An e-bike is a bicycle with an electric motor. A rider can pedal without using the motor or use it for a boost. The motors in the U.S. are generally limited to a maximum of 20 miles per hour. Recreational riders and commuters can cover long distances and handle hills without breaking a sweat. Motorcycle bans have helped lead to massive e-bike adoption in China, where more than 200 million are in use, according to Benjamin. The country is also the world’s biggest e-bike manufacturer and exporter, with giants such as Jiangsu Xinri E-Vehicle and Yadea Technology Group each able to produce several million annually. Compared with Asia, North America is barely a blip—Navigant predicts only about 152,000 e-bikes will be sold in the region this year, though it expects steady growth. “I would guess 90 to 95 percent of people in the U.S. don’t even know what an electric bicycle is,” says Navigant analyst Ryan Citron, who uses one to get to his job in Boulder, Colo.
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