Infographic: “Why Do People Use E-Bikes?”


Here’s an interesting infographic on why people use e-bikes we thought we’d share.

The biggest hurdle for e-bike manufacturers to overcome at the moment is price. Most e-bikes are on the expensive side, which makes the market for buyers rather small, but over time this will certainly change as economies of scale and innovations drive down costs.

E-Bike Infographic

E-Bike Infographic (click to enlarge)

Category: Bikes

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46 responses to "Infographic: “Why Do People Use E-Bikes?”"
  1. ModernMarvelFan says:

    I didn’t need a shower after driving my PEV to work as well…

    If you don’t need a shower after the bike ride, then you obviously didn’t ride the bike hard enough…

    A decent E-Bike cost about 1/2 the price of an used Nissan LEAF with about 50K miles. But has only about 1/3 of the range.

    However, the e-Bikes are really just parallel hybrids, NOT really “all electric” bikes…

    1. Scramjett says:

      “If you don’t need a shower after the bike ride, then you obviously didn’t ride the bike hard enough…”

      Most E-Bikes are “pedal assist” E-Bikes. You can very your effort anywhere from having the motor do everything for you to having your legs do everything for you. One use-case would be if you need to dress up for work in the morning, then you can use heavy assistance to all motor so you don’t work up a sweat in your clothes. But then for your ride home, you can change into sweat/workout clothes and change the assistance level to minimal or no assistance.

      “A decent E-Bike cost about 1/2 the price of an used Nissan LEAF with about 50K miles…”

      Are you saying that a Leaf with 50k miles is about $4000 to $6000? Because most decent E-Bikes are about $2000 to $3000. You can probably also pick up a decent used one for half that.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        Sure, the e-Bike has the benefit of assisting. But that is just hybrid mode.

        A decent eBike (that I consider as decent) cost way more than the price you quoted. They usually come with full suspension.

        They are often in the $4K to $5K range (which is 1/2 of the price of a $10K LEAF).

        1. Scramjett says:

          LoL, we clearly have different definition of “decent!” I’ve been looking at a Dutch-like “Long John” cargo bike that’s been retrofitted with electric assist. That is $4000.

          Most e-Bikes in the price range I’m talking about are based on the sub-$1000 commuter/urban hybrid bikes (that’s hybrid road/mountain frames). I have one of those (Novara Fusion) that is all pedal with no electric assist and it is a solid bike. I have given it quite a beating and the thing just takes it like a champ. The Pedego is a hybrid with electric assist (can you see why we don’t call e-Bikes hybrids?) that is a great quality bike and will only set you back about $2500. No full suspension, but unless you plan on rock hopping, you don’t really need it.

          1. ModernMarvelFan says:

            “The Pedego is a hybrid with electric assist (can you see why we don’t call e-Bikes hybrids?)”


            You mean how Volt owners don’t want to be grouped into PHEV that includes Prius Plugin? =)

            1. Scramjett says:

              Haha, got me there! 🙂

              Nah, when cyclists talk hybrids, they’re usually referring to frames; specifically the hybrid frames used in the so-called “urban/commuter” bikes. If you start referring to e-Bikes as hybrids, that would just confuse the heck out of everyone.

              1. ModernMarvelFan says:

                I know.

                There are also road/MTB hybrids out there that have front suspension and slightly wider tires…

                I guess we should change them to “crossovers”. LOL =)

                1. Scramjett says:

                  LOL, there you go! 🙂

    2. Ken says:

      I bought my dad a Currie Ezip Trailz a couple years ago at walmart for $298. Recently they had one in clearance for $125. I picked that one up for mom. Dad is almost 60 and has bad knees but loves to ride his bike 10+ miles a day with no pedaling. Sometimes he takes it out twice a day. His 2010 ezip has thousands of miles on it now. I did have to buy new $40 lead acid batteries for it this year. His bike goes 16mph and has a range between 15-22 miles. So a decent ebike does not have to cost a fortune. For half the price of a used Leaf, you could buy a Brammo Enertia Plus electric motorcycle not just a bicycle ($5995)

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        Well, you must got a really good price or NOT really good e-Bike.

        Currently, Currie’s own website listed price range of $3K to $5K for their various models…

        1. Scramjett says:

          What prices are you looking at? The E3 Vibe is only $800!

