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Electric City Bikes – Important Facts and Buying Tips for Your E-Bike

A good one in four bikes sold is now an electric bike – and the trend is on the up. Especially in big cities, e-bikes make up an increasingly large proportion of bicycle sales. The advantages of e-bikes over conventional bicycles are obvious: they are relatively fast, save time in rush-hour traffic and ensure more sustainability compared to a car. On this page we have compiled everything you need to know about electric city bikes – to make your search for your dream e-bike here on BIKE24 even easier. Read more

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City E-Bikes – A Rapidly Growing Trend

4.6 million e-bikes – that's how many electric bikes were sold across Europe in 2020 alone, according to research by the trade body umbrella CONEBI. It is an enormous number that already shows very clearly how popular electric bikes have become. 27% of Europeans say they are now more likely to use or buy an e-bike than they were before the pandemic, and two fifths (39%) say they would use one to avoid public transport. This development is by no means surprising given lifestyle changes during the pandemic as well as society’s growing concerns about the environmental impact of car transport. E-bikes sales have grown steadily over the past 10 years in Europe, with 3 million e-bikes sold in 2019. Sales then increased by a staggering 52%, leaping to a value of €10.6 billion in 2020. Electric bike sales now represent 17% of all complete bicycle sales made in the EU – and that share is expected to continue to rise in the coming years.

E-bikes for the city are a particular focus of this growth. According to a study by Shimano, city ebikes are the most popular option for Europeans, with one in four saying they would choose a city ebike when buying a pedal-assist bicycle. This makes urban e-bikes the third biggest category in the electric bike sector after electric touring bikes and electric mountain bikes. The demand is rising as awareness of sustainability issues grows. Urban mobility is increasingly encouraged in many cities, and the e-bike often turns out to be the best alternative to the car in the city. Incidentally, this is true not only because of its significantly lower carbon emissions, but also because of the health benefits of pedalling out in the fresh air. Several studies have also shown that the e-bike can even be faster than the car or public transport in the city over distances of up to ten kilometres.

What Exactly Are City Electric Bikes? And What Advantages Do They Offer?

As their name suggests, city e-bikes are bicycles equipped with an electric motor. Depending on the model variant, they offer pedalling assistance of up to 25 kilometres per hour (pedelec) or up to 45 kilometres per hour (S-pedelec). The advantages are obvious: the motor support makes starting up after a stop – for example after red lights – a breeze. In addition, the propulsive power of a city e-bike lets you pedal in a relaxed manner, regardless of your age and fitness level, even through hilly cities, and cover longer distances without exertion. This can be a big plus in many cases: thanks to its drive, the e-bike suddenly becomes an appealing transport alternative on inner-city routes. The daily commute in particular can be made more relaxing with a city e-bike, because an urban pedelec makes annoying traffic jams a thing of the past. What's more, you arrive at the office without stress or sweating. And the robust and versatile electric bikes also let you transport your shopping – after all, many models have sturdy pannier racks. Last but not least, the city e-bike becomes a practical piece of sports equipment which allows you to conquer tours across the countryside much more easily as well.

In order to be suited for use in an urban environment, city e-bikes are in principle rather robust and versatile. This means that they have a sturdy yet at the same time comfortable frame. Puncture-proof tires and a pannier rack also often come fitted as standard. Their suitability for use in road traffic is also unmistakable. Road safety requirements generally stipulate that bikes should be equipped with at least one red rear light and one white headlight. Reflectors as well as side and pedal lights are also recommended. This is exactly what most urban ebikes offer. In particular, the lights, which in high-quality models are powered by the e-bike's own battery, are a classic feature of today's city e-bikes. At BIKE24, you will of course only find urban e bikes with lighting systems, which in the majority of our high-quality models are powered by the e-bike's own battery. What’s more, city electric bicycles are considered bicycles by law. This means that you can take your urban e-bike on cycle paths, cycle lanes and pedestrian zones open to cyclists just as you can with a normal bicycle.

