Pedelec E-Bike And S-Pedelec. What’s The Difference?

Most people by now are familiar with what an E-bike is or at least heard of them before. Less common terms are the pedelec E-bike and the S-pedelec.

These names often lead to confusion because although they are similar, they both mean very different things. Understanding the difference is important because it can mean the difference between riding illegally and legally. To get yourself in the know, read on.
What Is A Pedelec E-Bike?

The term “pedelec” was coined in 1999 and is actually an abbreviation of “pedal electric cycle.” It’s used to describe bikes that have automatic pedal support. That is, a motor to assist the rider when pedaling.

Here’s the thing. A pedelec and an E-bike are the same things. There’s no difference except in the words used to describe them. Unfortunately, the word “pedelec” didn’t catch on and no matter where you are in the world, electric bikes are nearly always referred to as E-bikes.
The Characteristics Of A Pedelec E-Bike

There are several defining characteristics that qualify a bike ad a pedelec or E-bike. There are:

They have an electric motor fitted (max 250 watts).
The motor can go up to 25 kph
They are legally in the same category as standard bicycles meaning the rider does not require a license or insurance to ride one.
A child seat or trailer is permitted to be attached
They can legally use cycle paths
There are no age restrictions in the EU barring Switzerland where the minimum age is 14.
The Benefits Of A Pedelec E-Bike

Almost anyone can enjoy riding an E-bike and the benefits are numerous making it a highly efficient form of transport.

Thanks to the rechargeable battery, the E-bike is an extremely cheap mode of transport.
They are environmentally friendly.
You can tackle tough rides without breaking a sweat.
They’re excellent for beating traffic and congestion in busy cities.
Although costlier than standard bikes, they’re still an economical investment and cost far less than other powered vehicles.
They’re a fun way to add exercise to your routine.
They don’t require much maintenance.
What Is An S-Pedelec?

To complicate things, there are bikes out there referred to as an “S-pedelec.” While that sounds similar to pedelec, they are very different from one another.

An S-pedelec is an electric bike that can reach faster speeds than a standard E-bike. Usually, S-pedelecs can go up to 40 kph which is 15 kph more than a standard E-bike.

Because of the high speeds, S-pedelecs are not classified as bicycles/ Instead they fall into the moped vehicle category. Therefore, riders are required to have the appropriate driving qualification, insurance, and proper safety gear like a crash helmet.

Riding an S-pedelec without fulfilling the above requirements is illegal and you could face heavy penalties if you attempt to do so.
The Characteristics Of A Pedelec E-Bike

Here are the features that determine what an S-pedelec is:

In the EU, they’re classified as mopeds (cat. L1e-B).
They are required to display a license plate.
The max power of the motor can be 4,000 watts.
The top speed can be 45 kph.
The laws surrounding S-pedelecs and cycle lanes differ from country to country. In Germany, you are not permitted to ride on cycle lanes with an S-pedelec.
Trailers and child seats are not permitted to be fitted except for Switzerland where it is allowed.
You must have purchased appropriate insurance in order to ride it.
The Benefits Of An S-Pedelec

Just like E-bikes, S-pedelecs offer their riders a huge amount of benefits:

Thanks to their fast speeds, they’re better for longer journeys.
You’ll get to your destination extra quick, especially as they’re efficient at beating traffic.
They’re much cheaper to run than a motorbike.
Unlike motorbikes, they offer the opportunity to exercise and keep fit.
They don’t produce any pollution.
Why Be Cautious About An S-Pedelec?

Unlike E-bikes, there are some things about S-Pedelecs that you must approach with caution. Firstly, it’s important to stop putting S-pedelecs in the same category as E-bikes. Think of them just like you would a motorbike and apply the same considerations.

The high speeds of the S-pedelecs make them dangerous in unqualified hands. Never attempt to ride an S-pedelec unless you’ve got a driving license or appropriate insurance.

Take safety seriously too. If you fall off an S-Pedelec you can badly injure yourself. Purchase a proper motorcycle helmet, padded clothing as well as proper boots and gloves

Finally, go slow on your S-pedelec until you’re used to the high speeds. It’s tempting to go full throttle and whiz along at 45 kph because it’s super fun. However, this speed is faster than most speed limits in cities. If you do this, you’ll not only be breaking the law you’ll be putting yourself and others in unnecessary danger.
Pedelec E-Bike Or S-Pedelec – Which Should You Buy In 2022?

If you want our honest opinion, we feel that if you want to go fast speeds you’re actually safer on a proper motorcycle. They offer more stability and are also bigger with more visibility than a bicycle.

While slower, E-bikes offer more versatility than an S-pedelec because you can ride anywhere you like. Be it the road, cycle path, offroad track, or forest trail, nothing is off limits for the E-bike. With the S-pedelec you’re stuck using roads only.

Therefore, we recommend the E-bike over the S-pedelec any day. You may disagree and feel the need for speed on an S-pedelec. That’s fine but just remember to stay on the right side of the law.
Our E-Bike REcommendations For 2022

If you’ve settled on buying yourself an E-bike in 2022 then please allow us to make some recommendations. First, decide what you want your E-bike to do. Are you planning to use it for riding around town? Or, do you want it for something a little more adventurous and take it offroad? Whatever your choice, we have two great options for you.
Eskute Netuno E-Mountain Bike

A high-performance E-bike at a great price. The E-mountain bike features a rear hub motor giving you the highly enjoyable sensation of being pushed along. The 522W motor can achieve top speeds of 25 kph while the powerful battery can go distances up to 100 km.

The aluminum frame is sturdy yet light enough to easily maneuver. Seven gears allow you to tackle steep inclines without breaking a sweat and the removable battery means you can pack a spare and double your distance.

At only €1.299 everyone can enjoy offroad riding without going broke. This is an excellent entry-level E-mountain bike for beginners and experienced riders alike.
Polluno City E-Bike

If city riding is more your thing, allow us to introduce the Polluno city E-bike. Designed specifically for commuting and urban roads, this bike can beat any traffic thanks to its top speed of 25 kph. The battery gives you a range of up to 100km which is more than sufficient for the average round-trip commute.

Seven gears give you a versatile ride, especially when climbing hills. Front suspension will smooth out those potholes and uneven streets for a comfortable ride.

Costing €1,299.00 it’s incredibly affordable plus you’ll soon make your money back as you’ll no longer have to cough up for expensive public transport or fuel for your car.
More From Eskute

Both our top pick E-bikes are from eskute, Germany’s fast-growing E-bike retailer. With a philosophy that E-bikes are for everyone, the company balances quality with affordability. Their small but carefully selected range of E-bikes reflects this.

If you’re worried about purchasing from Eskute, don’t be. All their E-bikes come with a two-year warranty to give you peace of mind if anything goes wrong.
Final Thoughts
S-pedelecs are a good choice for people who need to get places fast while still maintaining an element of physical activity. However, all the requirements and restrictions make them off-limits for many people.

On the other hand, E-bikes are for everyone and with Eskute they’re now affordable for everyone too. Their accessibility means that anyone can discover the joy of E-biking so if you haven’t got yours yet, now is the time!