Bike innovations and e-bike test
In this post we look at 4 bike innovations: E-bike test included
4 innovations that rethink the bicycle: fair, green, techy and connected
Disc brakes, electric shifting groups, hydraulic seatposts, e-bikes and foldable cargo bikes: the bicycle world has seen quite a bit of successful tinkering in recent years. Some of them will do us and the planet good in the long run (hello Schwalbe tire recycling). In today's post, we present four inventions that turn individual components, processes or the bicycle as a whole upside down and make it more sustainable and modern.
1. bicycles made of bamboo
Eye-catcher and fair player: Since 2012, the small German company MyBoo has been producing bicycles, ecologically and socially-sustainably. In contrast to the energy-intensive production of aluminum frames, MyBoo relies on bicycle frames made of bamboo: The natural material is light, stable and grows back quickly. Long transport routes are also eliminated because MyBoo cooperates with the Yonso Project in Ashanti, Ghana, where bamboo bushes are native. The ecological footprint of MyBoo bicycles is thus considerably smaller than that of a regular bicycle manufacturer.
Moreover, in the more than 10 years of cooperation between Yonso Project and MyBoo, a partnership of equals has emerged that promotes the economic independence of the Ashanti region. Over 40 frame builders now assemble the bamboo frames there: At fair wages and under working conditions that comply with human rights. MyBoo reinvests its profits in local education projects in Ghana and, together with Yonso Project, built the Yonso Project Model School, which gives over 1,000 boys and girls from the region access to education.
The management level is made up of more than 50% women, and there are no gender-based gender differences. When it comes to equality, environmental sustainability, and the local promotion of education and development, MyBoo is a great role model for the industry. It is not without reason that the company was nominated for the German Sustainability Award in 2023.
2. air filter in the tire
The next innovation we are presenting is currently still in the development and test phase: bicycle wheels that clean the air while rolling. The tires are designed to use the energy released while riding and the airstream to filter the air in areas polluted by particulate matter and other air pollution. Special devices on the front wheel thus capture fine dust particles and harmful gases such as ozone or nitrogen oxides and expel the clean, filtered air.
The ingenious? The GoRolloe tire needs no electricity, no energy, feeds itself independently like a dynamo light its needed power from the rotation of the tires. Wings on the GoRolloe direct the air from the airstream into the filters, which then emerge cleaned. No noise, no electricity, no extra charge or space required.
Thus, the British innovation of the young industrial designer Kristen Tapping is a promising solution for inner cities polluted by pollutants: She uses the already environmentally friendly transport method bicycle in congested urban areas and actively provides with it for clean air, where it is needed most urgently. The project is supported by the European Union and Innovate UK's Fast Start innovation funding program, among others.
3. augmented reality
Bike shopping from the sofa: Dutch bike manufacturer Van Moof, who gained popularity primarily through the sleek and modern design of their e-bikes and their innovative anti-theft system, runs their business primarily on the web. Despite boutiques in New York, Paris, London and other major cities, Van Moof sells 80% of its fashionable bikes online: What this does away with is the close inspection of the bike from all angles, the detailed check of all components and test rides; what it does do away with is a lot of returns.
The extra postal journey involved in returns emits kilograms of CO2 per parcel, emissions that could be avoided if online purchasing decisions could be made more consciously and on the basis of more accurate information. The transport of large and bulky objects, such as bicycles, is particularly harmful to the climate. Van Moof has set itself the goal of fewer exchanges and returns, lower CO2 emissions and a more informative buying experience, and has integrated an augmented reality feature into its online store.
At the touch of a button, you can now examine Van Moof's wheels through your own cell phone camera: In amazing authenticity. The smallest detail of the bicycles is depicted realistically in 3D. The potential buyer can feel the tread of the tires, the individual joints of the spokes are just as visible as the Van Moof engraving on the handlebars, the LEDs of the rear light, the screws on the brakes and the spindles of the pedals. You can walk around the bike, approach it, get very close to individual components with the camera - the only thing you can't do is touch it or ride it.
Van Moof makes great e-bikes: but if you're wondering if an e-bike is worth it for you, and if so which one, take a look at this article!
