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Can You Get Fit On An E Bike? | E-MTB Fitness Explained

Can You Get Fit On An E Bike? | E-MTB Fitness Explained


– Now there might be some people out there that think owning an e-bike
means losing all your fitness, getting slow and also getting fat. Well today we are with
a fine figure of a man, Ben from the Strength Factory, to make sure that you stay on top of your strength and your fitness while you’re riding your e-bike. (logo bleeping) Now you might have seen Ben
on one of the EMBN shows where we talked about new year, new you and what a better place
to start than January. But Ben, the question is, can you actually get unfit on an e-bike? – Unfit’s a strong word, Steve. But I think for an
experienced mountain biker, maybe coming from normal
pedal bikes onto an e-bike, there is a bit of a risk
of losing some leg strength and, depending on how you use your bike, maybe losing a bit of fitness as well. – Oh, crikey. But, hold on, that’s for the
experienced mountain biker. But what about for someone
who’s new to the sport? Someone who’s going out to
explore the countryside? Surely something? – Exactly, yeah. Something is better than nothing, and you can absolutely improve your health and fitness on an e-bike. To all the people just starting off, just stick with it past January. (laughs) – Now I want to pick you up
on two points you made there. The first thing was that you
think you lose leg strength, which I don’t disagree with, and the other thing is you lose fitness, which I totally disagree with. (Ben laughs) So do you want to just talk
us through those two points, those two comments?
– Yeah, no worries. – Because they’re big comments. – Yeah, and it’s anecdotal as well. I don’t have studies to back this up, this is what I’ve seen
and experienced, okay? So first of all the leg strength, Steve. Now, as we know, modern e-bikes, they’re getting more powerful but they reward that
high cadence, you know? To keep on top and to get the boost. And when we’re spinning like that you’re just not putting as
much force into the pedals, and I think that if you’re mostly e-biking and mostly riding it in the way that they’re intended to be ridden then there’s a real risk of
losing that leg strength. – Now we’re going to come back
to Ben a little bit later on to explain how to keep on top of and develop that leg strength. But I want to come back to
you on a point, and that is, I think I’ve just got
different strengths now to what I had previously. I’m doing road which are
quicker than they were. It seems like I can spin
easier, what’s going on there? – Yeah, I think basically, Steve, you’ve really just adapted to
riding e-bikes all the time. And that higher cadence, you know, with the power-assist chances are a lot of your riding’s
become a lot more aerobic, which is really important for developing your base fitness, that endurance fitness and it really underpins
all the higher qualities. – So you’re saying I’ve got
a better aerobic fitness? It certainly feels that way. – Yeah, I’d suggest
that’s probably the case. And from what I’ve seen, I’ve
known you a few years now, I think potentially you’re
riding more than ever and you’re spending less
time in uplift vans as well. – And that’s the great
thing about riding e-bikes. – This is uplift, isn’t it? Right there, but… – Right, let’s go and see how we can develop those legs, yeah? – Happy days.
– Yeah. (gentle upbeat music) Right, Ben, I’m in trail mode. Cadence is good, the temptation is to keep at this pace
all the way up the hill. – And you know what, mate? There’s absolutely nothing
wrong with that, either. However, if we’re thinking
about keeping strong and fit or even getting fitter and stronger then I think it’s a really great
idea, once or twice a week, two or three climbs each time, banging it down into eco-mode, drop the cadence and
let’s get a bit more force going through those legs. – [Steve] What kind of time
we’re talking on a hill? 20 seconds? – [Ben] Well I think a bit
longer than that really to get a proper effect out of it. We’re not going max effort here, we’re not tryna blast your heart rate. But, you know, two to
five minutes, I think– – Two to five minutes in eco mode? Are you absolutely of your head? – Absolutely spoiled mountain
bike journalists, here, who only write in turbo. (laughs) – It’s actually not true. So let’s go and have a chat. Let’s go an have go at this
eco hill climb challenge – I’m just going to check
that you are actually in eco. (Steve coughing) He’s in trial mode. (laughing) (gentle music) – I do not do standing climbs. – Yeah, because why would you now? ‘Cause it’s harder. – Just didn’t feel right. – And the bike doesn’t reward it. – It totally doesn’t.
– Whereas on an old trail ride you’d get to steep bit
and you’d have to stand up or you wouldn’t get up it would, you know? – [Steve] Now I just go
into eco, put the seat up and then spin it like this. – [Ben] There we go. – [Steve] Which is a
different type of fitness. Different strength, right? (gentle music) Question is, Ben, should you be doing this sat down or stood up? I feel like stood up is much better. – (laughs) So there’s
