Electric bicycles are a convenient way to get around the neighborhood. E-bikes are also an eco-friendly mode of transportation, but which model is right for you?
The bicycles are divided into two categories, e-bikes, and hybrid electric bikes, and each has its best uses.
Let’s take a look at the differences between e-bikes and hybrid electric bikes, so you can choose the best one for you.
What Is the Difference Between an E-bike and a Hybrid Electric Bike?
E-bikes and hybrid electric bicycles look and work similarly. Both types of bikes come with pedals and electric motors.
The small motor can assist in pedaling or provide all of the momentum for short distances.
With the pedal-assist functionality, you get an extra boost going up steep hills. You don’t have to exert a lot of energy working the pedals.
Even though e-bikes and hybrid bikes have some similarities, there are also some differences.
An electric hybrid bike combines aspects of two or more types of bicycles. It’s a flexible e-bike you can take off-road and ride on paved surfaces.
Instead of the sporty appearance you get with a traditional electric bicycle, hybrid e-bikes tend to favor mountain bikes in style.
So, which one is the right choice? Here’s a closer look at what these e-bikes have to offer.
Benefits of Riding an E-bike
Electric bikes are typically lighter in weight than hybrid models. You also get more speed and power, making them ideal for running errands and short work commutes.
Hybrid e-bikes combine features of different types of bicycles, allowing you to tackle some off-road trails.
Electric bikes are great for covering paved surfaces. E-bikes typically come with drop handles and narrow tires that provide power and speed.
Depending on the category your e-bike falls into, your speed can range from around 20 mph up to 30 mph on city streets.
You can’t ride an electric bike on the highway, but you can take your e-bicycle through most neighborhoods and some downtown areas.
If most or all of your riding is on paved surfaces, a traditional electric bike is a great option. You can easily cover greater distances, especially when you conserve battery power by pedaling.
E-bikes have a few benefits that make them ideal for commuting on the streets.
- The lightweight frame allows for easier storage and transportation in vehicles. It can also provide more speed, and you use less energy pedaling.
- With narrow front and rear tires, you can easily make turns and maneuver around objects and bumps in the road.
- You have more gears to increase speed and reduce pedaling resistance going uphill.
The main benefit of riding an electric bike is its design. You get multiple positions to ensure your comfort on long rides, while drop handlebars provide additional power and control.
Potential Downsides of Riding an E-Bike
Electric bikes only have a couple of downsides, and they may not apply to you. An e-bike is intended for use on paved surfaces. It’s not designed for off-trail riding.
The narrow tires can’t provide the necessary traction and control you need to make turns. Instead of smoothly riding over surfaces, the tires slip and slide.
The cost of an electric bike can be another disadvantage. Most e-bikes are at a higher price point than hybrid ones.
Benefits of Riding a Hybrid E-Bike
The main benefit of riding a hybrid e-bike is its functionality. Since a hybrid bike combines features from different types of bicycles, you aren’t limited in its use.
You can tackle most types of terrain without having to push your bike over dirt or loose gravel. Some of the additional benefits are:
- Wider tires that provide traction on unpaved and paved surfaces.
- Some types of hybrid e-bikes are more affordable than standard electric bicycles.
- Wider seats and an upright riding style keep you comfortable on longer, off-road rides.
If you are looking for versatility in an e-bike, a hybrid model might be your best option.
Potential Downsides of Riding a Hybrid E-Bike
A hybrid e-bike may not be the best option for some riders. Its heavier weight makes it harder to lift for storage or to transport in a vehicle.
The weight also affects pedaling. You are exerting more energy pedaling a hybrid e-bike if the battery runs out of power.
Getting a hybrid e-bike started on an incline is also more difficult, especially if the model doesn’t come with a throttle.
It’s something to consider as you are choosing between the two types of electric bicycles.
Hybrid Electric Bikes Use Cases
One thing to consider when choosing between an e-bike and a hybrid electric bike is that hybrid electric bikes offer more versatility.
Manufacturers have various models designed for urban riding, off-road, and even recreational biking.
Here are a few common types of hybrid e-bikes.
Urban Hybrid E-Bikes
Even though standard e-bikes are best suited for paved surfaces, urban hybrid electric bicycles aren’t far behind.
These e-bikes are a combination of a commuter and city bicycle, providing plenty of comfort on longer rides.
Most urban hybrid e-bikes have thinner handlebars than other models. The tires are also smoother for gripping paved roads.
Compared to standard e-bikes, the handlebars are a little thicker, meaning you lose some comfort.
Speed is another difference. While these hybrids are speedy, they cannot keep up with a traditional electric bicycle.
An Urban hybrid e-bike is a good option for riders that ride in the city, but also tackle a few off-road trails.
Off-Road Hybrid E-Bikes
Adventurous riders may want to look at off-road hybrid e-bikes. You get a durable electric bike that can handle dirt lanes, gravel roads, and some trails.
Some models can also smoothly transition to city riding. If you plan on biking on and off-road, look for an e-bike with mountain bike characteristics.
