In theory, electric bikes have always had a functional-yet-exotic quality about them that have both deterred and attracted buyers. In the past, electric bikes have performed terribly on the consumer level – particularly in the U.S. Most were made of difficult to maintain parts, constructed in complex ways and were prohibitively expensive, but they kept selling, albeit in compartively small numbers. But this paradox of success is quite simple: Electric bikes address very real needs, despite their inherent compromises of functionality and practicality.
When cycling is the main form of transportation – not just for a trip to the gym or places accepting of sweaty patrons – the electric bike is an obvious choice. Not to mention they may save calf and hamstring muscles while traversing the nemesis of all bicyclists: uphill roads. Even for leisure, the electric bike holds a certain spot in our child-like mindsets of going places fast while maintaining control and not exhorting too much effort. But why now? Well, the technologies used are getting better, particularly in the battery space where an eight hour charge yields more than a 15-minute ride. By being able to store three to five times more capacity, distances have been extended to more than 50 or 60 miles on a single charge, while producing less noise than a small hummingbird. The eBike revolution is coming, it's just a matter of when and how much.