Is An Electric Bike Still Good Exercise?: The Surprising Truth

Is an electric bike still good exercise?

The answer might surprise you! While e-bikes provide assistance, research shows they offer significant health benefits and make activity more accessible.

Let’s uncover the truth about e-bikes and fitness, exploring how they can enhance your overall well-being.

Key Takeaways

  • Electric bikes absolutely can be considered good exercise, although the type of exercise differs slightly from a traditional bike.
  • Research highlights that e-bikes lead to longer and more frequent rides, boosting overall physical activity.
  • E-bikes are excellent exercise tools by making cycling more accessible for all fitness levels and motivating increased enjoyment.

Is an Electric Bike Still Good Exercise?

Absolutely! An electric bike is still good exercise. They encourage longer, more frequent rides, leading to similar or even greater overall fitness benefits compared to traditional cycling. Plus, the assistance makes exercise more accessible and enjoyable for a wider range of people.

Understanding How Electric Bikes Work

Before we examine the health benefits of e-bikes, let’s understand how they function.

  • Pedal-Assist vs Throttle: Most e-bikes have a pedal-assist system –the motor kicks in as you pedal, giving an extra boost. Throttle-based e-bikes provide power on demand using a throttle lever, with or without pedaling.
  • E-Bike Classes:
    • Class 1: Pedal-assist only, with motor support up to 20 mph.
    • Class 2: Pedal-assist and throttle, with motor support up to 20 mph.
    • Class 3: Pedal-assist only, with motor support up to 28 mph.

The level of assistance you receive, along with your e-bike class, will impact your workout potential.

Science Behind E-Bikes and Exercise

Studies Show Electric Bikes Provide Significant Exercise Benefits

Contrary to popular belief, multiple studies confirm that e-bikes provide good exercise options. While it may seem counterintuitive, research shows that e-bikers often end up exercising more compared to traditional cyclists. Here’s why:

  • Increased Frequency and Duration: E-bikes encourage people to ride more often and for longer distances due to the ease and enjoyment they offer. This increased activity has shown significant improvements in cardio and overall fitness.
  • Cardiovascular Exercise: While your heart rate may be slightly lower than a traditional bike ride, e-bikes still provide moderate-intensity aerobic exercise necessary for improving cardiovascular health.

How E-Bikes Compare to Traditional Biking

It’s true that riding a traditional bike may demand greater levels of exertion in certain instances. However, a key factor in exercise efficacy is consistency. Let’s compare:

FeatureElectric BikeTraditional Bike
Heart RateMay be slightly lowerMay be higher
Exertion LevelsCan be less intenseCan be more intense
Ride DurationPotential for longer ridesRide length may be affected by stamina
Overall ExerciseSignificant exercise potentialSignificant exercise potential

Benefits of Electric Bikes for Exercise

Accessibility for All Fitness Levels

Due to the assistance they provide, e-bikes open up cycling to a wider range of people, regardless of their fitness level. They:

  • Reduced Physical Strain: The boost provided by the motor offers assistance on hills and reduces the overall perceived exertion level, especially for beginners and those returning to exercise.
  • Joint-friendly Workout: Compared to traditional bikes or high-impact activities, e-bikes reduce strain on joints, suitable for individuals with injuries or mobility concerns.

Motivation and Enjoyment

Electric bikes contribute to an overall positive fitness experience:

  • Fun Factor: Tackling challenging terrain or simply riding further feels more achievable with an e-bike, keeping riders motivated and coming back for more.
  • Reduced Discomfort: Less fatigue leads to a more enjoyable ride, increasing the likelihood of staying consistent with an exercise routine.

Electric Bikes for Commuting and Errands

E-bikes offer a way to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine:

  • Replacing Car Trips: Using an e-bike for short commutes or errands helps avoid a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Active Transportation: Even with some assistance, pedaling contributes to consistent, moderate-intensity exercise.

Choosing the Right Electric Bike for Fitness

To optimize your workouts on an e-bike, consider:

  • Class 1 E-bikes: Class 1 e-bikes, with motor assistance only while pedaling, provide the most potential for a traditional cycling-like workout.
  • Throttle Functionality: E-bikes with both pedal-assist and throttle offer added versatility, but relying solely on the throttle minimizes exercise benefits.

Adjusting Assist Levels

Customize your workouts by using the motor assistance strategically:

  • Lowering Assist: As your fitness improves, gradually reduce assistance levels to challenge yourself further.
  • Interval Training: Alternate between low and high assistance levels to mimic challenging interval workouts.

Incorporating Hills and Challenging Terrain

Even with an electric bike, you can incorporate natural resistance elements for greater calorie burn and muscle engagement:

  • Intentional Routes: Actively seek out routes with varying elevations and hills to provide natural resistance, push yourself with the added help of pedal-assist.
  • Resistance Training: Even short, steep hills increase effort, offering strength-building benefits for leg muscles.

E-Bike Technology and Exercise Tracking

Stay informed, manage workouts, and maximize your results with smart features:

  • Fitness Trackers: Many fitness trackers are compatible with e-bikes to monitor heart rate, calorie expenditure, ride duration.
  • E-bike Displays: Built-in e-bike displays can track ride statistics and often let you customize modes based on fitness goals.

Types of Electric Bikes and Exercise Potential

E-Bike ClassSystem TypeTypical Top SpeedFitness Potential
Class 1Pedal-assist20 mphHighest
Class 2Pedal-assist & Throttle20 mphModerate
Class 3Pedal-assist28 mphLower


Do you burn calories on an electric bike?

Yes! Riding an e-bike still requires consistent pedaling, which contributes to calorie burn. The increased ride times compared to regular bikes often lead to burning a similar or even higher amount of calories.

Will an electric bike help me lose weight?

In conjunction with a healthy diet, regular rides on an e-bike can definitely aid weight loss by supporting consistent physical activity and aiding your overall calorie deficit.

Can I build muscle with an electric bike?

While less intense than hardcore cycling, e-bikes still activate your leg muscles. Incorporating hills and varied resistance, plus increasing ride duration, can contribute to muscle development.

Are electric bikes good for seniors?

For many seniors, an e-bike is a wonderful low-impact exercise option. It aids with strength, balance, and overall wellbeing through manageable and enjoyable cycling.

Are electric bikes good for people with health conditions?

Always consult your doctor first. But e-bikes, due to their reduced strain, may be ideal for controlled exercise recommended with certain health conditions, encouraging increased activity in a safe and manageable way.


Electric bikes are far more than a leisurely transport option. When actively managed and considered part of your fitness routine, they provide excellent options for exercise. They promote inclusivity, motivation, and offer enjoyable opportunities to get moving. While a different form of workout than traditional bikes, the fitness benefits they unlock are undeniable–it’s still up to the rider to actively and intentionally pedal to get the most out of their e-bike and their health.

Abhay Akkina is a dedicated enthusiast and ebike nerd. While riding his ebike near his home, he noticed the curiosity of others about his ebike and their requests for guidance on solving ebike issues. This inspired him to create this blog to share his knowledge and passion for ebikes with everyone.

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