E-bike test: which e-bike suits you and why you will love it
More sustainable, healthier for the body and faster from A to B, at least in the city - these are the advantages of an e-bike over a car. The e-bike also has some advantages over the conventional bicycle. Thanks to the support of the electric motor, you sweat less when climbing hills, get to work faster and are supported when your own muscle power is not enough for some distances. There are many reasons to buy an e-bike. Yet the bikes with electric drive have only been really popular for a few years. Accordingly, there are many unanswered questions and misunderstandings about e-bikes. Here you will find advice on the most important questions about e-bikes. We also show you the best models.
What is an e-bike?
An e-bike is a bicycle with an electric motor. But not all e-bikes are the same. Because what we colloquially call an e-bike is actually a pedelec. A real e-bike also rides without pedal assistance. If it travels 25 km/h without the additional movement of the pedals, it counts as a moped and requires an operating license as well as an insurance license plate and a class AM driver's license. Here, helmets are compulsory. E-bikes that only travel up to 20 km/h without pedal assistance are not legally required to wear a helmet and are considered light mopeds.
Depending on the motor position, e-bikes have front-wheel or rear-wheel drive. For example, there are hub motors or mid-mounted motors. Powerful motors are available from manufacturers such as Bosch, Yamaha, Shimano and many more. E-bikes have rim brakes or disc brakes. A popular brake manufacturer is again Shimano, many bike manufacturers source their components from there. For the sake of simplicity, however, you will always read about e-bikes in this text, even when it comes to pedelecs. If there is talk of mopeds or light mopeds, you will be able to read it out explicitly. The distinction between e-bike and pedelec is therefore only made for the sake of completeness.
What is a pedelec?
Pedelec is short for Pedal Electric Cycle. Pedelec, also called electric bicycle or electric bike, is what is popularly known as e-bike. They have pedal assistance from the electric motor, while there are different levels of assistance. They have up to 250 watts and motor assistance up to 25 km/h. Legally, they are considered a bicycle. Neither an operating license nor an insurance license plate is required. Neither are helmets compulsory, nor is insurance compulsory.
The derailleur or hub gears are often used on pedelecs. The advantage of derailleur gears is the openly accessible mechanics, so maintenance work can be performed quickly. In addition, the derailleur has low weight. The hub gears, on the other hand, is very low maintenance, because the circuit is well protected. It is therefore very reliable. Pedelecs usually have a total weight of around 23 kg.
There are also so-called S-pedelecs, i.e. high-speed pedelecs. They have a pedal assistance of up to 45 km/h and are therefore considered mopeds. You therefore need an operating license and an insurance license plate. You also need a class AM driver's license and helmets are compulsory. Visually, the only difference between pedelecs and S-pedelecs is the license plate holder, which is present on the S-pedelec.
Why do I need an e-bike?
An e-bike is worthwhile for a number of reasons. For example, it is easier to transport things on a bicycle with an electric motor. However, you have to be careful, because unlike pedelecs, trailers for loads or children are not allowed on e-bikes. For this purpose, there are so-called cargo bikes. These are cargo bikes that are supported by an electric motor. So if you regularly have a lot to transport, it's worth buying a cargo bike. If you like to cycle to work and don't want to arrive too sweaty, then an e-bike is worthwhile. Especially if there are a lot of inclines or headwinds. Long distances, for example to work, on vacation or on longer day trips can be covered better.
Of course, an e-bike also makes sense if you are not physically fit enough or can no longer manage some things in old age. The e-bike takes you to places that you might not be able to get to with your own physical strength. The sustainability character of the e-bike is not to be neglected. If you want to see the e-bike for yourself, you should take a test ride. Most bike stores have e-bikes that they lend out or that you can take for a spin. A test ride is also worthwhile to get a feel for the handling and driving characteristics of an e-bike before deciding to buy one.
Everything important about the e-bike battery
A good e-bike needs a good lithium-ion battery, because if it does not work, the bike is almost worthless. So when buying should pay special attention to the battery. There are some functions that can be very useful. These include the starting and pushing assistance. More precisely, this is a motor support without having to operate the pedals. Up to six km/h, the motor thus supports the driver when pushing uphill or at traffic lights. Batteries can have deep discharge and overcharge protection.
It is worthwhile to use a battery from a reputable manufacturer. This increases the likelihood that there will still be a suitable replacement battery for the bike in a few years. The average life of an e-bike battery is five years, after which they usually need to be replaced. Various factors influence the service life of a battery. One of these is usage. More precisely, this means the number of full charge cycles. The charging time varies depending on the manufacturer.
