The e-bike now play an important role in road traffic and have long since ceased to be “exclusive” sports equipment or “grandmother bikes”. More and more people are leaving their cars and turning to environmentally friendly alternatives such as e-bikes or electric scooters. To help you enjoy your new e-bike for a long time and help with your purchase decision, we have compiled the most important information and advice for you. This includes information about battery safety, quality and range. But we’ve also taken a closer look at individual wear parts and which ones deserve special attention, especially before you buy.
These e-bikes experts recommend
E-bikes – health, mobility and environmental protection
For many, cycling has become an essential part of daily life. Whether for work, shopping or cycling, cycling is a practical and popular mode of transportation. But what happens when the road to work is too hilly or when many headwinds lead to rapid exhaustion?
E-bikes are supposed to be a cure here. So far, manufacturers have focused on older generations, giving e-bikes the image of “grandma’s bike.” Today, the motorized bicycle is also considered a trendy means of transportation for young people. It is especially popular in big cities to cover medium distances to work or to the city park, as you can cover longer distances with less effort.
In the city, you can usually ride an e-bike faster than a car or bus. Adapted equipment is also available for off-road routes. In this case, it is also advisable to consider a bicycle navigation system. E-bikes are efficient, environmentally friendly and fun. They are available in almost all variants:
- City bikes for women,
- City bikes for men,
- Bicycles for beginners,
- Folding bikes,
- Mountain bikes
- Trekking bikes,
They are very trendy and are now one of the most popular sports equipment. Our e-bike shopping guide has everything you need to know and important buying criteria for your new e-bike.
E-bike, pedelec or electric bike – what does that mean exactly?
Generally, the term e-bike is used for motorized bicycles, but it mainly refers to what the specialist calls a pedelec. E-bikes are significantly different due to their stronger motor suspension and can accelerate without you having to pedal at all. They reach a higher speed than the conventional pedelecs. E-bikes are considered motorcycles and their use therefore requires mandatory insurance, a helmet and ID card, and a moped license or a car license that “includes” the moped license.
The Pedal Electric Cycle (Pedelecs), to which this manual refers, assists the power of the accelerator pedal. They are assisted by the motor up to 25 km/h. Most pedelecs allow you to read basic data such as speed, battery level, outside temperature, time, etc. from a screen on the handlebars and determine how much power the motor should provide you. The electric motor is powered by a rechargeable battery (traction battery) that needs to be charged regularly. The price of the equivalent non-motorized bike will be about 1.5 times higher. There are already inexpensive discount pedelecs. Although the quality of these bikes is hardly comparable to branded bikes, they offer a good entry into the world of e-bikes. With a very good pedelec, you can expect a price in the four-digit range.
What types of pedelecs are there?
There are also differences between pedelecs that you should know before buying.
An e-bike on the pedelec charging cable without jumpstart: these e-bikes do not advance without pedaling. Here you have a motor bearing up to a speed of 25 km/h, if you start it yourself. With the pedelec you ride, as with a normal bike, on the bike path. For bikes of this type you do not need additional insurance, it is not necessary to have a driver’s license. Although wearing a helmet is not mandatory, we still advise against riding without one! If you like cycling and only want support for mountain or headwind, these devices are the first choice for you.
Pedelec with jump start: These e-bikes are similar to the category described above, except that they can carry you up to 6 km/h without pedaling. With the help of the jump start, they make it easier for you to start on a hill or at a traffic light. If you have a lot of traffic lights or hills on your roads, jump-starting can free you from many problems. However, the bike doesn’t do everything on its own and you can still pedal, just with a little more power.
S-Pedelecs: The pedelec S belongs to the category of e-bikes and therefore requires a driver’s license, license plate and insurance. With these bikes you can ride up to 45 km/h, as they are equipped with a power that is up to twice that of a single crankset (about 500 watts instead of a maximum of 250 watts). These devices are sometimes very fast and can be compared to scooters and mopeds. In addition to a helmet and a driver’s license, we recommend that you take a few test rides in your area.
Renowned and renamed manufacturers must be evaluated differently depending on the desired design. If you are looking for a trekking or mountain bike with a motor, you are well advised to look at the manufacturers Haibike, Bosch, Bulls or Shimano. If you are looking for a suitable city bike or an entry-level city bike, you might want to consider a model from Kalkhoff, BH or Kettler.
Purchase recommendation: How do you find the right e-bike?
Of course, this question can not be answered simply with “that”. We have summarized the most important criteria for an e-bike, which will help you in your purchase decision. As with a regular bike, there are many things to consider when buying a pedal bike. In addition to the motor and battery, there is more to consider. Many tests with e-bikes have shown: In addition to quality and price, here’s what you should look for in replacement parts:
The motor is the heart of pedelecs. But it is also a factor of balance. If it rests on one of the wheel hubs, it can cause imbalance. In the best case, the motor is centered on the chassis and places a low center of gravity, so the pedal is more balanced and holds the balance much easier. With a center mounted motor, there is also the possibility of a rear pedal brake. A motor on the front wheel is rare these days – it’s better not to touch those wheels! Beginner or professional, the crankset or central motor is the best choice for all types of models.
