Electric Bike or Gas Bike: Which is Better?

An electric bike differs from a gas bike in terms of its price, weight, lifespan, running costs, speed, and average traveling distance.

Moreover, both kinds of bikes have different license requirements and legal speed limits.

This article elaborates on the many factors that make an electric bike better than a gas bike and vice versa. Moreover, it will help you decide which motorized bike is the ideal purchase for you.

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Electric Bike Vs Gas Bike: Which is Better?

The first-ever commercial gas bike was invented in 1885, and the first pedal-assist electric bikes came out almost a century later.

By 2028, the global gas bike industry is expected to reach 485.6 billion USD, while the electric bike market’s worth will cross 46.04 billion USD.

What Is an Electric Bike?

An electric bike uses a battery and motor to store electric charge and runs entirely on electricity. Its battery acts as its fuel tank and needs to be connected to an electric power supply for charging.

Pedal-assist electric bikes come with electric motor sensors that detect the pedaling motion and automatically provide electrical assistance.

The maximum distance and speed an electric bike offers depend on its battery type and size, its manufacturing brand, range, and how it is ridden. An electric bike does not emit any greenhouse gasses.

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Read How Do Electric Bikes Without Pedals Work?

What is a Gas Bike?

A gas bike has a gas tank and an internal combustion engine that burns gasoline to generate energy. A gas bike’s performance, speed, and maximum range will depend on its gas tank’s size, engine quality, weight, and manufacturing company.

Gas bikes burn fuel to release carbon dioxide and carbon-monoxide through gas outlets. Both these gasses contribute to air pollution and global warming.

Which Is Better?

To assess which bike is superior, one needs to consider all the key contributing factors that affect a bike’s performance.

The key factors are:

  • The price
  • The running cost
  • The maintenance cost
  • The bike’s impact on the environment
  • The total lifespan
  • The range and average speeds
  • The legal requirements and limits

Different bike qualities and aspects affect people in different ways. Hence, a key factor that is the most important to one buyer might not be significant enough to affect another buyer’s purchase decision.

The bike that has greater advantageous qualities in the factors that matter to a person will be their ideal bike type.

Read Why Electric Bikes Are So Expensive?

What Are the Key Differences Between an Electric Bike and a Gas Bike?

Price of Electric Bike Vs Gas Bike

The price of a bike is often the key factor influencing most consumers’ purchase decisions. In general, electric bikes are more expensive than gas bikes.

Their advanced technologies, batteries, electric motors, motor sensors, and LCD display screens contribute to their high prices.

However, a gas bike is also not a cheap purchase depending on its manufacturing brand, range, and performance.

The table below shows the prices of three popular electric bikes and gas bikes.

Electric Bike BrandPrice (USD)Gas Bike BrandPrice (USD)
Brompton electric two-geared model$3499Honda gas bike$2500
Yamaha CrossCore$3099Mototec Mini bike$769.35
Ancheer Power Plus$789.99Razor MX350$260

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Read Do Electric Bikes Save You Money?

Running and Maintenance Costs of Electric Bike Vs Gas Bike

Globally, the price of fossil fuel is significantly higher than electricity. As a result, recharging an electric bike is far cheaper than refueling a gas bike.

The table below shows the comparison between the electricity and gasoline prices in USA, Germany, Japan, and India.

CountryElectricity Prices  (USD per kWh)Gasoline Prices (USD per liter)

However, an electric bike offers a lesser range than a gas bike. Hence, an electric bike would cover lesser miles on a single, whereas a gas bike would cover a greater distance on one tank.

In general, an electric covers an average distance of 25-30 miles per charge, while a gas bike can travel up to 100 miles on one tank.

As a result, an electric bike’s owner has to incur more charging costs to travel the same distance as a gas bike. This increases the total running costs of an electric bike.

Moreover, due to the greater abundance of gas bikes, one can find a refueling station almost everywhere. America alone has more than 150,000 gas stations spread across the country.

However, one cannot always find a charging station for an electric bike. Hence, an electric bike owner has to commute back to their house or a charging station.

As a result, more charging is used to travel to a charging spot, and thus the total running costs go up.

Usually, electric bikes and gas bikes have similar maintenance costs. The average maintenance cost will depend on how the bike is ridden, the everyday riding terrain, and the overall bike care.

Bikes owners of either type of bike would have to pay for bike tuning, tire repair, etc. However, an electric bike’s battery is far more sensitive and expensive than a gas bike’s motor.

As a result, high battery repair and replacement costs are incurred more frequently.

The table below shows the common repair and maintenance costs of different electric and gas bike components.

Bike ComponentsElectric Bike (USD)Gas Bike (USD)
Battery Repair$150-500None
Battery Replacement$400-1000None
LCD Display$20-65$20-65
Bike Chain$10-60$10-60

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Read Do You Have to Pedal with an Electric Bike?

The Environmental Impacts of Electric Bike Vs Gas Bike

The electric vehicle industry’s popularity increases globally every year due to its green technologies.

Using an electric bike for daily shorter and longer commutes has significant positive impacts on the environment. On the other hand, a gas bike increases global air pollution.

Gas Emissions

Unlike a gasoline-powered vehicle that burns fossil fuel to generate energy, an electric bike’s technology only requires electricity.

