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It's easy to see why anyone would appreciate step-thru e-bikes. These accessible cycles offer riders a fun and convenient way to enjoy exercise outdoors.
But if you need support due to mobility issues, an injury, or after undergoing knee replacement surgery, an electric step-thru bike is a true godsend.
The best part is that your e-bike will help speed up your recovery. You will get the exercise you need without overexerting yourself. You can simply shift to one of several levels of pedal assistance to give yourself periodic breaks before revving up on your own power again.
But there is so much more to learn and love about step-thru e-bikes for post-surgical patients, seniors over 60, or anyone else interested in these comfortable e-bikes.
If you are nursing mobility issues, planning your upcoming knee replacement surgery and want to improve your fitness beforehand, or you want to have an active recovery plan in place, here are some things you should know about step-through e-bikes.
A Brief Background on E-Bicylcles
What do you know about e-bikes? You might have heard of them and thought of electric scooters or small motorcycles. You might have thought it an odd notion to put a motor on a bicycle. It's challenging for some people to reconcile attaching a motor to what has long been known as a popular form of exercise. However, e-bikes have become increasingly popular over the past decade.
If you can believe it, e-bikes are hardly new. They aren't even new in the 21st century. Or the 20th century. An American inventor, Ogden Bolton Jr., registered the first patent for the electric bike in 1895. It is uncertain whether these fanciful vehicles were manufactured at that time, but it clearly shows that the idea was there, brimming in the minds of creative inventors.
So, it's possible that they weren't always solely intended as vehicles for recreation and exercise. Visionaries already imagined them as an alternative mode of transportation in the centuries to come.
Today's e-bicycles are bikes that feature electric components and a motor. They usually come with a motor set in the mid-drive, front hub, or rear hub. E-bikes also feature a batter and a controller. Designers work continuously to improve the design with an eye toward seamless integration among the electrical components.
How Popular Have E-Bicycles Become?
According to Anna Walters at Bikes Make Life Better, e-bikes have been gaining popularity since the mid-2010s. Walters shared that "E-bikes are one of the fastest growing categories of bicycle sales in the U.S." and that 80% more e-bikes were sold in 2017, surpassing 2016 sales by approximately 260,000 units.
And those numbers have grown in the past six years. A June 2022 report from Research and Markets revealed some crucial numbers in ebike market size projections, with figures reaching an estimated $49.7 USD by the end of 2022 and $80.6 billion by 2027. That all amounts to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.2% from 2022 to 2027, which means there is no predicted slowdown in this market anytime soon.
With concerns about resource conservation and issues of climate change and the rising costs of fuel, the fascination with alternative modes of transportation like e-bikes is likely to continue. Many large cities have adopted bicycle-friendly rules and practices to daily commuters safe. Those same regulations also serve to encourage and invite new e-bike riders on step-thrus and other styles to take to the road on two wheels.
Some of the top cities for e-biking include:
Other cities, like Boston, New York, San Francisco, and Philadelphia have also created and maintain e-bike-welcoming infrastructure and laws that protect people riding step-thru e-bikes.
But what about the popularity and adoption in communities for adults over 60?
Think about all the most attractive retirement areas in the U.S., and they are in the southern states. Of course, not all retirees head south, but many choose to live in places throughout Florida, Arizona, Texas, and Georgia. They certainly have the weather to enjoy riding an e-bike, but more medium-and-larger-sized cities are considering safety measures for e-bike riding.
And don't discount other areas for senior e-bike riding, especially when living in retirement communities where older adults want to find ways to stay active, healthy, and social, especially after any type of injury, surgery, or illness.
How Do Step-Thru Models Fit Into the E-Bike Community?
Step-Thru e-bikes are a natural model for the e-bike family of cycles. This bicycle style offers riders an alternative to the perhaps better known low-step and step-over frames, which are the more extreme frame styles, relatively. Both of these frames put riders in a more forward-leaning position in most cases. Think of step-over frame road bicycles and how much riders lean forward. Granted, road bicyclists often try to fight or eliminate wind resistance and improve aerodynamics by making themselves "smaller" and getting lower, but again, the design of the bicycle and the frame lend to this riding style.
