Join Us »

How The Electric Bike Is Changing Travel: Is An E-bike Worth It?

By BikeHike Adventures

Posted: May 9, 2024


The electric bike revolution is here, and it’s changing the way we travel. 

With their innovative design, ease of use, and low environmental impact, e-bikes are becoming increasingly popular with riders of all ages and experience.

But what exactly are e-bikes? And more importantly – are they worth it?

While electric-assisted bikes were designed with the 35 and over crowd in mind, they are now just as popular with a younger generation of riders who are embracing the technology. 

For decades, bikes have been seen as a necessity, not a luxury. 

This is changing. 

The e-bike has undergone a revolution and is currently the most popular bike on the market.

Technology has improved, making them safer, more durable, and more reliable, while new laws have been passed that make them legal to operate on roads.

So whether you want to reduce your carbon footprint,  or take advantage of this new technology on bike trips – let’s look at the pros and cons so you can decide whether going e-bike is right for you.

Why The Sudden Popularity With Electric Bicycles?

Their appeal lies in the ability to level the playing field for cyclists of all experiences. 

Electric bikes allow couples, groups, and families with different fitness and experience levels to travel together while making cycling accessible across difficult routes and long distances. 

Bicycles have always been a healthy way to keep fit, save money on transportation costs, and enjoy the fresh air with the freedom to explore on your travels. 

But once you cross the 20-30 mile mark, for many riders, they become quite tiring. 

Electric bicycles solve this problem by giving you a little push when you need it.  

The pedal assist can give riders just enough boost to try routes that would otherwise be outside their comfort zones.

And because you don’t tire as quick, you can bike for longer, which can open up opportunities for trips you might not have even considered. 

Electric bikes offer more flexibility than traditional bikes when it comes to distance and terrain capability. 

They can be ridden anywhere from city streets to rough trails while providing more speed and ease of use compared to regular bikes. 

They provide great exercise benefits without exerting too much effort due to their powered motors - perfect if you're looking for light physical activity without exhausting yourself completely. 

They also don't require expensive fuel costs or extensive maintenance, you just simply charge up your battery overnight, and you're ready for another day of riding!

As well as being affordable and convenient, using an e-bike also presents environmental advantages by reducing carbon emissions - a major plus with a climate crisis looming over us. 

With all of this in mind, it's easy to see how electric bikes are worth investing in - economically and socially.

How E-Bikes Are Changing the Active Travel Business

A small boost can lead to incredible possibilities.

E-bikes make it easier for travelers to venture further than ever before with less effort – essentially taking the strain out of sightseeing and commuting.

Riders can keep pace with cars on even steep hills or head off the beaten path without breaking a sweat. 

For cyclists intimidated by steep hills or just want to spend less energy pushing a traditional bicycle uphill, an e-bike offers freedom like never before.

An e-bike lets you travel further with less exertion, opening endless possibilities on long-distance bike tours.

They are fast, fun, and very efficient.

Cyclists who have had to stop biking long distances or rough terrain for any reason have found a renewed opportunity by jumping on an electric bike.
But these bikes aren’t just useful for travelers looking to put in the miles on long-distance tours and week-long trips.

They’re an increasingly popular option for day trips too, simply because you get the same hands-on experience but can pack more into your trip. 

E-bikes can help breathe new life into cycling as they take the fear out of long-distance travel and make those daunting hills and roads a piece of cake for cyclists of all experiences.

E-Bikes Can Be Used where Hiking Is Impossible

The allure of mountain and off-road biking is the thrill of exploring rugged terrain that is usually unreachable by car. 

The chasms, cliffs, and steep hills are a challenge to any rider, but electric-powered bikes make it easy to conquer those steep elevations. 

For cyclists looking to enjoy spectacular scenery on a mountain trail, regular mountain bikes are often simply unusable because they do not manage steep inclines well.

E-bikes are an excellent way to make milder slopes accessible even for those who aren’t confident in their ability to take on more extreme hills that regular mountain bikes won’t be able to handle.