The electric motor converts the stored electric charge of an electric bike’s battery to kinetic energy. That kinetic energy is transmitted to the electric bike’s tires, allowing mobility to the electric bike.

On the other hand, gas bikes require burning fossil fuels such as gasoline (petrol) or diesel to generate kinetic energy.

The byproduct of the combustion process includes many greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, and methane.

These gas emissions are the primary causes of global warming, ozone layer depletion, adverse climatic changes, and many diseases such as lung cancer and asthma.

The European Cyclists Federation conducted a study to check an electric bike’s carbon dioxide emissions per kilometer.

The study compared the emissions from different electric vehicles and different gas vehicles. The results proved an electric vehicle’s positive impact on the environment.  

The table below shows a comparison between different transport vehicles and their average carbon dioxide emissions in grams/kilometer.

Vehicle TypeCarbon Dioxide Emissions
Electric Bike22 g/km
Gas Bike102 g/km
Electric Car104
Hybrid Car168
Gas Car258

Energy Source

A gas bike uses fossil fuels that are a non-renewable source of energy. As a result, they contribute to fossil fuel depletion.

Due to the limited supply and high industrial demand for fossil fuel energy, the abundance of gas bikes causes global fuel prices to rise.

On the contrary, an electric bike’s battery runs on electricity generated through renewable sources.

For instance, producing electricity from solar panels, hydro-energy plants, and windmills reduces the dependency on fossil fuels while producing green energy.

Read How Much Electricity is Used to Charge an Electric Bike?

The Total Lifespan of Electric Bike Vs Gas Bike

On average, most electric bikes last for almost 10-15 years, whereas a gas bike may last from 3-12 years. The electric bike’s battery is its most sensitive component and lifespan.

Neglect and poor care can reduce the electric bike battery’s total lifespan. Just like the electric bike’s battery, any damage to a gas bike’s internal combustion engine can cause it to die.

The electric bike battery’s total lifespan will depend on:

  • The electric bike battery’s chemical composition and quality. Lithium-ion batteries have longer lifespans; however, they are more sensitive to extreme environments 
  • The electric bike’s usage. Riding in extreme weather conditions over rough terrains adds stress to the battery and can reduce its total lifespan. Moreover, riding with poor tires and a high total weight will also negatively affect the total lifespan
  • The electric bike battery’s charging practices and handling care
  • The size of the electric bike’s battery. Larger batteries that have higher capacities tend to last longer

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The table below shows different e-bike lithium-ion batteries and their respective sizes, capacities, and lifespans.

E-bike Battery TypeBattery Size (lbs.)Capacity (Ah)Lifespan (years)

 The gas bike’s total lifespan will depend on:

  • The quality of fuel used to fill the tank. Poor quality fuel may cause knocking and reduce the engine’s total like;
  • The gas bike’s usage. Riding the gas bike in extreme weather conditions over rough terrains adds stress to the bike’s motor and engine. As a result, the bike’s performance deteriorates, and lifespan is reduced. Moreover, riding the gas bike on old sticky tires or increasing the total weight on the bike will also negatively affect the total lifespan.

Read How Much Weight Can an Electric Bike Pull?

Range and Average Speed  

A bike’s range is the maximum distance a bike will cover on one full battery charge or a full tank. The range depends on:

  • How the bike is ridden and used
  • The total weight a bike pulls
  • The bike’s battery or engine quality and capacity
  • The bike’s tires

In general, gas bikes offer much higher ranges than electric bikes. An average gas bike can travel 80-100 miles on one tank, while an electric bike can go up to 25-30 miles on one recharge.

Hence, a gas bike is far more fuel-efficient and allows longer commutes. Due to the lower ranges, electric bikes are better for shorter commutes, such as going to work or running errands.

On average, gas bikes offer higher speeds between 25-35miles/hour. However, electric bikes offer lower 20-25miles/hour speeds.

The Legal Requirements and Limits of Electric Bike Vs Gas Bike

One great advantage of owning an electric bike is that it does not require any form of license or driving permit. People of all ages can ride an electric bike without any required paperwork.

However, electric bikes have transportability laws that limit their travel. The legal restrictions are due to e-bikes’ highly flammable lithium-ion batteries.

Gas bikes do have a legal age requirement and require a biker’s license. However, they have fewer transportability laws and are allowed on planes and ships.

Electric Bike Vs Gas Bike
Electric Bike Vs Gas Bike

Final Thoughts: Which Bike is Better?

An electric bike significantly reduces road traffic and global GHG emissions. They offer smooth, highly comfortable rides and have low recharging costs globally.

However, electric bikes have lower ranges and low top speeds. Moreover, an e-bike’s battery maintenance and replacement cost are very high.

On the other hand, a gas bike contributes to global GHG emissions and relies on a non-renewable energy source. Moreover, the cost of refueling a gas bike is high worldwide.

However, gas bikes have high ranges high top speeds and are ideal for longer commutes. Moreover, the gas bike’s engine maintenance and replacement costs are not that high.

Hence, both types of bikes have their benefits and downsides. The choice between either of the two bikes depends on the consumer’s budget, usage, and mindset.

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