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What is an e-bike?


We explain the different variants.

We often talk about e-bikes when we talk about a bike with oneElectric motor talk. But there are different categories of bikes with their own characteristic features. In practice, there is often no clear distinction between the terms e-bike and Pedelec, as the term "Pedelec" in particular is not defined in the law. In general, the following should be noted:

- With a pure e-bike you don't necessarily have to pedal, the drive can be 100% powered by a motor. You need one to use itDriver's license and it existsCompulsory insurance.

- Better known are the so-called Pedelecs, which are treated like bicycles by the law. A Pedelec is a so-called supporting electric bicycle. There are two types of Pedelecs:


The so-called Pedelecs are particularly popular. This is also because you don't need a driver's license. There is no age restriction, even if traffic experts consider a minimum age of 14 to be sensible. The electric motor of a Pedelec can have an output of 250Watt not exceeded and pedal assistance is only provided up to a maximum of 25 km/h. However, if you pedal hard, you can of course go faster. An insurance license plate is not required. However, existing liability insurance is generally recommended. helmetduty does not exist, but wearing a suitable helmet for your own protection is always recommended. You can – and must – use the cycle path.


The legal situation is completely different for S-Pedelecs than for a normal Pedelec. This is because they are stronger and faster than ordinary Pedelecs. The motor can produce up to 500 W, which requires a maximum speed of 45 km/h. That's why wearing a suitable helmet is just as legal a requirement as driving on the road. The driver must also be at least 16 years old and have a class AM driving license. The insurance number is also mandatory here, because S-Pedelecs are legally classified as mopeds. What many people don't know: As a moped, an S-Pedelec is not allowed to use cycle paths unless these are explicitly approved for mopeds. The ADFC informs about this situation: “e-bikes may only be ridden on cycle paths if the additional sign “Mopeds free” or “e-bikes free” allows it.”

The basic framework in e-bike production

Basically, the e-bike hardly differs from the normal bicycle when it comes to the production of its 'basic structure'. The first priority is to produce the right cream. This varies depending on the type of bike: The frame of a mountain bike has a different shape than that of a trekking bike. The type of coating on the frame also differs - should it be powder-coated or should it be given a high-gloss finish using wet painting? The color selection here usually depends on the manufacturer. In some cases, however, buyers can individually determine the color of the bike depending on the offer and there are only minor deviations from the well-known bike in terms of the materials used. As a rule, today's modern e-bikes are made of similar materials as conventional bicycles: steel, aluminum and Plastic.

The e-bike is assembled in two rough manufacturing steps: pre-assembly and (final) assembly. During pre-assembly, fitters align the frames, assemble handlebars and prepare forks for installation in separate steps. This is followed by final assembly, in which the individual elements are put together.

A battery as an e-bike drive

The crucial difference between the well-known bicycle and the e-bike lies in its electric drive. As a rule, an electric bicycle differs from an ordinary bicycle in that it has an additional electric motor, a drive battery, control electronics for the motor and a sensor for detecting crank movement. E-bikes are almost always acceptedLithium-Ion batteries driven.  The electric motor can be installed as a front-wheel, rear-wheel or mid-wheel motor. Most models also have onebatterycharging indicator and an engine power setting. This is either stepless or divided into support levels. Depending on the weight, motorization and battery accommodation, components such as frames and brakes are also adapted, often using standard bicycle parts.

The wedding by merging the drive unit and frame

In many places, the merging of the drive unit and bicycle frame is referred to as a 'wedding'. The technology is usually hidden behind the motor and the battery housing and the many cables also run largely within the frame, where they are best protected. Finally, the motor of the e-bike receives the latest software from the respective manufacturer. Over time, it will be necessary for a specialist retailer to update the software. The exact manufacturing steps differ from e-bike to e-bike because each manufacturer has their own individual approach and of course the different models of a brand also vary.

What models of electric bicycles are there?

As an environmentally conscious and versatile means of transport, e-bikes have been celebrating their triumph for several years. However, the purchase decision is not an easy one, as there are now numerous models on the market. So if you want to afford an e-bike, you should definitely be well informed and not rush into buying the first model that comes along. Which model suits which user? There are city e-bikes, fully off-road e-bikes, trekking e-bikes, gravel bikes or folding bikes. After all, this is a costly and long-term investment.

Here we present the different types of e-bikes with their advantages and disadvantages.


Electric cargo bikes are a popular alternative if you also want to transport children or goods. It's not just families who use this environmentally friendly means of exercise. More and more businesses are benefiting from the advantagese-ApproxrgoBikes.

