In the Alps with an e-bike.

The e-bike check: which bike type are you?


The e-bike check: which bike type are you?

April 9, 2019

With the many different models on the electric bicycle market, it is easy lose track of things. Many technical details are important. These include the position of the electric motor or the battery performance. But the question of which e-bike is the right also depends on the type of person. Discover which bike best suits your needs.

Discover here:

  • What a pedelec is and who rides it best
  • What load can a cargo e-bike relieve you of
  • Whether an e-mountain bike fits your needs
  • Who should switch from pedelec to e-trekking bike

Type 1: On the road with the pedelec on a day-to-day basis.

If you are someone like this, you would like to go shopping by bike or ride your bike to work every day to protect the environment. But you do not want to struggle up the mountain with heavy shopping or arrive in the office covered in sweat. So end up taking your car with a bad conscience. One alternative: the city pedelec.

The pedelec accompanies you through your day
Well travelled: the pedelec is also ideal for exploring other cities.
Cargobike with motor from VW

The pedelec is the perfect choice for the city. The bike supports your pedalling movement up to a maximum of 25 km/h with an engine power of 250 watt hours (Wh) and is legally considered a bicycle. This means that you are allowed to use bicycle paths and do not need a driving licence. This is also the most important difference to all other e-bikes. Because electric bicycles with a self-propelled speed of 6 km/h or higher are considered to be light motorcycles in Germany. An AM class driving licence or higher, liability insurance, a number plate and helmet are compulsory – and bicycle paths are prohibited.

Especially popular for family outings and heavy shopping: the cargo bike. With a cargo bike you can easily transport shopping, children or even dogs – thanks to the electric motor. For the city, select a motor located in the centre of the frame (mid-motor). This is because it is mounted directly above the bottom bracket. This ensures a natural driving experience.

Most pedelecs are charged at a normal power outlet. How far you get with one battery charge varies from person to person. Between 30 and 50 kilometres are possible. The speed, cyclist weight and outside temperature are all influencing factors. As the manufacturers cannot predict these factors, the specified range is always a maximum value. It indicates how far you can travel under ideal conditions. Halve this distance to estimate how far you can travel on average with one battery charge.

Another tip for the city type: if you decide on a city pedelec, it is worth thinking about an automatic gear shift. It automatically selects the right gear without interrupting the pedalling movement - this is a real relief when constantly starting up and braking.

Type 2: Higher, faster, further - thanks to E-mountain bike

E-mountain bikes for off-road use

Do you like to ride on demanding trails or want to do sports? Then an electric mountain bike is perfect for you. It supports you on longer distances or on steeper gradients.

To keep up the fun on rough terrain, you take a close look at the bike before buying it and invest a little more money if you have your doubts. You can recognise a good electric bicycle for off-road use by the fact that the motor and electronics are robust and well protected. This is especially important when riding up hill and down dale to ensure that you and your bike arrive safe and sound.

An e-mountain bike with a rear-mounted motor is sufficient for moderately demanding routes. If you also want to explore particularly winding stretches or steep terrain, the mid-motor offers more safety. The pedalling behaviour is more natural and you do not have to compensate for the additional weight of the battery. This keeps you moving even on challenging terrain. Another advantage in favour of the mid-motor: it is often integrated into the frame. That protects it against damage.

Always remember: only the pedelec version of e-mountain bikes are permitted off-road - i.e. with 25 km/h pedal support.

Trekking e-bike for long tours
Trekking e-Bikes: a second battery in your backpack extends the touring fun.

Type 3: On tour with the trekking e-bike

For the sporty type. Is a holiday not a holiday unless it includes a longer bicycle tour? Do you regularly use the weekends to go exploring by bicycle? The further the destination, the more interesting the journey? Then a trekking e-bike might be the right thing for you.

When buying one, you should pay particular attention to the bike’s durability. This is especially important on long tours to ensure that your bike does not break down. That is why the best e-trekking bikes have an especially sturdy frame, robust hubs and rims. The battery also has to be able to handle the long distances. Bikes with a dual lithium-ion battery can reach up to 1,000 Wh. That is easily enough for 180 kilometres of cycling fun on one ride. The mid-motor is most suitable configuration as a rear engine would prevent luggage from being transported.

Would you like to really put on the speed out on the open road? Many e-bikes are also available as a speed pedelec (S-Pedelec) with a maximum motor support of up to 45 km/h. While less useful in the city or in the mountains, fast cycling on a trekking bike tour is a lot of fun. If you opt for the fast version, equipping it with hydraulic brakes also makes sense as they can easily handle the higher weight and faster speeds.

One thing applies for all models: test drive to your destination

Have you found the perfect bike for you? Then then take your ideal e-bike for a test ride before you take the final step. This gives you a feeling of whether your favourite not only looks good but also fits you perfectly. If the motor also has a safety certificate from the manufacturer, then the road is open for you to jump onto your new electric bike and ride off with confidence.