An electric bike is a bicycle with an attached electric motor, which allows the rider to expel less energy to travel a longer distance at a faster speed. These bikes are intended to complement human power and not replace it, so the rider is required to pedal in unison. They’re great for carrying not only the rider, but also extra cargo which may lead you to wonder…
Is there a weight limit for electric bikes? Electric bike weight limits are usually set in the range of 220-300 pounds. Some models are designed to carry cargo and can hold weights even higher around 550 pounds.
Electric bikes come in a variety of sizes and weight capacities and are being utilized for the young and old. They’re fun to ride in urban areas or a leisurely ride on the bike path. They are great for commuting to work and even with the motor assistance are considered a good source of exercise. Here is what you should know about the rising trend.
Electric Bike Weight Limits
Different types of electric bikes have different weight limits, so it is important to follow what the manufacturer suggests to ensure the rider’s safety and bike’s performance. Here is a list of popular electric bikes and their weight limits:
- Volt Pulse – Commuter e-bike with a 220-pound weight limit
- DJ City Bike (view on Amazon) – Solid electric bike that has a 220-pound weight capacity.
- Raleigh Redux IE – Commuter e-bike with a 250-pound weight limit
- SwagTron Bandit (See on Amazon) – Holds up to 250 lbs and is a sturdy beast. Good for cruising on paved and dirt trails.
- Haibike SDURO – Mountain e-bike with a 250-pound weight limit
- Trek Super Commuter+ 9 – Commuter e-bike with a 300-pound weight limit
- Addmotor MOTAN 1000 Watt Electric Bicycle (See on Amazon) – Has a stylish, unique paintjob and has a 350 lb. weight limit.
- Addmotor Motan Trike – Electric tricycle with a 450-pound weight limit.
Importance of Weight Limit
There are a few reasons why following the weight limit on your electric bike is important:
Safety – An electric bike needs to be able to safely slow down the rider when going down hills or making sudden stops in traffic, following the weight limit will ensure the bike’s proper performance. Excess weight can wear down and damage the brakes, rims, spokes, and saddles.
Performance – An electric bike that is at its maximum weight capacity can reduce the rider’s range and speed.
Choosing a Bike For a Heavy Rider
Unfortunately, most electric bikes on the market are only suitable for a weight limit of under 225 pounds, which becomes a problem for heavier riders looking for a form of exercise, or for riders who are transporting heavy goods.
There are a few things a rider needs to consider when looking to purchase an electric bike. A big issue is that weight limits are not always visibly displayed, so purchasing involves reaching out to customer support and reading actual customer reviews to find out a specific weight limit of a bike.
There are few things a buyer can consider when shopping for an electric bike with a higher weight capacity:
- Bike frames – The bike frame is the most important element of any bike. When searching for an electric bike for a heavy load, it is a good idea to opt for a metal frame versus the more common carbon frame. Metals like aluminum or steel are super durable, lightweight and inexpensive.
- Bike wheels – When searching for the proper bike wheel for a heavy rider, it is good to go for a 26” wheel instead of a 29”, as smaller wheels tend to be stronger.
- Bike style – Some bike styles are more suitable for heavy riders than others. Road bikes require being more hunched over, which could be uncomfortable for riders.
- Number of spokes – A rear tire should have at least 24 spokes, 32 or 36 help make the tire stronger and less likely to bend under stress.
Tip: Avoid department store bikes – Bikes you find in a department store may be shiny and inexpensive, but they are less likely to be durable and reliable.
How Electric Bikes Work
Electric bikes have all the same qualities as a regular bike, but with an added motor to give it a little extra oomph to help the rider manage obstacles like hills, wind, and long distances. They come equipped with a motor, battery, and a drivetrain
The motor is what makes or breaks the electric bike. The motor can be found in three different spots:
- Front hub – Front hub motors are located on the front tire to create movement by spinning the tire. The motor in the front creates the sensation that the bike is being pulled forward.
- Rear hub – Rear hub motors located on the back tire to create movement by spinning the tire. The motor in the back creates the sensation that the bike is being pushed. This is a more natural feeling than a front hub motor.
- Mid-drive – Mid-drive motors send power to the bike’s drivetrain instead of a hub. The central location of the motor is the most natural feeling for the rider.
Depending on the rider’s style, an electric bike’s battery can take the rider between 20 and 60 miles. There are three different rider styles:
- Pedal only – This is where the bike is ridden like a normal bike. All the power comes from the rider.
- Pedal-assist – The motor will become activated when the pedals begin to move. This allows the rider to still burn energy while getting an extra boost to make the ride easier.
