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Two individuals riding eBikes on pathway during summer months

Why eBikes Are a Better Workout than You Might Think


  • Contrary to popular belief, eBikes do not do all the work for riders. While some have thumb throttles, many employ pedal-assist technology. This system provides assistance based on either the speed (cadence sensors) or the force (torque sensors) of your pedaling—either way, you still need to do some work!
  • eBikes are beneficial for enhancing cardiovascular endurance. The pedal-assist feature can help you overcome challenging terrains without exhausting yourself, allowing you to ride longer than you would on a regular bike. Research also supports that eBike riders often spend more time cycling than traditional cyclists.
  • Outdoor riding exposes you to nature, reducing your stress and enhancing your mood. The varied terrains you’ll cover if you buy an eBike capable of off-roading also provide a more dynamic and comprehensive workout.
  • eBikes place less strain on the joints than traditional bicycles. The pedal-assist feature minimizes the impact during challenging sections, which helps make your rides more sustainable and painless.
  • eBikes not only provide health benefits but are also incredibly fun to ride. They encourage more outdoor activity, making exercise enjoyable rather than a chore. Find your new eBike with help from the Calgary eBikes team and get out there!

At first glance, you might be tempted to dismiss eBikes as a 'cheat' option—thinking that their electric motors completely prevent you from needing to exert yourself while you ride them. But dig a little deeper, and you'll find that eBikes can burn more calories than you might think.

The team at Calgary eBikes knows these vehicles inside and out, so we’re here to clear up a few misconceptions about using eBikes to exercise. Below, we break down the science and show you why buying an electric bike can offer a better workout than you might initially think.

Man using pedal assist system on eBike while exercising outdoors

What Pedal-Assist Means (& What It Doesn’t)

One of the biggest misconceptions about eBikes is that the bike does all the work. However, this couldn't be further from the truth.

While many eBikes are equipped with thumb throttles that allow you to engage the motor without moving the pedals, most also have a type of pedal-assist technology—which uses your manual input to control the amount of power the motor produces.

How Pedal-Assist Works

Pedal-assist allows the eBike's motor to provide limited assistance as you pedal. This means that the only assistance you'll receive from the motor will be a product of your own effort. Most eBikes use one of two kinds of technology for their pedal-assist systems:

  • Cadence sensors engage the motor depending on how fast you’re pedaling.
  • Torque sensors engage the motor depending on how hard you’re pedaling.

In both cases, the motor doesn't take over completely. You still need to pedal, so you’ll still be moving and burning calories.

Man on fat tire eBike traversing rugged terrain

How eBikes Can Boost Cardio Endurance & Stamina

eBikes can also be surprisingly useful for riders who want to develop cardiovascular endurance. This is because typical bicycles don’t have a way to give you any help when you’re on steep inclines—which sometimes results in tiring you out too much to continue riding.

With eBikes, many riders only use pedal-assist to give them a much-needed boost when climbing hills or traversing terrain that would otherwise exhaust them. This can actually allow them to ride longer and get more overall exercise than they might on a traditional bicycle.

Don’t believe us? That’s okay—this is actually backed up by research from riders in numerous major cities, which shows that eBike users spend longer riding than traditional cyclists and get similar amounts of exercise.

Man on electric mountain bike riding through forest

The Undeniable Benefits of Outdoor Exercise

eBiking provides similar exercise gains to cycling outdoors—but in either case, you get benefits that using an indoor stationary bike doesn’t even come close to replicating.

  • Engaging with Nature: Being outdoors and engaging with nature has been shown to reduce stress, improve mood, and boost mental well-being. The changing scenery during a ride can also serve as a distraction, making your workout feel easier and more enjoyable.
  • Dynamic Workouts: Outdoor cycling presents varied terrains, which keep you alert and focused. Whether you’re tackling uphill climbs or winding forest paths, diverse riding surfaces challenge different muscle groups and ensure a more comprehensive workout.

If you want to get the most outdoor exercise possible, we recommend opting for an eBike that has off-roading capabilities—like an electric mountain bike or fat tire model. These can traverse a much wider range of surfaces, allowing you to reap additional benefits.

See Also:

  • Electric Mountain Bikes (eMTBs)
  • Fat Tire eBikes

    Man and woman on commuter eBikes enjoying outdoor ride without joint strain

    eBikes: A Gentler Option for Long-Term Health

    Finally, one of the unique benefits of eBikes is the reduced strain they place on the rider's joints. Traditional cycling, especially on rough terrains or during intense sessions, can be hard on the joints, particularly the knees.

    eBikes, with their pedal-assist feature, help reduce this impact. Riders can rely on the motor during tougher sections, ensuring that they don't strain their joints excessively.

    Because eBikes are gentler on the joints, they can also make it easier to stick to your exercise routine. Most people are vastly more likely to continue an activity if it's enjoyable and pain-free. By making exercise easier, eBikes encourage more people to take up cycling as a long-term activity.

    Working Out Doesn’t Have to Feel Like a Punishment

    Yes, eBikes can give you some extra power when you need it—but that doesn’t mean they do all the work for you. In fact, owning an eBike practically guarantees that you’ll spend more time outside, moving your body and enjoying the fresh air. Oh, and did we mention how freaking fun they are? Yeah, that also doesn’t hurt.

    Whether you’re looking for a simple commuter eBike to make your daily trip to work a little healthier or an off-roader capable of turning every weekend into a rugged adventure, Calgary eBikes can help. Find a dealer near you now and explore some of the best models available anywhere in Canada.

    Frequently Asked Questions about eBike Exercise

    Can I use the electric motor on an eBike without pedaling?

    Yes. Most current eBikes also have thumb throttles, which lets you engage the motor without needing to pedal at all. You’ll get less physical activity this way, but it can be a useful feature if you ever run out of steam when you’re at the bottom of a hill or just need to give your legs a break for a while.

    What type of eBike will help me get the most exercise?

    eMTBs and fat tire eBikes are designed to go off-road, which means you’ll work harder as you stay balanced and adapt to terrain changes. But commuter eBikes and cruisers can be useful if you want to extend the length of your daily rides, since these are designed to keep you comfortable when street riding for long periods of time.

    Will I get a better workout from an eBike with cadence sensors or torque sensors?

    This depends on the kind of workout you want. eBikes with torque sensors will usually provide you with a smoother and more intuitive ride, which can make it easier to stay out and keep moving longer.

    On the other hand, eBikes with cadence sensors can give you a better workout on hill climbs, since the motor will give you less assistance when the pedals are moving slowly—placing the bike in low gear before a climb will allow you to get a little help from the motor but still work up a sweat.