Ebikes and fitness

Electrically assisted bikes, trikes, etc.
borisface
Posts: 167
Joined: 19 Feb 2010, 3:48pm

Ebikes and fitness

Postby borisface » 26 Sep 2020, 8:37pm

We bought an ebike, a cube with Bosch motor about 8 months ago, mainly for my wife to use. It's been excellent and in fact I have hogged it since we bought it. I am an experienced cyclist and until relatively recently had a high level of fitness, competing in mountainous gran Fondos and long rides. I live in a mountainous area and the ebike has been great on the climbs. I go out 2-4 times a week on average, maybe 80-120 miles a week. My average speed has been generally 2-3 km/h faster than my previous non electric rides. However, I picked up a rear wheel puncture which is a huge faf as the bike weighs 25kgs. So I took my road bike out instead. I have to say that it felt horrendous. It honestly felt like I hadn't ridden for about 5 years. My breathing was laboured, my legs weak. I've been out a few times since and my average speed is over 20% slower than pre-ebike days and about 40% slower than on the ebike. Moreover I weighed myself and have put on 10 lbs since getting the ebike. The moral from my experience is don't be seduced into thinking that you are getting a decent workout with an ebike. You are not.

NickWi
Posts: 163
Joined: 28 Apr 2011, 8:14pm

Re: Ebikes and fitness

Postby NickWi » 26 Sep 2020, 10:21pm

Surely it depends on the type of ebike you ride and the amount of power assistance you normally use. I have an Orbea Gain that weighs in at 13.5kg and with that type of ebike the whole package is designed to assist rather than power you along. You still have to use your gears, huff & puff to get up hills (well I do anyway), but the point is it's still mostly you putting in the effort.

As far as fitness goes I’d actually go the other way, I’m riding further, faster and more often than I ever did on my leg powered machine, and enjoying it more to boot. Am I fitter as a result? My gut feeling is yes, but not by thayt much. When I ride my leg only powered machines I do notice the lack of assistance, particularly on the hills and think bloody hell, this is hard work, but otherwise I do think my ebike riding had help my general cycling . For me an ebike is not about fitness, it’s more about the enhancing the balance of more mile, more smiles, less effort into position that equals more enjoyment.

hemo
Posts: 877
Joined: 16 Nov 2017, 5:40pm
Location: West Sussex

Re: Ebikes and fitness

Postby hemo » 27 Sep 2020, 11:09am

A work out on an ebike will depend on the assist used, the lower the power setting selected the harder a rider has to work.
With the TS drive bikes you can get up to 300% assist which certainly won't help in fitness levels.

The body soon gets used to the easy power available and one intuitively lets the bike do more, they aren't for every one and if a rider can manage on a push bike with faster rolling speed then best to stick with said push bike, for most ebikes advantage I for inclines or even towing a trailer.

Jdsk
Posts: 5146
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: Ebikes and fitness

Postby Jdsk » 27 Sep 2020, 1:23pm

Same question: what assistance ranges does it have and which do you use?

Jonathan

PS: There are now two published studies showing increased levels of exercise on eBikes, but the populations studied did not include people who were already cycling anywhere near the same amount as you.

Gangzoom
Posts: 36
Joined: 11 Feb 2020, 12:05pm

Re: Ebikes and fitness

Postby Gangzoom » 27 Sep 2020, 2:55pm

borisface wrote: My average speed has been generally 2-3 km/h faster than my previous non electric rides.


What average speeds are you hitting. Am finding my eBike is making me fitter simply by letting me get out home, push bigger rings with higher cadence.

Did 40 miles today on my Fazua powered Boardman, used 40% charge averaged 17.5mph. The motor wasn’t on for most of the ride, but for the tough 14% inclines into a 20mph it really helped. Clearly cycling without the motor would have been harder but its likely I would have stayed at home. The wind + potential for rain on a sub 8kg road bike with rim brakes/carbon aero wheels really is not fun.

Image

Image


Like all things eBikes are a tool which you can use anyway you like. When am commuting to work I let the motor do most of the work as am just aiming to get to work without sweaty. But on a weekend ride/ride home I push as hard as I can and try never to be below the 15.5mph support. The result is when I get on my road bike which weigh nearly 10kg lets like getting into a Lotus Elise after driving an HGV.