And that rising style isn't what your average e-bike commuter has in mind. At least not for the majority of riders. While people want to get to their destination on time, many commuters don't want to work so hard. These tikes require more manual effort, leading to getting sweaty and tired and risking accidents in bad weather conditions, thanks to thin tires, lightweight design, and other less weather-friendly design features.
Alternately, low-step e-bike frames often feature a diamond-shaped frame and can cause e-bicycle riders to find themselves feeling somewhat off-balance due to a somewhat awkward angle for mounting and dismounting. While mounting and dismounting is relatively easy, compared to the step-over model, slipping your leg through, and pushing off can be challenging and doesn't offer the same confidence felt with step-thru bikes.
Step-thru e-bikes offer riders of all ages and physical conditions an alternative to both more extreme bicycle frame styles.
What to Know About Choosing a Step-Through E-Bike for Knee Replacement Surgery and More
Step-through e-bicycles offer more compromises than those surrounding the mounting position. While that is often the key factor and consideration, especially for riders suffering from balance and mobility issues, injuries, surgeries, and therapy and recovery for any of those circumstances.
One of the top advantages beyond the mount and dismount section of the ride is the fact that the curved step-thru frame provides the most upright bicycle riding position. Commuters love step-thrus for daily commuting to and from work or school and or fun, casual rides with friends or for physical therapy and fitness.
Here are some specific advantages to investing in a step-through e-bike:
Are There Disadvantages to Owning and Riding Step-Through E-Bikes?
Our answer to this question is: it depends. One disadvantage—we see it as more of a potential inconvenience than a disadvantage, so keep reading—that some people note about step-through e-bikes is that the frames are somewhat thicker and sometimes heavier than traditional e-bike frames. What's important to understand is that the top bar on step-over bikes adds more stabilization to the overall design of the bike. Without that extra bar across the top, step-throughs lack additional security that holds the front and back e-bike frame together. Some people feel that step-thrus are not as sturdy as traditional bike frames.
The solution to this issue is manufacturing step-thru models with more durable materials to make up for the cross-bar, providing more stability. However, as you might imagine, bike manufacturers need to rely on materials that are slightly heavier. But the solution works, and the heavier materials do offer you a safer ride on a sturdier unit.
But does e-bike weight matter that much? Unless you are planning to haul your e-bike up and down stairs frequently, you might not ever notice the weight of a step-through e-bike, honestly.
In terms of the ride, versus any auxiliary movement of the e-bike, you might not ever notice the weight of the electric bike. Well, you'll notice how sturdy and secure you feel while riding it, but it won't be an impediment. When considering ebike weight characteristics, it's just as important to think about the overall weight distribution on the bike frame.
And you have to account for the size of battery and motor on the e-bike. The more power these components offer, the more they weigh. But then, that all leads to more exercise when you are powering your e-bike manually and more speed and assistance when you hit the throttle. At that point, you won't notice the extra weight because the e-bike will be doing the lion's share of the work for you.
But looking back at the effort you will need when using your heart, lungs, core, legs, etc. to power your bike versus the motor, manufacturers continually strive to find ways to minimize the weight impact of the electrical components. You aren't likely to find them prohibitively heavy, even in manual mode.
If you are working on recovery after an injury or surgery, such as a knee replacement, when you need to focus on joint mobilization and muscular conditioning without sacrificing stability, bicycle weight is a highly valid consideration. That means it's a worthy and welcome discussion to have with a dedicated e-bike company that wants you to heal and thrive with the help of your step-through electric bicycle.
Besides the added weight, there probably isn't a more comfortable e-bike frame out there for most daily riders.
Who Rides Step-Through Electric Bikes?
While e-bikes are handy for people with injuries or adults over 60, they are a widespread and increasingly embraced phenomenon among people of all ages, conditions, and geographic locations. The availability of step-through models make e-bikes even more accessible to a broader range of cyclists.
