Does an Ebike make your legs waste away ;-)

RedThunder

Member
May 19, 2020
55
39
Voyager 1
Took the the old Spesh Stumpy HT (2000) out for a spin yesterday.

My god starting off felt like riding with the brakes on. Even tried another clockwork bike and the same feeling.

Anyone else experienced the same feeling :)

Still got to loose a few kilos (5), trying to get back to 70kg and get a bit fitter.
 

arTNC

Member
Feb 1, 2024
161
206
Texas
I think you may be right. As I started riding emtb's, I soon found myself regularly using those mobility scooters at the local Walmart when doing my shopping. :ROFLMAO:

But all joking aside, I don't think there's a one-size-fits-all as it applies to riding an emtb and then experiencing some kind of atrophy in one's legs. Is it "generally" more effort to ride a pedal-only bike over an emtb?...yes...probably...generally.

I say that because there have been studies of top tier athletes and their comparisons to fitness levels. I recall one in particular cited in Outside Magazine that I thought was one of the most comprehensive examples of this issue. It was very extensive in that it measured all kinds of bio/physical categories of fitness ranging from muscle strength, VO2 capability under physical effort, and on, and on. It wasn't just a fluff piece...it was pretty cool.

The somewhat surprising result, even to the study's experts, was that the second place athlete for overall fitness was a world class motocross champion...first being a world class level soccer player. Even in the leg muscle stress tests and accompanying VO2 levels, the MX'er scored extremely high.

But wait...how can that be? He's riding a motorized vehicle where the main use of his legs only "mainly" involves rising up and down on the saddle? Well, those of us who ride dirt motorcycles and even our MTB's/emtb's in an aggressive manner know there is a ton of leg workout involved.

So, am I saying, and does this mean, that riding a pedal-only MTB doesn't provide more leg strength than riding an emtb?...no, not really. However, I doubt the term "waste away" as used in this thread has little application. Obviously how one is riding either type of MTB has more to do with it. If you're just pedaling along in cruise mode on a smooth bike path on either type of bike, then there's probably little difference. It probably has more to do with how aggressively, how frequently, and in what environment you're using either type of MTB/emtb.

Also, I'm thinking the OP is applying a little tongue-in-cheek with this topic, especially since the term "waste away" was used.😄
 

RedThunder

Member
May 19, 2020
55
39
Voyager 1
It was horrible, got used to it by the end of the ride.
1-IMG_0511.JPG
 

rod9301

Member
Oct 10, 2020
156
91
US
My aerobic fitness has improved with the e bike.

Leg strength, i don't know because i lift regularly, which i recommend to everyone

Biking improves type 1 muscle divers l fibers, endurance

Weights or sprinting (when running) improved type 2, power

And the type 2 atrophy with age.
 

arTNC

Member
Feb 1, 2024
161
206
Texas
My aerobic fitness has improved with the e bike.

Leg strength, i don't know because i lift regularly, which i recommend to everyone

Biking improves type 1 muscle divers l fibers, endurance

Weights or sprinting (when running) improved type 2, power

And the type 2 atrophy with age.
The age comment seems to be one of the most common reasons that us older riders have really gravitated to emtb's. I've been pretty fortunate in that my fitness at my age has remained quite good...but hardly what it used to be even with regular riding and exercise. Time will take its toll sooner or later, and at least the emtb allows older riders to continue riding at a somewhat aggressive level without the extreme punishment on the body. Everything's a compromise.
 

The EMF

🔱 Aquaman 🔱
Subscriber
Nov 4, 2020
1,171
2,039
South East Northumberland
Yes, your legs and your wallet
I’ve still got my Stumpy HT Comp from 2006 and I use when out with the grandbairns and absolutely love riding it, it’s so light and responsive. With 26” wheels, 1.95 tyres and 650mm bars it’s a world away from my Whyte E-150 RS. saying that I’ve ridden every where on the stumpy that I ride now on the ebike only a lot slower both up and down.
 

Yoak

Active member
Apr 5, 2020
255
172
Norway
I certainly lost some leg strength after getting an e-bike. Problem for me riding my Slash is that unless it’s downhill, it all feels like I’m biking in slow motion.
Now spring is here so I started riding a road bike to work. That gets the legs going again.
 