no right or wrong answer and I’d say the answer is do both. Mix it up, challenge your
body in different ways. Something I’d say in general
for all mountain bikers, e-bike or not, is you probably should spend more time standing and climbing, just to develop that strength. And also it just lays a foundation if you’re then going to do
any sort of sprint training or anything like that. (laughs) – Now for you guys who’ve got a cadence counter on your e-bikes, probably something between
50 to 70, Ben, right? – Yeah, it’s quite a broad range. So the fitter, stronger you are the lower you might be able to go. Go on, mate. (laughs) – I think the message here is
all about good habits, right? I mean, two to three minutes? We’ve already done about a minute. (Ben laughs) – Maybe you’re pushing
a little too hard there. But, yeah, habits of the key, aren’t they? I’m not telling people you need to start doing training rides, this is just a normal ride of your mates where you’re a bit smart with your time. – And relax. – How was that Steve? – (sighs) Feels good. Feels, yeah, yeah. Ah, I love it. And you forget! You forget, ’cause get in the
habit of sat down spinning because after all that gets
the optimum out of the motor. But like I said earlier,
what we’re tryna to get is that strength and (groans). – That force, yeah. And you know what? It’s burning you a bit today ’cause you haven’t done it
in a while and it feels good. But it’s just that feeling of just that bit more force through the pedals, feeling that you’re using strength rather than that momentum of the cadence. – Do you know what, Ben? I feel something new
coming on here, #ECOCLIMB. – Yes! (laughing) – I want to pick out one thing. In terms of surfaces, I think
this is a good thing to do on a continuous gradient
so you can actually work yourself into it
and feel your heart rate and cadence getting the
right rhythm for it, right? – Yeah, you don’t want anything
too technical for this. A fire road is great for this. And just start steady
and as you get into it just go a couple of gears harder, drop the cadence, feel that force and then take it to the top. – #ECOCLIMB! (Ben laughing) You say you go to the gym right, Ben? – Yeah, I think we need to
technique coach mate. (laughs) – Really? – Yeah, come and see me. (log clatters)
(Ben sighs) – So, uphill, check. But there’s got to be more to it, there’s going to be a bit of fun involved. I mean I love riding downhill. – Don’t we all? I mean, that’s what this
is all about isn’t it? Getting to the top in style, Steve. And, yeah, riding
downhill, technical trails, in my opinion everyone’s
going to be a better rider, in a better position, if they’re stronger. – So what are we talking exactly? Sounds to me like we’re
heading to the gym, right? – You know what? I love the gym, I’m biased. But, yeah, the gym is one option, some body weight training
is another option. – That’s an easy thing to do at home. – Yeah, exactly. At home in the garage, in the
garden or out in the park, get some fresh air. – Talk, tell me about time and how many times a
week to do it, as well? – So there’s no set rules, basically. Something is always better
than nothing, Steve. I’m really realistic. All your people listening and
watching, they’re busy, yeah? But twice a week, 45 minutes
each, is a great place to start and a lot of people can fit that in. And people say, “Oh, just
ride your bike more.” But, you know what? On your lunch break you
probably can’t go e-biking, but you might be able to go to the gym. – There you go. Right, let’s drop into this downhill. – Happy days, let’s do it. (gentle upbeat music) (bikes rattling) (Steve groaning) – Hey listen, on an e-bike I’m probably doing twice as
many down home runs anyway. Is that not enough in itself? – Yeah, you know what? Two or three times many down
hills down runs in same time is going to help get you
stronger and better on the bike. But if you want to better adapt to dealing with all those runs now then best way to do that
is to get stronger, Steve. – Wow. So as you’ve proved, Ben, I think it doesn’t matter that it’s
an e-bike, or whatever bike, it’s actually what you do
on the bike that counts. So don’t forget guys, #ECOCLIMB. Get him a gym with his
body weight or weights. And these things are going
to help you the fitness. You know, for me, today,
I’ve learnt to get back, out to the saddle, in eco, low cadence. I’m definitely going to be doing it. – Happy days. Yeah, and I’m really confident you’ll feel the benefit as well. – So there you go guys. If you want to see some
more e-bike inspiration, what you can do if you’re really fit, have a look at the videos down below. Ben, thanks for joining us. I think we need to follow
this up with some more. I think there’s lots
of science behind this. Let’s get into that. In the mean time, give us
thumbs if you like this video. Let us know your thoughts on
everything to do with fitness. Maybe you’ve got yourself
a new e-bike for Christmas and hopefully this has helped you. Hit on the globe to subscribe to EMBN. Ben, nice one.
– Cheers, mate.