At the same time, a battery permanently loses capacity even when it is not used. Therefore, you can save yourself the trouble of buying a replacement battery in stock. Depending on the manufacturer and model, batteries can experience 500 to 1000 full charge cycles. Most e-bikes have between 400 and 750 watt-hours, so one charge is enough for 50 to 120 km, depending on the manufacturer. Incorrect handling can greatly shorten battery life. Here are a few tips on how to make the battery last long:
- TemperatureIf possible, the battery should not be exposed to intense heat, so it is worthwhile to park the e-bike in the shade in summer. The battery capacity is also reduced by the sub-zero temperatures in winter.
- Charging: Using the supplied charger, charging at an appropriate temperature and partial charges have a positive effect on the battery life.
- Storage: Storage should also be neither too hot nor too cold, and the battery should also be stored in a dry place, for example, not in a damp cellar.
What are the types of e-bikes?
Just as there are different types of bikes, there are also different types of e-bikes. So before buying an e-bike, you should think about what you will mainly use the bike for. Basically, there is a distinction between e-bike, pedelec and S-pedelec. Then there are some pedelec models that are adapted to different needs. Mountain bikes with electric motor are designed for off-road use.
If you want to use your e-bike a lot in the mountains or in the forest, an e-mountain bike is worthwhile. With an e-fully, i.e. a bike with several suspension elements, you can quickly ride up the mountain thanks to the motor and then ride down the trails. This saves you the shuttle service to the trail start, moreover, conventional fullys weigh a lot and are thus laborious to bring uphill. For rooty trails and slight unevenness on the ridden surfaces, an e-hardtail that only has a suspension fork as a suspension element is sufficient.
E-city bikes are designed so that you can cover short distances in the city well. Here you have a more upright riding position. So if you want to get to work, the gym or shopping without a car, an e-city bike is worthwhile. Shopping or sportswear can be transported on the luggage rack, and city e-bikes also have a low step-in.
An e-trekking bike is designed for longer tours on asphalt and forest or dirt roads. E-trekking bikes are particularly suitable for bicycle tours or for bikepacking. Cargo bikes are cargo bikes with an electric motor. If you have to transport a lot on a regular basis, the cargo bike could be an alternative to a car. This is because trailers are not allowed to be attached to e-bikes.
Of course, you can also buy a road bike with an electric motor or an e-folding bike. The folding or folding bike as an e-bike is particularly practical for commuters. Almost every type of bicycle is now built and sold with an electric motor. A new type of bike is the so-called SUV e-bike. This is a kind of all-rounder with exclusive equipment.
Before buying, it is important to realistically consider where you will be riding the bike the most. If you want to try out a bike park in the future, but mainly ride your bike to work, an expensive e-fully won't be worth it.
Does an e-bike have to be registered with the authorities?
The question of a traffic permit cannot be answered in a blanket manner. Pedelecs with a motor power of up to 250 watts do not require a license plate and insurance. S-pedelecs with higher speeds and up to 4000 watts require a license plate and insurance. By the way, you are not allowed to ride them on the bike path.
E-bikes up to 500 watts are considered light mopeds and are also subject to license plate and insurance requirements. They are allowed on bike paths if the addition "Mofa frei" is marked by a road sign. E-bikes up to 1000 watts are considered mopeds and are subject to license plate and insurance requirements. They are also allowed on bike paths if the addition "Mofa frei" is marked by a road sign. An e-bike up to 4000 watts is considered a moped. License plates and insurance are mandatory. They are not permitted on cycle paths.
Why do different rules apply to e-bikes than to bicycles?
Depending on how many watts an e-bike or pedelec has, they are legally considered bicycles, light mopeds, mopeds or mopeds. This means that the traffic regulations also change.
There is no legal helmet requirement for pedelecs and e-bikes up to 500 watts. For S-pedelecs and e-bikes over 500 watts, however, there is.
With the pedelec you do not need a driver's license. The S-pedelec may be driven with a class AM driver's license and from the age of 16. The e-bike up to 1000 watts may be ridden from 15 years with moped driving license. The e-bike up to 4000 watts may be ridden from 16 years with driving license class AM.
