Anyone considering their own mobility solution today may first land on the subject of e-bikes. Electric bikes have come a long way from their original prejudice as bicycles for spry pensioners. More and more people are using e-bikes as a cost-effective and more sustainable alternative for their own commute. Thanks to the respectable ranges and different strengths of assistance when riding that most e-bikes offer, even longer journeys to work are no problem. In addition, e-bike leasing for private individuals has become just as fashionable as company bike leasing via the employer. No wonder, then, that e-bikes have become the industry's biggest success story in recent years. According to the German Bicycle Industry Association, bicycle dealers in Germany enjoyed a 17 % increase in sales last year alone.
If you are interested now but still have some questions, we will try to answer some of them today. We talked to bike expert Jan Schneidewind from Little John Bikesone of the largest bicycle dealers in central Germany, and found out what you should look out for in an electric bike and what is really important
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What are the advantages of an e-bike?
To begin with, there is certainly the great advantage for one's own health. Just because an e-bike is supported by a motor does not mean that you no longer have to pedal. In fact, according to our expert, you ride longer and further and thus exert a greater stimulus on the heart and circulatory system through the longer duration of exertion. In addition, the electric bike allows you to react much more flexibly to the traffic situation. Depending on the local conditions, you can easily avoid rush hour traffic and save yourself some stress. Regardless of whether you are riding along country lanes in a more rural area or using the cycling infrastructure in a city, there is plenty of riding fun to be had. Of course, the e-bike does not have to be used exclusively for commuting to work. Going for a long bike ride in your free time can be really relaxing with an electric bike. The facilitated riding fun factor has thus spawned many fans.
E-bike, pedelec, electric bike, S-pedelec? Which now?
At first glance, the many different designations seem very complicated, but they are actually not. E-bike, pedelec and electric bike are different names for the same vehicle. It assists the rider with up to 250 watts and locks up at 25 km/h. According to the StVZO, it is therefore considered a bicycle, and you do not need a driving licence or insurance to ride it. With an S-pedelec, things are different. S stands for speed and the name says it all. Such a bike has an output of up to 500 watts and enables speeds of well over 40 km/h! However, this means that it is subject to insurance and requires a corresponding driving licence. Furthermore, the use of cycle paths is prohibited and helmets are compulsory.
What do I have to look out for in an e-bike?
Basically, there is now a suitable e-bike for every taste and every purpose. The most important criterion is first and foremost your own usage habits. The perfect electric bike for you is then derived from these. What e-bike costs should you expect? According to our expert, the price range goes from about 2,000 euros to 6,000 euros. However, it is open towards the top due to possible special requests. Even at the lower end of this price range, you can find great devices that are a lot of fun. But how do the individual models differ?
In addition to the power, the motor is mainly distinguished by the position on the wheel at which it acts: Front hub drive, mid-mounted motor and rear hub motor.
The front hub drive takes a lot of getting used to because the power is on the front wheel. The handling is therefore very different from that of a non-electric bicycle. Due to the often lower power, this type of drive is more suitable for short distances on flat terrain and city traffic. The front hub drive is mostly found in the lower price segment or on retrofitted bicycles.
The complete opposite is the rear hub motor. Due to the greater weight and the power on the rear wheel, it provides a lot of grip on climbs and a very sporty riding experience. This is still very different from the riding experience of a non-electric bike, but there are still some enthusiasts who appreciate the rear hub motor, especially on mountain bikes on hilly trails. However, it is also not to be sneezed at in the city.
The mid-mounted motor is the very popular all-rounder. Due to the positioning in the middle of the wheel and the low centre of gravity, the handling is closest to that of a non-electric bike. This type of motor is also recommended for any terrain and therefore always worth a test ride.