67 comments on “Can You Get Fit On An E Bike? | E-MTB Fitness Explained

  1. there is a very easy answer to that Question: It depends on your riding style ;).

    You can climb like a turtle and have it very very easy, or you go fullspeed and rush the climb and turbo the way down. And rush up again. And turbo the trail again. And up. And down. And up. And down….

    I seriously do double the Kilometres in the same time with just a little less kcal-burning.

    In terms of Fitness: maybe your maxO2 isnt that high because ebikes really help the HARD climbs. But you have away more overall-body-workout in terms of getting down the hill more then twice as often.

  2. Riding in the peaks and lakes, a loop is usually about 30 miles, with anything from 3000 to 6000 foot of climb, eco is the only mode that gives you that range, I switch from ebike to conventional bike and only see my fitness improving.

  3. As said it’s how you ride – i stick to my low and medium power and get my workouts on climbs usually doing double the distance/climbing I’d be doing on a mtb sans motor – my wife who who is less fit well on the hills she’s in trail and turbo and we ride together

  4. Easy way to keep your fitness on an ebike. Don't abuse the motor. It's there so you don't push the bike on inclines you can't handle. You're still supposed to ride it.

  5. Obviously riding an ebike will help you keep fit, however there was nothing wrong with the humble original bike which kept you fitter.
    Also the ebike has a much, much greater affect on the environment which wasn't such an issue with the humble original bike.
    Personally I believe the advent of the ebike is a particularly sad moment for humanity as something as pure and simple as the humble original bike has been lost for ever.
    Humans are intrinsically lazy and will always opt for the easiest route and this combined with a massive push in advertising from the bike industry means that people are now being made to feel inadequate if they own a standard bike.

  6. If I wouldn’t have my e-bikes, I would just sit in my car. It was a live changing purchase.

    But I see the problem, too. Often, you don’t really need the power, so maybe it would be good, to buy a normal bike again.

  7. This is quite obvious: instead of putting 250W you put always 125W – less you put less you gain (fitness) further you get. Something for something

  8. My Eco is wound back to 15% so when I'm working in Eco you know it.. Also if I want to get stronger I just go on more rides with fence traversing involved, you know when shes over your head lol

  9. If your only goal is fitness, why bother buying a bike at all, there are many cheaper ways of getting as fit, some are even completely free. So now we've agreed (because let's face it, we have) that we cycle because biking is also more fun, especially mountain biking, let's also agree that it's completely up to the rider how much effort they put in on any ride. This decision is no different when riding a normal bike or an e-bike. You can ride in Turbo mode 100% of the time, or you could turn your motor completely off and get a ridiculously hard ride, it's up to rider, on the day, depending on the goals for that day/ride. And as many people have, or will point out, if it gets people onto bikes that would normally be driving their cars, then it's a good thing. It makes for fitter and healthier general populace, and drives R&D in bikes and investment into infrastructure like new bike parks.

  10. for many it is simply a way to achieve basic fitness with the e-bike so that you can later switch to a normal MTB

  11. not sure on that ,,,i try get most km out my battery leave it in eco other large hills and only use my levo for downhill laps use my xc bike for most trail riding ,,,bought the e bike to help with photography haul camera gear into back country ,,gona try some deer hunting as well with it ….if done right it a good trainer and pushing it up large hill is a work out even pushing it home when chain snaps or hub strips is a good work out ….never walk a bike home so much till got a levo ..new better hub raceface hope better year …

  12. If you’re out there riding, moving breathing, it’s exercise E-bike or not, you can make it as easy or hard as you want, just ride……👍😀😎🚲

  13. I laugh when I hear that I am cheating myself out of a proper workout. By changing my diet and riding the heck out of my Levo, I've lost 22 pounds in the last 4 months.

