Discover the eBike or VAE electric bikes

The eBike or the VAE (electrically assisted bicycle) is an alternative to traditional means of transportation that is now firmly established. These electric bikes are indeed more ecological and economical than cars, in addition to offering a practical solution for urban travel. However, with the ever-increasing variety of models and features on the market, it can be difficult to find the right eBike for your needs.

To help you know everything about eBikes or VAE, we offer you this complete practical guide on electric bikes. Whether you're looking for an overview of the market, how an electrically assisted bicycle works or the regulations in force, find out all the information you need to take advantage of this responsible mode of transport.

Vélo électrique : que faut-il savoir sur l'eBike ou le VAE ?-1

What is an electrically assisted bicycle or eBike?

Generally speaking, an eBike or VAE is a type of bicycle equipped with an electric motor. This motor is specifically designed to help or assist the cyclist during the pedaling phase. Among other characteristics, an electrically assisted bicycle has an electric motor with a maximum continuous power rating of 250 watts. Also, its electric assistance stops automatically when it reaches a speed of 25 km/h.

Of course, an eBike or EAB also consists of a rechargeable battery, whose autonomy varies according to the model and use. However, the average range of all the bikes available on the market is between 40 and 80 kilometers.

The eBike or VAE is an ideal electric bike for many uses. However, it is undoubtedly the most practical for urban travel, in addition to offering an ecological and economical alternative to traditional means of transportation.

What is the current state of the electric bicycle market?

The mobility and electric bicycle sector has been undergoing a major evolution in recent years, particularly in France. Indeed, more and more citizens are adopting this mode of transportation on a daily basis. In 2021, the market share of this vehicle even reached 42%, a trend that has continued throughout 2022. It must be said that the health crisis and the economic difficulties encountered by the French have significantly transformed everyone's habits.

However, the VAE or electrically assisted bicycle is undoubtedly the leader of the sector. If in 2021, 660,000 of them were sold throughout the country, in 2022, the sales figures have increased by nearly 40%. By 2030, electric bike professionals in France expect to have sold more than 3 million EABs.

How does an electrically assisted bicycle work?

The operation of an electrically assisted bicycle is relatively simple. As we have seen before, an eBike or an EAB is equipped with an electric motor that assists the cyclist while pedaling. The assistance provided by the electric bike is activated by a pedaling sensor that detects the force exerted by the cyclist. This sensor then transmits the information to a variator, whose role is to regulate the power delivered by the motor. Note that, in some cases, the assistance can be triggered by a manual gas pedal.

It is also important to note that electric assistance is limited to a maximum speed of 25 km/h throughout Europe. Therefore, beyond this limit, the cyclist can no longer benefit from the electric assistance of his or her EAB.

As for the rechargeable battery, you should know that it can be plugged into a standard household outlet. The recharge then takes only a few hours to be complete.

What is the lifespan of an electric bike or eBike?

The lifespan of an electric bike or eBike depends on several factors. These include:

  • the quality of manufacture ;
  • the frequency of use;
  • maintenance;
  • the temperature of the storage place;
  • battery charging habits.

However, experts agree on an average longevity of 10 years or more for a good quality model, provided that it is well used and regularly maintained.

However, it is impossible to talk about the lifespan of an electric bicycle or an EAB without mentioning the battery. Indeed, the battery is the main element to take into account. Lithium-ion batteries, the most common on electric bikes, have an average life of 3 to 5 years. However, with proper use and by avoiding complete charge/discharge cycles, this can be extended.

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Why and when should I buy an electric bike?

Buying an electric bike or eBike is a smart decision for anyone looking to get around in a more environmentally friendly, economical and convenient way. But how do you know if it's the right time to invest in an e-bike? And what are the reasons why you might want to take the plunge? Let's find out why you should make this mobility choice.

What are the good reasons to buy an electric bike?

Buying an electric bike is often an important decision, especially because of the cost involved. However, there are many good reasons why you should choose this means of transportation.

First of all, you may want to save a lot of money. Indeed, an electric bike is not only less expensive than a car or a motorcycle, but its energy cost is also much lower.

In the same way, you certainly want to adopt sustainable mobility habits, even though electric bikes are real ecological alternatives to traditional means of transportation. With them, no more exhaust fumes and air pollution!

Let's not forget that electric bikes are also practical for daily travel, especially in the city. It helps avoid traffic jams and parking problems, while offering a different riding experience.

Finally, electric bikes have been proven to help cyclists get more exercise and improve their overall health. Why not?

When should I buy an electric bike?

There are many reasons to buy an electric bike. For example, if you want to facilitate your daily commute to and from work, or around town, this vehicle will be of great use to you. It will not only save you time, but it will also save you money on fuel.

