If you’re like me, then the first time you heard the term “motorized bicycle” you might have thought the person saying it was crazy, because it doesn’t sound like a million dollar idea at first glance. A motorized bicycle? At that point you might as well just get a motorcycle, right?
Oh, how wrong you are my dear fellow cynic. And I promise, by the end of this page you won’t be dismissing the idea. First, let us define a motorized bicycle. Simply put, it’s a bike, with pedals and all, that has a motor and transmission.
Motor bikes are actually quite handy machines to have (and we’ll tell you all about why that is below), however there is something you should know if you want to own one. The legal definition of this type of bike might change depending on where you live; for example, in many provinces in Canada, there is no legal difference between a bike and a motorized bicycle, however in other places like France, they are regarded under the same laws that regulate mopeds and scooters (which means riders must be over 14, and either have a drivers licence or take a test in lieu of one).
With that out of the way, below are the top 11 reasons why you should buy a motorized bicycle!
1 – It’s a speedy way to get up to speed!
When you ride your bike in traffic, one of the biggest sources of anxiety (aside from riding along-side giant death machines piloted by people whose road rage tendencies approach the neighbourhood of homicidal) is stopping and starting again – in other words, going from a complete stop (like a red light) to the speed of traffic. This can take a lot of energy, especially if you’re new to road cycling and/or a little out of shape.
The motor is a great assistant, getting you from 0 to the speed of traffic quickly, meaning you don’t need to worry about holding up the people behind you.
2 – Big hills? No problem!
Ah, a steep incline. A nightmare known to cyclists everywhere. It’s a huge bother, even when you’re not riding on the road. I’ll bet at least once you’ve climbed a hill on a bike, only to stop at the top to catch your breath and curse the hill’s very existence. However, if you were to have a motorized bicycle, that hill would be no problem at all. In fact, one of the biggest selling points for motorized bikes are their hill-climbing capabilities.
With the help of the motor, even the most intimidating neighbourhood hills (or most fun, depending on whether you’re going up or down) won’t be able to slow you down. Whether you use it in tandem with the pedals or simply rely on the motor, you won’t have to push yourself into exhaustion just to get up a hill any longer.
3 – It’s great for when you’re tired!
Sometimes you just feel so tired, even when usually cycling isn’t a particularly tiresome activity. There’s just something about it that drains you. Well, fear no more. A motorized bike definitely makes up for what you lack in physical energy. The motor assist is great because you’re still pedalling, and therefore still doing physical activity, but you don’t have to put nearly as much effort into it. Personally, I like to think this is the perfect feature for when it is just too hot to give it your all.
Whether you’re feeling sore, you’re really tired, or just feeling lazy, a motor bike lets you put in less energy while traveling at the same level of efficiency.
4 – It’s cheaper than a car!
Owning a car, especially for a city-dweller, is expensive. For starters, you need to pay for gas. A full tank of gas for your car is expensive, and even if it’s a fuel efficient machine, the costs still add up over time. It can easy cost you thousands or more every year. But that’s not all. You need licencing and registration. There’s also parking fees to consider; they add up.
And we haven’t even begun to think about the cost of things like regular maintenance and repairs. Regular bike maintenance can be done with mostly household materials and a few cheap additions (like a bike tyre pump, for instance). On the other hand, routine maintenance on your car can cost over £100. On top of that, if there’s a problem with your car, it often costs hundreds of pounds to cover the repairs. In the USA, the average family spends roughly 1.5% of their yearly income on car repairs.
Bike repairs, on the other hand, are much cheaper. While it’s true that if you need to get the engine repaired it can be costly, it’s still cheaper than fixing your car if its engine fails. However, most repairs you get for your bike should reasonably cost under £50 with the price of labour included.
It’s not just fixing the car that’s expensive; it’s getting one in the first place. Bikes generally cost under £2000, while new cars often cost well over £10,000; some brands don’t sell any new cars with a price tag under £25,000. If you’re on a tight budget, a motorized bike is a way better option compared to a car.
5 – It’s safe(r than a car)!
As we’re so fond of telling everyone, cycling is a much safer alternative to driving. We haven’t been shy about reminding you – almost all of my posts mention this point. But for our non-regular readers, here’s the run down: according to the World Health Organization, 1.24 million people died in 2010 in accidents involving motorists.
Car accidents are one of the top 10 causes of death in the world. The amount of people who die every day in a car accident is staggering. Just look at these stats! Cycling is much, much safer. People often dismiss bikes as unsafe and point to the rare instances when cyclists are killed in the roads, but claiming bikes are not safe is simply hysteria. There’s no arguing with facts, and the facts prove that cycling is a safe alternative to cars.
