Have you been thinking of buying yourself a little vehicle to get around town or to help you run errands? A moped or eBike must have been the first two choices to consider. However, choosing between the two can be very intimidating and confusing, especially if you are a first-time buyer. Let’s compare the ebike vs moped and see which is best for you.
Which is better, an electric bicycle or moped? An electric bicycle is more versatile and healthier compared to a scooter. Electric bicycles don’t require a license or insurance and can be ridden offroad. Mopeds are often cheaper and travel further, but must obey traffic laws for motorized vehicles.
eBike vs. Moped: An Overview
Historically, a moped is a two-wheel vehicle that is similar to a small motorbike or scooter, and is fitted with pedals for emergencies. Today, however, a moped is “legally defined as any low-powered motorcycle with an engine capacity no greater than 50cc, and a max speed of 28mph” (source).
Mopeds aren’t subjected to as strict regulations as for a larger vehicle, but it can not be faster than 50km/h and needs to have an engine capacity no larger than 50cc (in some countries). The name derives from a Swedish portmanteau and means ‘a cycle with pedals and an engine.’ Mopeds often need a license plate and run on fuel, with a capacity of around 5L. The laws that regulate the use of mopeds vary from country to country.
An eBike, or electric bicycle, is a bike that is fitted with an electric motor to assist with pedaling. They offer a more similar experience to the one you would have if riding a regular bike, but with less effort. eBikes can represent an investment, but they are incredibly cheap to run as their motor runs on rechargeable batteries, and they are not subjected to strict regulations.
However, eBikes are subjected by different laws, which vary depending on the country and state you are planning to ride in. While they are an excellent choice for moving around town, you should consider that e-bikes tend to be slower than mopeds, and their speed is often capped at 30km/h.
While mopeds have been on the market for much longer and they are more common, eBikes are a greener, more efficient, and just as valid for commuting. Even if it is easier to find second-hand or cheap mopeds, eBikes are being designed by various manufacturers and they are today state-of-the-art vehicles. While they are both excellent choices to consider, eBikes are safer and cheaper, and they are often allowed in parks and other areas restricted to motor vehicles.
eBike vs. Moped Differences
As we have seen, each of the two vehicles has great characteristics that make it unique. However, there is much more than that. Let’s have a look at the main differences to help you make a choice.
- An eBike will offer you a riding experience closer to the one offered by a standard bicycle with less fatigue. A moped is more similar to a motorbike.
- A moped is subjected to similar laws to the ones for a standard vehicle, just not as strict. An eBike is considered a standard bike, so you will be able to access most parks and motor restricted areas.
- They can both be used for travel within a town or city or for your daily commute. However, e-bikes represent a greener alternative to a moped as they don’t produce greenhouse emissions or toxic fumes.
- They both have associated costs, but they represent a cheaper alternative than a normal vehicle or automobile.
- The speed of a moped is capped at 50km per hour, while e-bikes are usually slower, and they can only reach the speed of 30km/h.
- While there is a wider choice of second-hand mopeds available on the market, eBikes have a lower maintenance cost.
- A moped will require a driver’s license and plate as well as insurance while e-bikes don’t.
- If you were looking for a vehicle that will take you to work sweat-free but will also require a little exercise, an e-bike is for you.
- Electric bikes can travel on bicycle paths and bike lanes. A moped can only go on a normal traffic lane, and it can not be parked in bicycle parking spaces.
Travel and Commute
Since the main reason for anybody to consider buying a moped or eBike is to commute to work or travel through the town center, let’s have a look at the pros and cons of each type of vehicle.
Ebike travel has a lot of advantages over mopeds. One of the biggest advantages is that they are more mobile. They can go to a lot more places that mopeds can’t, such as bike lanes, sidewalks, and even off-road in parks.
In bigger cities where there is a lot of traffic, even though the max speed of an ebike is slower, avoiding slow traffic can be a huge advantage.
And when it comes to parking your bike, there are natural concerns about theft, especially in bigger cities. There’s nothing more appealing to some criminals than a nice electric bike with a cheap lock. The good news is that ebikes can be moved indoors for safekeeping and are light enough to carry upstairs.
Another advantage to ebikes is that they can be marked in many places that mopeds can not, such as on sidewalks. This is great not to have to worry about finding parking in busy streets.
And lastly, while ebikes are electric, they can be ridden like a normal bicycle even if the battery is completely drained. This means you won’t need to find gas stations and can be a fun wat to get into shape.
The most obvious advantage to moped travel is that they can go much faster and further than ebikes. If you are doing a lot of frequent long distance travel, or want the ability to without a car or motorcycle, a moped can be a good choice for that.
One of the downsides, however, is the mopeds must obey normal traffic laws. This means in high traffic areas, a moped will be stuck in traffic like all the other vehicles on the road.
Carrying extra items in your moped will probably be easier than an ebike too. Mopeds are able to fuel up much faster at gas stations, rather than waiting several hours to fully charge a drained battery. This isn’t always a problem for ebikes though as you can charge them overnight.
Mopeds are small and are much easier to park than cars, but they aren’t as easy to park compared to ebikes. Parking a moped on the sidewalk could be frowned upon in some places and they can’t be easily brought indoors.
While you might know the road to work or your town perfectly, getting on the road can always involve a degree of danger. Picking the right vehicle can reduce the chances of accidents. Let’s have a look at the best vehicle for you if you are concerned about safety.
