the downside of ebikes

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pagheca

Guest
everyone here talks about the positives (which, for goodness sake, I don't forget!), but I was thinking about the negatives compared to pedal bikes. The ones that come to mind are:

1) significant weight (reduced handling).
2) difficult or impossible to take them on a plane when traveling
3) high cost
4) limited range, then they become difficult to move, making trips of more than one day or that include large climbs complicated
5) fire risk (fairly relative but still greater than zero-see point 2)
6) difficult and expensive to repair in case of failure, in particular much more complicated DIY
7) rather noisy

Can you think of any others?
 
All good points but they don't overcome the benefits, at least to me. Weight is no an issue unless you need to lift it often which I have no need to do. I wouldn't have a need to take on a plane, some road bikes cost way more than the $1200 I spent on my ebike, I don't do rides over 50 miles, and I charge the battery off the bike during the day when I can keep an eye on it. Mine uses Samsung batteries so I think the fire danger is very low. I've only had one repair and I was easily able to do it myself (controller). Noise is not an issue either. I have the 2.4" tires and the motor is virtually quiet with pedal assist 2 which is most of what my riding consists of. I'm sure others have different situations where your points are valid and do cause issues. You just have to weigh the pros and cons to see what works for you.
 
You are right: it strictly depends from your requirements. Personally, I found the handling of my Trek Powerfly 7 F.S. much worst than any previous bicycle I owned. But of course I LOVE IT and the possibilities it provides around home, where it could be impossible for me to ride with a pedal-only bike.
 
I'm finding the number one problem for me is service.
Warranty is fine but if there is no place to take it doesn't do much good.
 
Poor front/rear balance in the case of hub motor eBikes. They tend to be rear-heavy due to the heavy hub motor. The battery tends to go up front to help to a degree, but on most bike designs, most of the rider's weight is over the rear wheel when seated.

This is not a big deal for bikes that are not often airborne, except when trying to use a cheap strap-on bike rack for the car.

Mid-drive bikes overcome this by having the motor and gearing at about the bike's front/rear center of mass and the battery forward of that point.
 
1) significant weight (reduced handling).
When you have a motor weight doesn't matter.

2) difficult or impossible to take them on a plane when traveling
I've never wanted to do this, but why not just rent one when you get there?

3) high cost
Bicycles can cost just as much or more.

4) limited range, then they become difficult to move, making trips of more than one day or that include large climbs complicated.
My bike doesn't have this problem.

5) fire risk (fairly relative but still greater than zero-see point 2)
The danger of getting run over from behind on a unpowered slow bicycle is greater than a eBike catching fire.

6) difficult and expensive to repair in case of failure, in particular much more complicated DIY
I guess this is a legit complaint for a lot of eBikes.

7) rather noisy
My bike is silent.

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But many of the 'Cons' are not necessarily valid.

Valid = e-bikes probably not good for a multi-day back country expedition.
 
everyone here talks about the positives (which, for goodness sake, I don't forget!), but I was thinking about the negatives compared to pedal bikes. The ones that come to mind are:

1) significant weight (reduced handling).
2) difficult or impossible to take them on a plane when traveling
3) high cost
4) limited range, then they become difficult to move, making trips of more than one day or that include large climbs complicated
5) fire risk (fairly relative but still greater than zero-see point 2)
6) difficult and expensive to repair in case of failure, in particular much more complicated DIY
7) rather noisy

Can you think of any others?

But many of the 'Cons' are not necessarily valid.

Valid = e-bikes probably not good for a multi-day back country expedition.

I dunno man, they all look valid to me, even if the risks are low or if they don't bother you.

You can't deny significant weight, except on super-expensive eRoadbikes.

Difficult to take on a plane; that's valid, even if it's not a problem for you specifically.

High cost is definitely valid, comparing like quality level bikes.

Limited range is valid, due to the much higher weight.

Fire risk is non-zero on eBikes. That's not to say we're willing to TAKE that risk.

Noisy? Yes, noisier than mechanical bikes in a similar state of repair.
 
They aren't good for riding thru salt water. They will degrade faster under those conditions than a std bike.

Higher rate of theft than standard bikes.

Too many of them are just fugly with wires flaying

Many of them exceed MUP speed limits, posing a threat to public safety.

Who is going to recycle all those batteries?

What % of ebike riders have ever handled a pedal only bicycle at the speeds they ride? Esuicide machines?

Hospitals report more serious outcomes for ebike riders arriving at ERs.

And the children, who is going to protect the children!
 
1) significant weight (reduced handling).
When you have a motor weight doesn't matter.

2) difficult or impossible to take them on a plane when traveling
I've never wanted to do this, but why not just rent one when you get there?

3) high cost
Bicycles can cost just as much or more.

4) limited range, then they become difficult to move, making trips of more than one day or that include large climbs complicated.
My bike doesn't have this problem.