  14. Having an ebike puts the fun back into cycling when you have had a heart attack. I can now get to places like i could 5 years ago.

  15. Bought myself an Giant Fathom E3 last year. Since then I've lost 3 1/2 stone and working my way down to my target of 6 stone. Point proven.

  16. Thank you for all the help you have provided me, yesterday i bought my first e mountain bike (cude raction hard tail) and all because off watching your channel and learning about what i need to fly my drones without burning myself out. Maybe make a video on that for drone users… there is lots of us out there 👍

  17. Please just have fun on your bike, I spent 5 years off my bike, trained so hard it just wasn't fun any more, brought an ebike, started to have fun again, then went out and bought a enduro, now just bought a canyon sender 8 downhill bike, love riding again as main focus is having fun, fitness is coming all by it self any way.

  18. My riding constantly goes over 25 kph so im mostly ride a heavy fat tyred bike with no power assist. E Bikes with a 25 kph limit suck. Id rather be on my Giant Trance. Unless going uphill, this Trek Rail is hard work. BTW, im always in turbo. Will never use Eco.

  19. This is a great video with important points. (hats off to the really great filming)

    I mostly rode my Levo last year and noticed that I was missing some of my top end power – human power – that I had the previous season in only an organic bike.

    This year I plan on adopting some of those suggestions and doing one organic bike ride weekly throughout the season.

    Just now recovering from clavicle fracture waiting for the day I have the all clear to ride. Proper respect to Canada's healthcare and the physiotherapy team that is really top notch in helping me recover.

  20. Really good points and advice this is something I have noticed myself ebike fitness is very similar to road bike fitness so is a different kind for fitness than your traditional MTB where you will producing alot of short burst of high power and really grinding the climbs out.
    Personally I mix up my riding to keep a broad level of fitness and use the turbo trainer to do power and torque cadence drills

  21. I disagree with this 100% Putting more angular force on your joints, unnecessarily, is just a good way to get hurt. If you want stronger legs hit the gym and do dead lifts. There are no shortcuts.

  22. My e bike weighs 26kg, compared to my hardtail non ebike at 12kg. Stick the ebike in eco and go for a 20 mile ride, it will get you fit fast and try lifting 26kg over barbed wire fences, not easy lol

  23. The question should be to the average fit person or the couch potato not compare it to a pro mountain biker lol obviously it's not as tough and he'll lost some strength. As for the rest of 99.999 percnet of the ppl it'll keep you fit. Steady long cardio is the best for cardio health which the ebike enables the average rider to get

  24. If you want an actual scientific study instead of some rando's opinion have a look https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S259019821930017X

    In short you wont "lose" fitness. But it should be noted that riding a regular bike will be more effort but you will be riding it slower. On your ebike you will be pushing yourself more because you know you have a fall back to help you when you need a rest.

  25. Makes me laugh when people say that you won't get fit on an e bike/it's cheating,these people have clearly never tried to pedal an e bike with the motor off,it is actually harder than a traditional mountain bike due to it's extra weight and gearing.

    I quite often will ride around with the motor off and then turn it on when i get to a point where i would normally give up and go home,i will then increase the power the more i get worn out so i can prolong the ride.

    When it comes to power on an e bike i would say (with mine anyway,2019 Giant Fathom E+3,about 25KG ) eco mode makes it feel like a normal mountain bike as it equals out that extra weight,anything above eco is then extra power,with the motor off it's like trying to ride a normal bike with flat tyres.

  26. Just a quick question guys if I may? If we stand on the pedals will this cause heavy wear on the internals of the nylon cogs etc? Cheers

  27. It's always going to be easier on the ebike, but it's all about fun… I still have my standard mtb and a road bike for fitness… Some where in the back of my shed 😂

  28. I try to keep in eco all the time for cardio but sometimes When my heart is trying to beat it’s way out of my chest I have to go to tour mode

  29. I push harder on the pedals than I ever did with a manual bike , I also find I'm still riding when on a normal bike I would have been pushing it up the hill.
    I also do more exploring for trails.

