The Pros & Cons of an Electric Bike vs. Electric Skateboard

While driving or walking through your city, you may have noticed an abundance of electric bikes, electric skateboards, and other powered versions of everyday transportation systems that weren’t previously electric. You may have wondered what’s so great about them, how they work, and what similarities and differences they have.

How are electric bikes different from electric skateboards?  Both can be powered by electricity, human effort, or a combination of the two.  While both have electronic components, electric skateboards are controlled with remotes, where electric bikes are controlled by pedals and steering.

There are other differences and characteristics we can break down about electric bikes and electric skateboards, so we’ve compiled all the information you need to know to compare the two electric modes of transportation. Before you know it, you may just be zooming by on one of your own!

Characteristics of Electric Bikes and Electric Skateboards 

If you’re in the market to get an electric bike or electric skateboard of your own, or you simply want to know more about the two, some of the first things you’ll want to look at are the differences, similarities, and characteristics of the two – and then you can compare them.

We’re going to do just that: walk you through the characteristics of electric bikes, the characteristics of electric skateboards, the differences and similarities they share, and then later compare the pros and cons of each. 

Electric Bike Characteristics 

When you hear the words “electric bike” and try to envision what an electric bike is, you may think of something along the lines of a motorcycle or moped. While both of those things can be electric, they’re not electric bikes, and electric bikes are actually quite different.

Electric bikes are really operated in the same way that regular bikes do: by using pedals, handlebars, and brakes. The big difference between electric bikes and normal bikes is that electric components are added to electric bikes to help a person ride faster without more effort.

These electric components build on the human power it takes to operate a bike, rather than replacing that power altogether, like a motorcycle or moped would. 

The Parts of an Electric Bike

As we previously mentioned, electric bikes are comprised of electric components. These components help build on the human power it takes to operate a bike (like pedaling), to make operations easier and faster.

There are three key parts that electric bikes have that separate them from normal bikes. They are:

  • The motor(s)
  • The sensor
  • The battery

Sometimes, an electric bike may even come with a throttle, although this differs between brands and bike models. 

Motor(s)

The motors of an electric bike are typically housed in three places: on the frame of the bike, in the rear wheel, and in the front wheel. Not all electric bikes have the rear wheel and front wheel motors; most electric bikes just have the motor that’s attached to the frame of the bike.

Sensor

As we previously mentioned, electric bikes have a sensor which is most often mounted in the middle of the handlebars. This sensor is what automatically engages the motor once you begin pedaling the electric bike, so you can get that added power while you’re riding. The sensor sends this information usually to a display that will show the speed the rider is going.

Battery

The batteries of electric bikes give the motors the power they need to offer that riding assistance. Electric bike batteries are often housed in the frame or in the luggage rack of the bike, and many riders even carry spare batteries with them to make sure they keep that power going as long as they need. 

Electric Bike Speeds

You, like a lot of others, are probably wondering just how fast an electric bike can go. When it comes to electric bikes, you can, of course, get up to the speed of however fast you can pedal – and that goes for all bikes.

Electric bikes tend to offer speed and power assistance up to 20 miles per hour, although with assist from the riders, top speeds can be up to 28 miles per hour. 

Electric Skateboard Characteristics

It’s time to jump to our other powered mode of transportation: electric skateboards. Like electric bikes, electric skateboards share many similarities with regular skateboards, except they have electric components that help power them.

The biggest difference between electric skateboards and regular skateboards is how they’re accelerated and how they brake. Unlike regular skateboards, electric skateboards don’t need to be pushed with a foot to accelerate; not only that, but electric skateboards have brakes. 

So, like with electric bikes, the biggest thing that distinguishes electric skateboards from regular skateboards are those electric components that are added on. 

The Parts of an Electric Skateboard

Electric skateboards, of course, have all the basic components regular skateboards do, like decks, wheels, trucks, and ball bearings. But obviously, they have electric components as well.

Unlike with electric bikes, the electric components of electric skateboards don’t “assist” the human power needed to operate them. Rather, the electric components of electric skateboards do the work for you.

The main parts that make electric skateboards well, electric, are:

  • The motor
  • The battery
  • The remote control
  • The Bluetooth transmitter and receiver
  • The Electronic Speed Controller

Motor

Electric skateboards need to have a motor in order to function. They can have one of two types of motors: a belt motor or a hub motor.

