In recent years, there has been an important development of electric bicycles. With an impressive increase in volumes. Sales of electric bicycles were 15,000 units in 2008 (example of France). For the year 2019, sales have soared with more than 388,000 electric bikes sold. E-bikes now account for 45% of the total cycle market turnover in the country! The average price is €1749. Those figures come from the Union Sports and Cycles of France.
Urban electric bicycles: stable growth
In terms of urban electric bicycles, the market is rather mature. It is the largest segment with 51% of sales. The advantages of the electric bicycle are indeed numerous. The city dweller has an alternative to the car for journeys between home and work.
The electric bicycle makes it possible to free oneself from urban constraints such as traffic jams. In periods as a recent pandemic, it is also a popular choice compared to public transport. This is why some cities are offering significant financial incentives to buy an electric bicycle.
Euphoria for electric MTBs
Sales of electric mountain bikes now represent more than 87,000 units per year (again, in France). Practitioners have “converted” quite quickly. The practice of electric MTBs has many advantages.
It is possible to vary one’s level of effort. The use in the mountains avoids having to take the cable cars for bike park enthusiasts. Manufacturers also have made significant efforts and offer many high-performance models. If you want to buy an EMTB there are now many good choices on the market.
When is the electric road bike turn?
The only sector where electric bicycles are not growing exponentially (yet) is road biking. Sales of road e-bike models represent only 2% of the total. Prestigious manufacturers such as Pinarello, Specialized started to offer electric road bikes.
Why is electric road bike not as “successful” as EMTB or electric city bike? First of all, the price of these models is not affordable for everyone. The Focus Paralane can be found under 4000 € but the price of an electric Pinarello does not go below 5000 €. And prices can skyrocket as for the Specialized S-Works Turbo Creo SL which is priced at €12,499.
The second problem is the weight. Weight is an enemy for the road cyclists. Electrical components weigh a lot. This is especially true for the battery, which is the heaviest component. Manufacturers have to choose more expensive solutions (carbon frame, carbon wheel…) to limit the weight.
Another problem with the electric road bike is more of a psychological one. To ride the road and climb the most beautiful passes, you often have to make sacrifices to succeed. The electric bicycle can be considered a form of “doping”. In order to take the electric road bike to the next level, a road cyclist has to look at the benefits on the fun side.
First of all, electric assistance allows you to measure your effort. We don’t always have the same level of fitness. On bad days, you can set the assistance at a fairly high level. And for the good days, it’s possible to run the engine at minimum (or not at all).
The electric motor also allows you to go further or higher. For quick outings before nightfall, you can program yourself a nice route. You don’t have to stay “in your neighborhood” and always take the same roads.
What will the future road bike be like?
Will the future of the road bike be electric: difficult to predict. The preliminary step will already be to cross the belief barrier. The next important phase will also be at the technological level. Will manufacturers be able to offer more compact and lighter systems without raising the bill? The future will tell. Electric or muscular, the important thing is to enjoy yourself!
Take a look at this video, comparing traditional road bicycles and road e-bikes: