Pedal assisted bicycle: advice for buying

Pedal assisted bicycle, not for lazy people, not only, at least, even if the name deceives. In truth, the pedal assisted bicycle it is often an excellent opportunity to use even more this wonderful green vehicle that is good for our health and that of the whole planet.

With the engine off there pedal assisted bicycle it's like the traditional one. The help of the engine must be imitated, the law, at 25 km / h, at higher speeds we cannot circulate and the maximum continuous rated power is 0.25 Kw and it is precisely according to these criteria that we pedal assisted bicycle we can run without special permits, using the cycle paths, without the need for registration, insurance, license plate or license. Convinced? Let's learn how to choose it.

Pedal assisted bicycle: what they are

There pedal assisted bicycle, also known as Pedelec (Pedal Electric Cycle), looks like a normal bike to which an electric motor is “added” to help us push on the pedals and turns on only when we pedal, “assisting us”, in fact. Our effort when we are riding one pedal assisted bicycle it is detected by a sensor and “communicated” to the engine which delivers adequate power.

However, the use of bicycles equipped with an electric motor that powers movement even in the absence of "pedaling" is not permitted by law. This type of vehicle would be assimilated to electric scooters with the consequence of having to comply with the relevant legislation.

Pedal assisted bicycle: how they work

The engine inserted into a pedal assisted bicycle it usually has a power of 250W, and makes us circulate at a maximum of 25 km / h. It can be in the rear or front wheel hub but the maximum efficiency, at the moment, is obtained by inserting it centrally, between the pedals and the crankset. In this way, in fact, the pedal assisted bicycle makes the most of the battery and the weights are better distributed.

The action of the engine is calibrated to our pedaling, so there is also an on-board computer that regulates the power that pedal assisted bicycle must deliver. Without going into the merits of “computer” calculations, the logic is that the more force you put into pedaling, the more the electric motor assists us. A sort of “happy heart, heaven helps him” in an electric mobility version on two wheels.

Modes and opportunities for assistance intervention are also evaluated based on the settings that the model of ours pedal assisted bicycle allows us to choose. For example, we can decide the on-board computer based on the ratio of pedaling / revolutions or effort.

Pedal assisted bicycle: battery autonomy

It takes 4/8 hours to charge the lithium batteries which are the most used on the pedal assisted bicycle. Their power varies from 8 to 15 Ah and they last 800/1200 recharges ensuring a constant capacity. I did not mention them by chance or out of sympathy Lithium batteries, but because today they are the most advanced and, above all, the greenest because they are rechargeable and efficient. On the occasion of our longer excursions, let's not forget our special battery charger, which works in every power outlet.

Charger or not, better know how much you pedal with a charge: the pedal assisted bicycle, considering a mixed journey and more than 90 km in ECO mode, it has autonomy for about 50-70 km. This is an estimate that is subject to the influence of numerous factors, including very trivially from our weight, but also - less trivially - from the posture and style with which we ride our bike. Then they have their importance: the frequency of stops, the tire pressure, the type of road surface, the weather conditions and the level of assistance we have chosen.

A motor-battery-control block unit proposed by top manufacturer Bosch

Pedal assisted bicycle: maintenance

They say "you wanted the bicycle, now ride", but there pedal assisted bicycle,even more than the "traditional" ones, it must also be well maintained, the battery in particular, to be cooled after use and before being recharged, and to be stored at room temperature. Especially in the beginning, it's better completely discharge the battery before inserting it into the refill. Ideally, for new batteries, it would be to let them completely discharge before starting charging.

For specific maintenance operations, I refer you to the manual that every good pedal assisted bicycle must provide, without prejudice to a warning that is as obvious as it is important: when we wash our two-wheeled vehicle, let's remember that it is indeed a bicycle, but in this case it has an electric part in all respects. In the area where the battery and related connections are kept, we therefore avoid "watering everything with a jet of water" risking compromising the expensive mechanisms.

A fat bike in a pedal assisted version

Pedal assisted bicycle: the weight factor

We talked about battery, efficiency, autonomy, but also the weight of ours pedal assisted bicycle is an important factor. The manufacturers have worked hard on it and today the average weight has significantly reduced thanks to the excellent materials studied and used.

We are now at levels that allow us to use one pedal assisted bicycle also as a traditional bicycle. To get an idea of ​​the weight, if we take a model with a mid-engined and a normal chassis, we are atmaximum about 20 kg. Magic now known: raising the price, the weight decreases, up to 15 kg, approximately.

Pedal assisted bicycle: criteria to be considered for the choice

Now that we are much more familiar with the pedal assisted bicycle and most likely we thrill to get on one of them, we learn to choose the best one. Better for us, because obviously the choice depends a lot on what we ask of the vehicle and how we intend to use it.

Immediately on frame, in fact, it defines the "intended use" of the pedal assisted bicycle, making us decide if we want it road, city or mountain bike (front and full). For what concernbattery placement manufacturers converge on two options: located in the "luggage rack", on the back of the bike or on the "barrel", in the central part of the frame.

