You’ve probably heard of electric bikes for adults or even seen them on your city streets. Partly powered by electricity, these vehicles have gained popularity in the past few years, but aren’t necessarily well-understood outside their circle of enthusiasts. What exactly is the difference between electric and regular bikes? Is it worth spending money on the electric version? Here’s everything you need to know about the two options.

Convenience

One of the biggest appeals of regular bikes is their convenience. They’re easy to store, easy to acquire and don’t require a license to ride. In contrast, electric bikes of the past have been bulky and difficult to ride. Is this still an issue?

Fortunately, the answer is “no.” Today’s e-bike is similar in size and weight to a regular bike, allowing for easy storage. Additionally, they’re easy to find, as there are many retailers who sell them. While not the cheapest option, they’re also not astronomically priced — in fact, some are less expensive than professional mountain bikes. As for a licenses, most counties don’t require special certification to ride an e-bike unless it exceeds 25 mph.

Riding

Regular bikes for women and men require pedaling for movement; the faster you pedal, the faster you go. E-bikes function similarly — in fact, most riders don’t feel much of a difference.

However, e-bikes give you greater control over your riding experience, as the motor provides a secondary source of power you can adjust at your discretion. If you’re heading uphill, you can dial up the power to help you reach the top, then dial it back to coast downhill. Overall, e-bikes make cycling easier without infringing on exercise benefits.

Structure

Electric and regular bikes share several structures:

  • Seat
  • Handlebars
  • Wheels
  • Frame
  • Pedal
  • Chains and chain wheels
  • Brakes

However, e-bikes also come with motors, batteries and display screens.

Maintenance

Like all vehicles, bikes of either type need regular maintenance to perform well. Both electric and regular bikes need to have their brakes and tire pressure checked and their chains oiled. Since they have a battery, electric bicycles also need to be charged after every use.

You may be wondering about the motor itself — does it need maintenance the way a car’s engine does? Fortunately, e-bike motors are usually fine if left alone. If you do have an issue with the motor, you can take it in to a shop that specializes in electric bikes.

Regulations

If you commute using a bike, you may be wondering if e-bikes are street-legal. They are, in fact, legal to ride on the street, on the sidewalk, on trails or anywhere else you can ride a regular bike. There are also no registration requirements. The one thing to remember is that, because they’re motorized, cities and counties may have limits on their speed. If you want to modify your e-bike, make sure you research your area’s ordinances first.

The best bicycles for men and women all have one thing in common: They make riding easy and enjoyable. Whether you want an extra boost or prefer pedaling the old-fashioned way, there’s a bike out there for you.