          If I were to get a Currie, I’d go with the E3 Path+. Looks like a great hybrid (there’s that word again!) e-Bike. 🙂

          1. ModernMarvelFan says:

            I was looking at the iZip series.

            1. Scramjett says:

              So was I. It was your link.

        2. Ken says:

          I believe the original price was only $398, $298 was a sale price. I’ve recommended it to plenty of people as it is a great bike but now they ate getting very hard to find. Not sure why Currie abandoned the ezip and is only selling more expensive bikes. Here’s a brand new one for $323 plus shipping.

          1. ModernMarvelFan says:

            Yeah, thanks.

            After you mentioned it, I googled the model and the same link came up.

            I think they are going to higher price models since that is where the profits are.

            E-Bikes are very popular in China and India and they are already overcrowding the low end market.

          2. pjwood1 says:

            That’s a 450 watt bike.

            It’s old, but I remember Fabian Cancellara, at the Tour of California B-L-O-W-I-N-G away the field, in a time trial that probably saw a sustained, human, 600 watts. In a 4+ minute event, he put 2 seconds into everybody where the top ten were all 2-4 seconds behind him.

            …love the checker. That’s impressive whether we’re talking F1, cycling, EV’s or PEDs.

  2. jsmay311 says:

    A person can build themselves a decent e-bike using a cheap mountain bike and an e-bike retrofit kit for well under $1000. Hardly “1/2 the price an (sic) used Nissan Leaf”. 😛

    Problem is, anytime you see someone trying to sell a custom-built e-bike, they’re usually going after a high-end customer and price their e-bike accordingly. And e-bike stories tend to get more attention online when it’s some exotic design that costs $3000-5000, or when it’s just a concept from a car company that will never be sold.

    I own and ride my e-bike because it’s:

    -Environmentally friendly
    -Allows me to get as much exercise as I want. Or as little as I want.
    -Allows me to go faster and further than a regular bike.

    It’s a great compromise between driving (costly, polluting, zero exercise) and biking (difficult, slow, sweaty).

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      Sure,you can go on Amazon and buy one of those wheel/hub motor kits that range from $400 to $600 (battery NOT included).

      If you go with SLA, then it is cheap and only cost about $50 to $100 depeding on the size.

      If you go with Lithium ion, then it would cost you easily $200 to $300 (including charger).

      Sure, it is under $1K, but you only get a range about 20 miles at most, certainy NOT EPA cycle. =)

      Yes, I have looked at it for “fun reasons” but it is certainly NOT a great commute alternative as some areas are already considering restrict the use of those so called “motorized bikes” in traditional bike lanes or parks that allowed NON-motoried bikes. It is a gray area today as far as e-bike is concerned.

      Now, let us stop calling it e-Bike before all the BEV purists jump up and protesting that it is really a “hybrid”… =)

      1. Nick says:

        Any vehicle with a gas engine and fuel tank isn’t a pure EV.

        Wait, what were we talking about again? 🙂

    2. ModernMarvelFan says:

      “when it’s some exotic design that costs $3000-5000,”

      No, it is higher than that. Some of the lighter (relative) e-MTB cost easily $6K to $9K depending on the components. Of course, they come with full suspension and weigh less than 50 lbs…

      1. Scramjett says:

        That’s only because a standard pedal only MTB with full suspension is already around $2000 to $3000 depending on components. And you’re pushing $4000 with hydraulic disc brakes.

        1. ModernMarvelFan says:

          Hydrulic disc brakes don’t cost that much.

          You can easily get a full suspension MTB with hydraulic disc brakes for about $2500.

          The weight is the key factor (which leads to higher grade components).

          Of course, when I said “decent e-Bike”, I implied to equivalent to those mid range MTB (that cost between $1000 to $2000).

          If you are based on $150 Walmart bike, then yes, those type of e-Bikes will cost less than $1K.

          I don’t call anything from Walmart level “decent”, certainly NOT in the bike selections.

          1. Scramjett says:

            I haven’t step foot in a Walmart in over 15 years! I wouldn’t touch a Walmart with a 10 meter cattle prod!

            Never said a decent e-Bike would be under $1000. If you’re referring to my post above, I was talking about hybrid bikes (as in bikes that have a hybrid road bike/mountain bike frame). I did say that a decent e-Bike with a hybrid frame would run between $2000 to $3000.

