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How to Choose

Сan You Use an Electric Bike as a Normal Bike?

By Anelisa Nokoyo

Table of contents:

Can you use an electric bike as a normal bike? Technical Insights Riding Experience Practical Considerations Weight Battery Life and Charging Maintenance Safety FAQ Section Do Electric Bikes Need Insurance? Can Electric Bikes be Converted from Normal Bikes? How Do Electric Bikes Compare in Terms of Calorie Burn and Speed? Is It Legal to Ride Electric Bikes on Bike Paths and Trails? How Long Do Electric Bike Batteries Last Before Needing Replacement? Can Electric Bikes Be Used In the Rain? Are Electric Bikes More Expensive to Maintain Than Traditional Bikes? Conclusion Additional Resources

If you're considering an electric bike to improve your speed and efficiency but enjoy the exercise you get on a traditional bike, you might wonder if you can use your e-bike as a normal bicycle. We're here to settle the debate with everything you need to know about electric bicycle technology and how e-bike usage compares to traditional cycling.

Can you use an electric bike as a normal bike?

Delivery e-bikes could be used as normal bikes if they are out of power. Pedaling is the only option if bike's battery is empty.

Technical Insights

Electric bikes blend traditional cycling with modern technology by featuring an electric motor that assists with pedaling. This innovation makes climbing hills and covering longer distances more manageable, without sacrificing the essential qualities of a bicycle. E-bikes come equipped with all the familiar components: pedals, gears, and brakes, raising the question of whether you can use electric bikes as conventional bicycles.

The primary distinction between electric bikes vs traditional bicycles lies in their weight, due to the added motor and battery. However, the additional weight shouldn't detract from an e-bike's ability to function similarly to a standard bike in many contexts. The following sections detail the everyday experience of using an e-bike, so keep reading for more information comparing electric bikes to standard bicycles.

Understanding the technical aspects of e-bikes is crucial to appreciating their flexibility as a mode of alternative transportation and when making a comparison to traditional bikes. The motor in an electric bike assists the rider's pedal power and can usually be adjusted for different levels of assistance or turned off completely.

This feature highlights electric bike versatility without motor assistance and allows a more traditional biking experience when desired.

The motor significantly impacts your riding experience, offering assistance you can tailor to suit your needs. Whether facing steep inclines or aiming for a more leisurely ride, the motor's adaptability is a hallmark of the e-bike's design. However, the possibility of maximizing electric bike functionality sans electric power remains a compelling aspect for those looking to work up a sweat on their ride.

Riding Experience

How much you can ride an e-bike without its motor depends on the design of the bike and your personal preferences. Despite their extra weight, many e-bike models offer a satisfying ride without power assistance.

Test riding different models can reveal how well they perform as traditional bikes, and most companies that rent or sell e-bikes will let you try them before committing. Turning off the motor also saves battery and extends your range while unlocking the benefits of using electric bikes like regular bikes for exercise or the simple joy of cycling.

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Practical Considerations

The practicality of electric bikes in traditional cycling scenarios hinges on several key factors beyond the simple ability to operate without motor assistance. These include weight, battery life, and maintenance, all of which impact your experience in different contexts, such as delivery work, fitness, or leisure.


As mentioned earlier, the most noticeable difference when comparing electric bikes to standard bicycles is the added weight due to the electric components. Modern e-bikes, however, have seen significant advancements in materials and design, leading to lighter models that narrow this gap.

While you will notice the additional weight, especially when lifting the bike or pedaling without assistance, using your e-bike as a traditional bike should be relatively easy. You'll likely discover that the benefits of having motor assistance when needed far outweigh the drawbacks of the extra weight.

Battery Life and Charging

One obvious difference between electric and traditional bikes is that you must charge an e-bike. However, if you forget to charge your bike, you can usually still use it as a traditional bike. Battery life is a crucial consideration for e-bike users, dictating how far you can travel with the motor on a single charge.

With advancements in battery technology, many e-bikes offer ranges well-suited to hectic delivery routes, daily commuting, and extended leisure rides. Pedaling without motor assistance can further extend your range by conserving battery life, which is one of the significant benefits of using electric bikes like regular bikes.


Maintenance is another place where electric and traditional bikes differ. The electrical components of e-bikes require more regular care than a traditional bike, even if you only consider charging. However, many bike manufacturers and rental companies provide comprehensive warranties and service plans to ensure that maintaining an e-bike is as straightforward as possible.