- Electric-only – The rider only has to twist the throttle, and the electric bike will start going without needing any extra assistance. This is the style that drains the battery the most.
The drivetrain provides the power that is needed to turn the wheels of a bike. The mid-drive motors send the energy directly to the drivetrain to make chain cranking easier.
Charging Your Bike
Electric bikes have to be charged in order to deliver power; this can be done by simply plugging it into an outlet.
- High-quality batteries take between 2-4 hours and have a lifespan of about 700-1000 charges before the battery needs to be replaced.
- Low-quality batteries take between 6-8 hours to charge with a lifespan of 300-700 charges.
A charged bike can travel between 20-40 miles, with some being able to travel up to 60 miles per charge. The more weight on the bike will require more energy from the battery which means it won’t last as long.
Benefits Of An Electric Bike
There are many reasons why someone might choose an electric bike over a regular bike. Some benefits include:
- Get to the destination faster – Urban areas with lots of vehicle traffic are great places to ride a bike. Often taking the bike lane on your electric bike and avoiding driving or the local public transportation is faster. An electric bike is faster than riding a regular bicycle.
- Climb hills more easily – hills are fun to go down, but not as fun going up. The electric motor will make hill climbs almost as fun as going down. 🙂
- Riding electric bikes are fun! – Anytime you get to go outside, get exercise, and ride is a bike is a good time.
- Easier on the joints
- Use less human energy – Electric bikes are great for people who aren’t hardcore cyclists, but want to enjoy riding a bike. Electric bikes also allow riders to go farther distances than they would normally be capable of if they were riding a non-motorized bike.
- Great for bike commuting and arriving to work without sweating! – I’m a huge fan of bike commuting. I truly believe it makes people happier and healthier. You should totally give it a shot!
An electric bike is a good option for a heavier rider who is getting into a new biking regimen because it allows the rider to exert energy for exercise, while also offering the option of kicking in the motor when a break is needed or if the trail gets too difficult.
Supersize Cycles is a Vermont company that wants to give big and tall riders an opportunity to enjoy electric bikes. The Zize is the first electric bike capable of holding riders who weigh as much as 550 pounds. You can check out all of the Zize Bike collection on their website.
Heavier riders that want to begin getting fit by bike riding faces the obstacle of finding a bike that can carry someone over 225 pounds. So, these electric bikes are for the riders who don’t quite have the strength to carry their own weight up hills and long distances.
Zize bikes are good for heavier riders because:
- Strong frames – They use a chrome tubing that is designed for aircraft which provides a strong base and is flexible and light
- Extra strong brakes – They use a modern disc-brake instead of a standard rim-brake that provides a stronger braking performance
- Stable seats – They use wide padded seats that have clamps integrated inside the post to prevent wiggling from happening
- Sturdy wheels – These tires are made to withhold a heavyweight to create a smooth ride. They are wide, have 14-15-gauge spokes, which are made out of double-butted stainless steel.
Cargo Bikes Can Carry More
Look into electric cargo bikes if you’re looking into an option that can carry yourself, others, AND extra materials. I’ve been keeping an eye on the Surly Big Easy and the RadWagon at Rad Power Bikes. My wife and I just had our firstborn (yay!), and I would love to have a beastly bike that would let me pedal around town with my son while being able to pick up groceries.
These bikes aren’t the cheapest, but they are going to last and be able to give you a little extra help while pedaling around town. While I could definitely pedal around town with groceries and a child without motor assistance, the extra motor power would be nice.
This could also be a good idea for heavier riders who’d like to be able to get groceries or carry stuff on their bike too. The RadWagon has a 350 pound weight capacity.
How heavy is an electric bike? The lightest electric bikes are in the 20 pound range, but most electric bikes are closer to 50 to 60 pounds. This is because of the motor and other features that make it an e-bike. You can read more about why electric bikes are heavy here.
Are electric bikes good for heavy/overweight riders? Yes, it’s a great way to become fit and have the assistance of an electric motor. Many heavy riders are able to enjoy bicycling thanks to an eBike, and lose weight in the process.
Is there a weight limit for electric bikes? Every electric bicycle is different. You’ll need to check the technical specifications of the particular eBike that you’re looking at. The weight limit can be as low at 150 pounds with some having a capacity to hold up to 450lbs.
Make sure you get a bike that can carry the appropriate weight. Exceeding the weight limit for an electric bike can cause damage and even harm to the rider. You’ll want to factor in your weight plus the weight of anything extra you’ll be carrying on your electric bike.