            I was looking at folding bikes recently and the cost difference in price between the outgoing model with hydraulic disc brakes and the incoming model with mechanical disc brakes was $500. As near as I can figure (other than getting a little bit of a “facelift”) there were no other differences in components. You can certainly pick up a full suspension MTB with hydraulic disc brakes, but the components would likely not necessarily be the best quality.

            1. ModernMarvelFan says:

              I guess so.

              My MTB (between my Wife and I, we have about 6 different bicycles and 4 of them are full suspension) collection varies from $1500 to $3000 each…

              The couple hybrid (as in road/MTB) bikes that we have cost between $800 to $1000.

              So, it would be hard for us to imagine e-Bikes cost less thn $2000.

              I guess I can see the value of having an affordable e-Bike for commute reason especially if your commute is less than 5 miles and got a hilly terrain.

              I was looking at it more from a performance boost point of view. =) (more like how 918 and P1 does it).

              There are certain spots (MTB trails) where I wish I can get a little boost to get me out of trouble. I wouldn’t need a system that gives me 10 mile range, but more a torque boost from time to time and maybe a good regen system. Of course, weight would certainly be the key consideration so that pretty much eliminates anything with SLA.

              I am also looking into converting one of my “hybrid” hardtail bikes with a hub motor since we also occasionally tow our kids with our bike trailers. There are few big hills in our neighborhood which I can use a little boost as well.

              1. Scramjett says:

                Ah, yes, that would make sense. I was thinking more from a commuter mentality. It’s pretty flat here so hills are not a concern (though if I were in SF, the ONLY bike I’d be riding is an e-Bike) and weight is an issue hoisting it onto light rail or bus racks. That is why I have a regular bike. However, for commuting the entire distance, I’d prefer an e-Bike to supplement my own legs, especially on hot days, cold mornings (the cold impairs your muscles), and through the “wind tunnel” portion of my ride home.

                When I get a MTB, I probably would not use electric because the weight would probably make hopping difficult. Besides, I can’t see myself doing any hardcore trails. Mostly just single track and cross-country.

  3. Scott Franco, the greedy republican says:

    So I got my kid an electric moped for $800. It goes for 25 miles on a charge without bothering to pedal.

    Sooooooooooo What you are all saying is that a true “e-bike” costs way more and you still have to pedal.

    I’m sorry, why is that a good idea???

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      “What you are all saying is that a true “e-bike” costs way more and you still have to pedal.”

      No, you don’t have to pedal. You only pedal if you choose to. It is like a Volt. =)

    2. ClarksonCote says:

      No, they are as cheap as $500…

      I had one like this for a few years and liked it a lot. Bought from Amazon at the time I think, for $300, and sold it 2 years later for the same price. It worked very well.

  4. John says:

    The infographic pretty much describes the reason I’m considering one. I have a 10 mile each way commute now so take the bus part of the way and bike part most days, but it’s limiting in a number of ways. For me, an electric assist bike would replace our second car (a Leaf with the lease ending in about a year) and at a far lower cost than purchasing or leasing another car. Seriously considering this. I’ve always found with bikes that people are willing to pay a little more if they truly view them as transportation rather than toys. Problem is most Americans still view them as toys. To me, they have been a viable and very economical transportation option for more than 20 years. I don’t mind paying for quality and convenience if the value is there.

    1. Scramjett says:

      Yep. The lease on our Leaf expired already and I’m looking at replacing it with an e-Bike. My commute is 13 miles each way. Once stretch of road is always in a headwind and no matter how hard I pedal, I have a hard time breaking 13 MPH without burning out. An e-Bike can augment my own muscles so that I can exert the same (or less so I don’t peter out) effort and hit 20 MPH (believe me, it makes a difference!).

    2. carcus says:

      My commute is 9.5 mi ea way. I just rolled over 5,000 miles on my Kalkhoff odometer. I’ve been happy with the Kalkhoff but have never ridden another e-bike.

      I feel like I’m in pretty good shape and have considered going to a regular touring bicycle (Salsa Vaya or similar). But then I think my miles ridden would likely go down. Long(ish) commutes (more than 5 miles ea way) on a regular bike is pretty tough stuff — and why very few will do it 5 days a week.

      If I feel like I need a really good “burn” I can always shut the power off, or get the mountain bike out and hit the trails.

