While it does differ from riding a regular bike, most e-bike newbies get the hang of it quickly. Typically, it only takes one test ride for the body’s muscle memory to adapt to the feel of a pedal-assist machine.
Keep the following tips in mind when you first start riding an e-bike:
- Brake earlier because e-bikes are heavier (and faster). Pedal-assist power overcomes the sluggishness that a heavier bike might have, but a fast-moving weighty mass also requires an attentive brake hand. E-bikes come with robust brake systems to help, but you still have to be on top of your riding game.
- Ride with a faster cadence. An e-bike is most efficient when pedaled at a faster cadence than is typically used on a regular bike, especially when climbing hills. It’s not that you can’t have a lower cadence, it’s just that your e-bike rides more smoothly and gets better battery life if you spin the pedals faster. So get used to using lower gears.
- Ride in low-assist modes as much as possible. Motor settings range from “eco” to “turbo” (terms vary), with one or two in between. Mode choice has a direct effect on battery life—riding range—so the more you ride in eco mode, the better. Save turbo for when you truly need it. If you feel eco isn’t helping much, try riding with the motor switched off—eco will feel zippy after that. Less assist from the motor also means you get a better workout.