carefully if you haven't already.
So just stop for breaks. Or ride your normal bike. It sounds like the e-bike is (inexpicably) harming your knees...so don't do it anymore?


I am baffled by this topic, I have to admit. It seems like the solutions are pretty obvious - take it a little easier on the e-bike, or stop riding it.

I think the higher cadence is a result of two things. The Levo is much heavier than a regular bike plus the trails I ride are steep. It is too much torque on the drive train to just simply pick a taller gear when climbing. For instance, take a 51 lb bike plus a riding weight of around 200 lbs. I carry extra Co2 than normal because of the large 27.5 X 3.0 tires. Then there is the spare tube and tools. Since the ebike is much faster than a regular bike you really have to bring a good wind breaker jacket or rain jacket. If you are used to riding an average of 5 mph and then change to 10 mph you are going to create more wind. Thus, your riding clothes will need to be heavier if it is cold out.

So what am I saying? The total weight is much higher (250 lbs climbing weight). If you try to climb in taller gears, number one the Levo motor will put out more torque thus wasting more battery power and number two the torque on the drive train will be excessive. Then if and when you need to change gears under load there are going to problems. It is better for the Levo to just pick a lower gear and pedal like mad (read high cadence) than to ride climbing in a excessively high torque condition. It might sound crazy but riding the Levo is "not" like riding a regular bike. Sure, you could go out and rip around and tear up equipment but that is expensive. When I rented demo Levo bikes you could just leave the bikes in almost the tallest gear with the power at 100% and then stand up and pedal whenever needed. However, if that is the way you ride then get ready to buy chains and replace broken spokes and derailleurs.

I think what really aggravated my knees was a recent trip to Moab. I rode the Slickrock trail (including the practice loop) in 1.5 hrs. Given the weight of the bike, gear, and myself it was necessary to have a high cadence to keep things from breaking. Cheers
Well, a normal mountain bike, even a pretty light one, is only going to be 20 pounds lighter, give or take, so the vehicle weight isn't a lot different (230 vs 250).

If you are truly riding twice as fast and up much steeper stuff, that's indeed your problem (and coincidentally what most people here think is the real problem with e-bikes).

Solution? Ride normal mountain bike speed.

Dude, raise or lower your seat maybe? Top of knee or under knee pain? You're correct, the Levo loves to spin a lighter gear and the bike gives back more power when you do so. I find my upper body gets a greater workout.
That's the kind out advice I was looking for. See, I think Walt puts the tin foil on his head when actually it should be around the knees. I know they sell them medical magnets. Perhaps if the magnets were located at the ankles then they would increase the electro forces in the motor.