The maximum power required by law is 250 watts. However, the motors of different manufacturers differ mainly in torque, which determines the starting power. A low torque makes the bike start more smoothly than a high torque motor, which accelerates the bike powerfully and jerkily. Before you buy, check that the motor runs smoothly and doesn’t make irregular buzzing sounds. You also need to make sure that the settings are correct for you during a road ride. Does the engine start directly or with a delay?
Which gear gives you a comfortable balance between your own power and engine assistance? On paper, installed motors are often very similar or even identical in construction, but since e-bike manufacturers can be involved in controlling the motor, they sometimes differ significantly in power and performance. A driving test is therefore worthwhile in any case.
The battery is located, like those of Bosch or Brose, on most pedals of the frame or under the luggage rack. The strongest of these are the classic lithium-ion batteries, which also impress with their low weight. The power is also displayed on the battery in small letters in watt-hours (Wh). Here it should be higher than 300 Wh, the best 400 Wh. If no watt-hour is indicated, the watt-hours can be calculated by multiplying the voltang value with the amp-hour value.
In this issue, you will get information about the duration of the power, that is, the range of your bike. Battery technology has done a lot to make it easier for users to operate. For example, batteries usually no longer have the notorious memory effect and can therefore be partially recharged. However, they should not be stored and charged too hot or too cold. In principle, a pressure loss of up to 12% is considered normal for pedelec batteries. However, the uncharged battery should not be stored, because in the worst case it can be deep discharged and thus permanently damaged.
For most high-quality batteries, the average measured distance is 75 km, but it can vary depending on how the motor is used during the ride. If you plan to drive long distances, it is a good idea to buy a spare battery. Depending on the energy provider and battery capacity, you can expect to pay only 10-15 cents per charge.
Depending on what requirements you have for your e-bike, it is advisable to take a closer look at the bike’s display. Carefully consider the possibility of displaying additional functions such as outdoor temperature and time. A current trend is to connect your smartphone to your pedelec and mount it in a bracket on your handlebars. Then your smartphone runs through an application such as a bike computer, which can display and record all relevant data in real time and on tour.
As for non-motorized bikes, at least for city bikes, a hub, such as Shimano or Nuvinci, is preferable to a front derailleur. However, it is also more expensive to buy. The gearshift is protected against dirt to reduce wear. Especially with expensive E-Bikesn you should not save on the quality of wear parts, otherwise your new bike will be an expensive permanent repair project. The NuVinci N360 planetary gearbox goes crazy. This variant is, of course, the upper end of the flagpole, as this speed is infinitely adjustable and always gives you the ideal speed. More comfort is not possible. However, this feature also costs a few euros more.
A disc brakeYou must make sure that your new e-bike is equipped with a hydraulic brake and not, as is often the case, with a cable brake. Disc brakes are of better quality and safer than “normal” rim brakes. You can recognize them by the brake discs on the wheel hubs. Especially for fast S-pedals, robust brakes are an absolute must. A conventional cable brake can cause problems or simply not take up the momentum, which can have deadly consequences at speeds above 40 km/h. Every euro is well spent here.
Knowledgeable facts about the e-bike.
What else should I pay attention to?
There are very big differences in the quality of e-bikesn, so pay attention to all the little things like saddle, lights, pedals, crutch seat, fenders and tire quality. A seat suspension and a suspension fork, which can ideally be locked, are also useful for the pedelec. So you have even more pleasure on the bike and are well equipped for long walks.
With the e-bike through autumn and winter
If you want to enjoy the beautiful autumn and winter days on the bike, the question naturally arises what you should consider with a pedelec. Of course, the basic rule is that you need to feel safe enough to ride on outdated or wet roads. It is recommended to use a fresh tread and well-tuned brakes. If you feel safe, you can safely catch the sun’s rays even on cooler days.
Can I use my e-bike in the rain?
Basically, e-bikes and pedelecs can be used in the rain. The electronics are usually installed in such a way that they are protected from rain and splashing water. Therefore, there is no reason to leave the bike on rainy days. Make sure that the electronics are not submerged in water. You might want to avoid deep puddles. In addition, the bike should not be exposed to permanent moisture, so when not in use, it should be stored in the garage or under a carport.
In winter on an e-bike?
An e-bike in the snow Like a bicycle without a motor, it is better not to ride on snowy or icy roads. If you ride an e-bike in these conditions, a good motor mount can cause the tires to slip on the slippery ground and lose grip. If you can avoid it, leave the pedelec or pedal yourself if necessary.
Do you often travel with closed snow cover? In this case, it may be advisable to buy studded tires that provide good grip on all surfaces and in all weather conditions.
Batteries in winter – Where should I store the battery?
You can use your e-bike without hesitation, even in very cold weather. While riding, the battery warms up by its own energy and does not cool down. It is beneficial to start with the motor carrier at low temperature to warm up the battery quickly. However, when you arrive at your destination, take the battery into the warm room to avoid severe cooling.
The pedelec must be stored in a dry place during the wet winter months. Preferably in a place that allows air circulation but protects it from rain and snow. This is where you can find a basement or garage.