Uncover the Truth: The Surprising Reason Electric Bikes Have Pedals!

If you’re like me, you’ve been asking yourself “Why do electric bikes have pedals?” for quite some time. Why not just have an electric motor that does the work? Is it a law the government put in place to save us from ourselves? A conspiracy theory that only the most experienced cyclists know about?

Well, after doing some research, it turns out there are actually some surprisingly practical reasons why electric bikes have pedals. As you may have noticed, the electric bike industry has been rapidly growing, and by understanding why electric bikes have pedals, it can help you make a more informed decision when it comes to your purchase. Plus, it’s just fun to learn about the history and evolution of e-bikes.

In this article, I’m going to uncover the truth by breaking down the surprising reasons why electric bikes have pedals, the history and evolution of e-bikes, the practical benefits of having pedals on electric bikes, and some common misconceptions about electric bikes and pedals. So let’s get started.

The Surprising Reason Electric Bikes Have Pedals

Have you heard the phrase “it’s easier to add than to subtract”? It’s something engineers use when making decisions, and it applies to electric bikes.

Originally, electric bikes actually started out as “electrified” versions of regular bicycles. In other words, it was easy to just add the electric motor to an existing bicycle, so that’s exactly what manufacturers did. This is why most traditional electric bikes still have pedal assist, even if you don’t actually use the pedals.

However, it eventually became more efficient to make electric bikes from scratch, and the pedals have remained due to their practicality. In fact, electric bicycles without pedals are illegal in some countries, including the United Kingdom, because the pedals are considered essential for safety.

So there you have it. The truth is that electric bikes have pedals because of their practicality and usefulness. These features allow riders to stay safe while riding, which was the original intent of the electric bikes in the first place.

The History and Evolution of Electric Bikes

The electric bike industry has come a long way since its inception in the early 1900s. Back then, some of the earliest electric bikes had external combustion engines (similar to those found in cars) and operated on a “throttle” system. The rider would push down a lever that would move a cam, which would generate sparks to ignite the fuel and power the motor.

As you can imagine, this was an inefficient and dangerous way to power an electric bike, so over the years, manufacturers have been searching for more efficient ways to power these popular vehicles. This includes the introduction of pedals in the 1960s, which could be used to assist the rider when pedaling uphill.

By the 1980s, the electric bike had become a more practical mode of transportation and began to gain popularity. It was around this time that integrated motors, batteries, and controllers could be found on electric bikes, making them a viable option for those looking for an alternative to the traditional bicycle.

The Practical Benefits of Having Pedals on an Electric Bike

Though having pedals on an electric bike may seem superfluous, it’s actually an incredibly practical feature for riders. Here are some of the more popular benefits:

1. Safety: Even though electric bikes have motors, their top speed is still limited by their wheels, so pedaling can give riders an extra boost of speed when slowing down is not an option.

2. Efficiency: When pedaling and using the motor, electric bikes can travel farther distances on a single charge, allowing riders to go the extra mile.

3. Versatility: Pedals can be used on both flat surfaces or uphill climbs, giving riders more freedom and convenience.

Common Misconceptions About Electric Bikes and Pedals

Though having pedals on electric bikes has proven to be incredibly practical, there are still some common misconceptions about them.

1. Electric bikes are unsafe: Actually, electric bikes are just as safe as traditional bicycles — in some cases, they can even be safer due to their ability to climb steep hills and their increased visibility.

2. You don’t need to pedal: Even though electric bikes don’t need to be pedaled, it can still be beneficial for riders as it can increase efficiency and provide a boost of speed when needed.

3. Pedals add weight: Pedals don’t actually add much weight to electric bikes, as they are made from lightweight materials.

Practical Tips

Now that you know why electric bikes have pedals and the practical benefits they offer, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your electric bike:

1. Make sure you’re using the proper bike sizing: Electric bikes come in different sizes, so be sure to calculate your height and weight to ensure you get a bike that fits.

2. Utilize hill-associated features: Electric bikes are great for climbing hills, so take advantage of features such as electric motors, pedal assist, and regenerative braking while ascending.

3. Take your electric bike on different terrains: Electric bikes can handle a variety of terrains, so don’t be afraid to take your bike outside of your comfort zone.


Now that you know the truth and the surprising reason electric bikes have pedals, you can make an informed decision when it comes to selecting the right bike for you. From the history of electric bikes to the practical benefits of having pedals, I hope this guide has helped clear up any confusion you may have had.

So don’t be afraid to get out there and explore the world of electric bikes! Who knows? You may even have so much fun you ditch the traditional bicycle for good.