Streddaz

Active member
Jul 7, 2022
265
380
Tasmania
If you ride an Ebike hard, you shouldn't lose much in the way of muscle.
If you were quite fit and rode a normal bike and then got and Ebike and rode everywhere on Turbo and never pushed hard with your legs, then sure, you will lose some fitness. In the same way you could also not push yourself on a normal bike and still loose fitness as well.
You are not going to get something for nothing, but getting an Ebike doesn't necessarily mean you can't gain some fitness/muscle.
 

Mrj35

New Member
Sep 29, 2023
157
96
canada
Took the the old Spesh Stumpy HT (2000) out for a spin yesterday.

My god starting off felt like riding with the brakes on. Even tried another clockwork bike and the same feeling.

Anyone else experienced the same feeling :)

Still got to loose a few kilos (5), trying to get back to 70kg and get a bit fitter.
Took the the old Spesh Stumpy HT (2000) out for a spin yesterday.

My god starting off felt like riding with the brakes on. Even tried another clockwork bike and the same feeling.

Anyone else experienced the same feeling :)

Still got to loose a few kilos (5), trying to get back to 70kg and get a bit fitter.
my legs are getting stronger because I use to walk a lot of climbs now im pedalling everything. Also the dh is killer for the legs and im doing a lot more of that now.
 

Mrj35

New Member
Sep 29, 2023
157
96
canada
I think you may be right. As I started riding emtb's, I soon found myself regularly using those mobility scooters at the local Walmart when doing my shopping. :ROFLMAO:

But all joking aside, I don't think there's a one-size-fits-all as it applies to riding an emtb and then experiencing some kind of atrophy in one's legs. Is it "generally" more effort to ride a pedal-only bike over an emtb?...yes...probably...generally.

I say that because there have been studies of top tier athletes and their comparisons to fitness levels. I recall one in particular cited in Outside Magazine that I thought was one of the most comprehensive examples of this issue. It was very extensive in that it measured all kinds of bio/physical categories of fitness ranging from muscle strength, VO2 capability under physical effort, and on, and on. It wasn't just a fluff piece...it was pretty cool.

The somewhat surprising result, even to the study's experts, was that the second place athlete for overall fitness was a world class motocross champion...first being a world class level soccer player. Even in the leg muscle stress tests and accompanying VO2 levels, the MX'er scored extremely high.

But wait...how can that be? He's riding a motorized vehicle where the main use of his legs only "mainly" involves rising up and down on the saddle? Well, those of us who ride dirt motorcycles and even our MTB's/emtb's in an aggressive manner know there is a ton of leg workout involved.

So, am I saying, and does this mean, that riding a pedal-only MTB doesn't provide more leg strength than riding an emtb?...no, not really. However, I doubt the term "waste away" as used in this thread has little application. Obviously how one is riding either type of MTB has more to do with it. If you're just pedaling along in cruise mode on a smooth bike path on either type of bike, then there's probably little difference. It probably has more to do with how aggressively, how frequently, and in what environment you're using either type of MTB/emtb.

Also, I'm thinking the OP is applying a little tongue-in-cheek with this topic, especially since the term "waste away" was used.😄
Motocross is so exhausting, its constant focus, balance, maintaining body position so you dont get taken for a ride etc.

Yeah probably aggressive riding on bikes in general is what gives you the fitness. If your attacking it whether uphill or down even with a motor its still a huge workout.

Theres this one mtb climb I hated doing because its around 400 meters of black technical single track climbing with minimal areas to catch your breath.

Now with the ebike I can clean it no problem but it still requires a lot of finesse getting over boulders and navigating around big roots and rocks, hairpin turns, steps etc.

Now its more improving line choice on the way up! Me and a friend did that one like 3 times and on the 3rd lap we were just charging up it picking better lines.
 

Suns_PSD

Active member
Jul 12, 2022
437
348
Austin
I rode my bike and e-bike a combined 3x over the course of last weekend. Sunday night in the hot tub my legs locked up so badly I couldn't move, and my kid had to run inside, grab me some salt tabs, and feed me like I was an Orca at Seaworld.

You can certainly get exercise while on an e-bike.
 

