Struggling to decide between an electric bike and a motorcycle? We have the ultimate electric bike vs. motorcycle guide for you!
Most people have no trouble differentiating between an electric bike and a motorcycle. However, deciding which one is a better option for you is a completely different story. Both electric bikes and motorcycles are two-wheeled rides designed for traveling long distances. They are fast, comfortable, and fun to ride.
So, how do you decide which one is a better option for you? Well, the truth is electric bikes and motorcycles are nothing alike. From features and design to the working mechanism, these two modes of transportation are very different in almost all aspects.
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This makes it easier to differentiate between the two and choose the one that meets your requirements. It is also a matter of personal preference and how you plan on using the vehicle. But keep in mind that buying an electric bike or motorcycle can be a serious financial decision, which means there is no room for error.
So, before you make your decision, make sure you take the time to learn about both electric bikes and motorcycles. Only then will you be able to make an informed decision and choose the ideal ride that meets all your needs.
Electric Bike VS. Motorcycle – Which Is Right for You?
To make things easier for you, here is an in-depth electric bike vs. motorcycle analysis, covering different features, working mechanisms, and the pros and cons of both vehicles. By the end of the article, you will be able to pick the right option. So, let’s get started!
The Working Mechanism
The most significant, most obvious difference between electric bikes and motorcycles is the working mechanism. Motorcycles feature an internal combustion engine (ICE). Powered by fuel, the combustion engine works pretty much like car engines.
The transmission system directs the generated power to rotate the back wheel of the motorcycle, which, in turn, propels the motorcycle forward. The rider can steer the motorcycle by turning the front wheel. They can also operate the clutch and brakes using hand levers.
On the other hand, electric bikes rely on a heavy-duty battery to power the motor and move the electric bike. The battery produces the electricity that is transmitted to the motor through a network of wires. The power generated through the motor is used to rotate either the back wheel or both wheels of the bike, depending on the make and model.
Keep in mind that while electric bikes have motors, unlike motorcycles, they are not completely motorized. The motor typically kicks in when the rider starts pedaling the bike. Moreover, the motor only works to take away some effort out of pedaling. In other words, it does not change the regular pedaling action. It simply makes it easier to pedal.
Electric bikes also feature sensors, mainly torque sensor and speed sensor. While the speed sensor keeps track of the speed, the torque sensor works to regulate the power of the motor, depending on the pedaling power the rider puts in.
So, the more forcefully you pedal your electric bike, the less power the motor will generate. Riding a motorcycle, on the other hand, does not involve any pedaling from the rider to move forward. All rider has to do is steer the motorcycle and control the throttle.
Appearance and Aesthetics
With an internal combustion engine and a fuel tank, motorcycles are heavier and bulkier than electric bikes. Electric bikes also feature a substantially heavy battery and motor. However, it is still very light in weight as compared to motorcycles.
They are also more compact and can be stored easily in small spaces. This is particularly true for foldable electric bikes that can be folded in from the middle. Once folded, the electric bike is compact enough to store under the table at work or throw in the trunk of your car to take along on trips and off-road adventures.
Another major difference is the types of tires used in electric bikes and motorcycles. The tires of electric bikes can be compared to regular bike tires. Motorcycle tires, on the other hand, are fatter and bulkier.
Fat tire electric bikes are also available in the market. Thanks to their fat bikes, these bikes offer greater control on the road to the rider. Plus, they are suitable for traversing different kinds of terrains. However, regardless of the fat tires, these bikes are still unlikely to match the size and construction of tires used in motorcycles.
Despite these obvious differences in appearance, both electric bikes and motorcycles rank high on the aesthetic scale. Both vehicles are the ideal option for people who want to travel in style. While motorcycles are often viewed to be more rugged, electric bikes rock the sleek and modern look. Either way – both rides are super chic and stylish.
When buying any kind of vehicle, the range is one of the most important factors that greatly impact the final buying decision. When it comes to comparing the range between electric bikes and motorcycles, the latter takes the lead by a big margin. Let’s take a look at the average range of both electric bikes and motorcycles and the various factors that generally affect the range.
Electric Bike Range
The average range of an electric bike is around 20 to 40 miles. Some bikes can go as much as 70 miles in one charge, but they cost more than regular e-bikes.
However, it doesn’t mean that electric bikes are suitable for traveling long distances. You can embark on long journeys on your electric bike, even in remote locations, as long as you plan ahead and know when and how to charge your electric bike en route.
First of all, you will have to carry the charger and find a place to plug it in to charge your electric bike. Sure, it can be a bit of a hassle to stop after every few miles to charge your electric bike. On top of it, electric bike batteries take around 6 to 8 hours to charge fully.
Plus, finding electric plugs or charging stations can also be challenging. But if you are keen on traveling on the bike, it will deliver and get you to your destination. However, beware – the journey will have several hour-long stops on the way.
One way to increase the range without stopping to charge the batteries is to carry a spare battery. Having two batteries on hand can double the range. The only drawback of this approach is that electric bike batteries are not exactly cheap, which means you will have to make a significant investment to purchase a second battery.
The electric bike range depends on a number of factors, including the weight of the rider, the kind of terrain, the distance covered, etc. However, one factor that makes the biggest difference when it comes to terrain is the pedal-assist level.
Most bikes come with different pedal-assist levels that give riders control over how much power they put into pedaling. The more forcefully you pedal, the longer you’ll go!
Motorcycles, on the other hand, are much more convenient in this regard. Typically, an average motorcycle can travel about 120 to 200 miles on a tank of gas. The range is considerably higher as compared to the average range of even the best, most expensive electric bikes.