    3. Djoni says:

      I would say otherwise.
      People do pay more for fun and it’s the same with bike.
      Lot of people around here buy road bike way over 5 k$ and keep spending on anything they think will improve it.
      And this is just to get a good sweat.
      Yes some people have weird idea about fun!
      My own bike is a bit over 4K$ but I add high end wheels an tires for another 2k.
      I would not pay that much for basic transportation, e-bike or not.
      Nevertheless, I see more and more e-bike on cycle path and they’re not bothering me.
      They are usually rode cautiously by elder or less healty people but they take no more space than super cyclist who are sometime cycling at freigtning speed that could be more annoying and dangerous.

  5. Mikey says:

    Don’t feed the trolls.

  6. Ken says:

    I’m just curious what do bicycle commuters do when it rains? I used to ride my motorcycle to work every day that i could and id get soaked plenty of times on the way home. I even rode it home in the snow. I wouldnt take it in the morning though if it was already raining or snowing though as i didnt want to work all day with damp clothes.
    Do you wear rain gear, change your clothes, or just take the car that day? My new job is only a few miles from home now and i can easily ride my electric skateboard there and only have to change shoes. But ive yet to chance it. Last time i rode my bicycle to work i got cut off by a SUV driver and ate it hard. Arrived at work all bloody. Everyone assumed i crashed my motorcycle not my bicycle. Definitely more vunverable on a bicycle or skateboard than a motorcycle or car.

    1. carcus says:

      I check the weather. If it looks like light showers I’ll just ride. If it looks like hard rain then I take the car.

    2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      I used to cycle in all weathers, 5.5 miles each way, in a place where all weathers could include below zero, but only Celsius.

      For the rain I had a rain suit, and took greater care on corners.

      (Now I live somewhere where below zero Fahrenheit is a regular winter morning occurence, and I commute over 20 miles each way. I’ve only done 1 1/2 commutes by bicycle, and the 1 commute taught me that yes, you really do want to have cycle shorts. Sadly even with pedal assist, 40 miles of range would be a bit pricy, and since I wouldn’t do it in winter, wouldn’t avoid a car.)

    3. John says:

      If it’s raining in the morning, I’ll drive or get my wife to drive me to the bus stop. If it’s raining in the afternoon, I ride home. I live where it’s rarely cold enough to need a lot of extra layers in the rain, and getting wet from rain is no worse than getting wet from sweat. I do ride slower, make a greater effort to be visible, and take corners cautiously, especially if it’s a new rain after a long dry spell (more gunk mixed with on the streets in that case).

  7. carcus says:

    One note about fitness and e-bikes:

    When I bought my e-bike, my blood pressure was borderline high, and I was starting to feel kind of fat.

    After e-biking for a couple of seasons, my blood pressure went to borderline low, and I’ve lost almost 30 pounds. So an e-bike can certainly do plenty for your fitness level, it just depends on how (and how much) you use it.

  8. Joe says:

    I have almost 19,000 miles on my Surly Big Dummy E bike. I can haul a sh**load of stuff on it and still average 20MPH. 55 miles today, I had 25 pounds on for one trip and 65 for another. I ride it year round. Without this life changing bike I just simply would not get to ride bike anywhere near as much.

  9. Nichen says:

    I’ve had my E-bike since 2012. Best investment I’ve ever made since I use it to commute to work and use it for recreational purposes. I’m saving a ton of money by not taking my car or the bus.

  10. Robert says:

    How about the ZEV VALKYRI-E -
    59 lbs. $3,990

  11. Don H says:

    Just remember to keep the rubber side down… After 20 years on a rescue squad you won’t catch me on anything with two wheels. No second chance as my father used to say.

    1. sven says:

      I’ve had way too many close calls and see too many ghost bikes in NYC.

  12. pjwood1 says:

    This, on a day where I rode ~18 in the morning, showered, and then 4 more miles, from the cheap downtown parking lot on the commuter.

    If I were hip, I’d have one of these bikes, dump the car, and ride all of the day’s 40 miles, and SAVE time, as well.

  13. Delta says:

    How i wish Elon would let a few engineers develop a electric ebike or better still, a super slick aluminum velomobile.

    1. Scramjett says:

      That would be awesome! If they can make it as slick as the Model S, I would totally get one. They could even make a folding e-Bike that would be an “accessory” to the Model S, X and upcoming III.