Gavalar

Active member
Feb 4, 2019
322
198
UK
Took the the old Spesh Stumpy HT (2000) out for a spin yesterday.

My god starting off felt like riding with the brakes on. Even tried another clockwork bike and the same feeling.

Anyone else experienced the same feeling :)

Still got to loose a few kilos (5), trying to get back to 70kg and get a bit fitter.
What, no, manage your motors assistance correctly and you'll get a great cardio workout, build your legs as you're pedalling a 50lb bike, or, do the opposite, have full assistance, don't Try that hard and then watch your body get lardy.
 

FlowRyder58

New Member
Subscriber
Jul 1, 2023
16
12
Vancouver Canada
If you ride an Ebike hard, you shouldn't lose much in the way of muscle.
If you were quite fit and rode a normal bike and then got and Ebike and rode everywhere on Turbo and never pushed hard with your legs, then sure, you will lose some fitness. In the same way you could also not push yourself on a normal bike and still loose fitness as well.
You are not going to get something for nothing, but getting an Ebike doesn't necessarily mean you can't gain some fitness/muscle.
Took the the old Spesh Stumpy HT (2000) out for a spin yesterday.

My god starting off felt like riding with the brakes on. Even tried another clockwork bike and the same feeling.

Anyone else experienced the same feeling :)

Still got to loose a few kilos (5), trying to get back to 70kg and get a bit fitter.
IMO - many variables, dependant on physical challenge of trails ridden, rider style/technique, and time on the bike. I will do more laps covering more ground on the e-bike ... additionally, more time and effort exerted going down the hill (all body engaged) = better overall fitness
Screen Shot 2024-04-14 at 12.46.58 PM.png
 

E-shai

Member
Sep 2, 2018
3
1
ISRAEL
72 years, Lost my battery, rode about two months without (merida eone sixty 2018) short rides. I got a strong hamstrigs cramp. Barely walking, painful with every movement. However, on the bike no pain.
 

jetskier973

New Member
Nov 9, 2023
18
12
Gardner, KS.
Motocross is so exhausting, its constant focus, balance, maintaining body position so you dont get taken for a ride etc.
Riding aggressively on the whEee bike definitely does this for me.
This bike has made me a better standup jetski racer. It helps me to focus on breathing in/out through my nose, focus on staying relaxed on the grips, and works my thighs. This translates into virtually no arm pump, and my back lasts a lot longer during a jetski moto.
I love my moped.
 

theremotejuggernaut

Active member
Aug 2, 2022
311
238
UK
My legs are fine hopping onto my hardtail. Plenty of strength still there but my aerobic fitness definitely suffers if I spend too much time on my Rise.

I've already got Eco mode tuned to the lowest assistance possible. I wish there was a way to go lower on the power to give my lungs a better workout.
 

El Grifo

Active member
Apr 4, 2023
86
136
Islas Canarias
My legs are fine hopping onto my hardtail. Plenty of strength still there but my aerobic fitness definitely suffers if I spend too much time on my Rise.

I've already got Eco mode tuned to the lowest assistance possible. I wish there was a way to go lower on the power to give my lungs a better workout.
Off perhaps ???
 

irie

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
Subscriber
May 2, 2022
2,103
2,044
Chichester, W.Sussex, UK
My legs are fine hopping onto my hardtail. Plenty of strength still there but my aerobic fitness definitely suffers if I spend too much time on my Rise.

I've already got Eco mode tuned to the lowest assistance possible. I wish there was a way to go lower on the power to give my lungs a better workout.
Turn the motor off when no assistance required.
 

theremotejuggernaut

Active member
Aug 2, 2022
311
238
UK
It usually off for ~50% if my rides. Although longer rides I tend to rely on it more towards the end.

For me though, pedalling with the motor off is great for leg strength but doesn't really translate into better cardio for some reason. I've tried!
 

E-MAD MALC

Active member
Subscriber
Nov 16, 2021
327
172
EAST SUSSEX
It usually off for ~50% if my rides. Although longer rides I tend to rely on it more towards the end.

