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Table 2 Physical activity intensity outcomes of interest measured during rides*

From: Health benefits of electrically-assisted cycling: a systematic review

Study Outcomes Results; mean (SD)
E-bike Comparison 1 Comparison 2 Comparison 3 Significance testing, p value
Bernsten, 2017 [22] a (Median, IQR) E-bike CB    
Percentage VO2max 51 (27) 58 (28)    NC
Measured METs 8.5 (3.1) 10.9 (2.7)    NC
Estimated METs 6.9 (2.1) 8.4 (1.8)    NC
Cooper, 2018 [32]   E-bike Walking    
Mean HR 125.2 (18.1) 107.6 (15.8)    NC
 Men 121.2 (17.2) 103.2 (14.1)    NC
 Women 132.6 (18.9) 116.5 (16.9)    NC
Percentage HR max 74.7 64.3    NC
Gojanovic, 2011 [18]   E-bike HA E-bike LA CB Walking  
Mean absolute VO2peak 1.50 (.038) 1.79 (0.46) 2.00 (0.44) 1.6 (0.34) < 0.001 overall, <.05, all comparisons except HA vs. Walk (>.05)
Percentage VO2peak 54.9 (11) 65.7 (8.1) 72.8 (6.4) 59 (9.1) < 0.001 overall, <.05, all comparisons except HA vs. Walk (>.05)
Mean estimated METs 6.1 (1.4) 7.3 (1.0) 8.2 (1.3) 6.5 (0.8) < 0.001 overall, <.05, all comparisons except HA vs. Walk (>.05)
Mean HR 138.4 (18) 149 (17.7) 157.0 (11.2) 132.7 (17.4) < 0.001 overall, <.05, all comparisons except HA vs. Walk (>.05)
Percentage HR max 74.5 (8.7) 80.3 (8.7) 84.6 (5.2) 71.5 (9.2) < 0.001 overall, <.05, all comparisons except HA vs. Walk (>.05)
Hansen, 2017 [21]   E-bike HA E-Bike LA CB   
Mean absolute VO2 1.72 (0.54) 1.89 (0.62) 1.85 (0.52)   .02 overall, .04 LA vs. HA, > .05 CB vs. LA, CB vs. HA
Percentage VO2peak 68 (7.1) 74 (6.2) 73 (4.6)   .01 overall, .03 LA vs. HA, > .05 CB vs. LA, CB vs. HA
Mean estimated METs 6 (1.8) 6.6 (2) 6.4 (1.6)   .02 overall; .027 HA vs. LA; >.05, CB vs LA, CB vs. HA
Hochsmann, 2017 [30] (Median, IQR) E-bike CB    
Percentage HR max+ 74.9 (67.4, 82.8) 73.3 (67.7, 78.2)    NC
Langford, 2017 [23] a,c   E-bike CB Walking   
Mean relative VO2 16.95 (5.17) 19.32 (5.47) 15.12 (5.35)   NC
Mean relative EE per minute 0.08 (0.03) 0.10 (0.02) 0.07 (0.03)   NC
Mean estimated METs 5.1 5.8 4.5   NC
Mean HR 121.35 (17.04) 127.45 (18.17) 115.25 (14.41)   NC
Mean power output 63.28 (22.89) 73.13 (35.79) NA   NC
La Salle, 2017 [26] a   E-bike CB    
Mean absolute VO2 2.3 (0.1) 2.5 (0.1)    .45
Percentage VO2max 66.4 (2.6) 68 (2.8)    NR
Mean estimated METs 8.3 (0.5) 8.5 (0.6)    .65
Mean HR 147 (5) 149 (5)    .064
Percentage HR max 79.1 (2.4) 80.4 (2.6)    NR
Mean power output 115 (11) 128 (11)    .38
Louis, 2012 [27] b Trained E-bike HA E-bike LA E-bike NA   
Mean relative VO2 14.7 (2.0) 19.5 (2.4) 22.9 (2.2)   < .05, all comparisons
Mean estimated METs 4.2 (0.6) 5.6 (0.7) 6.5 (0.6)   < .05, all comparisons
Mean absolute EE per minute 5.1 (0.8) 7.6 (0.8) 7.8 (0.5)   < .05, all comparisons
Mean HR 77.7 (11) 89.4 (10.2) 92.8 (11.6)   < .05, all comparisons
Mean power output 47.3 (9.1) 83.6 (4.0) 104.2 (4.2)   < .05, all comparisons
Untrained E-bike HA E-bike LA E-bike NA   
Mean relative VO2 15.0 (2.0) 21.7 (4.2) 23.4 (3.6)   < .05, all comparisons
Mean estimated METs 4.3(0.6) 6.2 (1.2) 6.7 (1.0)   < .05, all comparisons
