Can You Get a Good Workout on an E-Bike?

Electric bikes, also known as e-bikes, have gained popularity in recent years due to their ability to provide an efficient and eco-friendly form of transportation. But can riding e-bikes also provide a good workout?  

E-bikes can provide a good workout and several advantages over traditional bicycles, making them more accessible and beneficial for fitness enthusiasts. With the right approach and mindset, e-bikes can provide a fun and effective way to improve your cardiovascular health, endurance, and overall fitness levels. 

Let’s dive into how e-bikes can provide a workout.

I live in a hilly area and like riding my bike; however, sometimes, it can be really hard to get around on a bike with the family as my kids are still very small, and so I have to tow them in a child trailer. Recently I installed an electric motor on my bike that makes this task very easy. Without an electric motor on my bike, there is no way I could manage towing them.

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I installed a 750W Bafang mid-drive motor with a 17.5 Ah rear rack battery

They can help riders tackle hills and headwinds. They can cover longer distances and more challenging terrain without fatigue. However, e-bike riders still get a workout. The rider has to pedal to engage the motor, and the amount of assistance can vary the intensity of the exercise.

E-bikes make cycling more accessible to more people. For example, older adults or those with joint pain may find traditional cycling challenging or uncomfortable. E-bikes can provide the assistance needed to make cycling a more enjoyable and sustainable exercise. 

In addition, e-bikes can also help commuters arrive at work feeling fresh and energized rather than sweaty and exhausted from a challenging ride.

E-bikes can be used for errands or daily commutes, providing a convenient way to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. This is especially beneficial for those with sedentary jobs or lifestyles, as it can help improve cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes. 

E-bikes are also an excellent option for those who want to increase their physical activity levels but may need more time or energy for traditional exercise.

E-bikes can provide a way to stay active and improve cardiovascular health without exacerbating joint pain or discomfort. In addition, e-bikes can offer a low-impact workout that is easier on the joints than high-impact exercises such as running. This can be especially important for those recovering from injuries or those with conditions such as arthritis.

It’s also worth noting that e-bikes can provide a more enjoyable cycling experience overall. E-bikes allow riders to explore new routes and destinations without worrying about fatigue or difficulty. This can make cycling more fun and exciting, motivating people to continue cycling and improving their fitness level over time.

Exercising on an E-Bike

So, how can you get the most out of your e-bike workout? Here are a few tips:

  1. Adjust the level of assistance: Most e-bikes come with several levels of assistance that can be adjusted based on the rider’s preferences. Start your ride with a higher level of assistance, then as you get more comfortable, reduce the assistance so you’re exerting more.
  2. Combine e-biking with traditional cycling: To increase the intensity of your workout, try alternating between using the e-bike’s motor and pedaling without assistance. This can help improve your fitness level and improve your endurance.
  3. Use your e-bike for commuting: Using your e-bike for daily commutes or errands can help you incorporate physical activity into your daily routine without requiring extra time or effort. You can also take different routes to keep things exciting and explore new areas.
  4. Set goals: Setting specific goals for your e-bike rides can help you stay motivated and track your progress over time. For example, you could aim to ride a certain distance or reach a certain speed.
  5. Use accessories: Accessories such as a heart rate monitor or fitness tracker can help you monitor your progress and ensure you’re getting a good workout. Many e-bikes also have built-in bicycle computers that can track your trips. 

E-Bike Assistance Settings

E-Bikes make cycling more accessible because of the variety of available assistance settings. E-bikes sold in the United States will fall into one of three categories.

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Class 1 E-Bikes:

Class 1 e-bikes are pedal-assist only, meaning they do not have a throttle and only provide electric assistance when the rider is pedaling. These e-bikes are limited to a maximum speed of 20 mph (32 km/h), and the motor stops assisting once the bike reaches this speed. Class 1 e-bikes are allowed on most bike paths and multi-use trails.

Class 2 E-Bikes:

Class 2 e-bikes are similar to Class 1 e-bikes but also have a throttle that allows the rider to engage the motor without pedaling. Like Class 1 e-bikes, Class 2 e-bikes are limited to a maximum speed of 20 mph (32 km/h), but the rider can engage the motor without pedaling. Class 2 e-bikes are also allowed on most bike paths and multi-use trails but may be subject to additional restrictions in some areas.

Class 3 E-Bikes:

Class 3 e-bikes are pedal-assist only, like Class 1 e-bikes, but can provide assistance up to a maximum speed of 28 mph (45 km/h). Class 3 e-bikes may be subject to additional restrictions in some areas. Class 3 e-bikes are typically not allowed on bike paths or multi-use trails but may be allowed on roads or bike lanes.

Pedal assist and throttle are two standard methods of assisting riders on an e-bike. Here’s how they work:

Pedal Assist:

Pedal assist, also known as pedelec, is the most common form of assistance found on e-bikes and is found on all three classes of e-bikes. It provides power to the bike’s motor as the rider pedals. A sensor on the bike detects the rider’s pedaling motion and sends a signal to the motor, which provides an electric boost to the rider’s pedaling effort.

Pedal assist systems typically offer several levels of assistance, ranging from low to high, which can be adjusted based on the rider’s preferences or the terrain they are riding on. The higher the assistance level, the more power the motor provides to the rider’s pedaling.

Some pedal assist systems also offer a “walk-assist” mode, which allows the rider to walk the bike up steep hills or inclines by providing a small amount of power to the motor without the need to pedal.


Throttle-based systems provide power to the bike’s motor through a hand-controlled throttle, similar to a motorcycle or scooter accelerator.

With throttle-based systems, riders do not need to pedal to receive electric assistance. Instead, they can simply twist the throttle to engage the motor and propel the bike forward. This, obviously, offers the least benefit for exercising.

Throttle-based systems typically offer a single level of assistance, with the rider able to adjust the bike’s speed by varying the pressure on the throttle.


E-bikes can offer a convenient and enjoyable way to improve your fitness levels and incorporate physical activity into your daily routine.

Sam Benkoczy

Hi, I'm Sam. I own and maintain 6 e-bikes, 15 regular bikes (road bikes, folding bikes, hybrid bikes, city bikes among others). I learned about bikes from my local bike mechanic as well as from bike maintenance courses. I love being out there in the saddle, and using my bike as a practical means of transportation. You can also find me on my YouTube channel at Say hi to me at

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