E-Bikes Can Be Used In Cities Where Cycling Is Not Possible

If you've ever tried to cycle around a busy city, then you know it's challenging.

There are endless obstacles to worry about, like cars that often end up being parked on the street, pedestrians doing what pedestrians do, and bicycle lanes that don't seem to make any sense!

Way too often, cyclists are forced to merge back onto the sidewalk because they've run out of space or can't cycle at all with so many people walking around.

Electric bicycles allow cyclists to bypass traffic, navigate busy and congested areas, and get around popular destinations much faster.

E-Bikes Make Travelling More Accessible

E-bikes are like having a personal transport system that is always there for you: and one that is efficient, reliable, comfortable, and enjoyable.

The convenience factor of an e-bike is hard to deny: with one charge, you can often reach distances far beyond what could be achieved by cycling alone.

Without needing specialist experience, anyone can use an e-bike to scale mountains and traverse previously inaccessible terrain with ease.

You can take on all challenges at your own pace while at the end of the day, still having enough in tank to enjoy the destination you worked so hard to get to.

Most travelers have their first encounter with electric bikes on a long-distance tour.

Most who opt for an e-bike are new to biking tours, often coming on the trip with a more experienced friend or group.

And generally, after trying one, or seeing someone in their group having a great experience, most people opt for an e-bike over their regular bike on longer trips.

Even if it might feel like you're swallowing your pride on your first trip, electric bicycles are slowly changing people's approach to active travel and will soon be a viable choice for most people.

However, many people don't know that just like cars and motorcycles, there are a lot of of e-bikes out there to choose from.

E-bikes Make Pedalling Easier.

As the weather warms up and the cycling season gains momentum, the warm temperatures can zap your energy on a long trip.

If you're an avid cyclist, you know that the extra effort of pedaling across certain terrains and hills can be pretty frustrating, but that is all changing now that e-bikes have been designed to make pedaling easier.

Most E-bikes are fitted with a power switch where you can change the settings from “Eco” to “Turbo mode” for when you need a little more assistance or to catch a breather when taking on steep inclines.

Throttle mode v pedal assist.

Most electric-powered bicycles typically use a combination of different methods to power them.

They are usually either pedal-assist or they use a throttle (where a motor kicks in to help you go faster)

When looking for an e-bike, pick the right one that works for you.

If you suffer from knee or foot issues and don’t want to focus on pedaling, you can use a throttle-only bike.

But for those who worry about getting too much assistance from the bike and not being active, you can still pedal just like a normal bike and keep the assists for the tough terrains where it is needed.

What To Look For In An E-bike

The distance an electric bike can travel is the most important consideration when using an e-bike. 

There are two key factors that determine how far an electric bike can travel. 

> The capacity of the battery. 
> The efficiency of the bike.

It charges just like a mobile phone by connecting the battery pack to an electrical outlet and generally gets a full charge in around 3 hours.

How Long Does It Take To Charge An Electric Bike?

In my experience, it takes 3-4 hours to fully charge an e-bike battery.

Typically, a battery will last for anywhere between 30 – 70 miles on a full charge, but if you manage your power well enough, it can last longer.

The type of terrain and power needed will have an effect on your battery life so it can be important to plan ahead when tackling large hills and rough roads where you need a lot of assistance.

Some bikes allow you to choose different levels of assist to prioritize speed or battery life, which can help you manage battery life on a longer trip.

Here are some approximate charging times for different types of batteries to get an idea of what you can expect on more powerful e-bikes:

> 500-watt hours (0.5 kWh) battery: 2-4 hours.
> 750-watt hours (0.75 kWh) battery: 3-6 hours.
> 1,000-watt hours (1 kWh) battery: 4-8 hours.
> 1,500-watt hours (1.5 kWh) battery: 6-12 hours.

And all-in-all, the cost to fully charge an electric bike comes in at around 5-15 cents. So, if it takes 500-watt hours (0.5 kWh) to charge the battery, and you are being charged $0.10/kWh for electricity, it would cost about 5 cents to charge the battery.

