It wasn’t long ago that some people thought: an e-bike is something for grandmas and grandpas. That’s passé. Apart from the comfortable step-through bikes that led to the image, there has long been hardly any type of bike without a motor. E-city bikes, e-trekking bikes and e-mountain bikes are among the most popular. Who are typical users and why?
E-Bike, Pedelec and S-Pedelec – what is what?
First of all: Whoever says e-bike usually means a pedelec. This is made up of «Pedal Electric Cycle». The normal models, which belong to the bicycles despite the motor, support up to 25 km/h with a maximum 250 watt motor when pedaling.
But there are also faster speedsters, mostly called S-Pedelecs. But they are already mopeds and support up to 45 km/h. According to the General German Bicycle Club (ADFC), among other things, you need an insurance number, at least an AM driver’s license and you have to be at least 16 years old.
According to the ADFC, the third category of e-bikes can be ridden “with the help of the electric drive using a twist grip or switch button, even without pedalling”. They are considered mopeds if they do not exceed a motor power of 500 watts and a maximum speed of 20 km/h.
How long does the motor help – it depends on the battery
The battery range is an important purchase criterion, even before the price, says Merdian Osmanoski, owner of two bicycle shops in Berlin. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to the question of the average battery range.
How far a fully charged battery carries depends on the weight of the rider and the bike. On average, this is 20 to 25 kilograms for an e-bike. Some manufacturers now specify battery ranges of over 100 kilometers. According to the ADFC, such values can only be achieved under “ideal conditions”.
Pensioners on the pedelec – is that really true?
Merdian Osmanoski sees very different groups of buyers in his shops: “We have older customers who are perhaps in their mid to late 50s who buy an e-bike because they want to stay mobile.” The larger radius of action also allows less trained cyclists to go on further tours. Because with the motor assistance and enough remaining battery, you can easily make it home again.
“And then there’s another large group who buy an e-bike because they don’t want to get to the office sweaty,” says Osmanoski. If you want to use a pedelec to get to work, you have obvious advantages compared to a conventional bike: Even if you have to master inclines on the way, you don’t arrive at work exhausted.
And after a perhaps physically strenuous day at work, a battery-assisted drive home is easier and usually faster than using muscle power alone.
If you want to charge the bike at work or on the go, you should make sure when you buy it that the battery can be easily removed and plugged into the socket. Leasing or subscription models for company bikes can also be attractive for working people.
The Pressedienst-Fahrrad (pd-f) cites prices from around 3000 euros as a rule of thumb for a good, solidly equipped pedelec. According to the Association of German Bicycle Traders, an average of 3332 euros was spent on an e-bike in 2021. Ascending trend. In 2019 it was therefore an average of around 3100 euros.
Off into the terrain – with the electric mountain bike
Another group of buyers that dealer Osmanoski counts among his customers is between 30 and 35 years old and wants to stand out from the crowd with their pedelecs.
“They then buy an e-mountain bike, the SUV among e-bikes. It should have the right power and range, »says the bicycle dealer and calls these buyers the «super sporty».
E-mountain bikes are also interesting for daring to tackle new trails that you probably wouldn’t be able to do without battery support.
The pedelec as a pack donkey
There is a comparable consideration for e-cargo bikes, which are being bought more and more. You can also handle heavy loads thanks to the electric drive support. Most create a payload of 70 to 100 kilos – without drudgery.
According to pd-f, e-cargo bikes cost upwards of 5,000 euros. Such a price for a quality bike only pays off if you use the bike almost every day or for work – perhaps as an alternative to driving around town in a van.
E-bikes and health
The sports scientist Hedwig Boeck from the Hannover Medical School published data on the cycling habits of a total of 101 participants in a study in 2020. The use of bicycles and pedelecs was compared in four companies in the Hanover area over a period of 14 days.
Compared to riders of conventional bikes, pedelec users got on their bikes more often. That is, five times a week, whereas those with non-supported bikes only ride their bikes three times a week.
According to Boeck, the World Health Organization recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week to promote good health. “The pedelec riders in our study were above this value. The cyclists below.” (dpa/dm)