Ebikes over Motorcycles | Macfox Electric Bike
    E-bikes offer numerous advantages over motorcycles, including lower emissions, increased safety, reduced costs, and greater convenience for urban commuting.

    Why Don't E-Bike Users Just Buy Motorcycles?

    • By Macfox Bike
    • Jun 04

    Motorcycles are generally gas-powered, which means they pollute the air, contributing to global climate change. They emit significant amounts of carbon dioxide and other harmful gases.

    An ebike, in contrast, if charged from conventional sources, will also technically produce emissions but on a significantly smaller scale. Recharging a 500W battery from a standard outlet, for instance, results in far less carbon emission than running a motorcycle, thereby making e-bikes a more environmentally friendly choice.

    In my case, I recharge from the PV system on my roof, completely eliminating my carbon footprint. This eco-friendly advantage is not just a draw; it's a powerful statement for environmentally conscious riders.

    Safety and Convenience

    E Bike Vs. Motorcycle Comparison | Macfox Electric Bike

    Motorcycles are very heavy and capable of high speeds, making them more dangerous. Motorcycle fatalities are significantly higher than bicycle fatalities.

    Bike accidents:

    • 800 reported accidents
    • 739 serious injuries (92 percent of bike accidents result in serious injuries)
    • 10 deaths (1.3 percent of bike accidents result in fatal injuries)

    Motorcycle accidents:

    • 2,000 reported accidents
    • 1,800 serious injuries (90% of motorcycle accidents result in serious injuries)
    • 60 deaths (3% result in fatalities)

    For everyday tasks like getting groceries, making runs to the library, or grabbing coffee, a motorcycle feels like overkill. It's also much easier to stop a bicycle quickly due to its slower speed and lower weight, which helps avoid accidents altogether.

    The safety and convenience of e-bikes make them not just ideal but the perfect choice for city commuting, ensuring your peace of mind and comfort.

    Traffic Navigation

    While it is legal to lane split in many jurisdictions, motorcycles cannot ride on bike lanes or bike paths. The amount of traffic on these dedicated roadways and lanes is far less than on the road.

    E-bikes can navigate through bike lanes, bypassing the congestion. It's also easier to lane split on a bicycle.

    As a result, bicycles are the fastest mode of transit during high traffic congestion when the average speed of road vehicles drops to around 10 mph. Idaho stops, where cyclists treat stop signs as yield signs, are legal or decriminalized in many areas, further enhancing the e-bike's efficiency.

    Handling and Safety Gear

    Bicycles handle much better than motorcycles, making it easier to avoid accidents. The required safety equipment for bicycles is less cumbersome.

    Motorcycle helmets and road leathers are quite cumbersome, especially in slow traffic on hot days. I've started wearing a downhill mountain bike helmet for safety in city traffic and steep descents.

    This helmet is similar to a motorcycle helmet but is lighter, allows better airflow, and restricts the senses less. Being more exposed to the environment not only makes the ride more enjoyable but also increases awareness of the surroundings.

    Licensing and Exercise

    Motorcycles require a specialized license, which involves additional time and expense. E-bikes, however, do not need a special permit, making them accessible to more people.

    Riding an e-bike also provides some level of exercise, unlike motorcycles, which offer minimal physical activity unless you're racing. For those who want to incorporate some exercise into their daily routine without the full effort of traditional cycling, e-bikes offer the perfect balance.

    Parking and Transportation

    Urban Commuting with E Bikes | Macfox Electric Bike

    A motorcycle cannot lock up at a bike rack. Bicycle parking is generally free and abundant; even if it requires payment, like at a bike locker, it is very cheap.

    You cannot take a motorcycle on a bus, train, or ferry (except for car ferries), but you can easily take an e-bike on these modes of transport. This flexibility is invaluable in urban settings where parking is limited and expensive.

    Additionally, you can wheel your e-bike into stores, something impossible with a motorcycle.

    Maintenance and Costs

    Motorcycles are expensive to maintain and repair. They require regular servicing, parts replacements, and sometimes costly repairs.

    E-bikes, on the other hand, are much more cost-effective to maintain. Even if you always use a mechanic, the costs are significantly lower. Most people can learn to preserve their e-bikes on their own with minimal investment in a few tools and by watching some YouTube videos, making them a more economical choice.