Similarly, if for many personal reasons you cannot or no longer drive a car, the electric bicycle is an accessible alternative. With it, and thanks to ever more powerful batteries, you will be able to travel long distances without asking yourself any questions.

Of course, if you want to spend time with your family and enjoy nature, electric bikes are an excellent way to go for a nice ride.

Electric bikes and urban mobility: what are the benefits?

It goes without saying that electric bikes play a major role in the urban mobility of the French. Indeed, it is in the city that they show the full extent of their advantages, starting from the ecological point of view, since the VAE or eBike does not produce any exhaust gases. In other words, it does not pollute the air. Then there is the economic argument, because in addition to being cheaper to buy, this type of bike does not need fuel. The economic cost is therefore lower, as is the energy cost.

Another advantage, and not the least, the electric bicycle is a fast and efficient means of transportation, which allows a considerable saving of time. A practical solution par excellence, it is also compact and easy to park, and can be equipped with baskets or panniers. It's the ultimate solution for running errands or going to work.

Where to buy an electric bike or EAB?

You can buy your electric bike in several types of outlets. However, depending on your goals and expectations, not all are necessarily appropriate.

There are, for example, stores specialized in electric bikes, which offer a wide range of models, brands and prices. The salespeople there are usually experts in the industry, able to advise consumers on the choice of bike that is right for them.

Sporting goods stores are also alternatives, although the range of products is generally more limited than at specialist retailers. The same is true of department stores, which, although they offer competitive prices, are usually limited to consumer models.

Finally, you can also opt for online sales sites, starting with specialized sites. They too offer a variety of quality models, while being able to advise you in your purchase. Some of them can even offer you additional services, such as dedicated assistance, maintenance help or a personalized warranty.

What are the differences between an EAB or eBike and a Speedelec?

On the electrically assisted bicycle market, consumers can find a multitude of different models and profiles. In addition, some bikes like the Speedelec are starting to stand out.

Before buying, it is essential to distinguish between the different types of EABs or eBikes, each one being adapted to different uses. Among the possibilities, you can choose from :

  • City bikes, designed for daily urban use and equipped with a low-power electric motor;
  • trekking bikes, capable of covering long distances thanks to a powerful motor and a battery with excellent autonomy;
  • Folding EABs, also designed for urban use, and more specifically for public transportation;
  • All-terrain bikes, specifically designed for trips in the mountains or on steep paths.

Of course, other models of EAB can also be preferred depending on the situation. This is the case of the electrically assisted cargo bike, but also of the electrically assisted fast bike or Speedelec. The latter is often confused with a classic EAB, even though there is a major difference: it goes much faster.

Indeed, a Speedelec type bike is equipped with a motor with a power higher than 250 watts. With it, you can easily reach a speed of up to 45 km/h. Another major difference is that the Speedelec is no longer regulated as a bicycle, but as a moped.

Electric bicycle: the urban transport mode of tomorrow?

The electric bicycle is, in many respects, considered to be a major alternative for tomorrow's urban transport. According to estimates by industry professionals, the staggering figure of one million E-bikes sold could be reached during the year 2023.

Beyond the advantages of this means of transport, which no longer need to be presented, successive governments are encouraging its development for its practicality. Indeed, with the evolution of cycling infrastructures, the electric bicycle is an increasingly practical choice for daily travel. It allows municipalities to fluidify their traffic, while promoting the respect of the environment.

Nevertheless, certain challenges remain, starting with the question of the safety of cyclists in the city. On this point, communities agree on the need to improve cycling infrastructure.

However, the benefits and current trends clearly suggest that electric bicycles are gradually becoming the preferred mode of urban transportation for the French.

What are the regulations regarding EABs and electric bikes?

If you decide to opt for an electric bike, it is important that you comply with the regulations in force. Because yes, no matter the model, it is subject to certain rules, including approval.

In France, the use of electric bikes is governed by strict regulations. These regulations aim to guarantee their safety, but also their responsible use. Among the main rules in force are

  • the power of the electric motor is limited to 250 watts;
  • the limitation of the electric assistance from 25 km/h;
  • the triggering of the electric assistance must be automatically linked to pedaling;
  • the criteria inherent to the approval of the EAB according to the European directive 2002/24/CE.

Note that the regulations vary for Speedelec electric bicycles, and for good reason, since they meet the rules for mopeds. If you choose this option, you must therefore :

  • subscribe to a moped insurance ;
  • have a driving license A, B or AM;
  • have a license plate;
  • apply the traffic regulations in force for this type of vehicle;
  • Wear a helmet and protective gloves.

Please note that the minimum age to drive a fast electrically assisted bicycle, such as a Speedelec, is 14 years old.

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