Road Test: Electric Bikes

E-bikes makes exploring Europe easier for everyoneE-bikes makes exploring Europe easier for everyone

Electric Bike Road Test

Did you know that every 5th bike purchased in Holland is an electric bike – or e-bike? The adoption rate for e-bikes across Europe is growing rapidly so during my last visit to Europe I took the plunge to see what all the fuss was about. First, I have to admit that being a cycle enthusiast I have always been sceptical about using an e-bike. It feels like cheating, right? But now, I totally understand why so many more people are hopping on an e-bike! For example
  1. E-bikes allow people of different fitness levels to cycle together.
  2. E-bikes allow people to cycle further in a day than they may have been able to achieve without the assistance. And on trips like our new Berlin to Copenhagen cycle there are some decent distances to be covered.
The e-bike I road tested was the German made KALKHOFF ebike, which retails for between EUR1000-1500 and are available to hire on our Berlin to Copenhagen Cycle trip. Road testing the e-bikeRoad testing the e-bike With the option to add 50%, 100% or even 150% more power to my pedalling, and a battery range of between 60 - 100km, this is a perfect bike for the style of cycle touring on many of our cycle trips. Changing gears took a little bit to get used to. Unlike a regular bike, where you keep pedaling when changing gears so the derailer can do it's thing, when changing gears on an electric bike you need to stop pedalling. Otherwise the functionality was very similar to a regular hybrid bike except that with the '50% boost' the pedalling becomes very relaxed on the flat. On a hill, the 100% boost helps to overcome the exertion level. I tried out the 150% boost and felt like I was positively flying!! On an environmental level the e-bike is considered to be the most energy-efficient vehicle currently on our roads. Being battery powered, there is absolutely no motor noise, and a nightly top-up using just the power outlet at your hotel will have you fully charged for the next stage. So would I recommend an E-bike? Absolutely. In the right circumstances, and for the right person, this is a great, low impact form of travel that allows the option to continue cycling greater distances and to enjoy the wonderful experiences to be had touring Europe’s great cycle routes. Have you ridden an e-bike? Please share your e-bike experiences and advise below. Kate.
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Marian Hodge

Did the Passau to Vienna cycle along the Danube in May 2013. On an e-bike. Fantastic. Easy to handle and a breeze to pedal. At 64 and only an infrequent cyclist at home (Canberra) I would not have enjoyed it as much if I had had an ordinary bike (might not even have made it the whole way). I did have a numb bum at times but no sore legs and would do it all again - BUT only on an e-bike.

5 years ago
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