Belt motors are placed between the wheels of the skateboard and are very common in the electric skateboard industry.

On the other hand, hub motors are placed inside the wheels of the skateboard. Hub motors are quieter than belt motors, but they are more prone to motion damage and overheating. 

Battery

Just like with electric bikes, the battery of electric skateboards is what gives the motor the power to function. Batteries are most often stored on the bottom of the skateboard’s deck, essentially underneath the electric skateboard.

Electric skateboard batteries can come in a huge variety of types, shapes, and sizes, but are most often Lithium-ion batteries. 

Remote Control and Bluetooth Transmitter & Receiver

We briefly mentioned that electric skateboards are controlled by a remote control. The remote control of an electric skateboard is what allows you to control your speed, movements, and braking. Pretty cool, right?

In order for the electric skateboard’s remote control to work, it needs a Bluetooth transmitter and receiver. Simply put, the Bluetooth transmitter and receiver allows for the wireless communication between the remote control and the electric skateboard’s components. 

Electronic Speed Controller

Electric skateboards wouldn’t be able to do much without an Electronic Speed Controller, or ESC. The ESC connects to all electric parts of the electric skateboard, from the motor to the battery to the remote control to the Bluetooth transmitter and receiver.

The ESC of an electric skateboard controls what and how much power the battery gives the motor based upon the use of the remote control and Bluetooth transmitter and receiver. 

Electric Skateboard Speeds

Electric skateboards can surprisingly go just as fast as a lot of electric bikes out there, which is pretty neat.

Electric skateboards can typically go up to 25 miles per hour, and easily cruise at speeds between 10 and 15 miles per hour. 

Similarities and Differences of Electric Bikes and Electric Skateboards

Now that you know the basics about electric bikes and electric skateboards, we can compare the two and take a look at their similarities and differences. Check out the similarities and differences between electric bikes and electric skateboards across a few different categories:


Electric BikesElectric Skateboards
Electric ComponentsMotor(s), battery, sensorMotor, battery, remote control, Bluetooth transmitter & receiver, Electronic Speed Controller
Method of AccelerationPedalingRemote control
Assist Human Power or Generate Its Own Power?Assists human powerGenerates its own power
Speed CapabilitiesUp to 20 mph; up to 28 mph in some casesUp to 25 mph
Terrain CapabilitiesFlat surfaces, hills, bike paths, roads, certain trailsFlat surfaces, hills, sidewalks, roads, skatepark surfaces
Cost $400 to $3,000$200 to $2,000

Similarities Summed Up

As you can tell by the table above, electric bikes and electric skateboards have quite a few similarities. They both have electric components like motors and batteries, can travel on similar terrain, and can take on speeds over 20 miles per hour. 

Differences Summed Up

Perhaps the biggest difference between electric bikes and electric skateboards is their method of acceleration and the power they generate. Electric bikes are accelerated by pedaling, but electric skateboards are accelerated through their remote control.

Likewise, electric bikes only assist the human power it takes to operate them, but electric skateboards generate all their own power; electric skateboard riders can literally just hang on and enjoy the ride.

Another difference between the two electric modes of transportation is their price tags. Electric bikes tend to be more expensive than electric skateboards, although both can be pretty pricey.

Pros and Cons of Electric Bikes and Electric Skateboards

Now that you know not only the basics about electric bikes and electric skateboards but also the similarities and differences of each, we can take a look at the pros and cons of the two. 

Pros of Electric Bikes

Electric bikes have quite a few pros and great advantages that make them fair investments for those who buy and ride them. Let’s visit some of them. 

Electric Bikes are SO much fun!

You Can Save Money

When you ride an electric bike rather than take your car or rideshare service, you can save big time. You can save up to $11,931 a year by choosing to take an electric bike instead of your car – and $1,500 of that is what you’ll save on gas alone. 

They’re Easier Than Regular Bikes

Electric bikes have that powered assistance that regular bikes don’t, and it can make all the difference. When you choose to ride your electric bike, you’ll spend less energy than if you rode your normal bike. 