A motorized bike has the same benefit of safety as a car, but with a convenient motor that helps you along. It can also help with safety; most accidents between cyclists and motorists occur at intersections. Being able to get up to speed faster may help reduce the risk of an accident.
6 – They’re cool!
And you know it. As a kid, we used to wedge crushed soda cans above our tyres so the bike made a sound that, to us, sounded kind of like a motorcycle’s roar. While a motorized bicycle isn’t the same as a motorcycle, it can still give you that same kind of experience. You can sit on your bike, engage the motor, and feel like a badass biker as you ride.
The best part is, it can give you that feeling, without making you pay for a motorcycle, or get a licence for one.
Style is one of the main reasons we buy things like bikes, cars, houses, clothes, etc. Style is important – you want something that looks good, and that you’ll look good in or on. Style matters a lot! So one of the big benefits motorized bikes have is how stylish and cool they are.
7 – It’s fuel efficient!
Assuming we’re talking about specifically motorized bikes with an internal combustion engine (ICE) and not electric bikes, they do take fuel to run the engine, however it’s not a lot, and it lasts a fair bit of time. In other words, for the same efficiency as a car, it produces a fraction of the CO2. There are critics who claim that a motorized bike with an ICE defeats the purpose of riding a bike for environmental reasons, but in reality the difference between a motorized bike and a car is still huge.
It’s an environmentally safe compromise between a car and a bicycle. Besides, electric bikes are considered a type of motorized bike, and those are emission-free. Completely manual bikes are better for the environment, there’s no arguing, but motorized bikes are the runner ups.
8 – It’s a good stepping stone!
Have you been considering getting into cycling? If you’re overweight and laughably out of shape like me (I’m a writer who bakes in my spare time, cut me some slack) then the idea of riding a bike as opposed to driving might not sound like a pleasant idea. In fact, depending on the amount of physical exertion you’re used to it might sound more like an exercise in self-flagellation than a leisurely cruise.
Well bikes don’t have to be so intimidating anymore, because motorized bikes make the transition from motorist to cyclist really easy (disclaimer: I’m not speaking from personal experience, my fat ass has never owned a car, and always been too poor for cabs, so riding a bike or walking have really been my only options).
One of the best benefits of the motorized bike is that you can choose whether you want to manually propel the bike, share the work with the motor, or relax and let the motor take all the slack. This makes it extremely easy for people who aren’t used to riding a bike to get into cycling.
9 – It’s great motivation to exercise!
I’ve seen people make the joke that motorized bikes are the “lazy man’s bike”. Ironically, a motorized bicycle is actually great motivation for people to work out and not be lazy! You might be wondering how that makes sense. After all, with a motor bike you have the assist, which allows you to cruise and ride without putting in any physical effort. With the motor engaged, they can ride the bike without actually exercising at all, can’t they? Exactly.
If you’re riding a bike for exercise, you probably plan your route, and most people likely won’t stray too far from home for fear that, if they get too tired, they’re screwed. After all, if you’re too physically exhausted to keep riding, but you’re 30 minutes from home, you’re going to have a bad time. But a motorized bike takes care of that problem.
You can ride your bike to your absolute physical limit, because it doesn’t matter how close you are to home when your legs start to feel like jelly and flaming needles. When your stamina is completely gone, you can just use the motor. Or, you could use it more strategically, riding for a while, then cruising with the motor in control for a bit while you recover, then switching back to full manual propulsion for the second half of your ride.
10 – It makes carrying things easier!
Ok, yeah, cargo bikes are amazing [link to cargo bike story], but come on. You couldn’t really take anything that heavy on one, right? The extra weight would be too much, right? Wrong. With a motor to assist you, you’ll be able to handle bigger and heavier burdens on your cargo bike. A motor on a cargo bike will allow you to push that baby to its absolute limits. I’m taking fridges and other heavy appliances. Enough groceries to feed a family of 5. Heavy furniture.
If there is any form of motorized bike you should definitely consider buying, it’s a motorized cargo bike. It makes cargo bikes that much more convenient to have.
11 – They are just really useful!
Honestly, even if you don’t think you’d need it, you should at least give some serious consideration towards buying a motorized bike. Why? Because they’re really handy to have. They are great even if you don’t plan on relying on the motor. If you’re having a particularly groggy morning, they make things easier on you during your commute. They help you work out better. The motorized bike is great for riding in traffic, helping you carry things, and getting over tough hills.
It’s a little extra kick for when you need it. It’s a get-out-of-jail-free card for when you feel lazy. It’s not that you need one, it just makes a really good back up for all those just in case situations. And once you have one, I can guarantee you’ll be using it more than you thought you would.