5) fire risk (fairly relative but still greater than zero-see point 2)
The danger of getting run over from behind on a unpowered slow bicycle is greater than a eBike catching fire.

6) difficult and expensive to repair in case of failure, in particular much more complicated DIY
I guess this is a legit complaint for a lot of eBikes.

7) rather noisy
My bike is silent.

View attachment 9702

biknut, what kind of bike is that? Is that something you built? It's kind of awesome looking.

Pagheca,
As far as negatives, it might be my imagination, but I feel like lack of having front suspension on a heavier ebike is more noticeable than on a regular bike that weighs less. It seems like it should be the opposite, but I'm just reporting what I'm sensing. Our only ebike is an Aventon Pace 500.2 and bumps are pretty jarring on the front end. Maybe our tire pressure is too high. It's why I think our next next ebike will have suspension on at least the front. The one in biknut's photo is interesting, with suspension front and back with lots of travel.
 
biknut, what kind of bike is that? Is that something you built? It's kind of awesome looking.

Pagheca,
As far as negatives, it might be my imagination, but I feel like lack of having front suspension on a heavier ebike is more noticeable than on a regular bike that weighs less. It seems like it should be the opposite, but I'm just reporting what I'm sensing. Our only ebike is an Aventon Pace 500.2 and bumps are pretty jarring on the front end. Maybe our tire pressure is too high. It's why I think our next next ebike will have suspension on at least the front. The one in biknut's photo is interesting, with suspension front and back with lots of travel.
A possible con to adding front suspension is that the front end doesn't feel as precise when turning at low speed or stopping; there's just some motion in it that doesn't feel as satisfying. My Level.2 has front suspension and my heybike Ranger had it too.
 
biknut, what kind of bike is that? Is that something you built? It's kind of awesome looking.
Thanks. My bike is a 2013 Stealth Bomber, made in Australia, that I bought new online. I've modified it over the years to suit my personal riding preferences.
 
To me, a bike is meant to be ridden, not to be carried, not packed up to go on flights, I don't even transport my bike before I ride it.

A bike is only as good as you use it. A bike could be $500, 5000 or 10k, but if you don't get to ride it, spend time on how to use it, you'll never learn how to operate it to suit your specific riding needs.

The more maintenance you have to do on the bike, the less time you get to ride it.

Weight distribution, overall weight, those are just what comes with the bike.
Hop on the bike and ride, do you honestly feel the difference?
Does the bike do what you need it to do?
Does the bike get you where you need to be?
Does it really matter if you get there few seconds faster or slower?
Does it matter to you if you're spending thousands more to save those few seconds?
Personally, I rather spend money to enhance the cycling experience, more comfortable seat, cycling shorts, gloves, eat better foods on rides, visit places that I don't usually go and get foods that I don't usually get to experience.

Faster, lighter, cheaper bikes will always come next year.
There are only so many years one can pedal, enjoy while you can.
 
As far as negatives, it might be my imagination, but I feel like lack of having front suspension on a heavier ebike is more noticeable than on a regular bike that weighs less.
My bike is full suspensions, but that introduces another problem: my feeling is that because of the heavy battery on the front tube, the center of mass of the bike is slightly ahead respect to my old pedal bikes. But because the center of mass of a person on a bike is quite high, the long lever makes this a significant change, increasing the tendency to tip over when braking on steep descents (more than 30% sometime), which was quite scary for me, and makes braking very long. At the beginning I have sometimes come to an intersection of one of those extremely steep mulateers, covered by uneven stones, with a road, and failed to brake in time, saving myself only by sheer luck. The compression of the front suspension when you have to come to a full stop on a steep descent increases the issue.

I learnt the lesson now and am much more careful (and learnt to ride in a better position and at lower speed), but I never experienced something like that with a pedal bike.
 
@Everyone: the up and downsides of everything depends strictly from your requirements, I fully agree: if you run a farm a tractor is better than having the fastest and most expensive hypercar. However, some common principles exist, when you compare a tractor to an hypercar. For example: the tractor is better offroad, but not good on a highway. And viceversa.
 
The biggest downside to me would be the maintenance and repairability of an ebike.

An acoustic bike can last almost in perpetuity, as long as it is well maintained. Components can usually be easily found and replaced.

With an ebike, batteries have limited lives, and sensitive electrical components are more likely to fail with age. You are at the mercy of hoping your LBS has the know-how to make a complicated repair on your model, and that the manufacturer of your bike will maintain important stock pieces (including batteries) for more than a couple of years.
 
I think the first downside problem for the e-bike is the battery, also the same problem for e-car and drone. The second downside is the repairability for the e-bike.
 
But many of the 'Cons' are not necessarily valid.

Valid = e-bikes probably not good for a multi-day back country expedition.
On a multi day trip, you should take an extra battery and charger. If you were off roading with a gas powered vehicle, you would take a jug of gas with you, no?? These arguments are pretty moot and easily overcome.
 
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