    If you drop a heavy motorcycle like a Honda Goldwing, it often requires more than one person to right it. Motorcycles also require registration, smog checks, and costly insurance.

    Read more: Are Electric Bikes Environmentally Friendly?

    Noise and Community Impact

    Motorcycles are loud, which can annoy pedestrians and frighten small children and pets. E-bikes are much quieter, making for a more pleasant and less disruptive riding experience.

    This quieter operation is particularly important in residential areas and during early morning or late evening rides. E-bikes contribute to a calmer and more peaceful community atmosphere.

    Read more: Attention guide for night riding

    Off-Road Capability

    A motorcycle cannot ride on single-track mountain bike or mixed-use offroad trails. However, an e-bike can navigate places where dirt bikes are allowed if it has appropriate suspension and tyres.

    This versatility makes e-bikes suitable for a variety of terrains and uses. You cannot walk a motorcycle very far if it breaks down. Still, you can easily walk an e-bike, making it more convenient in case of mechanical issues.

    Versatility and Cost

    High-end e-bikes can cost as much as a run-of-the-mill motorcycle or a used car—around $8-10k. However, that price buys you the best of the best in e-bikes. A cheap ebike or conversion kit can cost as little as $1k new.

    Buying the best motorcycle new will cost tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars. An e-bike can be recharged from any power source and converted to electricity.

    Additionally, you can temporarily and safely (albeit technically illegally) ride an e-bike on the sidewalk to avoid an unsafe situation on the road, something you can't do with a motorcycle.

    Specific Scenarios

    A motorcycle doesn't make sense in comparison to an e-bike for the average rider unless:

    • You want to ride very fast for recreational or thrill-seeking purposes, to ride on the highway, or for practical purposes like intercepting traffic (highway patrol).
    • You want to race motorcycles in some form.
    • You require more range than an e-bike can provide.
    • It would help if you carried a lot of weight (it really only applies to quads and snowmobiles).
    • It would help if you traversed extremely challenging terrain.
    • You want to impress people.
    • You just really like motorcycles, and that's your preference regardless of practical concerns.

    All of the above applies to just about every form of motorcycle: trikes, quads, and even snowmobiles. A suitably equipped e-bike with fat tyres does great in the snow.

    Cost Effective E Bikes | Macfox Electric Bike

    Post Script

    One thing people who are not familiar with e-bikes, or who don't "get" e-bikes, fail to understand is that the purpose of an e-bike is not speed. That's because they compare electric bicycles to electric cars. Everyone knows that a car like the Tesla is faster than all but the most powerful gas-powered vehicles. We've all seen countless drag races with Teslas on YouTube.

    However, electric bicycles and electric cars are apples and oranges. Yes, you can build an e-bike that, like a Tesla, will smoke most other forms of two-wheeled transit, and people have done it. However, at that point, you have an electric motorcycle. Even if it is technically an e-bike being used in throttle-only mode and therefore not street-legal, it is functionally equivalent.

    The point of an e-bike is to keep all the benefits of a bicycle. Still, it requires less human-powered work, giving you more range, endurance, and carrying capacity (and yes, speed, but within the normal range for a bicycle). This makes bicycle riding a viable alternative transportation solution for a wider swath of the public rather than just hardcore, twentysomething bike bros.

    Even hardcore cyclists age; eventually, you don't have the same power or endurance you once did. Knees blow out, you get arthritis from decades in the saddle, or maybe you don't want to put in a full workout to go pick up some groceries.

    Electric cars are still mostly expensive toys for rich people who want to show off their environmentalism while still looking cool and having a fast car. Still, e-bikes are an affordable democratizer for practical bike riding as a car replacement.


    From a practical standpoint, in an urban environment, an e-bike is superior to a motorcycle in almost every way. You can even buy non-road-legal e-bikes for use on a ranch or hunt on private land, with several thousand watts of power giving them horsepower equivalent to a 250cc dirt bike.

    There are even electric motorcycles now that have many of the benefits of an e-bike. However, they still have many of the same cons as a gas-powered motorcycle, like expense, licensing, weight, and so on.

    We recommend for you:

    Meet the Team Behind Macfox

    The Macfox family is a dynamic, friendly, and welcoming community that shares a common passion. We're not just developing a product, but building a culture around it, and everyone involved with Macfox contributes to this ethos.
    Join our newsletter.
    Get the latest news about Macfox eBike.


    Leave a comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published