We're Huge in Europe!

Why the Old Country Loves E-Bikes

Mar 7, 2014
Outside Magazine

Europe has seen a massive spike in e-bike sales.    profahrrad/Flickr

Sales of e-bikes have seen a major boom in Europe since German-based company Bosch entered the market in 2011, according to a Financial Times report.

Although some cycling purists see the bikes as inauthentic, they've generally been a huge smash, generating almost $139 million in revenue in 2013 alone. Last year, sales in Germany exceeded 400,000 units; one in 10 bikes sold in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, and Switzerland are e-bikes. European sales in 2012 totaled around 854,000 bikes.

The e-bike boom has counteracted wishes from German chancellor Angela Merkel, who has pushed for Germans to own a million electric cars by 2020. The big pros to purchasing e-bikes? If electricity runs out, riders can always revert to "classic" pedaling. Plus, the e-bikes plug into normal wall sockets.

While cyclists may malign the bikes, they're not just electrified vehicles for the lazy. The motors on e-bikes only kick in when riders begin pedaling, and with a force equivalent to the rider's efforts. The bioelectrical hybrid feels less like a motorized vehicle and more like an invisible hand providing a little help. Computers on the bikes also provide riders with data about speed and battery use.

E-bikes have already taken over China, where 30 million are sold every year. The bikes have their drawbacks—they're expensive, and they're heavy for commuters who need to carry them—but that hasn't stopped investors.

If you're considering getting a Beamer, you might want to hold off a little longer—the iconic car company is working on a collection of e-bikes.

Not Now

Open a World of Adventure

Our Dispatch email delivers the stories you can’t afford to miss.

Thank you!