Pedelec vs S-pedelec bikes
With the Ebike taking the world by storm and becoming the ideal mode of transport, we are seeing so many technological advancements and variations. There are different classes of Ebikes including the standard pedal assist bikes, throttle operated bikes, and last but not least speed pedelec bikes. You’re probably wondering which one is the best Ebike or what a speed pedelec is. Maybe you’ve heard about it’s notorious difficulty in acquiring one. Let’s jump straight into the key differences and hurdles you’ll have to go through to be able to ride a speed pedelec.
What Are Ebikes And S-Pedelecs?
To sum it up in simple terms, speed pedelecs also known as S-Pedelecs are extremely fast Ebikes. They are hugely popular in Europe and can reach velocities of no less than 45km per hour. Thanks to the powerful motors and extremely fast speeds, S-Pedelec riders have to obey different traffic rules compared to an ordinary standard pedelec because they legally belong to the moped category. Due to this, one has to have a driver's license and the vehicle needs to be registered, taxed as well as insured.
On top of that, you’d need to wear the correct safety equipment including a motorbike helmet. Since there are so many hurdles to overcome, many EU countries have introduced their own legislation such as having to be licensed but not necessarily insured or only requiring a driver's license by itself. These rules vary according to the particular country. Although slightly more complicated, we are seeing more and more people nowadays using the S-pedelec as an alternative to the car or public transport.
Standard Ebikes on the other hand make up the mass majority of the market with speed limits for assistance reaching up to a maximum of 25km per hour. Ebikes are pedal assisted and not throttle-based with a continuous rated power output of 250W or less. Some countries have an age limit such as the UK who enforce their own laws where the minimum age to ride an E-bike is 14 years old. You do not need a license to ride one and it does not need to be registered, taxed or insured.
Motivations And Barriers Riding The S-pedelec
S-Pedelecs are just like riding any other standard Ebike except that it’s unfortunately not the simplest of processes to be able to get it! Let’s first start off with the positives. S-Pedelecs are definitely faster, have a big boost in terms of utility and make longer journeys a bit more manageable than a standard Ebike. Longer commutes are easily quicker than a car during rush hour as it’s more capable of keeping up with traffic on roads that have very little provision for cyclists. You also get plenty more power for uphill climbs.
Now to the cons. First and foremost, the S-pedelec is legally shunned in certain areas depending on the country. There are plenty of places where you can’t legally ride this bike. Anything that’s shared use is out of bounds meaning traffic-free paths are a no go. Therefore if you are thinking of taking a shortcut and riding through a cut-through path, that’s out of the question. If you live somewhere where bus lanes do not allow motorbikes, you can’t use those too. Additionally S-pedelecs can’t be legally used in cycle lanes so you’ll be dealing with a lot of weaving in and out of drivers. The final icing on the cake includes speed limits. S-pedelec riders are legally bound to speed limits that have been enforced to motor vehicles so if you are caught speeding you bet you’ll be accruing demerit or penalty points on your license.
Getting An S-Pedelec
The process of getting an S-Pedelec can deter many people but let’s walk you through it. You’ve finally bought your bike but are now faced with the trials and tribulations of making sure it’s legal. Thanks to it being classified as a moped, you have to go through a pretty long and arduous process to get your number plate.
Before buying a bike, you have to make sure it comes with a COC (Certificate of Conformity) and that it conforms to 168/2013/EU regulations. You then have to apply for a license for a new motor vehicle and declaration for registration which often takes about a week to arrive. After completing all these forms, you have to check for vehicle taxes as well as acquire a vehicle number plate.
The biggest pickle though, is getting the insurance. It can be extremely difficult to obtain since most insurance companies don’t recognise S-pedelecs as a vehicle. After a month of getting your papers in check, you can finally ride your S-pedelec but will need to buy yourself a motorcycle or open faced moped helmet. All of this can set you back a month and £200 on top of an already expensive bike.
The Bigger Picture
You certainly have to jump through a lot of hoops to be able to obtain an S-pedelec but for the Ebike enthusiast who enjoys long commutes and the thrill of a fast and furious ride, the S-pedelec is definitely worth it. They offer a better transport choice and make long hilly journeys much easier than a regular bike or even a standard Ebike.
Although these bikes operate at a higher speed they are still Ebikes after all. Here at Modmo we believe change is needed with the amount of legal obstacles to go through. An S-pedelec simply rides like a bike and not a moped. The law needs to make these bikes more accessible in order to reduce car dependency and make the world greener as well as more sustainable. As to whether we will be adding an S-pedelec to the range, watch this space...