Why do most cyclists hate e-bikes

For whom the e-bike is suitable - and for whom not

Comfort is high, as is the speed - just like price and weight: fans and opponents of e-bikes have good arguments for their attitude. t-online.de shows who an e-bike is suitable for.

E-bike owners love the advantages of their electric motor, while others scoff at their weight and unwieldiness. Both sides are right: there are many arguments in favor of buying an e-bike, but there are also arguments in favor of a classic bike.

But for which cyclist is the e-bike a good choice? And who is better at riding a normal bike? Here you will find all the pros and cons.

PRO: For whom the e-bike is suitable

Who can spend enough money

Because a good e-bike is not cheap. You can always come across bargains in hardware stores or elsewhere. But you shouldn't buy them. Independent tests, for example by Stiftung Warentest, have shown time and again that their frames, handlebars and brakes can sometimes not withstand the loads that occur. The service life of the batteries and motors was also disappointing.

You invest at least 2,000 euros in a good model. Otherwise, it won't be fun, but the risk. In addition, e-bikes require more care and repairs can be more expensive.

Buying a used car is not necessarily an alternative: the battery lasts around 500-1,000 charge cycles, then loses its performance. A new battery costs from 500 euros and quickly turns the supposed bargain into an expensive purchase.

Mountain bikes with electric motors: E-bikes that are optimized for very specific purposes have long been available. (Source: jk78 / Getty Images)

Who is not so fit

Those who are no longer as mobile or have less stamina, but do not want to give up cycling, can fall back on the e-bike and do not lose touch.

When buying, you pay particular attention to a suitable frame so that getting on and off does not cause any problems. However, the e-bike is only advisable for older people if you feel confident in handling the technology and the higher speed (see below).

Who can wear

On bike tours there are always obstacles to overcome, such as stairs or sandy areas in the forest, where the bike is best shouldered. This can quickly become very uncomfortable on an e-bike weighing up to 28 kg.

In addition to the weight, many e-bikes have a completely different frame geometry than normal bicycles. This often makes them uncomfortable to wear.

Who drives regularly

The e-bike shows its advantages especially in daily use and on longer tours. The daily commute does not end in a sweat pool, and a trailer for children is also much easier to pull.

If you only want to take a short lap occasionally, you are also in good hands on a conventional bicycle - and save yourself the high additional costs of the electric drive.

Computer on the handlebar: it reveals speed, range and much more. The power of the electric motor can also be adjusted here. (Source: tigerstrawberry / Getty Images)

Who drives in difficult terrain

Are you often out and about in the mountains or with a headwind along the coast? An electric motor offers the ideal relief. Even mountain bikes for professional use, racing bikes and even cargo bikes to transport children or heavy goods are now equipped with a motor.

If the battery is empty, however, and this is the case after an average of 70 km, you will pedal without assistance. Because a full charge can take four hours. Then the full load of the bike has to be moved with the calves alone. However, this does not harm the technology of the bicycle.

Repairs to the e-bike: Owners should be prepared for more effort and higher costs. (Source: tigerstrawberry / Getty Images)

CONTRA: For whom the e-bike is less suitable

Who runs errands

If you enjoy cycling to shop and park your bike in the city center, an expensive e-bike is not a good choice. At least in big cities like Berlin, it just can't be connected securely enough. Professional gangs steal bicycles even in front of passers-by - and of course prefer valuable models.

Who wants to do sports

When tight calves and a firm bottom are required, you will not be spared kicking. The auxiliary motor alleviates the agony, but also the training effect. On the other hand, a trip on an electric bike is better than none at all. It also stimulates the circulation and brings oxygen into the blood.

Removable battery: a helpful detail when the basement or garage does not have a free power connection. (Source: tigerstrawberry / Getty Images)

Who has no possibility of safe accommodation

Park the e-bike in the courtyard? Connect in the communal bike cellar or even on the street? Not a good idea. Because then it is guaranteed to be stolen soon - even the best bicycle lock cannot prevent that. The valuable e-bike needs a safe space - be it your own apartment. But then an elevator is necessary to transport the heavy and bulky bike.

Because e-bikes are also getting lighter and lighter, some models are hardly heavier than a normal bike. However, they cost a fortune. Most models weigh at least 20 kg, and many are even heavier. This can hardly be avoided because the battery and motor are added to the normal weight. In addition, the faster e-bikes, whose motor supports the rider up to 45 km / h, must be more stable than other bicycles.

Ideally, the storage room has a power connection so that you can charge the battery. Otherwise it is important that the battery is removable and not permanently installed in the frame.

The sale of e-bikes has been increasing for years: according to the Zweirad-Industrie-Verband (Ziv), the reasons are the increasingly sophisticated technology, the higher battery capacity and the variety of models. (Source: Statista)

Who doesn't feel safe

The statistics are clear: more and more e-bikers are involved in serious accidents. In the first nine months of 2017, there were almost 4,300 accidents involving personal injury in which an electric bicycle was involved - 28 percent more than in the same period of the previous year.

An extremely large number of senior citizens get caught in these accidents, warns Siegfried Brockmann from the accident research of insurers (UDV). "Thanks to the support of the electric motor, many older people drive much faster than their abilities actually allow," says the accident researcher. This often leads to loss of control and falls.

Older cyclists in particular are best familiarized with the technology and speed of an e-bike very carefully - and then decide honestly whether they feel up to the bike.

Bike tour through the countryside: Especially some older people find it difficult to switch to e-bikes and prefer to stay with their usual bike. (Source: 22kay22 / Getty Images)

Who uses the bike on vacation

The e-bike can also go on a journey - but then the transport is to be planned well. You cannot take it with you on the plane. Most airlines do not take batteries on board as they are classified as dangerous goods. Rail travelers should consider the weight and bulk of the e-bike, especially on stairs in the train station.

Roof racks on the car are anything but advisable. Because of their weight, e-bikes can hardly be lifted onto the roof of a car. Rear carriers, on the other hand, have to be geared towards the high weight, the often stronger frame and also the often greater length of e-bikes. The existing carrier for normal bicycles is often not up to this task.

Who is too young

Children under the age of 14 do not belong on an e-bike, as they cannot yet assess the higher speeds and may lose control of the bike.

The alternative

E-bikes with special technology can cost 4,000 euros or more. If you don't go on extreme tours, you don't have to spend that much money. A relatively inexpensive e-bike - but not a cheap model - fully meets everyday requirements. And if you can't make up your mind, you might still have enough money left over for a cheap, normal bike.

All PROS and KONTRAS at a glance

PRO e-bikeCONTRA E-Bike

Makes longer tours in the
Age possible

Not cheap

Facilitates journeys in
difficult terrain

Heavy and unwieldy to carry
Allows high speedNeeds safe housing
Difficult to take with you on vacation
Not for children

E-bikes, pedelecs and S-pedelecs - the differences

Every bicycle with an electric motor is called an e-bike. And then one differentiates: Can the motor drive the bike on its own? Or does it only support the driver's pedaling movement? In this case, the term pedelec is also used. The abbreviation stands for "Pedal Electric Cycle".

Another special form is the S-Pedelec. Here the engine supports the driver up to a speed of 45. An insurance license plate and a helmet are therefore mandatory. In addition, the S-Pedelec does not belong on the cycle path, but on the road. It also has no place on forest paths and in pedestrian zones that are open to bicycles. With a normal pedelec, the motor only supports the driver up to a speed of 25.

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