The different batteries differ mainly in their capacity, which in turn affects the range, and their positioning on the e-bike. In addition, not all batteries can be easily removed from the electric bike, which makes it difficult to replace them later or to take them home. In most cases, the batteries are integrated on the luggage rack, on the frame or in the frame. You should find out which positioning suits you best by taking a test ride, as the positioning can affect the riding characteristics. A large battery is not always better. It costs more and weighs more. Here, too, it is more important to understand your own intended use and choose the right battery.
In principle, a battery like this can last for about 1,000 charging cycles if handled properly. This corresponds to a range of approx. 30,000 km, which must first be driven. Proper handling ideally includes dry storage at temperatures between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius. An e-bike battery loses about 3 % of its capacity per year.
E-bike leasing for private individuals
There are some advantages that speak in favour of e-bike leasing for private individuals. Not everyone has the 2,000+ euros at their disposal that a new e-bike costs. The individual conditions are very different. After the leasing period, you can usually decide for yourself whether you want to buy the e-bike for the remaining price or return it to the dealer. Providers offer e-bike leasing for private individuals, for example, where the conditions are negotiated individually. Leasing also gives you flexibility and allows you to get a new e-bike at regular intervals, keeping you up to date with the latest technology. Furthermore, maintenance is usually included in the leasing contract and you do not have to take care of it additionally. According to our experts, the maintenance of an e-bike costs about 150-200 euros per year, a cost factor that should not be underestimated. If you are self-employed or freelance, you can also claim tax benefits. If you plan to purchase the electric bike at the end of the leasing contract anyway, the advantages compared to a conventional instalment payment are limited. Finding a suitable provider for e-bike leasing for private individuals is much more complicated than for company bike leasing. The latter is now a standard product, the variant for private individuals rather a niche.
Even more widespread than e-bike leasing for private individuals is e-bike leasing via the employer, the so-called company bike. Here, the leasing instalment can be paid from your gross salary, saving you money. In addition, many employers offer a subsidy. Some providers are, for example, Little John Bikes, Jobrad or Mein Dienstrad.
For more information on the topic of company bicycles from an employee and employer perspective, we recommend our article "How the company bike can get your company going!
This is also how you get an e-bike
The popularity of e-bikes leads to a tense situation comparable to the e-car market. Many people want an e-bike, but sometimes there simply aren't any left at the right price. We show you what options you have if you don't find one right away.
A place to go that should not be underestimated: the local bike shop
Bicycle shops can be found in almost every town, so a visit is worthwhile. Most of them nowadays offer e-bikes in addition to the classic non-electric bikes. Bike shops, such as Little John Bikes, of course, also offer individual advice and the opportunity to test ride. Here you can sometimes also find local bargains that cannot be found on the internet at all. In case of a defect or problems with the e-bike, you also have a contact person on site.
E-bike rental - The stress test
If you are interested but still a little undecided, an e-bike rental is a good idea. Depending on the rental or subscription model, you can test the benefits of an electric bike. This way you can find out directly in a test over a longer period of time whether the mobility solution is something for your everyday life. Of course, this option is also perfect if you only want to go on an e-bike tour in your free time during the summer without having to pay the full price, which can be quite high.
Eyes open: E-bike leasing returns
Bargain hunters in particular should keep their eyes open for e-bike leasing returns. Due to the maintenance and service included in the leasing contract, these are often in very good condition and are also frequently overhauled. Because the term of a leasing contract is not particularly long, you can also get a reasonably up-to-date model at a reduced price. Unfortunately, the returns are in great demand and quickly disappear from the market, so all you can do is stay alert and keep an eye on the market!
Pedelecs and e-bike leasing - A real mobility alternative
E-mobility doesn't just start with four wheels. The triumph of e-bikes can no longer be stopped. More and more people are getting a taste for them and using them to make their own commute healthier, more flexible and more sustainable. There are a few things to think about before buying or leasing, but according to our expert Jan Schneidewind, the most important thing is always your own use. E-bike leasing for private individuals has some advantages, but it is always more financially rewarding to lease an e-bike through your employer. Alternatively, there are still some options such as e-bike rental or the purchase of e-bike leasing returns that should be considered.
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