For me though, pedalling with the motor off is great for leg strength but doesn't really translate into better cardio for some reason. I've tried!
I'm with you on this
It's so easy to forget what effort is needed to ride a "Normal" bike
And fall into the trap of completely relying on the motor to help you out
 

Plummet

Flash Git
Mar 16, 2023
1,006
1,440
New Zealand
It usually off for ~50% if my rides. Although longer rides I tend to rely on it more towards the end.

For me though, pedalling with the motor off is great for leg strength but doesn't really translate into better cardio for some reason. I've tried!
I personally wouldn't ride an ebike if it was off 50% of the time. I'd stick to my mtb. E turned off is horrendous.

But I ride it like I stole with assistance on. So I get a good work out going faster for longer.
 

theremotejuggernaut

Active member
Aug 2, 2022
311
238
UK
I personally wouldn't ride an ebike if it was off 50% of the time. I'd stick to my mtb. E turned off is horrendous.

But I ride it like I stole with assistance on. So I get a good work out going faster for longer.
For me though, the main reason for buying an ebike was to be able to ride for longer rather than be able to do shorter rides quicker.

Yeah, I could stick to a normal MTB and get a killer workout over 20 miles but then I only get to do 20 miles.

The ebike means I can go out and do double that.

Just going faster with the assistance on is great for the legs but doesn't keep my heart rate up like it would with the motor off or if I'm riding a normal bike.

Last ride I did, I tried again. The last 4 or 5 miles back to the car is relatively flat. Couple of gentle climbs but nothing sustained. I left the bike in Trail and basically ride as fast as possible the whole way back. My legs were on fire but I was barely out of breath.

That's a good workout for the legs. But there can't have been any real fitness benefit. If I'd have done it with the motor off, I'd have at least got my heart rate up a bit.

I'm with you on this
It's so easy to forget what effort is needed to ride a "Normal" bike
And fall into the trap of completely relying on the motor to help you out
Exactly this.

It's so eaay to fall into the into the trap of thinking I'll turn the assistance up on this bit because it's a bit of a drag. And Oh, this hill is a bit difficult, I'll just up the power a bit. "well, this bit is boring so I'll power through on boost until the next fun bit".

Before you know it, your fitness starts to disappear and it's only when you jump on a normal bike that you reasise how much it's suffered.
 
Last edited:

uspsa2011

Active member
Jan 24, 2022
22
20
Chino Hills, CA
Great question!
IMO, all about the application /use of tools. I've met emtb riders. 100% Turbo!
Me? I want "just enough" help to make it to get more laps/climbs in.
Hence, my consideration to sell Full fat and stick with SL.
PS: I still ride my standard bikes!
 

E-MAD MALC

Active member
Subscriber
Nov 16, 2021
327
172
EAST SUSSEX
Great question!
IMO, all about the application /use of tools. I've met emtb riders. 100% Turbo!
Me? I want "just enough" help to make it to get more laps/climbs in.
Hence, my consideration to sell Full fat and stick with SL.
PS: I still ride my standard bikes!
I'm considering an SL but as an additional bike
I'll have to try one out in the near future
 

uspsa2011

Active member
Jan 24, 2022
22
20
Chino Hills, CA
I'm considering an SL but as an additional bike
I'll have to try one out in the near future
Definitely ride some! you may like the SL (of any make), especially if you've ridden standard MTBs for a while. I Can't beat the physics of a lighter bike, it feels very familiar and natural, with "help"!

Popular mtb vids and posts here are correct, if your ride mates are all Full Fat, understood. My group is small and mixed and don't drop each other! LOL

Rides for me are max 2+ hours, so battery capacity is not an issue and I don't ride long-distance treks, more loops, and laps at a bike park or local trails.

IE:
KSL is 42#
Rail 5 55#
Standard Enduro #36

Hope this helps!
 

Mrj35

New Member
Sep 29, 2023
157
96
canada
Riding aggressively on the whEee bike definitely does this for me.
This bike has made me a better standup jetski racer. It helps me to focus on breathing in/out through my nose, focus on staying relaxed on the grips, and works my thighs. This translates into virtually no arm pump, and my back lasts a lot longer during a jetski moto.
I love my moped.
Yeah 100% I've started focusing on body position a lot more on the e-bike due to the weight. Its improved my riding and reduced fatigue a lot. I can take big hits a lot better as I am more stable.
 

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