Tips for buying an e-bike Which e-bike is right for me?
When cycling, we often work up a sweat, especially with a Hanseatic headwind. That's good for our health, but on the way to the office or to the cinema we can well do without it. All right, but aren't e-bikes rather something for grandma and grandpa? In our opinion: no, because today there are many different models that can express not only comfort but also coolness and style. The choice is now huge: there are e-city bikes, e-mountain bikes, e-racing bikes and e-bikes for cargo. As nice as a rich selection is, it is easy to lose track of everything.
For most of us, an e-bike is a big purchase that we don't want to regret. To make sure you don't make the wrong decision, we talked to Lennart Klocke. He is a test editor at BIKE BILD magazine and as such has already been on the road with countless e-bikes. Lennart Klocke is also a passionate cyclist in his private life, whether on an e-bike or a road bike.
English – E-Bike, E-Bike – English
E-bike, pedelec, S-pedelec - what's the difference? According to Lennart Klocke, most people who talk about e-bikes actually mean the pedelec; a bicycle that provides its:n rider:in with electric assistance when pedalling. The degree of assistance can be adjusted on the handlebars, so you can ride up to 25 kilometres per hour with electric assistance. According to the law, pedelecs are bicycles and may therefore be ridden on cycle paths. The situation is different with S-pedelecs, because here the S stands for speed. An S-pedelec can be ridden at speeds of up to 45 kilometres per hour, which understandably means that riders no longer have any business riding on cycle paths. Instead, a licence plate must be attached to the bicycle, because S-pedelecs are classified as motor vehicles and must therefore be driven on the road even at slow speeds.
In contrast to pedelecs, e-bikes are not bicycles at all, but electric two-wheelers or light mopeds. They are accelerated by means of a throttle grip and without pedalling, must also be driven on the road and require a moped licence.
The right choice according to one's own needs
Just like when buying a classic bicycle, when buying an e-bike we have to ask ourselves what we are going to do with it in the first place. If you want to commute to work all year round, you need a pedelec with lights, mudguards, luggage rack and a battery capacity that corresponds to the length of your commute. An economical city motor is usually sufficient for this use and relatively inexpensive to buy. Weekend tours are usually a little longer, but the battery should have at least 500 watt hours so that the way back is not a torture. With a powerful touring or even sports motor, you are on the safe side if you are going to be on the road for a long time in difficult terrain.
Currently the most popular are e-trekking bikes with their combination of powerful drive, suitability for everyday use and comfort. They are closely followed by city pedelecs, which have slim drives and batteries so that they are often not recognisable as electric bikes at first glance. An e-mountain bike should hardly be used in Hamburg and is very popular mainly in the south of the republic. The motorised siblings of cargo bikes are on the rise: cargo bikes. In large cities like Hamburg, they are the ideal substitute for cars, as they can be used to transport heavy shopping and, depending on the model, even children. For this reason, their purchase is even subsidised in some cases, and one of StadtRAD's rental bikes is also worthwhile for occasional trips on a cargo bike.
Does it have to be so expensive?
When you look at the prices that well-known manufacturers charge for their pedelecs and e-bikes, many a dream of sweat-free cycling is shattered. E-bikes for 1000 euros, which can often be bought in online shops, seem like a tempting alternative. However, they come with less powerful motors and shorter ranges, so you may have to struggle on the way home with a heavy bike and no battery. These models also often don't come with everyday features like lights and mudguards, so you'll have to expect follow-up costs. They also come with cheap rim brakes, which can be a safety risk for inexperienced riders that should not be underestimated.
If you can afford to pay a little more for a pedelec, you will not only get excellent equipment that meets all safety standards, but also nice features like batteries integrated into the frame and better controls. You can also ask your employer if they would provide you with a leased pedelec instead of a company car. In any case, the financial incentive is there.
No matter which e-bike model you choose: With an e-bike, you are making a healthy decision based on solidarity. Electric support is not only a great alternative for grandma and grandpa, but can also make the switch from car to bike easier for all of us.