What Is It Like To Ride an Electric Bike for the First Time?

looking down a dirt road from the saddle of an electric bike

Riding an electric bike is simply amazing and words do not do it justice. I have customers come into the shop and I try to explain ebikes to them, but it’s not until they take one out for a test ride that everything becomes clear and their faces are sore from smiling!

Riding an electric bike for the first time is like taking a sip from the fountain of youth and becoming your younger self again. It gives you the feeling of the first time you were able to stay upright on a regular bike (if any of us can remember back that far) 🙂

If you have ever helped your child ride a bike and remember that smiling face when they were able to take off the training wheels and cruise down the street on their own. Well, that will be your smiling face!

Are Electric Bikes Good For Beginners?

Electric bikes are maybe the best way for beginners to get proficient at riding a bike! It is important to pick the right electric bike if you are a true beginner to bike riding, if you already ride a regular bike then an electric bike will just help you to ride even more.

The smoothest riding and easiest style ebike to begin on would be a mid-drive Bosch electric motor on a low step-through frame with wider tires. Such as the Izip Vida — Here’s a full Izip Vida Review!

With the motor helping assist you in pedaling, it is easier to get up to speed, climb hills, get through intersections, and keep your legs from getting too tired.

Is It Easy To Balance On an Electric Bike?

Balancing is even easier on an electric bike than on a regular bike. Bikes stay upright better when they are in motion. The centrifugal force of the wheels spinning helps keep you from tipping over and electric bikes make it easier to get your wheels spinning.

If you want to prove this then just try to ride your bike very slowly. You will find it very hard to balance and may need to put your foot down or you may just fall over. 🙁

Bikes are easy to balance when you are moving and very hard to balance when you’re going slow or stopped.

Another thing that actually helps when balancing on an electric bike is the added weight. The extra weight of an ebike helps to keep your center of gravity lower. However, if your bike does start to tip over, this extra weight can be detrimental and cause your bike to fall over.

So try to always keep your electric bike upright, your feet on the ground when stopped, and your ebike moving at a steady pace while riding!

What Does Pedal-Assist Feel Like?

Pedal-assist on an ebike feels like you have super-powered legs and will give extra confidence in tackling bigger climbs and getting started from a stop, more quickly.

You can set the level of pedal-assist and this will tell the motor how much power to help you out with.

If the motor is coming on too strong, then you can turn the pedal-assist down, if you would like more help from the motor, you can turn the pedal-assist up. Easy peasy, drain the greasy! 🙂

If you have the pedal-assist set to the max and it is still not enough to help, then you may need to try out a different ebike. Not all ebikes are created equal, some will be far more powerful than others.

Do You Have To Pedal an Electric Bike?

All legal electric bikes will have pedal-assist, where the motor helps when you are pedaling, to get the most out of your ebike as far as range, power, climbing ability, and exercise, you will have to pedal.

In order for your ebike to be legally considered an electric bike, it will have a pedal-assist function. Here is an article about electric bike classes → “What Class is My Ebike and Why Does It Matter?”

You will see that Class 2 electric bikes come with throttles! These throttles are there to help you get up to speed, scoot through an intersection or roundabout, or give your legs a little break.

After owning a Class 2 ebike for a few months now, I have noticed that the throttle does not deliver the most power. You get the best power and rideability from pedaling and using the assist.

Can You Ride an Electric Bike Without Pedaling? 

There are some electric bikes that come with a throttle and you can use the throttle to power the motor and not have to pedal. There are some caveats to this!

Keep in mind that an electric bike is not a moped. If you’d like to know the differences you can check out this article → “Is an Electric Bike a Moped? (Differences Explained)”

While mopeds are designed to just be used with a throttle, electric bikes are not. 

Most electric bikes that come with a throttle will be a hub drive style ebike. This means that the motor is in the hub of the wheel, usually the rear wheel.

The power of these hub drive motors is based on how much wattage the motor can produce. Some will be 250w, 500w, 750w, and so on…

The issue with just using your throttle all the time is that a hub drive motor will “peak” its power far beyond that of its ideal running wattage. For example, a 500w motor can often “peak” to 800 watts when using the throttle uphill.

So if you were to only use your throttle while riding and never pedal at all, you will be riding your motor at its “peak” wattage far more often than recommended, and this will cause it to burn out faster and eventually stop working altogether.

So while you can ride a throttle-equipped electric bike without pedaling, you will not want to do so for very long stretches.

Is It Hard to Ride an Ebike?

Ebikes make it easier to ride a bike than ever before. You may have a little learning curve, in the beginning, knowing how the controls work, what the different assist levels feel like, and everything your display can do, but soon you will be off and riding!

The first things to get familiar with are the new controls for your motor. These will usually be on the left side of your handlebar, next to your left grip.

Learn what each of the buttons does, and know that you can move the controls so that they are in the best spot for you to reach them.

Then, observe your new display. This will have the speed that you are going, an odometer telling how many miles you’ve ridden, a battery level indicator, and more. 

It is not hard to ride an electric bike, but it may take some time to get familiar with all the new things that your electric bike can do.

Can You Ride an Electric Bike if You Haven’t Ridden a Bike in a While?

Yes, electric bikes are the perfect thing if you have not ridden in a while and want to get back on a bike. 

I have sold many ebikes to folks that not only haven’t ridden for a while but thought that they may never ride again.

The biggest reason I started this website and work full time at an electric bike shop is to help people rekindle their joy of bike riding.

Electric bikes remove many of the difficulties that are associated with riding a bike like steep hills, fatigue, leg strength, and even past injuries!

With the pedal-assist of the motor helping you out you will be able to start riding again in no time.

At the End of the Day

The first time you get on an electric bike and start riding around, you will have a big smile on your face and feel like you could ride your ebike anywhere!

If you don’t believe me then head on down to your local electric bike shop and try one out for yourself. It’s free and fun, and you may just decide that it’s time to get your own electric bike.

You may already have a neighbor or a friend that has an ebike and you can always ask nicely if you can try out theirs for a quick ride.

Most people are more than willing to let you take their ebike for a spin. They will want you to know the same feeling they have when they ride.

Try out an ebike if you have never done it and your eyes will be opened!