E-bikes or pedelecs are popular, the number of models and price ranges huge. But in every price range there are good and bad bikes with electric drive. We will show you what to look out for when buying an e-bike.
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The desired purpose
At the beginning you should first ask yourself what you actually want to use the e-bike you want to buy. Commuters who want to travel part of the route by train, for example, should pay attention to a light weight of less than 20 kilograms and consider a folding e-bike.
If you want to replace your car with the pedelec, you can’t avoid a lot of storage space and should find it on cargo bikes. But also a strong motor in combination with a trailer can be the solution here. If you like it particularly fast: There are also racing bikes with motor or the S-Pedelec with motors over 250 watts, which can reach up to 45 km/h, but have to be insured similarly to a moped.
Central question when buying an e-bike: Where does the engine sit? In principle, there are three alternatives: in the nabe of the front wheel, in the rear wheel or in the middle at the bottom bracket. The three solutions have different advantages and disadvantages:
- Engine in the front wheel: Least effort in assembly and removal, cheap solution. This is due to unfavourable centre of gravity, lower efficiency when driving uphill and driving dynamics that need getting used to.
- Mid motor: Low center of gravity, stable reception directly on the frame. For this, higher chain wear and indirect power transmission. The frame must be specially designed for such a mid-engine, subsequent modifications are hardly possible.
- Engine in the rear wheel: Direct power transmission on the drive wheel, good compromise on the centre of gravity. High maintenance and assembly and removal.
None of the three options is inherently bad and impossible. However, test driving is recommended here in view of the different driving behaviour.
Most e-bikes also have and need a gear shift, on the one hand to drive faster than the 25 km/h that the engine is allowed to support, and on the other hand to be able to pedal comfortably in all positions. As with bicycles, there are two main types: Hub and chain circuitExotics among the e-bikes come with expensive planetary gearboxes.
Generally speaking, if you drive mainly in the city or in the flat country, you can easily get by with a seven-speed gearbox, especially with a pedelec, but also with a normal bike without an engine. Those who often drive in hilly terrain should have more gears available. A chain circuit is robust and proven, but requires more maintenance than a hub gear. However, it also tolerates higher forces, not unimportant with an e-bike.
While the battery of an e-bike is not so easy to compare with the pure capacity – for this it depends too much on the type of bike – this still applies to the installation, because here the e-bike world is divided into two bearings: fixed battery or replaceable.
Fixed batteries are often more elegant, especially when they are in the frame. Then the pedelec is hardly distinguishable from a normal bike. But this also means that where the bike is normally parked, there must be a way to recharge, because simply taking the battery into the apartment and hanging it to the socket is difficult. If you park your bike in your own garage, you have no problem at this point, it is more difficult in the city.
Replaceable batteries have more flexibility at this point. As a rule, they are completed with a key and are thus safely stored on the frame. If you want to travel particularly long distances, you can even get a second battery and get twice as far as with one. More practical are therefore interchangeable batteries, but more chic but most firmly installed – your decision.
The question of the Battery capacity can’t necessarily be answered in general, but in general, of course, more and better is better here. The capacity is expressed in watt-hours (Wh) and is calculated from the electrical voltage (V) and the charge (Ah). The maximum voltage is quite different: Light city bikes such as the Sushi Bike often have a 24 volt battery, while cargo bikes and heavy e-bikes such as the Uni MK have batteries with 48 volts. Small calculation example: The Suhsi Bike achieves a capacity of 125Wh with 24 V and 5.2 Ah, the Uni MK with 48 V and the largest battery with 20.4 Ah reaches 979 Wh.
Direct conclusions about the range in practice cannot be drawn from this information, too many variables play into it, such as the weight of the wheel and the driver, speed, course, inclines and temperature.
Engine, engine: An e-bike is still a bicycle, and that’s why you should pay attention to the other components, such as the brake system, brake lever, gear shift and lighting, the latter of which is usually integrated with pedelecs – electricity is always there. Special attention is paid to the brakes of an e-bike, because it has to do more than with the normal bike – you are often faster and the bike is heavier. Disc brakes should therefore be.
By far the most well-known and widespread manufacturer of brakes, circuits and other bicycle components is Shimano. The different series in qualitatively and price-descending order are listed here. Avid/SRAM and Magura are also recommended for brakes
What should an e-bike cost?
The question of the price that an e-bike or pedelec can cost answers your budget. Sure, there are e-bikes in the DIY store or at the discounter for a few hundred euros, but there are also noble parts for 5,000 euros and more. How much can an e-bike cost?
In general, offers of less than 1,000 euros should be viewed critically. An e-bike has more components than a bike without an engine, must also be more stable and brake better. That costs. At the same time, the increasing number of models and manufacturers as well as the prevalence of peu peu make e-bikes cheaper. As a rule of thumb at present can apply: A good, cheap e-bike costs from 1,000 euros, higher-quality models of the middle class are available from 2,000 euros, really good or very special e-bikes, such as mountain bikes or cargo bikes, can also cost 3,000 euros or more. Tip: Now, when the cycling season starts so slowly, you can make good bargains, even with models from the previous year. Keep an eye on the offers!
Do you have any further tips on how to find the perfect e-bike? Then just put it in the comments!