E-bikes also have a few safety concerns you might not find in traditional bikes. Be more cautious about using e-bikes in very wet conditions to avoid damage to the bike or its parts. If you're a hardcore cyclist, remember that your battery might not be quite as tough as you.

Get a protective bag to shield your battery from the elements and reduce the risk of fire injury. Finally, remember that your e-bike can go much faster than a traditional bike, so high visibility safety gear like lights and reflective clothing is critical.

FAQ Section

Now that you understand how riding an e-bike compares to a more traditional bicycle, let's dive into some specific questions about usage.

Do Electric Bikes Need Insurance?

Whether electric bikes need insurance varies by jurisdiction, but it's generally a good idea to insure any vehicle that represents a significant investment and is essential to your daily routine. Insurance can provide peace of mind against theft, damage, and liability. If you choose a subscription rental plan, it might automatically include some protections.

Can Electric Bikes be Converted from Normal Bikes?

Yes, conversion kits are available that transform traditional bicycles into electric bikes. These kits include a motor, battery, and controller, enabling bike enthusiasts to upgrade their current ride. However, for those seeking a seamless integration of these components and a warranty, purchasing a purpose-built electric bike might be a more suitable option.

How Do Electric Bikes Compare in Terms of Calorie Burn and Speed?

Utilizing electric bikes without relying on motors offers a unique advantage for fitness enthusiasts. When the motor is off, riding an e-bike can require a similar amount of physical effort to a traditional bike, depending on the terrain and the bike's weight. This similarity means that users can enjoy a comparable calorie burn to traditional cycling while having the option to switch on the motor for assistance when needed. In terms of speed, e-bikes can enhance a rider's pace with motor assistance, making them an attractive option for covering longer distances efficiently.

The legality of riding electric bikes on paths and trails varies by location, with laws often depending on the e-bike's speed and features like throttle or pedal assist. Class 1 pedal-assist bikes, typically capped at 20 mph, are usually allowed where traditional bikes go. Restrictions may apply for faster e-bikes or those with throttles (Classes 2 and 3). Always check local regulations for specific rules. You can find more information here.

How Long Do Electric Bike Batteries Last Before Needing Replacement?

E-bike batteries generally last 500 to 1,000 charge cycles before their capacity diminishes, translating to about 3 to 5 years of use with proper care. Lifespan varies based on usage, storage, charging habits, and battery type (with lithium-ion being the most common). Advances in battery technology may extend this lifespan further.

Can Electric Bikes Be Used In the Rain?

Modern e-bikes are designed to be water-resistant and can safely be used in light to moderate rain. It's advisable to avoid heavy downpours or deep water, which could harm the electrical system. Following manufacturer guidelines for care after rain exposure ensures the bike's longevity and safety. As always, exercise caution and reduce speed in wet conditions for safety.

Are Electric Bikes More Expensive to Maintain Than Traditional Bikes?

E-bikes may incur higher maintenance costs due to their electrical components. However, many routine tasks, like brake and gear adjustments, mirror those of traditional bikes and can be handled by regular bike shops or the rider. While there are additional costs for servicing electric parts, the benefits — such as reduced commute times and lower overall transportation costs — often outweigh these expenses.


Exploring electric bikes beyond motorized use reveals the compelling versatility, innovation, and practicality of electric bikes for fitness and commuting. If you ride for work making deliveries, e-bikes can significantly enhance your earnings without sacrificing your workout by seamlessly transitioning between a motor-assisted ride and traditional biking.

Whether you aim to get the most efficient ride possible with pedal assist or skip the gym by powering through your route without the motor, an e-bike can be your perfect urban companion.

If you're curious about e-bikes and want to test the waters, Whizz offers an array of e-bike subscriptions to suit your needs. They also offer free test rides at any of their NYC locations, so you can experience riding an e-bike with and without motorized assistance before choosing a rental plan.

Check out Whizz to experience the best of power and exercise by enhancing your riding experience with a high-quality e-bike.

Additional Resources

If we've piqued your interest and you want to learn even more about the e-bike revolution, consider the following resources.

  1. People for Bikes offers national information on regulations, policies, and other e-bike technicalities. They also have lists of excellent e-bike routes across the country.
  2. Electric Bike Review provides detailed information on various e-bike models with easy comparison tools.
  3. The Federal Highway Administration has a variety of resources on e-bikes, including general guidance and safety publications.

E-bikes.org features comprehensive guides that take on everything you could want to know about e-biking, plus the latest news, research, and safety information.

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