E-bike usage worldwide has experienced rapid growth since 1998. In 2016 there were 210 million electric bikes worldwide used daily. It is estimated that there were roughly 120 million e-bikes in China in early 2010, and sales are expanding rapidly in India, the United States of America, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. A total of 700,000 e-bikes were sold in Europe in 2010, up from 200,000 in 2007 and 500,000 units in 2009.
The environmental credentials of e-bikes, and electric / human powered hybrids generally, have led some municipal authorities to use them, such as Little Rock, Arkansas with their Wavecrest electric power-assisted bicycles or Cloverdale, California police with Zap e-bikes. China’s e-bike manufacturers, such as Xinri, are now partnering with universities in a bid to improve their technology in line with international environmental standards, backed by the Chinese government who is keen to improve the export potential of the Chinese manufactured e-bikes.
Bicycles featuring pedal power were developed during the subsequent decades of the 19th century, with the most emblematic example being the bicycle we know today as the Penny-Farthing. The bike was named based on the substantial difference in its wheel size resembling the larger and smaller Penny and Farthing coins, respectively. These bicycles were wildly popular among the well heeled upper classes of Europe and America despite their penchant for launching riders head first over the large wheel, not to mention their relative difficulty to mount and dismount.
The downside to this mountain-bike build and specification is obviously the weight, at 24.5kg the Trekking feels heavier than the other bikes on test, and rightly bills itself as suitable for heavier riders, too. As with the other bikes here, this is only really a problem for smaller riders, or riders needing to take the bike up or down steps regularly. With its bomb-proof build, full guards and heavy-duty rack, the Haibike is the perfect choice for a burly rider or for doomsday preppers, ready to out ride the apocalypse.
You should be extra aware about your local regulations as in many countries an L1e-A certified bike needs to be registered and insured (be sure to consult your local laws and rules) and with registration comes the security that the bike can be tracked if it is stolen or misplaced. This approval that we have received is European Union wide and even those countries that are not part of the EU but rather EEA do adopt similar regulations in order to keep the market common but you will need to consult with your authorities. We will detail more about the registration process in an upcoming blog post but if you have any questions you can email us and we will respond in kind.
Designed for riding around town, this pedal-assist bike has four levels of electric assistance – Eco, Tour, Sport and Turbo – and a maximum assisted speed of 20 miles per hour. This is a well designed and engineered bike, with Shimano Nexus components and a Bosch Performance electric-assist mid-drive system. Front and rear lights are included, and you can even use the battery to charge your smartphone. The integrated ring-lock will help deter would-be thieves, but it’s always best to back this up with a dedicated bike lock.
All Kalkhoff bikes come with lots of extras: hub or motor powered front and rear lights, bells, fenders, chain guards and racks. Some include a built-in quick-lock or a rack-mounted pump. There are a number of features available for the discerning cyclist, whether it's the Magura hydraulic brakes, the B&M super-bright hub-powered headlight, the top-of-the-line Shimano internal hub or derailleurs or the three-layer powder-coated paint process.
After you decide which style of e-bike you want, consider the class. In the US, there are three classes defined by the type of assist and how fast the motor will propel you. Most electric bikes sold are class 1 or 3. Class 1 bikes have a motor (max 750w) that assists while you're pedaling, up to 20 mph. Class 3, also known as “speed pedelec” can also have up to a 750w motor, but it can assist you up to 28mph. Both of those are allowed in most states and cities without license. Class 2 have throttles that don't require you to pedal to get a boost. They're allowed on most streets, bike lanes, and paths, but less popular than the other classes and not covered much here (because we still love to pedal and the greater distances pedal assist bikes can cover).