High-end pedal assisted bicycles increasingly tend to integrate the battery above the barrel, ensuring better ergonomics at the expense of a higher price.

More than on the position of the battery, our advice is to consider the "battery range" declared by the manufacturer, an important factor in not having to recharge your vehicle too often.

Faced with the range of models, brands, colors and names, therefore, we can make a local mind by taking into account and having in mind our budget and how we want to use the pedal assisted bicycle we are about to buy, verifying that the on-board computer has all the functions we want. Let's also take a look at the quality of the components: for the exchange the top isShimano for the battery Bosch is the market leader.

A good pedal assisted bike will also have to be equipped with a good saddle, even if this component can possibly be replaced without spending too much, to choose a customized model according to your needs.

Very important check to be done: assistance and warranty. Taken by enthusiasm we can forget to ask but before opening the wallet we get the certainty that the shopkeeper will give us adequate assistance in case of problems.

Pedal assisted bicycle: some recommended models and prices

Yes, the prices deserve a separate paragraph, but the news is not bad for the pedal assisted bicycle, and continuously improving. Today we are wandering about starting figures from 1000 euros, for the simplest city bikes, and up to 4000 euros if we throw ourselves on a bi-suspension mountain bike. Before rolling our eyes, let's also ask ourselves which one pedal assisted bicycle we need it, personally.

Among the companies that are most working to develop the electrical system and thus obtain new models there are, in the "big names" category, Panasonic, Bosch and Samsung. They offer various systems giving us more choice in terms of managing assistance and recharging methods. And also theaesthetics it is influenced by it, and the eye wants and expects its part.

Moving on to frame manufacturers, most of them now offer one or more in their catalog pedal assisted bicycles, sometimes as a simple "modified version" of their traditional model. All Italian, the Lombardo Bikes it has at least 3 models in both versions, and the assisted one relies on a Bosch electrical system, as it has also chosen to do Atala. whites decided for a Panasonic system, if we cross the border and arrive in Germany, we find excellent manufacturers such as Bergamont, Hibike and the super specialized Pedelec Flyer.

Among the “top of the range” models that have received unanimous acknowledgments from the experts, I point out the eBike Neox Crosser also tested by our Matteo.

In recent months we have also tested completely innovative pedal assistance systems, like BIKE + all in one by Zehus which exploit a technology that allows the electric motor to be integrated into the hub and which exploits the braking to recharge the battery, an ideal solution to extend the time of use.

The latest product Matteo tested is the Wi-Bike: here is the article with photos and other information relating to the road test of Piaggio Wi-Bike.

Folding pedal assisted bicycle

Something is missing, do you have the feeling too? Yes, the space-saving option! For the commuters, those of the “train & bike”, for those who want to take a pedal trip out of town and load their vehicle comfortably, without unnecessary bulk. There pedal assisted bicycle there is also folding. This possibility could not have existed for a vehicle that is proving to meet the needs of the most diverse users.

Thus, the pedal assisted bicycle risks being crowned the queen of eco-friendly urban mobility, at least on two wheels. Without detracting from the models seen so far, this time we have the possibility to "fold" the bike, with the consequent space saving. An indifferent advantage for those who want to make it a means of daily use, or almost.

To be loaded by car, bus or subway, I see many people on the train who show up with theirs folding pedal assisted bicycle proud to be at the forefront, fearful of the envy of the rest of us who, having arrived at the station, are "forced" to march at a fast pace or to take another crowded vehicle.

At the moment, the offer on the market is not very wide but there is already the possibility of sifting through some interesting models by evaluating a good compromise between design and performance.

Interesting the Smart folding pedal assisted bicycle with aluminum frame, 250watt brushless electric motor, suspension front fork, 6-speed Shimano gearbox.

It is easy to carry and closes in 30 seconds. It weighs less than 15 kg and the removable battery recharges in 2 hours. Autonomy of 50 km. Price 1.260 Euros.

The Smart folding pedal assisted bicycle

Also Atala proposes a model of folding pedal assisted bicycle with an excellent quality / price ratio: aluminum frame and fork, Shimano Tourney FT30 gearbox, aluminum V-Brake brakes at 850 Euros. Also in this case you can buy the bike on Amazon.

Atala Ecofolding pedal assisted bicycle

Pedal assisted bicycle: my final tips for evaluating the purchase

The average price of a good pedal assisted bicycle is still quite high, in relation to the availability of the average Italian user, but the potential of this means of transport is truly remarkable: it allows you to travel long distances even for the less trained, it allows you to overcome " impossible climbs ”for traditional bikes and, for the folding versions, it allows you to go to work by solving the problem of parking and theft (folds up and takes you to the office!).

Folding bikes are also very popular with those who do not want to use bike racks or those who own small cars but do not want to give up a nice excursion away from the city.

If you decide to buy a folding bike, however, I advise you not to aim for the one with the lowest price but the one with the best quality / price ratio: you will not regret it! :-)

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Related article that may interest you:

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  • Assisted pedaling: bikes and scooters

Video: Pedal Assist vs. Throttle Activated Electric Bike (December 2021).