eBikes are cheating! Well, maybe not.

Don’t want to read? Watch the video.


So we know that electric bikes are great for covering greater distances, maintain higher speeds and conquering those tough hills, but are riders really still getting exercise. I hear all the time eBikes described as “cheating,” or people questioning “what’s the point?” In this video we are going to address these perceptions. Is eBiking cheating? What is the point? Keep reading and I’ll give you the scoop on the health benefits of riding an eBike. 


For this blog, I’d like to focus the discussion on electric bikes that operate on pedal assist only. The industry term, more commonly used in Europe, for these bikes are pedelecs. Recall that eBikes can operate in 2 ways, through a throttle or through pedal assist. Throttles allow the rider to utilize the motor without any pedaling, while pedal assist provides the rider additional power as they pedal the bike. 



Riding longer and more often means more health benefits!

The data that I will be discussing has come from a study performed at the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2016, and the link to the article can be found here. The study included 20 sedentary commuters and was performed over a 4 week period. Participants were instructed to ride their provided eBikes for a minimum of 40 minutes at least 3 days a week. 


The study found that this small amount of riding increased participant fitness by 10%, for only 4 weeks of riding! It also found decreased risk for diabetes and a decrease in body fat. Can you believe that? 4 weeks, 40 minutes only 3 days a week resulted in statically significantly healthier people! I have seen these results in some of the customers of GoodTurn. One customer in particular has been commuting to work a couple times a week. After doing this consistently for a few months he’s lost 20 pounds and no longer needs to take his diabetes medication! 


Speaking of longer ride times, the CU Boulder study showed that half the participants, though not required, willingly rode their eBikes 50% longer than they had to. And for those that are concerned with eBikes causing riders to ride at much higher, and potentially dangerous speeds, it was found that the average speed, in the same study, was only 12 mph.



eBikes can’t be as beneficial as traditional bikes, right?

So are eBikes cheating? From the study results I just talked about, I’d argue no. That being said, it still leaves the question “how does this compare to a similar study done with traditional bikes?” Another study, found in the Canadian Academy of Sport Medicine journal, done in 2018 compares health benefits of eBikes and traditional bikes. This link can be found here. The findings from this study show very similar health improvements for the eBike riders and traditional bike riders. The study concludes that despite the idea that eBikes are “cheating,” they have the potential to provide the same health benefits as they enable higher biking speeds, greater elevation gain and longer ride times. 



GoodTurn Employee is real life test subject.

Still need more convincing? Our very own Kyle Freeman committed to ditching the car, and commuting by eBike to work for 8 weeks. Kyle saw tremendous health benefits, with only changing the way he got to work. He lost nearly 15 pounds and reduced his resting heart rate by nearly 10%!

Below are links to his three blogs discussing his journey:

  1. eBike Commuting Health Benefits
  2. Kyle’s Six Week eBike Commuting Update