Study shows e-bike riders sweat three times less than normal bike riders

Shimano has looked at how hot and sweaty riders got on a 30 minute simulated commute

Commuting by bike is great for your fitness, zaps pollution and often gets you there faster than in a vehicle. But the side effect is that you can often arrive at work hot, sweaty and in need of a shower.

Now Shimano, working with the Sports Science Agency in Manchester, has compared the degree of exertion for e-bike riders to that of commuters who don’t get an electric push on their ride.

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It recruited six riders, four male and two female, aged between 24 and 36. They each rode for 30 minutes in a heat chamber set at 28C, once on an e-bike powered by a Shimano Steps E6100 motor and once on a normal bike.

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Wired up, their heart rate, core body temperature, power output and perceived exertion levels were recorded. Volume of sweat produced was found by recording weight pre- and post-ride. Riders were also inspected for sweat patches on their clothing.

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According to Shimano, riding an e-bike resulted in an average of 350ml less sweat being produced – that’s over three times less than on the regular bike. Their clothing also looked a lot less sweaty, with few or no damp patches.

As you’d expect, finishing heart rate was also lower after riding the e-bike – by an average 63 beats per minute. Core body temperature averaged just 37.5C as against 38.4C on a normal machine. Riders classed the simulated e-bike commute as “light to easy” as against “hard” on the normal bike.

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Commenting on the study, the Sports Science Agency’s lead scientist on the study, Jack Wilson said: “The main findings of this study show that using an e-Bike as opposed to a regular bike, commuters can complete their ride to work without concerns regarding sweat and physiological strain.

“It’s fair to hypothesize that the benefits of exercise remain and that e-bikes may be a good introduction to those who feel they’re not sufficiently fit enough to attempt to cycle to work.”

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Paul Norman

Paul started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2015, covering cycling tech, new bikes and product testing. Since then, he’s reviewed hundreds of bikes and thousands of other pieces of cycling equipment for the magazine and the Cycling Weekly website.

He’s been cycling for a lot longer than that though and his travels by bike have taken him all around Europe and to California. He’s been riding gravel since before gravel bikes existed too, riding a cyclocross bike through the Chilterns and along the South Downs.