  30. Hey guys. My Haibike was the single reason that I was able to shed enough weight in a six month period to enable me to have a kidney transplant. I was nearly 20kg over my weight target when I was told I needed activating, and at the same time I was put on dialysis through an AV fistula in my arm. Three times a week for 4 hours at a time. Within a few weeks I read that riding while on dialysis was a new scheme in the states, so I bought my bike after doing some research and talking to some mates who rode MTB’s at Swinley regularly. I started riding to and from dialysis most days through some woods and trails go make it a challenge. This was in the November. In the April I had a call for a kidney but had to turn it down (complications with the donor) and the surgeon said she wanted to see some more weight off before the next call. By the end of May I was set and well below my target. By last August when I got the second call I was 7 kg below my target weight. The surgeon who called me in the April was so impressed at how much I burnt off and asked how I did it. Thank Bosch! The Transplant was last August. I’m still putting in the miles now and back at work front line Police Officer) and I categorically count the Haibike as improving my life 300% because I never felt like it was a chore and my cardio and fat burning switch was flicked within weeks of using it.
    I love all your advice and it’s my Ebike is my pride and joy. It doesn’t help the new Specialised store is 5 miles from my house now 😁😎

  31. That’s the way Steve I mostly ride on eco so I can get better mileage and I’ve got it turned down at that love it

  32. I've been riding a bike since the age of 3. I wasn't thinking then this will get me fit I just fell in love with bikes. 49 now and the love is stronger then ever thanks to E bikes. People who shout to me that's cheating when I'm riding well I'm not in it to be fit I'm in it for my love of been on a bike.

  33. I always climb on eco. Its twice as quick on a non ebike yet I'm out of breath and stamping on the pedals. Difference is at the top I no longer stop and head straight down rather than trying to do a new pair of lungs. Ebiking is just different 😊

  34. I ride longer and farther on my ebike than my other bikes. I do much more uphill, and can keep my damaged heart right in the zones needed, to the point that my cardiologist believes I'm as healthier than before the pneumonia-caused congestive heart failure.

  35. For me it's been about the miles, so far this year I've done 195 miles .This time last year on my none ebike I had done 35 miles .My ebike allows me to go for a quick 1hrs blast after work and get 10 to 15 miles in no problem .Only loss I have noticed is my belly 😀😀😀 .Keep up the videos guys ❤ EMBN and GMBN

  36. I use the e-bike for commuting when my legs are shagged from riding a regular bike rather than riding the motorcycle or driving the car. It's basically a recovery ride which definitely helps with my overall fitness. If you were to just ride e-bikes, you would need to be riding pretty steep terrain most of the time and not using boost to get a high level of fitness.

  37. What isnt mentioned in this video by the trainer is the stress placed on joints that occurs in running and riding. It's not all about muscle strength and cardio fitness when doing any training… More muscle strength alone does not equal a healthier body. As any joint surgeon replacing more and more joints in all age groups will tell you. Young PT instructors lose sight of this fact as it's usually a non issue in younger people. Joint wear is cumulative over the years and type of usage, sports you have done. Climbing steep hills on a non ebike might build more muscle mass but loads the hell out of your joints too. After a full right hip replacement I can tell you that after a steep climb on my ebike vs non ebike, joint load is noticeably less on the ebike and that is 1000% a better thing for your body long term. The idea of no pain, no gain is fine to a point until you start the damage…

  38. Dam, I had to stop watching as the information given is BAD science.

    Strength training is done with weights in a Gym
    Cycling is adapting to cyclic conditioning.

    You need to define the terms of Health, Fitness & Exercise.

    1 Health: physiological state in which there is an absence of disease or pathology and that maintains the necessary biologic balance between the catabolic and anabolic states.
    2 Fitness: The bodily state of being physiologically capable of handling Challenges that exist above a resting threshold of activity.
    3 Exercise: A specific activity that stimulates a positive physiological adaptation that serves to enhance fitness and health and does not under- mine the latter in the process of enhancing the former.

    That is quoted from a Specialist Doctor who gives you the facts from science, not the hype of opinions.

    Dr Doug McGuff is a easy to understand IMO Guru on fitness & exercise. His protocol is all evidence base on science. His book “Body by Science” is an amazingly detailed very technical read but totally worth the investment in time.
    His podcast & lectures are incredible to learn from.
    Fwd to 1:02:40

    http://www.the21convention.com/2011/03/05/doug-mcguff-t21c-2010/

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