Two venues, three test tracks, ten riders and an endless amount of testing kilometers brought the pros and cons of 28 tested bikes to light.
During this year’s test series ExtraEnergy came to the conclusion that every electric bicycle should undergo in-depth testing by an independent organization before being introduced to the market. It took 9 months this time to test 28 products. Not because of interruptions to the testing itself (except during LEV Conference in Taiwan, which took all capacities of the ExtraEnergy team in March 2008) but due to defects in the bikes. Motors broke down, motor control units burnt out, batteries fell apart and cables came loose. It is actually a myth that electric bikes can be quickly designed, developed and produced and still function reliably. Too many components – especially the electric ones – require delicate adjustments in order that they harmonize well with one another. Some manufacturers underestimated the challenge to make a good electric bicycle, others met this challenge and, as a result, their products achieved test ratings of either ‘Good’ or ‘Very Good’.
15 ‘Very Good’ Ratings
All bikes in the test were sorted into four groups according to their riding characteristics and then compared to the other bikes of the same group. Of the 28 electric bikes in the test, 23 finished the test with a commendation. 15 products were rated ‘Very Good’, 8 bikes were rated ‘Good’. In both cases, these bikes may now wear the ExtraEnergy 2008 seal of approval.
City: Comfortable roundabouts for the city
Twelve bikes showed where the new pedelec generation is heading: The former granny bike with a motor to provide assistance for those who could not pedal that hard anymore have become speedy and sporty runabouts that riders like to be seen on. Most city bikes in the test are fitted with Panasonic drives that have proven themselves extremely reliable. The following products received a ‘Very Good’ rating: Biketec Flyer T8, Gazelle Easy Glider, Matra i.step runner *, Raleigh Leicester E, Victoria Frankfurt, and Jetstream by Riese & Müller. The Ave Tour 28, Helkama E2800, Rixe Bordeaux G8, and Sparta Ion m-gear received a ‘Good’ rating. The Matra i.step runner, Rex E-Bike, and Winora 5th Avenue convinced the test team in certain characteristics but not enough for an overall commendation.
Category “City” product overview and test results
Touring: Good companions for the long run
During the test six pedelecs proved themselves fit for touring. They make great partners for bike tours or day trips to the countryside, and are ideal for tourists, who want to do a bit of sightseeing, or everyone else who likes to spend their free time on a bicycle. In the touring category, the Giant Twist Comfort CS, Hercules Iphos, Kalkhoff Pro Connect, and USED Scooterbike Hybrid 2.0 all received a ‘Very Good’ rating. The Flying Cranes Recovery 26 and Pegasus E-Bike 2 are recommended for certain characteristics but did not make it for an overall commendation.
Category “Touring” product overview and test results
Sport: For those who like it fast and sporty
Pedelecs that are faster than 25km/h? Here they are! Because for many riders, the fun of cycling has a lot to do with riding dynamics. ExtraEnergy tested five pedelecs in the ‘fast class’ and all of them received a commendation: Biketec S-Flyer, Heinzmann estelle Sport, IZIP Express, and BionX add-on kit PL2 50HL all received a ‘Very Good’ while the OHM Sport XS700 scored a ‘Good’.
Category “Sport” product overview and test results
Special: For specific needs
One day this group will be extremely important; for now, however, it’s still very new: pedelecs that satisfy special needs. For example electric folding bikes, pedelecs with a sidecar or trailers, utility pedelecs, and other electric bikes with unique features. This group included three folding bikes, the Smike with detachable sidecar from Switzerland, and the Helio scooter. The test team especially liked the Biketec Falt-Flyer and the Riese & Müller Birdy hybrid and gave them a ‘Very Good’ rating. Smike and Helio both scored a ‘Good’. Only the Monty EF-38 did not receive a commendation. But the test team pointed out that it was the lightest bike in the test and that it’s perfect for a short ride from A to B.
Category “Special” product overview and test results
Where to find the test results
• Here online
• In the 80-page electric bike special booklet published in German language by aktiv Radfahren and ExtraEnergy. It is available in the German newstrade, from ExtraEnergy or for download on this website. More information here
* Note: The first publications of the 2008 Test mentioned the Matra i.step runner without the commendation “Good”. ExtraEnergy appologizes for this mistake. The bike has well deserved a “Good”.
Last updated: August 29, 2008