I absolutely love mine as a fitness tool, its going to keep me riding over the winter, and let me hit next year with much more base fitness to build on. I absolutely love mine.

richtea99
Posts: 23
Joined: 30 Jun 2020, 9:56pm

Re: Ebikes and fitness

Postby richtea99 » 27 Sep 2020, 9:41pm

> The moral from my experience is don't be seduced into thinking that you are getting a decent workout with an ebike. You are not.

You sound relatively fit, but what about someone who isn't, and takes up e-biking. Their experience will be the reverse of yours, I suspect.
They'll be going from near-zero exercise to some 'sensible' middle ground of light/medium exercise, thus getting fitter, without being put off.

mumbojumbo
Posts: 773
Joined: 1 Aug 2018, 8:18pm

Re: Ebikes and fitness

Postby mumbojumbo » 28 Sep 2020, 6:12am

When I witness people on ebikes i notice several things
1.they seem to be wearing miltiple layers of clothing suggesting they are cold through inactivity
2.they ride round like Father Brown,very upright
3.their faces betray look of indolence compared with the grimace of normal cyclists

Comparing the experience with real cyckling is akin to thinking the placing of a marks and spencers chucken tikka in a micro oven is similar to a chicken cooked in a tandoor after hours of preparation.This easy version will see the conventional cyclist becoming rare as the electric option becomes the first choice for a lazt society with teenagers going electric.| blame Bob Dylan.

mumbojumbo
Posts: 773
Joined: 1 Aug 2018, 8:18pm

Re: Ebikes and fitness

Postby mumbojumbo » 28 Sep 2020, 6:21am

borisface wrote:
My average speed has been generally 2-3 km/h faster than my previous non electric rides.


What average speeds are you hitting. Am finding my eBike is making me fitter simply by letting me get out home, push bigger rings with higher cadence.

Did 40 miles today on my Fazua powered Boardman, used 40% charge averaged 17.5mph. The motor wasn’t on for most of the ride, but for the tough 14% inclines into a 20mph it really helped. Clearly cycling without the motor would have been harder but its likely I would have stayed at home. The wind + potential for rain on a sub 8kg road bike with rim brakes/carbon aero wheels really is not fun.


I have just recreated your ride assuming the use of a conventional bike and it said 970 calories used.You claim an equivalent using an electric which cannot be correct.The print out looks good but seems highly inaccurate,and misleading,exaggerating the benefits.I presume this is after-sales marketing.

Oldjohnw
Posts: 5735
Joined: 16 Oct 2018, 4:23am
Location: Northumberland

Re: Ebikes and fitness

Postby Oldjohnw » 28 Sep 2020, 7:45am

In my case the fitness benefits are explicit and straightforward: pre electric bike - zero miles; electric bike - 100+ km/week, only using power for hills, adverse wind or tiredness.

Calories burned or energy input measurement seem a little academic.
John

borisface
Posts: 167
Joined: 19 Feb 2010, 3:48pm

Re: Ebikes and fitness

Postby borisface » 28 Sep 2020, 1:24pm

A typical ebike ride for me will be in the 23-25 km/h range. Pre ebike, I would average 20-22 km/h. The last few non ebike rides have been 17-18 km/h. I do live in a mountainous area and a typical ride will be 35 km and 800-900m climbing. So perhaps I might not be very representative. I try to use eco mode most of the time.
Non ebike
Check out my activity on Strava: https://strava.app.link/UeO9Eg1f99

Ebike rideCheck out my activity on Strava: https://strava.app.link/Vc4Tm6fg99

Gangzoom
Posts: 36
Joined: 11 Feb 2020, 12:05pm

Re: Ebikes and fitness

Postby Gangzoom » 28 Sep 2020, 6:25pm

mumbojumbo wrote:I have just recreated your ride assuming the use of a conventional bike and it said 970 calories used.You claim an equivalent using an electric which cannot be correct.The print out looks good but seems highly inaccurate,and misleading,exaggerating the benefits.I presume this is after-sales marketing.


I have zero idea what you are talking about. The point is had the bike not had some electrical assistance I would not have cycled for 40 miles yesterday with 20 miles into a head wind.

If you are suggesting the Fazua app is lying about % of battery used than your talking absolutely BS. My average speed way faster than the 15.5mph cut off so the motor was off for most of the ride and only been used when my speed fell below 15.5mph on the hills.

