Exercise on an electric bike
Many ask if it’s possible to get proper exercise and improve fitness by riding an ebike. Or, if using an electric bike equals “cheating.” As a global manufacturer of ebikes, we get these questions from many people considering an ebike. To answer, we looked at the science, listened to our customers, and even conducted our own research.
The good news is that, yes, riding an ebike provides exercise and can help improve fitness. And of course, ebikes aren’t cheating, but help people with an electric assist which they can control, increasing range and power, thus providing more opportunities to ride.
Research & Reports
There are a number of scientific studies and reports on how ebikes provide a nearly equivalent workout compared to traditional bicycles. A 2019 Brigham Young University study measured several physiological indicators and found the average heart rate of subjects riding conventional bikes was only 6.7 percent higher than those riding ebikes.
A similar study in 2021 by the University of Miami revealed conventional riders burned an average of about 400 calories per hour while ebike riders averaged approximately 300 calories per hour. In this study, heart rates of traditional bicycle riders were between 6 and 15 percent higher than ebike riders.
At Rad, we trace increased range and speed to an increase in trips which provides an increase in activity. We look at connections between ebiking and better health in our blog. And, to better understand if you can get exercise on an ebike, we ran our own experiment.
We did the law of fives: We compared calories burned on five different levels of pedal assist across five riders riding a five-mile route. The in-house experiment showed some riders actually burned more calories on a higher pedal assist than those on a lower one. Read our blog or watch the video to see it in action.
Ebiking Equals More Exercise and Improved Fitness
Given the numbers, traditional bikes may provide a better workout, but ebiking allows riding to become more integrated into daily life, and gives more people the opportunity to exercise by burning calories and increasing heart rates. And, when you’re riding an ebike, you can maximize your workout by turning off the battery assist and riding it as a conventional bicycle.
We hear from our customers how they regularly use their Rad ebikes for exercise. Our riders often report the boost in speed and power they can access helps them to make an ebike trip over a car trip or a regular bike trip that might be too challenging.
We also hear from customers with health conditions or injuries that they cannot ride a conventional bike but that ebiking is possible and increases their mobility and activity opportunities.
We hear from our customers all the time about getting exercise with their ebikes.
“So fun—and it's exercise!! I can go farther and longer while getting a good workout. With my injuries, it makes riding fun again!! Now I can zoom up hills that would have been almost impossible for me. It's like I have wings !!”
“My wife and I regularly take rides of 10 to 15 miles and thoroughly enjoy our time outdoors. For people in our mid 60’s it offers a perfect opportunity to enjoy nature, get exercise and not over-do our exercise experience.”
“Love it! I can now bike my 4 mile commute to work and not show up all sweaty. Then on the way home I can decrease the pedal assist and get a workout in. It’s perfect.”
“My husband got me the RadCity5 as an early Christmas present. I have chronic hip/hamstring issues from military service and now have arthritis in both knees. I needed a way to comfortably ride/get exercise that wasn't going to make things worse (one ortho recommended an indoor exercise bike🤮). My husband is an avid cyclist and likes when we ride together (I'm not a serious rider so it was always work for me to ride with him) and he suggested an e-bike. I test rode a bike-share e-bike and was hooked! I LOVE my RadCity5! Hills and keeping up with my husband are no issue now!!”
Best Rad ebikes for working out
While all of our bikes provide healthy exercise, there are some models that stand out if fitness is one of your top priorities.
RadMission: A lightweight hybrid single speed ebike with narrower tires for urban streets or paved path rides.
Radrover 6 Plus: Our flagship fat tire electric bike is built for off-road adventures or cruising on pavement or paths.
RadExpand 5: Our premium folding electric bike model can fit in most car trunks or in a nook in your RV or apartment so you can get more rides in easily.