Why you haven't bought an electric bike yet, and 5 good reasons you might, soon
There's a bevy of reasons North American consumers haven't yet warmed up to electric bikes.
Price sensitivity is a big one. The very nascent e-bike industry also still hasn't produced a 'killer app' electric bike that we all want to own.
In addition, many people think an e-bike is cheating. Or befouling the bike lanes. Or just unnecessary.
The biggest reason we all haven't bought e-bikes, however, is that we are so immersed in car culture that we find it hard to see how an e-bike can do everything for us that a personal automobile can.
While it's true an e-bike will never get you 150 miles to a snow vacation, or take you on a long road trip to visit Auntie M, the $2,000 you might spend on an electric bike can buy you a lot of transportation and fun.
E-bikes are a way to get some of the benefits - including health benefits - of biking without some of the drawbacks. So here are five reasons you might want to consider an e-bike in the future:
1. E-bikes are getting lighter.Many e-bikes, including my first generation clunker, weigh a lot, so if/when your electric power dies you'll be struggling to get the behemoth up hills, and have a hard time carrying it up the stairs. But e-bikes are getting lighter, like this Kickstarter e-bike from Riide, which weighs in at 35 pounds.
2. E-bikes are getting cheaper.We've documented that very inexpensive electric bikes from companies such as Currie are available. There are also very expensive souped-up e-bikes on the market. What's starting to be more prevalent is a middle ground of not-too-expensive e-bikes that combine solid feature sets with good performance, like the Prodeco Mariner series.
3. E-bikes are getting better looking.Early electric bikes - can you believe they debuted in the 1970's? - had and still have unwieldy big batteries. A number of innovators have been working on making the battery more powerful and less visible. One of the most highly anticipated e-bikes, the Farraday Porteur was a result of designing a bike to win the Oregon Manifest challenge. The Porteur's first production run is sold out with buyers expected to receive their e-bikes in a few months from now.