The City E-Bike a Short Recap

  • City e-bikes are e-bikes for riding in the city.
  • They have road-compliant equipment in terms of lights, etc.
  • Many models have a pannier rack and are therefore a practical choice for shopping.
  • City pedelecs usually have a comfortable geometry and so allow a very upright sitting position.
  • Their components are designed for the daily commute on the road.
  • The tires usually have a negative tread to roll more easily on asphalt.

Which Electric City Bike Is Right for Me?

Not all city electric bikes are the same. As with any bicycle segment, there are specific subcategories in the urban segment that are tailored to specific uses. In the following, we present the most important distinctions between city e-bikes:

Classic City E-Bike

The classic city e-bike is perfectly adapted for use in the city. In contrast to the trekking e-bike, which is aimed at sporty touring riders, it is fundamentally designed to be more comfortable and safely roadworthy. Incidentally, the provision of comfort is not only evident in its components such as a wider saddle, but also in its geometry. On city e-bikes, this is usually designed in such a way that you enjoy a very upright seating position. City e-bikes therefore appeal to anyone who is looking for a pedal-assist bike to use in the city.

Urban Electric Bikes

Electric urban bikes are a particularly stylish variant of city e-bikes. These bikes focus on attractive design. Their components are often beautifully integrated. In the case of particularly high-quality models, this is now so well done that there is hardly any visual difference between them and a standard bicycle with no battery. Urban e-bikes can also come without a pannier rack, as the focus here is on fast and at the same time stylish riding in the city. These crosscity e-bikes are aimed more at younger target groups or riders who place a lot of value on design. Versatility is not the main focus here.

Step-Through Electric City Bike

Another variant of the classic city e-bike is the step-through city e-bike. As the name suggests, these electric bikes offer a low step-through frame, which noticeably increases comfort. This is made possible by the special frame design, which forgoes the top tube entirely. One advantage of this design, besides the high level of comfort, is the fact that you can immediately put both feet on the ground in a dangerous traffic situation. Step-through e-bikes are popular with people who want to enjoy maximum comfort.

Electric Cargo Bikes

A city cargo bike is the ideal choice if you have to transport a lot of luggage. Whether it's for shopping or the kids – if you ride a cargo bike with an electric motor, you can really get around town effortlessly. Unlike the classic city e-bike, a cargo bike has a large basket or trailer in which you can store everything you need. Since city cargo bikes are usually somewhat heavier, they are not suitable for longer tours. Another disadvantage is that you usually cannot park a city cargo bike in a standard bicycle parking facility. After all, these are mostly designed for standard bicycles.

City Speed Pedelecs

The city speed pedelec is a subcategory of the city e-bike. This is an e-bike where the drive provides assistance up to a speed of 45 km/h. An S-pedelec helps you cycle particularly fast – it’s not for nothing that the S stands for speed. Caution: Special regulations apply to S-pedelecs. For example, to ride an S-pedelec you need, among other things, a licence to ride a moped. The bike needs to be registered, taxed and insured and you have to wear a motorbike helmet.

Folding Electric Bikes

Folding bikes can be easily distinguished from normal bicycles. With the e-bike, the principle is the same: electric folding bikes for the city are easy-to-transport bicycles that offer electronic assistance while riding. Folding e-bikes are practical as they can be easily taken aboard public transport. We recommend these models to anyone who wants to be particularly flexible on their city adventures.

Women’s City E-Bikes: Are There Special Models for Women, Too?

All e-bike categories for the city have specific models for women as well. City e-bikes for women are mostly characterised by their low step-through frame (see step-through e-bikes) and their comfortable geometry. The bikes are also usually available in smaller frame sizes, so that more petite women can also find the right model for them.

What Should Be Considered When Buying an E-City Bike?

