E-bikes for the young at heart?
There’s no question that as we age we look to build healthier habits and hobbies. This is never more true than after we retire. Turning the page to a new chapter in life means a fresh start for many of us, and electric bikes are fast becoming the new favorite activity. E-bikes are an exciting new prospect peaking the interest of golden-agers, not just because they are an easy, safe, and eco-friendly way to get around, but because they are fun, allow you to be active at your own pace, and they make you feel like a kid again.
We all know that cycling is a fantastic aerobic exercise that improves blood flow and overall cardiovascular health. Not only does cycling improve our physical state, but it also improves the mind. Cycling releases endorphins (the feel good hormone), making us feel lighter, happier and ready to conquer the world.
Why are E-bikes becoming popular for older adults?
The biggest reason why E-bikes are becoming so popular in the 55+ crowd is the fact that they have a motor! This means they can be ridden like a normal bicycle, thus giving the rider all the physical health benefits that bicycling provides, or they can be ridden in motor-only mode, so that they are driven similarly to a moped, requiring no pedaling at all on the part of the rider. The best feature of all is that E-bikes can be ridden as both a pedal bike and a motorized bike at the same time, with what is called “pedal-assist” or PAS. With PAS you get all the benefits of a bicycle, with the advantage of getting a little “help” when needed. Pedal-assist mode makes pedaling the E-bike easier as you are in control of how much motor assistance your bike gives when you are pedaling, a little bit of a help, or a lot. No more struggling to get up those hills or to keep up with your younger companions, or worrying about aches or pains on a longer ride. With pedal-assist and throttle-only modes, now the struggles are removed and you are in control of the effort you put into your ride. Now you can truly “Ride and Go” with ease of mind, wherever your journey takes you.
Okay I’m sold! What should I look for in an E-bike?
Now that you’re ready to buy your first E-bike, what are some things you should consider before making your purchase?
The first and most obvious thing would be comfort. Take a look at the frame of the bike, how the handlebars are situated, and what kind of seat the bike has. Some people prefer the forward-riding position of a mountain bike style frame, while others prefer to sit more up right, like with a cruiser-style bike, putting less weight on their forearms, wrists and hands and less strain on their backs. Some prefer the sleek, firm seat of a regular bike, while others prefer the wider saddle-style seat with suspension for less vibration and impact from bumps. E-bikes with step through frames have a center cross bar lower to the ground, offering easy entry to get on and off the bike. This is a good option if you struggle with lifting your legs over a bike, or if you like a lower standing height on a bike.
Other important considerations are how fast the bike will go, how long the battery will last, how heavy the bike is (for pedaling and lifting) and lastly, whether the throttle is a twist-style throttle (similar to that found on a motorcycle), or a thumb-style throttle (similar to that found on an all-terrain). Here are a few features of each that might help you decide.
Motors on E-bikes can typically range from 250-watts to 750-watts, and each one performs differently. Watts can be thought of as the “strength of power” an E-bike has under stressed conditions, similar to “horsepower” in an automobile. For example, when you hit the throttle, how quickly will the e-bike reach the desired speed? Is the bike punchy or does it take off more slowly? Alternatively, how easily will it climb hills? Keep in mind, the weight of the rider plus cargo, combined with the weight limitation on the bike will have an impact on these characteristics.
With a 250-watt motor you can expect to travel up to speeds of 15 MPH, which is pretty fast for casual use. It's a good choice for weights under 200 pounds and for people who prefer to exert more energy by pedaling. It will perform great on flat terrain with small hills but may be sluggish on steeper hills and with heavier cargo.
A 500-watt motor consumes more energy but offers more torque and power. It can handle hills easily, and it's good for people who want maximum assistance from their E-bike. The electric-only feature lets the bike do all of the work, reaching speeds past 20 MPH while requiring little to no physical effort. A higher watt motor adds power and speed to your E-bike so tackling any hill is a breeze, but it also puts more drain on the battery. For this reason, higher watt E-bikes typically come with larger batteries and more driving range, but they trade-off weight of the unit to have these features.
Most e-bikes come with both pedal assist (PAS) and throttle options to engage the motor. The PAS options range from 1 to 9 levels of assistance, or all the way from very little assistance to very little effort required. The number of PAS levels on a bike are not extremely important, as they range from low to high, but ideally a good bike would have at least 3-5 levels for you to get your optimum level of assistance under all driving conditions.
With the throttle, most E-bikes have either a twist throttle, where you twist the entire handle grip, or they have a thumb depressor. The choice of which option you choose will depend on your own preference and strengths.
Purchasing a new E-bike is a great way to get outdoors, join with friends and family and participate in an activity that brings a sense of joy and well-being in addition to the physical health benefits gained from cycling. Whether you simply want to run errands or you want to cruise around the community for fun, here at Ride and Go Electrics we are confident that we have a product will suit your needs. Check out our website, give us a call or send us an email if you have any questions or need help finding your perfect bike. You can also check out our Frequently Asked Questions page as well. Here you’ll find many answers to our most asked questions. We look forward to serving you and helping you “Ride and Go” with ease.