Unless you have some serious fitness goals, like training for triathlons or long-range bicycle tours, step-thru e-bikes are a premier option for recreational bike riders. Sure, the idea of zooming along the bike path in aerodynamic gear seems like fun, but it isn't for everyone. Besides, not everyone needs to reach breakneck speeds to get ample exercise. Most of us are just humans and want to keep our hearts, bones, muscles, and brains healthy.
That isn't to say those weekend road bike warriors on the bike path aren't amazing—but we aren't all cut out for that level of dedication and intensity. Sometimes we just want to get in our 30 minutes of moderate movement or arrive at our destination crisp and clean and without risk of injury.
With all that in mind, you will love owning a step through bike if you fall into any of the following categories:
Our Top 8 Picks for Best Electric Step-Through Bikes for Knee Replacements
We want to help you find the best step-thru e-bike for your needs, especially if you are planning or recovering from knee replacement surgery.
Here are our top eight picks we think you will enjoy riding as you recover and for years and years beyond.
2. Electra Townie Go! 5i Step-Through Electric Bike
While the step-thru frame is a little higher than we like on the Electra Townie Go!, it's still a quality e-bike. We like its relatively lighter weight at 55 pounds, making it a little easier to ride in manual mode. But you can look forward to ample power with the 250W motor, 440 wat hours, and pedal assist up to 20 mph.
3. The Velotric Discover 1
While the Velotric Discover 1 E-Bike may not look like the most conventional beach cruiser or commuter e-bike, it deftly toggles the line between the two. It has more of a slick and angular design than what many of us think of when imagining our ideal e-bike intended for commuting and errands. However, we believe the design will accommodate knee replacement and other issues that might limit your range of motion.
And the power is on point, featuring a 500W rear hub motor and an integrated 14.4 Ah internal battery that is fully integrated with the motor.
4. Blix Sol Eclipse
This Class 2 electric beach cruiser comes with serious power. The Blix Sol Eclipse 2 features a whopping 750W rear hub motor that will take steeper hills with relative ease, leaving your knees safe from any extra exertion. This cruiser is especially helpful if you live in an area with large hills that could otherwise compromise knee health in individuals with no previous issues.
And the classic beach cruiser is simple and elegant, so if you like a conventional bicycle appearance, this might be the right e-bike for you, aesthetically and therapeutically.
6. Tower Beach Babe 500W Electric Beach Cruiser
This Class 2 electric cruiser has pure style and power, but it still offers a safe, stable, and secure ride. The Tower Beach Babe 500W is sleek and looks like it's made for fun. So, if you're young, young at heart, or have a timeless sense of style, you will love this powerful step-through e-bike.
7. Electric Bike Company Model S 500W
The Electric Bike Company Model S 500W motor e-bike is another classic beach cruiser with a casual grace and a powerful 500W motor. We love this e-bike's sturdy frame and interesting geometrical angles. It's stylish with wood panel accents over the chain mechanism that gives it a unique appearance, even among the array of beach cruiser styles.
8. Electra Loft Go! 7D EQ Step Through Electric Bike
If you would like to find a lighter frame, the Electra Loft Go! weighs in at a mere 44 pounds, making it easier to move manually. It also makes manual riding easier. Still, you'll enjoy plenty of power to take on hills and protect your knees after your knee replacement with the 250W Hyena rear hub motor. The Electra Loft Go! features three levels of support for any cycling needs.
Our SixThreeZero Bike Experts Will Help You Find Your Step-Through E-Bike for Your Knee Replacement
We love all the options above, but if you need more information to find and select your ideal step-through electric bike, we are here to help. Our team of cycling enthusiasts and experts will be happy to discuss your most vital concerns, which might include e-bike weight factors, custom fitting options, warranties, and more.
Contact us to learn more about our step-through e-bikes and how our models can help your knee replacement recovery and ongoing healthy lifestyle.
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