For many people, electric cargo bikes, or e-cargo bikes for short, are the means of transport of the future in our cities. The e-cargo bike combines driving fun and personal freedom with emission-free mobility. We use the term cargo bike here synonymously with CargoBike, utility or transport bike, cargo bike and other terms. With the help of an electric drive, conventional cargo bikes become e-cargo bikes or e-cargo bikes thanks to the Pedelec 25 or 45. In terminology this is synonymous with cargo pedelec, e-cargo bike or cargo e-bike.

A basic distinction is made between single-track and double-track cargo bikes, which may have an influence on usage and driving behavior. Cargo bikes are allowed to use cycle paths as bicycles, as well as all areas approved for bicycles. In principle, cargo bikes are not allowed in the pedestrian zone. An exception only exists if this is expressly stated, e.g. B. for delivery. However, you should make sure that the loading area is loaded appropriately and securely. Other road users must not be hindered by protruding parts and trailers should not be wider than 1 meter.

Brief overview of the history of the Lastenrad

At the end of the 19th century, cargo bike construction began with the construction of bicycles with three wheels. They were tip-proof thanks to the support of the third wheel and, thanks to their large loading area, had the ideal conditions for transporting heavy goods. As things progressed, courier bikes and baker bikes were added. But while we chose the car as a desirable means of transport in the 90s and early 2000s, especially in the cities but also in the suburbs, we simultaneously relegated cargo bikes to a niche role.

Only with the threat of diesel driving bans and a general desire for clean transportation in urban centers has there been a renaissance of the cargo bike. Regardless of whether it is for a sustainable lifestyle, personal fitness or pure cost savings: their owners are increasingly abandoning their own cars and relying on cargo bikes. This not only transports goods, but also people, both large and small. Cars are increasingly being replaced by electric cargo bikes. Transporting children to daycare or school and doing the weekly shopping are now done with the e-cargo bike.

But it's not just the new, fresh image that explains the success of electric cargo bikes. For many parents, eye contact with their offspring is important; thanks to the large storage spaces, shopping can be easily done on a cargo bike. And for many parents and commercial users, cycling is simply more fun than the constant traffic jams in city traffic. Fresh air, no hassle of searching for a parking space and a speed in the city center that is comparable to that of a car over a distance of up to ten kilometers make the electric cargo bike a real alternative in the city. Aside from the weather conditions, the only downer is the possibility of parking at home; the vehicles, which cost more than 10,000 euros, are usually delivered unprotected from vandalism and the weather.

After Corona caused the growth rate of purchases of cargo bikes in Europe to fall from 60% (2019) to 38% in 2020, sales in 2021 increased by an estimated more than 60%. The manufacturers of cargo bikes for 2021 with sales growth of more than 60 percent compared to 2020. This is based on the information from 38 cargo bike manufacturers in Europe. Initial estimates predict sales of over 75,000 units in 2021. And there could have been far more, but the parts shortage also affected the bicycle industry. 

What possible uses are there for a cargo bike?

A cargo bike can be used in many different ways. We fundamentally differentiate between the following forms of use:

  • Private use

  • Commercial use

  • Company cargo bikes

  • City logistics


Of course, the areas mentioned above overlap. Just like with their own vehicle, drivers of a cargo bike that is provided or sponsored by a company use it to travel to the company, but also for private shopping or to transport children or pets. We still want to show individual examples of the use of e-cargo bikes and thus encourage one or two potential switchers to think about owning their own cargo bike.

What is an e-bike and car hybrid?

The variety of new, innovative vehicle concepts is developing rapidly. A hybrid of e-bike and car combines the advantages of both vehicle concepts. The driver's cab is weatherproof and 3 or 4 wheels are installed. The user can easily store cargo. An electric motor supports the pedal drive up to 25 km/h, which allows the use of bicycle paths.


TheHoppers is registered as a bicycle, more precisely as a Pedelec. That's why the Hopper is allowed to use cycle paths at a maximum speed of 25 km/h. The little e-friend meanders past traffic jams through small side streets. The annoying search for a parking space is no longer necessary. With its slim dimensions (200 cm length, 80 cm width), the Hopper also fits into small parking spaces. The built-in solar roof means the driver is protected from the weather. This also applies to his passenger, because the back seat offers space for a second adult or even two children. The back seat is adjustable so that the cargo space at the rear can be expanded from 70 to 220 liters. As a bicycle, the Hopper is tax-free. A driving license is also not required. There is no age restriction for use. It is only helpful to be at least 1.50 m tall in order to control the linear pedal drive in a comfortable sitting position.


The Citkar is an e-bike for commercial vehicle use. The cargo bike, which is equipped with an electric motor, has individually adjustable rear-view mirrors, an ergonomic seat, a steering wheel with patented brake paddles, a weatherproof cabin and LED lighting and flashing systems. The robust steel frame is complemented by a black metal, recyclable body. With a width of just 98 cm, up to 235 kg of load can be easily transported to your front door.