Just like the electric bike range, the motorcycle range also depends on a number of factors, including the tank size, riding condition, and engine size. Naturally, the larger the tank, the longer the motorcycle will last on the road without needing a re-fill. Keeping the bike, especially the fuel system, in shape, can help increase the range of your motorcycle.
The engine’s size is inversely proportional to the motorcycle range, as bigger engines use more fuel to power the motorcycle. Your riding style also affects the range.
For example, a bike that offers about 45 miles per gallon ordinarily is unlikely to give the same mileage if you ride it out on the track at high speed and with high rev riding. Other fuel efficiency factors include the weight carried. The cold weather can also reduce your fuel efficiency.
Considering everything, it is safe to say that motorcycles are more suitable for covering long distances, especially if you want to travel while making minimum stops on the way.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that electric bikes cannot compete with motorcycles in terms of speed. Instead of the construction and working mechanism of electric bikes and motorcycles, the difference in speed range has more to do with the speed limit regulations set for electric bikes.
Electric bikes are not considered motorized vehicles, but they are heavily regulated. The maximum speed limits for an electric bike vary from place to place. For example, the speed limit for electric bikes in Europe is 15.5mph.
On the other hand, in most of the USA, the speed limit for Class 1 and Class 2 electric bikes is 20mph, while the Class 3 bikes can go up to 28mph. New York City is unique in this regard, allowing a 25mph speed limit for electric bikes.
The law requires electric bikes to stop supplying electric power to the motor as soon as the bike reaches the set speed limit. Sure, you can pedal harder to go faster than the speed limit. However, that takes a lot of energy, and the chances are you will get tired after a few minutes.
Electric bike companies take speed limit laws very seriously. So, you are unlikely to find a bike that will allow you to reach high speed on motor power.
On the other hand, motorcycles do not face these restrictions. As a result, they are designed to go much faster. So, if you enjoy riding at high speed and are a true speed demon at heart, then a motorcycle will be a better option for you.
However, keep in mind that going faster does not always mean that the motorcycle will take you to your destination quickly. This is especially true for commuting in busy cities, where the high speed of a motorcycle is not going to make much difference since you still have to apply the brake and stop frequently.
Electric bikes have a greater advantage in this regard as you can ride them in the bicycle lane and even take shortcuts through parks and cycling tracks.
Exercise and Workout
This is an important factor that tips in favor of electric bikes. Amidst our busy routines, most people find it challenging to make time for exercise. However, investing in an electric bike means your daily commute can double as the perfect exercise. It is a fun and convenient way to stay in shape and make the most of your time.
The best part is that electric bikes give you complete control over your exercise regime. It is up to you to decide how much energy you want to put into pedaling. So, whether you feel like breaking a sweat or are in the mood to effortlessly cruise around town, your electric bike has got you covered.
Moreover, most electric bikes feature LCD screens that display different parameters, including the pedal-assist level, distance covered, speed of the bike, etc. Being able to keep an eye on these parameters can help you customize your exercise regime and achieve your fitness goals effectively in no time.
Unlike electric bikes, motorcycles do not offer any exercise or fitness benefits. Riding a motorcycle is essentially the same as traveling in a car or a bus in this regard. So, if you want to make a switch to a healthier lifestyle, consider buying an electric bike instead of a motorcycle.
Rules and Regulations
Rules and regulations for electric bikes and motorcycles are quite different. Motorcycles are liable for tax and insurance. They must also be registered with the DVLA. Plus, you need a driver’s license to legally ride a motorcycle on the road.
These rules and regulations do not apply to electric bikes. You don’t need to register your e-bike or attain a license to take it for a ride. In fact, it won’t be a stretch to say that electric bikes are considered to be the same as regular bikes in the eyes of the law.
The clothing requirements are also different for riding an electric bike and motorcycle. Motorcyclists are required to wear a crash helmet to address the higher risk of serious road accidents. They are also advised to wear more protective clothing.
With electric bikes, wearing a crash helmet is not mandatory. However, we all know it is better to be safe than sorry. Therefore, electric bike riders are also encouraged to wear a helmet every time they ride the bike.
Finally, the choice is also heavily dependent on the cost. Electric bikes are generally inexpensive as compared to motorcycles. But, it is important to understand that both electric bikes and motorcycles are available in a wide range of budgets, which means that it is possible that a good quality electric bike costs the same as a motorcycle.
While the buying cost is more or less the same for both vehicles, the maintenance cost is a completely different story. Electric bikes have fewer maintenance needs as compared to motorcycles. Running costs are also low as you don’t have to incur the recurring cost of buying fuel.
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The Bottom Line
Whether you opt for an electric bike or go for a motorcycle is a personal decision and a matter of individual preference. The one question you need to ask yourself is why you need to buy the vehicle in the first place. The answer will help you decide which option is more suited for you. Ranking your priorities can also help.
So, for example, if you are looking for a ride for daily commute or running errands around the city, an electric bike might be more suitable for you. This is because despite the limited speed, it will help you reach your destination quickly in crowded cities. Plus, you can store it safely wherever you go, especially if you have a foldable bike. They are also lightweight and portable.
Similarly, if you are looking for a way to adopt a healthier lifestyle, integrate some exercise into your daily routine, or reduce your carbon footprint, then an electric bike is what you need. On the other hand, if you are a speed demon or plan on traveling very long distances, then consider buying a motorcycle. Like we said before, in the end, the ideal choice boils down to your personal preference.
This brings us to the end of our electric bikes vs. motorcycles guide. Now that you know all about electric bikes and motorcycles, you can make the right decision and invest in a new ride!
I am Michael, an avid rider and bike expert. I am here to provide, biking tips and expert advice on in-depth bike reviews covering features, capabilities, price range, and much more. Specially on electric bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, etc. I will provide honest product reviews, along with expert advice on purchasing, training, and maintenance. Check out my complete profile.