One common misconception about e-bikes is that using them is somehow “cheating” in terms of exercise. However, several well-researched studies have debunked this claim. Let’s explore some real-world research to gain a better understanding.

A 2019 study involving multiple European universities collected data from 10,000 e-bike riders. Through a comprehensive survey that measured weekly activity, researchers discovered that e-bike users actually spent more time riding compared to traditional cyclists. They took longer and more frequent trips, often replacing traffic-plagued car journeys with e-bike rides. 

The data showed that e-bike riders covered significantly longer distances, averaging 9.4 km compared to 4.8 km for cyclists. Their daily averages were also higher at 8 km and 5.3 km, respectively.

In addition, there was only a marginal difference in Body Mass Index (BMI) readings between the two groups. Cyclists had an average BMI of 23.8, while e-bike riders had an average of 24.8. Both of these fell within the normal range, indicating that the exercise provided benefits for both groups.

It’s worth noting that e-bikes tend to attract individuals who may not be as physically prepared for exercise as traditional cyclists. The study also observed that e-bike riders tended to be slightly older, with an average age of 48.1 compared to 41.4 for cyclists. These factors could have slightly influenced the results. 

In summary, the study concluded that the physical activity benefits were similar for e-bike riders and cyclists.

US Study Confirms European Findings

In 2019, American researchers from Brigham Young University conducted a controlled test involving 33 mountain bike riders aged 18 to 65.

The riders were asked to complete a six-mile loop, which included 700 meters of uphill cycling and a mile of climbing with a 5% gradient. Some riders used e-bikes, while others used pedal-powered bikes. The researchers tracked the rides using the Strava app and measured the riders’ heart rates.

The data revealed that using e-bikes did not make the ride easier. The e-bike riders’ heart rates were measured to be around 94% of what they reached while riding pedal-powered bikes. The average heart rate was 145 bpm on e-bikes compared to 155 bpm on pedal-powered bikes. This small difference suggests that riders of e-bikes still faced a challenging workout.

Moreover, although e-bike riders had a slightly slower heart rate, they rode for longer distances. As such, the overall workout intensity of e-bike riders and cyclists was about the same.


The benefits of e-bikes go beyond convenience. E-bikes are also a valid means for people to stay in shape.

Multiple academic studies confirm that e-bikes are not cheating. Therefore, it’s time for the e-bike critics to start showing more respect.