The best part of cycling has been the simplicity of it. There has been no need to prepare, just go ride. Now that does not mean things could not get more interesting by enhancing the experience with some sauce. Electric derailleurs have already been around for a while, but only now battery powered bikes are really starting to make a splash. I confess I’m a fan of e-bikes, but it does not mean normal bikes are in any way obsolete. In the end it is a question of choosing right horses for respective courses.
The development of e-bikes is starting to get to a phase where they are no longer for the disabled or the lazy, but really useful for normal cyclists as well. I have a bad tendency to push myself too hard on recovery and endurance training rides. It is just so fun to ride fast that I forget to keep tabs on heart rate and watts. Also I really like mountain biking, but the uphills are a slog and I keep getting extremely high peaks in heart rate that would be healthy to avoid. E-bike would be a great alternative for those uses.
I’ve test driven commercial bikes with Bafang, and Bosch and Yamaha mid-drive motors. My experience is that the geometry of the best frames mimics that of the best all-mountain bikes and the battery can be hidden inside the frame. Slowly also the most important asset, motor torque, is also increasing. It will still take some time for things to fully standardize, but it seems we are on the right track.
In the past the diy crowd only had the opportunity convert normal bikes with somewhat untidy build sets. Now it seems more polished products are coming out. DengFu for example is already advertising carbon fiber frames for Bafang and Shimano mid-drive motors. So it seems things are heating up and eventually the prices should come down. At the moment my money is on ready commercial products, but hopefully chinese competition will help drive down the dog-awful prices.