Mean absolute EE per minute 4.9 (0.8) 6.7 (0.8) 7.5 (0.9)   < .05, all comparisons
Mean HR 96.8 (16.8) 116.8 (21.7) 116.7 (16.2)   < .05, all comparisons
Mean power output 40.0 (7.1) 79.8 (4.8) 99.9 (6.9)   < .05, all comparisons
Meyer 2014 [28] a   E-bike E-bike NA    
Mean HR 94.71 131.31    NC
Peterman, 2016 [13]   E-bike     
Mean estimate METs 4.9 (1.2     
Mean absolute EE per minute 6.5 (1.9)     
Percentage HR max 72.1 (5.4)     
Simons, 2009 [20]   E-bike HA E-bike LA E-bike NA   
Mean estimated METs 5.2 (1.4) 5.7 (1.2) 6.1 (1.6)   <.05 HA and NA, >.05 HA vs. LA, LA vs. NA
Mean HR 112.4 (22.9) 116.2 (22.4) 123.8 (23.2)   <.05 NA vs. HA; NA vs. LA, >.05 HA vs. LA
Percentage HR max 6 7.1 (14.1) 69.3 (13.5) 73.9 (14.5)   <.05 NA vs. HA; NA vs. LA, >.05 HA vs. LA
Mean absolute power 94.2 (29.2) 101.8 (24.8) 118.2 (30.9)   <.05 All comparisons
Sperlich, 2012 [19] a   E-bike CB    
Mean relative VO2 18 (3.8) 25.5 (4.8)    <.05, ES = 1.73
Mean absolute VO2 1.33 (0.35) 1.77 (0.43)    < .05, ES = 1.12
Mean estimated METs 5.2 (1.7) 7.1 (1.4)    <.05, ES = 1.22
Mean HR 105 (20) 133 (19)    <.05, ES = 1.53
Mean absolute power 363 (23) 415 (28)    <.05, ES = 2.02
Theurel, 2011 [24]   E-bike CB    
Mean absolute EE per minute 5.6 (1.3) 5.9 (1.8)    NR
Mean HR NR NR    .02, 3% lower with e-bike
Theurel, 2012 [25]   E-bike CB    
Mean relative VO2 29 (5) 37 (5)    < .001
Mean HR 136 (23) 167 (17)    <.001
  1. *Given the difference in the cycle routes conducted mean values or percentage of maximum for outcomes related to physical activity intensity are reported (e.g., Mean VO2peak, mean heart rate, mean energy expenditure). For additional physical activity related outcomes reported in the studies see Additional file 4
  2. +reported for only a subsample of the group (n = 5 e-bikes, n = 4 conventional bike)
  3. EE energy expenditure, HR heart rate, METs metabolic equivalent, VO2 volume of oxygen, VO2 oxygen intake value; VO2max highest oxygen intake value attainable for an individual, VO2peak the highest oxygen intake value obtained on a specific test, CB conventional bike, HA high assistance, LA low assistance, NA no assistance
  4. ES effect size measured as Cohen’s d, NC not conducted, NR not reported
  5. Relative VO2, VO2max and VO2peak measured as ml/min/kg; Absolute VO2, VO2max and VO2peak measured in l/min; Mean absolute energy expenditure measured in kcal/min; Mean relative energy expenditure measured in kcal/kg/min; Mean heart rate measured in beats per minute (bpm); Mean power output measured in Watts, Estimated METs measured using assumption that resting energy expenditure (i.e.,1 MET) = 3.5 ml/kg/min; Measured METs measured through assessed individual resting energy expenditure
  6. aResults are reported to total cycle routes. Studies separated results for different route topography. See Additional file 3 for details on different cycling topography; b Participants completed same activity at three different speeds, self-selected speed reported; c Total sample analyses not conducted, see Additional file 3 for analyses between ride segments