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Ebikes are simple


Powers the motor for anywhere from 20-80 miles.


Automatically senses when you pedal and immediately quietly helps you push. May be located in the middle between the pedals or in the front or back wheel hub.

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Plugs into regular wall outlet.  Recharges battery in 2-5 hours

for less than a penny a mile.

​You select how much support you want from the motor. Handlebar mounted screen also tells you speed and miles left in the battery.

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Other than a motor, battery, controller & charger, ebikes have the same parts as regular pedal bikes. The battery and motor make them usually somewhat heavier than a regular bike.

In addition to regular old cruiser bikes, ebikes come in many styles.

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e-trike upright.jpg
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Saris cargo trash e-bike.jpg

There are e-cargo bikes for carrying kids & stuff, e-trikes, recumbent, folding, and mountain e-bikes

What does an ebike cost?

There are lots of good starter commuter bike models in bike shops in the $1,500-$3,000 range.  You might be able to save money online or at a big box store, but buyer beware. Make sure you can get your bike serviced where you buy it, or that your local bike shop can service your brand of bike. For premium long lasting components that provide the smoothest ride and longer range, you may have to spend $2500 to $5000.


Full size cargo bikes (big enough to carry two children) start at just under $2,000 with many in the $3,000-$6,000 range.


Beware of e-bikes sold online for under $1,000. They use cheap, unreliable parts that are likely to break down quickly, and are not likely to be repairable by your local bike shop.

Check out this list of Discounts & Rebates & Tryouts to see if there is a program in your area that can help you afford an ebike.

How do I choose an ebike?

Read Reviews of different model and other bike news from a dozen major bike and sports magazines and websites.

Check out our Buyers Guide to selecting an Ebike - which components matter?  to help you sort through all the options (hub or middrive? torque or cadence sensor? battery size?) This guide explains the different parts of an ebike and how to decide which options are right for you.

You will need to buy some accessories for your bike to ride it safely, carry stuff (or kids) and keep it secure from theft. Our Outfitting & protecting your e-bike factsheet provides a list of important accessories to purchase with a new bike and reminders about insurance. Designed for use as a shopping checklist to get everything needed to ride safely and protect and maintain the bike. Also see the Security Section of our Owners Guide page for selecting locks.

Will riding an ebike work in my life?

Check out our Stories & Blogs section for tales from riders about what it is like to ride an e-bike and how it can change your life, plus blogs about maintaining and upgrading your bike and about policies to help more people get on e-bikes.

Should I get one for the kids?

I don't recommend it. Ebikes' heavier weight and their speed make them challenging for a young person to handle safely. And that speed is a dangerous temptation for young minds. Treat the ebike as you do any other powered vehicle (like the family car) with kids. Not until at least the mid teens and then only with proper safety training and an understanding of the responsibility of ebike riding. And discourage your kids from taking rides on their friends ebikes. 

Got lots of other questions?

Our growing FAQ collection covers lot of the questions people ask: Are ebikes actually good for the environment? How far & how fast can they go? What about theft? Is it cheating?

For more info, check out our:

  • Intro to e-bikes factsheet - A brief description and FAQ on e-bikes. Aimed at introducing newcomers to the concept of an e-bike and answering basic questions about how they work

  • E-Bike Buyers & Owners Guide (23 page PDF, last updated 8/30/21) An in depth discussion of e-bikes covering a wide range of issues for understanding, selecting, buying, protecting, insuring, and maintaining e-bikes.

Once I get an ebike, then what?

Our Ebike Owner's Guide tells you how to ride & take care of your e-bike ... and keep it safe from theft. 

(San Francisco Bay area) Where can I buy? Where can I ride? Bikes on transit?

The San Francisco Bay Area e-bike guide will help you find e-bike dealers, bikeshare systems and learn where you can ride, places to securely park, and the rules and hints for bikes on transit systems.

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