Since e-bikes can be driven on bicycle paths and trails, the number of accidents involving them is extremely limited. Moreover, the speed at which they can be driven is limited to only 30km/h.
Safety measures: a helmet is recommended.
Mopeds are driven on a normal traffic lane, but you will often be surrounded by traffic, faster vehicles, and other bikes. It is not uncommon to be stuck in traffic jams as well with them, especially when driving them in larger cities. Moreover, due to the fact that these vehicles are not equipped with the safety measures of bigger motorbikes or cars, the number of accidents involving a moped driver and fatalities are extremely high.
Safety measures: to drive a moped, a helmet is necessary, and it is a legal requirement.
Not only do people buy ebikes for the convenience of travel. Many people use these electric bikes for recreation and fitness too.
If you are looking at combing your commuting time with your weekly gym session, owning an eBike is a great choice. In fact, studies have found that for every hour you spend riding an e-bike, you will be burning between 300 and 400 calories (at moderate speed). While this is around half of the calories that you would be burning by riding a normal bicycle, this is a much healthier choice than riding a moped, which is entirely exercise-free.
You probably won’t be burning many calories on a moped, but it’s actually slightly more calories than what you’ll burn driving a car. But if you are looking for any fitness advantage, ebikes will be a much better choice.
The first thing that comes to mind is fuel. While there are electric mopeds, most mopeds will run on gasoline, and its tank has a capacity of around 5L (depending on the model). While they are usually much cheaper than standard motorbikes to fill up, charging an electric batter is much cheaper.
One thing to keep in mind when it comes to fuel is that while gasoline is more expensive, it is much quicker to fuel up and you can travel a lot further. Ebikes can take 4-10 hours to charge depending on the battery. This isn’t necessarily an issue as you can charge your battery overnight and pedaling is always an option, even with a missing or flat battery
In the U.S, the average price for charging an electric bike battery is 4 cents. Compare that to $4-$7 dollars of gas cost and ebikes are much more appealing.
Aside from fuel costs, there are other cost factors. The cost of maintenance of your electric bike or moped will vary depending on not just how you travel, but the type of travel.
While you might not think there is much maintenance with a bike, if you ride a lot, you’ll need to keep up with a few items.
Most notably, items like chains, sprockets, brake pads, tubes, and tires will need to be replaced when they get too worn or damaged. As far as batteries, they can last about 200 to 1000 cycles depending on how they are treated and the quality of the battery.
The good news is these items aren’t terribly expensive and with a little know-how, you can replace these items yourself with a few tools. Compared to mopeds, this is often a huge advantage. While you can get repairs and tune-ups at a bike shop if needed, you won’t always need to bring your bike to a more expensive mechanic. With a little learning, you can work on your ebike inside your own home at any time. No more scheduling appointments with shops.
All that being said, if you do maintain your own ebike, be prepared to spend a little more money on your own tools.
Maintaining a moped is much more like a car than an ebike due to its combustion engine. This means you’ll need to spend money on things like engine oil, transmission oil, brakes, air filter, spark plugs, and brake linings.
Granted, some of these maintenance items you might not have to do very often, especially if you aren’t riding your moped heavily.
And while you can maintain your scooter yourself, it’s not as easy compared to an ebike. You’ll need more space to work on your moped and if something serious does go wrong, you’re more apt to need to bring it to an actual mechanic.
As well as the maintenance cost, you should take into consideration the initial cost of the vehicle, as they can both represent a large investment.
When it comes to ebikes, they usually start around the same price point as mopeds. A normal ebike costs roughly $1000 dollars, but can cost upwards of several thousand for higher-end models.
Ebike prices really depend on the type of bike and it’s battery technology, which is a big part of the price tag. For example, mountain e-bikes can reach the cost of over $4000, while the ones used for commuting or riding in the town center can be found for around $1200.
The market for used electric bikes is still fairly limited as well, so it can be tougher finding local dealers and used bikes.
In general, mopeds tend to be cheaper than ebikes. While there are cheaper models as low as $500, a decent moped costs around $1000 and can go as high as $2500 or more.
Mopeds overall tend to be cheaper as they have been on the market for much longer. It’s possible to buy great second-hand models as well. While a new and improved version can be pricier, you can find used mopeds as low as $200 in some places.
If you are considering buying a second-hand model, you should be aware that the age of the moped can increase the cost of the upkeep and repairs that your scooter might need.
Laws and Licensing
While eBikes and moped are both valid choices and they can often look similar, they present great differences, especially regarding the law and licensing regulations to which they are subjected. Let’s have a look at what you need to know when buying them…
Ebikes are considered more like a normal bike. If you own one of these, you will only be subjected to electrical bicycle laws that are not as strict as the ones for motorized vehicles. With an eBike, you will be able to ride on bike lanes and cycle paths and you won’t need insurance or a driver’s license. Depending on your local laws, there may be an age requirement to ride an electric bike.
A moped is treated like a car and can only be driven on car lanes. You won’t be able to go off-road, on sidewalks, or cycling paths. They are designed to be driven within the town center and they are not efficient on uneven roads. To drive a moped, you will need to meet your local age requirement, have passed a test, and obtained some type of driver’s license. Moreover, you and your vehicle will need to be insured against accidents.
Conclusion – Is an Ebike or Moped Better for You?
A moped has been the most common choice of vehicle among commuters for years, and it is still the most popular one. However, Electric bikes have been developed to become state of the art vehicles and can be ridden across cities, in parks, or in mountainous areas. They are a much greener choice, and they need little maintenance after the initial investment.