The fatter tires provide plenty of traction on loose dirt and gravel. You can also take the tires on paved surfaces, though you do not have the exceptional control you get with a standard e-bike.
One consideration is the price. Urban hybrid e-bikes typically cost more than other types of electric bicycles due to their rugged design.
Recreational Hybrid E-Bikes
Recreational hybrid e-bikes are great for short treks around parks, lakes, and other outdoor areas.
An e-bike typically combines the characteristics of off-road and standard electric bikes.
You get some of the durability and traction necessary for light off-road adventures, along with city biking functionality.
Ebike vs Hybrid Electric Bike – Compared
Even though there are differences between e-bikes and hybrid electric bikes, some features stay the same.
Here are a few aspects to look for in either type of e-bike.
The price of an electric bike is something almost every consumer considers. Electric bikes are usually at a higher price than hybrid ones, but there are exceptions.
Off-road hybrid electrical bikes typically have a higher price tag. These e-bikes are designed with durability in mind, and it often includes the battery and motor.
An e-bike’s battery determines your range. It can also affect the price. Whether you choose a standard e-bike or a hybrid model, you want the battery to last through your trips.
E-bike riders that keep their commutes to a few miles or less might be able to get by on a less expensive battery. Just keep in mind you lose the pedal assist function when the battery dies.
Anyone with a long commute or planning on taking long, off-road rides wants to select an e-bike with plenty of battery life.
It might be worth it to pay a little extra for an e-bike that comes with an extra battery pack.
The battery’s charging speed is something else to look at, especially if the e-bike is one of your primary modes of transportation.
Some batteries charge overnight, while others only need a few hours before they are ready to go.
Hybrid electric bikes often have a shorter range than standard e-bikes since they are usually used for a specific purpose.
It’s one of the reasons you often find dual battery packs on off-road hybrids.
These hybrid e-bikes tend to cover greater distances and you don’t want to lose the pedal assist on steep climbs or rocky terrain.
How fast an e-bike goes depends on the motor and tires. Your e-bike isn’t going to keep up with a gas-powered or electric car, but you can easily reach speeds around 20 mph or so.
E-bikes typically have narrower tires, giving you plenty of speed on your commutes. These tires can also make the electric bike a little easier to pedal, saving battery power for steep hills.
Thin tires also grip paved surfaces better than the wider ones often found on hybrid electric bicycles.
Hybrid electric bikes usually have a top speed of around 20 mph using only the motor.
Depending on the class, some standard e-bikes have motors capable of speeds of around 28 mph. If you are looking for a fast commute, you want to go with a traditional e-bike.
Look at where the motor is mounted. It can affect torque and performance. Mid-mounted motors typically offer more speed, especially the 500W and 750W models.
You might pay a little more for a mid-mounted motor, but it’s worth the expense if speed is a priority.
It doesn’t matter how long or short your rides are, because comfort is always a concern. If your e-bike is uncomfortable, it will probably stay parked in your shed or garage.
Some aspects that affect comfort include the position of the handlebars. Most hybrid e-bikes have upright handlebars to ensure your comfort.
It’s a little different from standard electric bicycles. They usually have drop handlebars to improve speed.
Height adjustable seats with wide saddles will also improve your riding comfort. Think along the lines of a cruiser as you are looking at e-bike seats.
Hybrid e-bike riders may want to consider models with front fork suspension. It’s not necessary on traditional e-bikes, but you may want it on rough rides.
The fork suspension helps absorb impacts from bumpy roads and trails, giving you a smoother, more comfortable ride.
Both standard and hybrid electric bikes can come with the same safety features. These often include reflective paint or decals that ensure passing motorists see the e-bike in the dark.
Reflective tires and integrated lights on the rims are other safety options. Some electric bikes also come with headlights.
Don’t forget to check the brakes on an e-bike. You need to be able to come to a halt at stop signs or on the trail.
When You Should Choose an E-Bike or an Electric Hybrid Bicycle
As you are comparing the differences between an e-bike and an electric hybrid bike, it’s easy to focus solely on the cost.
Most hybrids are priced lower, and they are also versatile. However, it doesn’t mean it’s the best option.
Riders that prefer an upright riding position and the versatility to go on and off-road may want to concentrate on hybrid electric bikes.
You can also save some money compared to purchasing a standard e-bike.
Does your commute come with hills, or do you plan on sticking to paved surfaces? If so, a traditional e-bike is worth taking a look at.
These e-bikes can travel greater distances, even using pedal assist. Most come with batteries that can go for up to 30 miles before needing a charge.
E-bikes are also a good option for riders planning on touring or making bicycling a favorite sport.
The difference between an e-bike and a hybrid electric bike comes down to its best uses. Hybrid electric bikes can fill in where a traditional electric bicycle can’t easily go.
You are foregoing some speed and power with a hybrid electric bike, but you are also saving a little money on the purchase price.
Traditional e-bikes give you more speed and power, but you are slightly limited on where you can go.
Choosing between the two types of e-bikes usually comes down to your riding preferences.
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