Pretty good value!

Knowing the type of trips you'll be taking ahead of time will help determine which option is best for you. 

Also, it’s important to consider the terrain when considering the battery range. 

Hills require more power, so your battery will drain faster or get a little more use, so make sure your bike has enough power to tackle any potential challenges!

Although, some e-bikes now allow you to choose different levels of assistance to prioritize speed or battery life, which can help you manage battery life on a longer trip.

Are Electric Bikes Faster Than Your Regular Bicycle?

Electric bicycles are always seeing technological advancements, particularly with how the hidden motor inside makes the entire bike run.

But does that mean that they are faster than your normal bicycle?

Not necessarily, as e-bikes are usually restricted with the top speed they can assist you with.

Currently, the assists will help you up to 32 km/h in the US and 25 km/h in most of Europe.

However, the max speed varies depending on the laws within the country you are in as well as the class of model you are using.

How Heavy Are E-bikes?

Many people have the misconception that e-bikes are heavy.

This is not the case. In fact, the average weight of an electric bicycle is 20 kg. The motor, battery, and frame material are the heaviest components.

Lighter bikes are easier to maneuver but heavier ones tend to last longer and come with more accessories like storage racks, and headlights. 

Make sure whatever model you choose fits comfortably within your budget while also providing all the features that matter most to you. 

And think about your own comfort too; look for adjustable handlebars and seats and shock-absorbing forks that can provide extra cushioning over bumpy roads.

E-bikes are quite popular with travelers on long trips looking to carry heavier loads, typically for camping or when traveling with a family and needing that extra gear. 

Depending on what you are packing can depend on the type of bike you need. 

But when traveling with us at BikeHike we always have a support vehicle on hand to take your excess luggage and anything you don’t need on your bike journey so you never have to worry about packing too much.

Health Benefits Of E-Bikes

E-bikes are great for exercise, as they will improve your leg muscles and your cardiovascular system.

They are more environmentally friendly, too, as they emit less CO2 than cars, and don't require the maintenance that cars require. 

They are even easier to maintain than your regular bike while traveling since they have fewer moving parts.

The benefits of electric bikes are many, including the reduced pollution of fossil fuels, the resulting reduced carbon footprint, and the ability to enjoy traveling with less effort.

Are E-bikes Safe?

The short answer is yes; they are safer than regular bicycles due to how they are designed.

They utilize an in-line electric motor powered by a battery, which takes the place of traditional pedaling, and this makes them very safe to ride on the road and ultimately gives you even more control.

A study from Portland University found that 60% of owners felt safer riding an electric bike, and 42% of riders felt they had helped them avoid accidents.

E-bike With Us

Get hands-on with the advantages of an E-bike with BikeHike Adventures Croatia to Montenegro trip.

Experience the ride of a lifetime through Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro and tackle the scenic mountainous regions of the Balkans where you will use your electric pedal assists to their full potential to tackle these tough terrains, all while soaking in the magnificent views and rich heritage of each destination.

No matter where your travels may take you, an e-bike can help make life easier and more fun. 

Whatever your reason for choosing an e-bike, you can always expect to get the same amount of enjoyment out of it as your traditional bike. 

And with its combination of convenience, sustainability, and affordability, investing in an electric bicycle can truly be worth every penny spent!

Happy Travels,
Trish Sare

About The Author

Trish Sare is the owner of BikeHike and a passionate outdoor enthusiast with over 30 years of experience as a world traveler. She's lived, traveled, and guided extensively in North, South and Central America, Europe, Oceania, Africa, and Asia. She has guided and helped to develop every one of our multi-sport holidays. In her spare time, Trish is usually outdoors either mountain biking, hiking, sea kayaking, trail running, or climbing. Trish has a passion for the world and all of the amazing cultures that inhabit it and does her best to immerse herself directly into their distinctive lifestyles.