A new study has found that riding an electric mountain bike has pretty much the same health benefits as riding a standard pedal assist bike. Riding the e-mtb, participants' heart rates were within 94% of their heart rates when riding the regular mountain bike, and they completed the route faster of course!
The study from Brigham Young University researchers, called "Pedal-Assist Mountain Bikes: A Pilot Study Comparison of the Exercise Response, Perceptions, and Beliefs of Experienced Mountain Bikers", saw 33 mountain bikers between 18-65 complete a 10km loop on an e-mtb and the same loop with a regular mtb. Riders were given a 2017 Specialized Turbo Levo FSR with a max speed of 20mph for their e-mtb loop, and were given the choice of either their own bike or a Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp fro the non-assisted loop.
The results shown that riders completed the loop a huge 12 minutes/4mph faster on the e-mtb... but they were still getting very similar exercise benefits, with heart rates average 145bpm as opposed to 155bpm for the loop on the regular mountain bikes. The researchers said both runs shown participants were exercising at a 'vigorous intensity', and the 10bpm difference was pretty negligible.
The researchers also picked up that riders perceived that they hadn't worked as hard on the e-mtb run even though the effort was so similar, and the participants - mostly experienced mountain bikers - also became more accepting of electric mountain bikes having tried one out for the first time in the study.
While not going quite as far as another recent study of 10,000 commuters which found e-bike commuters actually get more exercise than regular bike riders, it's more strong evidence that e-bikes definitely aren't cheating, thank you very much! What do you think?