License plate and compulsory insurance
Apart from the pedelec, all other variants, i.e. S-pedelec, and all e-bikes over 250 watts require a license plate and are subject to insurance.
Driving on the bike path
Only pedelecs may be ridden on the bike path without hesitation. E-bikes up to 1000 watts may be ridden on the cycle path if a sign with "Mofas frei" (mopeds free) permits this. E-bikes up to 4000 watts and S-pedelecs are not allowed to ride on the bike path at all.
Is an e-bike sustainable?
Electric bikes are an excellent alternative to the car. According to the Federal Environment Agency, half of all car trips in Germany are shorter than five kilometers. A distance that can also be covered quickly by bike. E-bikes are more climate-friendly. For a distance of 100 km, an e-bike produces only 0.6 kg of CO2. A car emits 21 kg of CO2 over the same distance.
In addition, riding an e-bike is cheaper, because e-bikes cost an average of €0.30 per 100 km to run. For the same distance, you have to spend an average of €10.50 with a car. Many people are not aware that bicycles are considered the fastest means of transport up to a distance of 5 km, at least in city traffic. The whole thing expands to 10 km if you include a long search for a parking space for the car.
And you're also doing your own health a favor; of course, the fresh air and exercise are better for your body than constantly driving a car while sitting down. By the way, riding an e-bike becomes even more environmentally friendly when it is charged with green electricity. There are also motor systems that recover kinetic energy during braking and store it in the battery. This increases efficiency and also helps to avoid even more CO2 emissions. The emissions for manufacturing and disposing of e-bike batteries are of little consequence. According to the German Federal Environment Agency, emissions are already offset after riding 100 km on an e-bike instead of taking the car. So the e-bike performs very well. Of course, normal bikes without motors are even more efficient and environmentally friendly.
Which e-bike is recommended?
The ADAC and Stiftung Warentest regularly publish test reports on e-bike models. It is always noticeable that there are major differences between the e-bikes available on the market. Battery, gears and brakes are not convincing in all models. That's why we're presenting you with some e-bike models that have stood the test of time. Our test winners according to the most important categories:
Cube Reaction Hybrid: The Cube Reaction Hybrid series convinces. These are e-hardtails. The motors are sourced from Bosch. The manufacturer KTM also produces excellent E-MTBs.
Kalkhoff Image 3.B: The manufacturer Kalkhoff launches modern city e-bikes on the market with the Image 3.B series. Kalkhoff sources the mid-mounted motor from Bosch. City e-bikes offer riding comfort on short distances, while a trekking e-bike offers a better riding experience on long bike tours.
Haibike Trekking: From Haibike there is the Trekking series, here the engines are sourced from Yamaha.
The most popular e-load bikes are manufactured by Babboe. Babboe also sources the motors from Yamaha.
You want a new e-bike that has a good price-performance ratio? Then take a look at buycycle, where you'll find thousands of used bikes in good condition. Here you can also find high-quality e-bikes from attractive price ranges.
4. smart pedelecs
The Munich-based company mocci wants to revolutionize not so much the bicycle, but more the entire urban logistics and has created a completely new type of bicycle for this purpose: The Smart Pedelec Vehicle (SPV). With it, trucks and other commercial vehicles are to disappear from cities, because whether transport, delivery or shared mobility: all these areas are to be covered by mocci SPVs. In addition, the manufacturer advertises its vision of a "connected city," for which it supplies the perfect vehicles.
What makes mocci bikes special is that they are not only fully customizable to their customer:inside needs (extra trailers or special cargo carriers for different cargo volumes, corporate branding or lighter models for commuter:inside vehicle fleets), but also made of 95% recyclable materials. During production, hardly any waste is generated and significant CO2 emissions are saved in the manufacture of the frames, also because costly and more environmentally harmful steps such as welding and painting can be dispensed with: Namely, the frames of mocci bikes are made of heavy-duty plastic, instead of aluminum.
With its fleets, mocci offers modern mobility solutions, mainly for the commercial sector, but also for commuters and bike-sharing projects.
If you want to contribute to the mobility revolution, take a look at the more than 8,000 bikes we offer at buycycle: Maybe your next urban traffic hero is among them, or maybe your new buddy for off-road tours or endless tarmac erpentines... If you have any questions or need help, our support team is here to help you. Until then, we wish you, as always: Happy browsing, happy cycling!