Steam powered ebikes/motorbikes like S. H. Roper’s never really had any success. At the end of the 19th century there were only two promising propulsion systems: those based on oil and those based on electricity.
Engineers were mostly working on carriages, which would have soon turned into proper cars.
During those years, another American inventor decided to build a bike with an electric motor. His name was Ogden Bolton Junior. We know very little about him: he registered a patent in an American office in 1895, and that’s all we know.
Ogden Bolton’s idea was simple but quite interesting: he installed an electric motor on a bike’s rear wheel hub. It was a DC motor with 6 poles, it could take up to 100 amps from a 10 volt battery. The battery was placed under the horizontal tube of the frame.
There was no gearing system so we can imagine it had a very high torque and a low battery life (there weren’t pedals to help the motor either).
We don’t know if these vehicles were ever produced or even how common this kind of ebikes were in general. What we know is that there already was an ongoing debate about electric bikes. In an American magazine of the time, we can read a debate between favorable and contrary opinions. Some thought that the demand for these bikes would have grown a lot in the years to come, and some thought that true cyclists loved the physical activity and wouldn’t want to let the pedals go. Like it often happens, they were both right.
“Electric Bicycles”, D. Henshaw & R. Peace