E-Bikes Could Be A Catalyst For Exercise, BYU Study Finds

Nov 13, 2019

A recent study out of Brigham Young University suggests that e-bikes can give riders a workout nearly as strenuous as traditional bikes.

Three BYU public health professors followed 33 experienced mountain bike riders on a six-mile trail. The riders pedaled the trail twice, once on a traditional mountain bike and again on e-mountain bikes. All the while they wore heart rate monitors, which showed that the average heart rate on an e-bike was 94 percent of the average heart rate on a traditional bike.

As BYU reports, "The test subjects completed the course an average of 12:40 minutes faster using the e-mountain bikes, with an average speed 4.1 mph faster than the conventional bikes. While the average heart rate for e-bikes was about 10 beats per minute lower (145 for the e-bikes vs. 155 for the conventional bikes), both of those measures reach the threshold of the vigorous intensity zone."

Cougar Hall, a mountain biker himself and lead author of the study, says the participants reported expending less energy while riding the e-bikes, which he calls a very promising finding.

"There's less of maybe that dread that you feel as you approach an uphill climb or, you know, just the challenge of a of a 40 to 60-minute workout," Hall said. "Much of that is minimized because you have the pedal assist and you have the motor, and yet, you're still getting a very good workout."

The study concluded that given the perceived ease of this activity, e-bikes could be a catalyst in helping individuals become more physically active.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Kamila Kudelska, at kkudelsk@uwyo.edu.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.