Not only that, but it’s easier to go up hills and steep areas on electric bikes than it is on regular bikes. Electric bikes can also help ease the pressure on your joints, like your knees and hips – the less effort required from you, the better your joints feel. 

You Can Go Further Than With a Regular Bike

Since electric bikes have that extra kick of power and assistance, you’ll find that you can go further on an electric bike than on a regular bike – especially without getting tired. This is especially true if you carry a spare battery to use when your other battery runs low. 

You Can Ditch Public Transport

Forget sitting next to a stranger on the bus or train – with an electric bike, you can ditch public transport and take your transportation into your own hands (literally). You may just go faster on your electric bike than you would on a bus, too; city buses typically only go about 14.1 miles per hour!

Cons of Electric Bikes

Like with everything, electric bikes have some cons as well. 

They’re Expensive

Electric bikes are an investment, that’s for sure. When the average electric bike costs a little over $1,000, it can be hard to save up and fork over the cash needed to purchase one. 

They’re Heavy

With all those extra electric components, electric bikes are quite a bit heavier than normal bikes. This is something that can affect how you transport your bike from place to place (if needed) and how well you can control your electric bike. 

Batteries Can Take a Long Time to Recharge

The batteries in electric bikes can take a long time to recharge, which can be tricky if you need to use your electric bike again shortly after the battery has been drained. Backup batteries are often handy and necessary. A battery can take anywhere between 2 to 6 hours to charge.

Pros of Electric Skateboards

Electric skateboards have pros just like electric bikes do. Let’s check some of them out.

They’re Compact

One of the best things about electric skateboards is how compact and lightweight they are. While they might weigh a little more than regular skateboards, electric skateboards are still easy to take in the car, on a bus or train, or to simply carry when not in use. 

They’re Fast

Like electric bikes, electric skateboards are fast – meaning you can get where you need to go more quickly and with less effort. Again, with speed capabilities of up to 25 miles per hour, your electric skateboard might just go faster than the city bus that averages 14.1 miles per hour. 

They’re Great for Beginners

Believe it or not, electric skateboards are actually great for those just learning how to skateboard! Riders don’t have to push with their feet to accelerate, and they don’t have to brake with their feet, either. The remote control accelerator and built-in brakes of electric skateboards make them awesome for beginners. Although you will need to have decent balance to ride an electric skateboard.

Cons of Electric Skateboards

Naturally, electric skateboards have their cons, too. What are they?

They’re Expensive

Again, like electric bikes, electric skateboards are expensive. Although they tend to cost less than electric bikes, electric skateboards can put you out anywhere from $200 to $2,000 – and any of those costs are a pretty hefty price tag for most people.

They Are Prone to Damage

Since the electric components of electric skateboards are so close to the ground, they’re prone to a lot of damage. Riders need to take extra caution and consider the areas they want to ride in because jolts or other motions can damage parts like the motor and battery. 

They Have Limited Weight Capacities

Unfortunately, electric skateboards have limited weight capacities, meaning those who are larger in stature or heavier may not fare well on them. When heavier persons attempt to ride electric skateboards, the skateboards often run for much shorter amounts of time before running out of battery power. 

Recap: Pros and Cons of Electric Bikes and Electric Skateboards

Let’s recap the pros and cons of both electric bikes and electric skateboards in an easy to read table. 

Electric Bike ProsElectric Bike ConsElectric Skateboard ProsElectric Skateboard Cons
You can save money on transportation costsExpensiveCompact and easy to transport/carryExpensive
Easier to operate than regular bikesHeavier than regular bikesFastEasily prone to damage
Can go further than regular bikesBatteries can take a long time to charge and rechargeGreat for beginner skateboardersLimited weight capacities
You can ditch public transport


Final Thoughts

Electric bikes and electric skateboards are both awesome modes of transportation that will allow you to get where you need to go faster, with less effort, and probably with more fun.

When comparing electric bikes and electric skateboards, it’s important to note the characteristics of the two, like how they operate, the electric parts they have, and the speeds they can take on. Then, you can compare the similarities and differences between the two, and of course, the pros and cons.

Remember, whether you’re joy riding on an electric bike or shredding on an electric skateboard, always ride safely! 

Learn more and read more articles about electric bikes here!

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