Gangzoom
Posts: 36
Joined: 11 Feb 2020, 12:05pm

Re: Ebikes and fitness

Postby Gangzoom » 28 Sep 2020, 7:01pm

borisface wrote:A typical ebike ride for me will be in the 23-25 km/h range. Pre ebike, I would average 20-22 km/h. The last few non ebike rides have been 17-18 km/h. I do live in a mountainous area and a typical ride will be 35 km and 800-900m climbing. So perhaps I might not be very representative. I try to use eco mode most of the time.
Non ebike
Check out my activity on Strava: https://strava.app.link/UeO9Eg1f99

Ebike rideCheck out my activity on Strava: https://strava.app.link/Vc4Tm6fg99


I see what's going on, essentially every ride you go on your using the motor assistance 100% of the time unless down hill, which naturally will mean over time your legs will decondition. The answer would be to try and push up your climbing speed, but looking at the hills around you am sure that's easier said than gone.

On a different I love the look of the roads you have around you!!

In comparison the biggest 'hill' I came across at the weekend is barely worth mentioning, which meant I could hold an average speed higher than the 15.5mph motor cut off, which means in reality I was probably working harder for most of the ride on the 17kg eBike versus my sub 8kg road bike....Regardless of eBike or not am very jealous of roads you have access to!!

Image

borisface
Posts: 167
Joined: 19 Feb 2010, 3:48pm

Re: Ebikes and fitness

Postby borisface » 28 Sep 2020, 8:47pm

Gangzoom wrote:
borisface wrote:A typical ebike ride for me will be in the 23-25 km/h range. Pre ebike, I would average 20-22 km/h. The last few non ebike rides have been 17-18 km/h. I do live in a mountainous area and a typical ride will be 35 km and 800-900m climbing. So perhaps I might not be very representative. I try to use eco mode most of the time.
Non ebike
Check out my activity on Strava: https://strava.app.link/UeO9Eg1f99

Ebike rideCheck out my activity on Strava: https://strava.app.link/Vc4Tm6fg99


I see what's going on, essentially every ride you go on your using the motor assistance 100% of the time unless down hill, which naturally will mean over time your legs will decondition. The answer would be to try and push up your climbing speed, but looking at the hills around you am sure that's easier said than gone.

On a different I love the look of the roads you have around you!!

In comparison the biggest 'hill' I came across at the weekend is barely worth mentioning, which meant I could hold an average speed higher than the 15.5mph motor cut off, which means in reality I was probably working harder for most of the ride on the 17kg eBike versus my sub 8kg road bike....Regardless of eBike or not am very jealous of roads you have access to!!

Image


I think you're probably right there. I only do maybe 10% max of any ride on the flat. Essentially where I am there are very few flat roads. I didn't mention that the roads are virtually empty of traffic, they are smooth, and there is only one pothole that I can think of. ☺️☺️☺️

hjd10
Posts: 294
Joined: 25 Feb 2010, 9:43pm
Location: Originally from Lancashire but now in Lincolnshire

Re: Ebikes and fitness

Postby hjd10 » 28 Sep 2020, 11:11pm

You can analyse it to death and the facts remain, I have a route that I've done many times before however on the E-bike the route is much easier. I travel faster and the hills seem to flatten out and I get around quicker. I have a My Zone heart rate monitor which shows clearly I'm having an easier ride, but it's more enjoyable! Sometimes when you don't really wont to go out, the temptation to get out and ride just for the enjoyment has come back to some of my rides. :D
There was a chap a week ago on a 110km Audax event close to home (Fulbeck, Ridge to Vale) who was riding a lightweight Cannondale Ebike and he managed the route fine. He was on an E-bike due to a health issue which unless he had a bit of extra support, he'd be stuck inside or riding much more slowly.
I think that you can keep a fitness level on an Ebike its just different thats all. :wink:

Oldjohnw
Posts: 5735
Joined: 16 Oct 2018, 4:23am
Location: Northumberland

Re: Ebikes and fitness

Postby Oldjohnw » 29 Sep 2020, 4:46am

Person A on an ebike may get less exercise than person B on an ordinary bike. But person A may get more exercise on an ebike than if they were not using an ebike.
John