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Who needs a bike with a motor?

Tired of traffic, don’t want to get sweaty on the way to work or recovering from an injury? E-bikes are good for many reasons. It’s comfortable, economic and environmentally friendly. E-bikes have become very popular in Germany and the Netherlands where they are called Pedelecs – Pedal Electric Cycle.

The trend is spreading throughout the rest of Europe and they are becoming a very popular alternative to regular push bikes. It makes it easy to get around town and you diced yourself how much help you want to get from the motor. Basically it’s like riding with a tailwind all the time!

What is an E-bike and how fast can you go?

An E-bike has a maximum output of 250 watt, a maximum speed of 15mph and is powered by pedal strokes, which means that the motorized assistance only engages when the rider is pedaling. Most E-bikes also offers start-up assistance and enables kick-off up to 3mph without added pedaling. Very helpful if you’re starting off going uphill or have a heavy pack load. E-bikes should not be able to propel the bike when it’s travelling more than 15.5mph and have a maximum power output of 250 watts. If a bike meets the EAPC requirements it’s classed as a normal pedal bike. This means you can ride it on cycle paths and anywhere else pedal bikes are allowed.

When do you need a number plate for an E-bike?

  • For E-bikes with more than 250 watts electric motor power
  • 15mph engine-assisted speed

In addition to popular E-bikes or pedelecs, some manufacturers also offer bikes with higher engine power, so-called S-pedelecs. It is important to know that E-bikes with more than 250 watts and 15mph of motor-assisted speed are legally considered as motorcycles and require a license plate, helmet and special insurance. As a rule, the S-Pedelcs must be driven on the normal lane. But also E-bikes up to 15mph support, which are regarded as bicycles, of course, helmet as well as a good lighting and bell.

What drives are there in E-bikes?

The front hub motor assisted system is a relatively cheap system which is compatible with all gear systems as well as with back pedal brake. As weight is distributed towards the front of the bike you get a little less grip than normal. You also have to unhook cables to remove the front wheel.

The rear hub motor is also an easy and relatively cheap system that is easy to mount. It puts more weight on the back wheel and thus you get a better grip. However you can’t combine this system with back pedal brake and just like the front hub motor you have to unhook a lot of cables when you need to remove the back wheel.

The crank motor gives you the best grip as weight is distributed in the middle of the bike. Also, you don’t have to unhook cables when removing the wheels. Since the motor is mounted in the crank and pedal area you need a special frame and the system normally doesn’t work with back pedal brakes.

You regulate how much assistance you want to get from the motor by changing the settings on the motor or motor display. Depending on what model you have you will have different amount of options. You can of course ride without the engine by simply turning it off.

When do you have to recharge the battery on the E-bike?

Performance & Usage Instructions

A lot of people think that the battery charges itself whilst pedaling, but that is not the case. You have to charge the battery in a normal socket – you can do this by either leaving the battery in the bike or removing the battery and charging it elsewhere. It takes between 2,5 to 5 hours to charge a battery and the battery can be recharged up to a 1000 times.

Li-jon batteries are the most common type of rechargeable batteries for E-bikes. It’s lighter than most others and can be produced in many different shapes and forms. Thus they are perfect for E-bikes where you want a slim, light battery.

Storage & charging times

You can simply leave the battery charging on the bike or remove it and charge it separately. Charging the battery is no different from that of a mobile phone. It takes between 2.5 and 5 hours depending on the battery charge and the modern Li-Ion models allow theoretically up to 1,000 charging cycles. Charging a half-full battery is discouraged, as well as charging a drained battery. When not in use, it is advised to charge the battery to around 50% and check the charge level every 8 weeks.

  • It takes between 2.5 and 5 hours (depending on the battery) to charge
  • Li-Ion batteries do not lose their capacity
  • modern Li-Ion models allow up to 1,000 charging cycles

Where can you charge your E-bike?

There are now many charging points available if you find yourself out of charge halfway through a ride.

What should you watch out for when buying an E-bike?

E-bikes are naturally somewhat heavier than their unmotorised relations. And they allow a higher speed. Therefore you should pay attention to three aspects especially when buying.

  • Most E-bikes come with disc or rim brakes. It is important to have powerful brakes as E-bikes reach higher speeds than a normal bike. The motor display is also a vital part of the bike – a big display with backlight and big numbers is useful if you want to be able to read the display whilst riding.
  • It is good to have wider tyres (37-42 mm) with the right tyre pressure for a comfortable ride. You will find the correct tyre pressure (in PSI or bar) on the outside of the tyre. Check the tyre pressure every other week as a high air pressure will make the tyres role faster and will also reduce the chance of getting a puncture.
  • Suspension on the fork, on the rear wheel or even only on the seatpost is not just something for mountain bikers. A little extra comfort and, above all, increased ride stability on uneven ground is good for all riders who boost their speed with a motor. The small extra weight balances the engine power again.

Which type of E-bike suits me?

As with bikes, there are several different E-bikes available on the market.

City bike

A city bike, also known as a standard bike, is stable and comfortable. It comes fully equipped with mud guards, bike rack, lights etc. and has a comfortable and upright sitting position. Perfect for riding around town.

  • upright position
  • comfortable
  • fully equipped

Trekking bike

A trekking bike is a sporty and comfortable bike made for longer journeys. It is robust and stable and comes fully equipped just like a city bike. It has a suspension fork, robust wheels and durable frame and components. Works just as well for everyday rides to and from work as well as your biking holiday around Europe.

  • tourable seat position
  • extensive equipment
  • perfect for cycling trips

Cross bike

A cross bike is a sportier version of a city bike. It has a sportier sitting position and a wider gear range. A faster-rolling, versatile bike that is well suited for longer rides to and from work, and around town.

  • sporty
  • stretched seating position
  • for fixed and unpaved paths

Mountain bike

A mountain bike with a motor gives you new possibilities to explore nature and to ride trails that previously were hard to get to. An E-mountain bike doesn’t only make you rider faster up steep trails it also works for everyday rides around town. Just add some mud guards and other equipment for a fast, fun and environmentally friendly transport.

  • sleek and sporty design
  • perfect for trail climbs
  • both full suspension & hardtail possible

Other common questions

At what age can you drive an E-bike?

Generally, there is no age restriction for the use of E-bikes which can reach speeds of up to 15mph. Some manufacturers also offer eE-bike models in sizes for children and teenagers.

How many hours of power can I get out of my E-bike?

This frequent question can not be answered on a general basis. The battery life is only an indication of how long it could last. This battery life depends on many factores including the components of the bike, the weight of the rider, wheel type and route type.



Can I ride an E-bike along the cycle path?

If a cycle path is available, then the cyclist should also use it. This applies to normal bicycles as well as to E-bikes which can reach up to 15mph of speed. S-Pedelecs with speeds are regarded as motorcycles and must be driven on the road.

Can you protect your E-bike against theft?

An E-bike is classed as a bike by insurers. Due to the high value of E-bikes, it is advisable to insure them with additional theft insurance. It is possible to insure the more powerful S-pedelecs with liability insurance. This is usually not possible with regular E-bikes. More detailed information should be obtained from your insurer.



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