The manufacturers of e-bikes

The list of electric bicycle manufacturers is long and new brands are constantly being added. Therefore, here is a selection of the best-known and most innovative manufacturers.


The successful brand originated in Amsterdam in 2009. But the purist design bikes can also be seen racing in Berlin, London, Paris, San Francisco and Tokyo. The founding brothers Taco and Ties Carlier had the vision of the perfect city bike that would last a lifetime. That's why VanMoof bikes are robust and intelligently designed. The company has developed an integrated theft protection system, which makes thieves desperate. At the end of August 2023, the company was taken over by the McLaren subsidiary Lavoie after the company filed for bankruptcy in July 2023.


Cowboy was born in Belgium in 2017 and has since strived to become one of the leading brands accelerating the transition to carbon-free mobility. The company achieves this thanks to successful financing rounds worth millions. The financial injections also enable the further development of the modern, fully connected e-bike. With the Cowboy 4, the company presents a completely new generation of smart e-bikes in a modern, timeless design.


What does a sushi bike have to do with the Japanese specialty? “One rolls, the other is rolls.” The founders Andy Weinzierl and Joko Winterscheidt have a sense of humor. It's not surprising that the model names are called Maki and California. But there is also a very plausible reason behind it: The Sushi Bike should enable flexible, green and affordable city mobility for everyone. Since 2019 it has been: “Let’s roll!”


Cube was founded in Waldershof (Bavaria) in 1993 and is now one of the largest and best-known German bicycle brands. Cube has now developed into one of the most popular specialist retail brands and regularly wins tests. Cube always uses the term hybrid for its e-bikes, e.g. B. Cube Cross Hybrid, Cube Touring Hybrid or Cube Stereo Hybrid.


In the beginning there was only one prototype called the “Red Buffalo”, which was used to extensively test the first electronic bicycle drive in 1993. In 1995, the first FLYER went into production and the pioneer of the e-bike was born. The company focuses on sustainability. The company headquarters in Huttwill, Switzerland, was built according to the highest environmental standards and the most modern building technology.


Giant was founded in 1972 and is now one of the world's largest two-wheeler manufacturers with production sites in Europe and Asia. Thanks to the constant development work and feedback from professional riders, Giant is one of the most innovative bike brands in the areas of racing bikes and mountain bike sports. Their motto is: “Ride Life. Ride Giant”


Haibike is one of the first brands to integrate motors into mountain bike fullys, giving everyone access to mountain biking. Popular models here are the Haibike Sduro FullSeven or FullNine. The Haibike company was founded in Schweinfurt in 1996. With a successful, international MTB team and an in-house trainer, well-known athletes prove the top quality of the bikes.


Husqvarna laid the foundation for the modern motorcycle early on by developing its own bicycles. Around 1903 they combined one of their bicycles with a small combustion engine. The dream of freedom and independence on two wheels was born. Today, the electrically assisted city and trekking bike models impress with their high quality and attractive appearance. The Austrian company based in Wels offers attractive solutions across the entire two-wheel sector.


Mike Sinyard was just 24 years old when he founded the company Specialized in 1974. The company initially focused on producing bicycle tires. One of Specialized's first racing bike models was the “Allez”. In the racing bike film “American Flyers” from 1985, Kevin Costner rode the extraordinary bike. The e-mountain bikes from Specialized Levo and Kenevo are now among the most popular.

primal madness

Urwahn visionary Sebastian Meinecke founded his own bike manufacturer SME Bicycles in Magdeburg in 2013. He manufactured his first bicycles with a lot of love and passion for puristic design. After intensive development work with a top team and committed investors, the Urwahn brand was launched in 2019. The startup values state-of-the-art manufacturing processes such as 3D printing, fair working conditions and a sustainable materials policy. You electrical variantsTop dog and thatWaldwiesel.E we present in our e-shop.

The manufacturers of e-cargo bikes

In recent years, many new manufacturers of e-cargo bikes have entered the market, especially here in Europe. This lucrative niche is particularly interesting for young mobility startups. They are supplemented by manufacturers who, as suppliers, build attachments for the individual application examples of the electric cargo bikes. With Bosch and Shimano, we also find the well-known manufacturers of bicycle components and accessories when it comes to cargo bikes.

Below we have listed an overview of the most important manufacturers of e-cargo bikes available in Europe:






Butchers & Bicycles

Ca Go

Carla Cargo




Douze Cycles



HNF Nicolai


Johnny Loco

Muli Cycles

Wheeled carriage

Riese and Müller



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