First of all, you need to think about what you want your e-city bike to be able to do. Do you just want to ride it from A to B or are you also planning longer tours? Is luggage transport important for you? Are special features such as a step-through frame important? After answering these questions, you can choose the model that best suits your needs. When buying, also pay attention to safety: a good e-city bike should be ready for the road and have the appropriate components (such as lights).

Another important aspect is the drive technology. Here you have the choice between mid-drive, front hub and rear hub motors, all of which have their own advantages and as well as their respective disadvantages. E-bikes with a front hub drive, for example, tend to be cheaper and are not in the BIKE24 portfolio as a retrofit option. With its low centre of gravity, the mid-mounted motor makes for particularly pleasant handling and usually delivers very high power. And e-bikes with a rear hub drive often impress with their pleasant riding experience. The battery’s power also plays an important role in the choice of drive: the most important distinguishing feature is the capacity, which affects the maximum range and charging frequency. This must also be considered when choosing the right e-bike drive. Tip: If you use your e-bike mainly for commuting, a high range is often not necessary.

Buying a Electric City Bike – The BIKE24 Checklist

  • How will you mainly use your e-city bike? Every now and then or every day in wind and all weathers?
  • Where do you want to ride your e-city bike? Exclusively in the city on asphalt or also on dirt tracks and gravel roads?
  • Will you use your e-bike to transport things? What transport options should it have?
  • Do you have a preferred drive position such as mid- or rear hub drive? Do you have a favourite drive manufacturer?
  • Are you also planning tours with your urban e-bike that will take you beyond the city limits? Do you need a particularly long range?
  • Are you looking for an e-bike with a low step-through or a classic frame?
  • How high quality does the e-bike’s equipment need to be?
  • Should it have hub gears or derailleur gears? Do you want an e-bike with belt drive? Which tires do you want?
  • To what extent does the shortlisted bike meet road safety requirements?
  • What support does the e-bike manufacturer offer?

What Is the Most Secure Way to Park My Electric Bike in the City?

If you are travelling in the city with your city e-bike, the question of parking space will come up sooner rather than later. In principle, it is best to park a city e-bike in a bicycle parking facility. Many large cities have appropriate parking stations, most of which are free of charge. When purchasing a city e-bike, you should also consider buying a suitable bicycle lock. The lock should be of particularly high quality and also allow thicker poles or hard-to-reach fixed points to be connected. At BIKE24 we offer a correspondingly large selection of bike locks for e-bikes to ensure you can lock up your city electric bike securely.

Some e-city bikes are practically designed with an integrated carrying handle – for example on the frame or saddle. This makes transport easier if you have to lift the e-bike yourself. A classic situation is, for example, if you live on the first floor of an apartment building or have to carry the bike down to the underground.

How to Take Care For Your Electric City Bike

As soon as you are on the road with your dream electric bike for the city, e-bike care becomes an important topic too. E-bikes are robust and durable, but regular care and maintenance are still recommended. This way you can considerably extend the life of your e-bike and ride safely in the long term. This is especially true if you regularly commute to work on your urban e-bike and are on the road in all weathers. We have summarised a few simple care tips for your city e-bike below:

  • Regular cleaning: No matter what the weather, e-bikes should be cleaned after every ride. This prevents rust and corrosion and also protects the material of your e-bike. Take special care to keep the drive clean.
  • Make sure that you always ride your e-bike with the correct tire pressure. This depends on the tire manufacturer, the total weight of rider and bike and the respective terrain.Recommendations can usually be found on the tire companies’ websites.
  • The brake pads should be checked regularly and replaced if necessary.
  • E-bike chain maintenance is particularly important because the chain of an e-bike is subjected to a lot of stress. There are special e-bike chain oils that can be used here.
  • Regular maintenance intervals are recommended in order to detect possible defects at an early stage.
  • The e-bike battery is also an important part of the e-bike and should also be maintained accordingly.
  • Many e-bike manufacturers allow software updates of their bikes via app. We recommend that you always keep the e-bike software up to date in order to achieve the best possible functioning of the display, battery and motor.