What is a Pedelec bicycle?

A bicycle with an integrated electric motor to assist the rider.

What is a Pedelec Bikecycle?

Pedelec and Pedelic are sometime mixed. The correct word for “pedal-assisted bicycles should be “pedelec” as the article on Wikipedia describes:

The term “pedelec” (from pedal electric cycle) refers to an e-bike where the pedal-assist electric drive system is limited to a decent but not excessive top speed, and where its motor is relatively low-powered.

Pedelecs are legally classed as bicycles rather than low-powered motorcycles or mopeds.

The most influential definition which distinguishes which e-bikes are pedelecs and which are not, comes from the EU. From the EU directive (EN15194 standard) for motor vehicles, a bicycle is considered a pedelec if:

  • the pedal-assist, i.e. the motorised assistance that only engages when the rider is pedalling, cuts out once 25 km/h is reached, and
  • when the motor produces maximum continuous rated power of not more than 250 watts (n.b. the motor can produce more power for short periods, such as when the rider is struggling to get up a steep hill).

An e-bike conforming to these conditions is considered to be a pedelec in the EU and is legally classed as a bicycle. The EN15194 standard is valid across the whole of the EU and has also been adopted by some non-EU European nations and also some jurisdictions outside of Europe (such as the state of Victoria in Australia).

Pedelecs are much like conventional bicycles in use and function — the electric motor only provides assistance, most notably when the rider would otherwise struggle against a headwind or be going uphill. Pedelecs are therefore especially useful for people living in hilly areas where riding a bike would prove too strenuous for many to consider taking up cycling as a daily means of transport. They are also useful when it would be helpful for the riders who more generally need some assistance, e.g. for elderly people.

Source: Wikipedia