Leisure: Are e-bikes good for children? Experts in advantages and disadvantages

The ride quickly becomes an ordeal for families when the kids lose interest in cycling because the distance is too far, the path is too steep, or the rest periods are too short. When adults get off their e-bikes with no sweat on their foreheads, while kids follow along with their non-motorized companions, a weekend trip can quickly turn into an ordeal.

The impression that e-bikes are especially popular with the elderly is wrong. More and more young people prefer to ride a bicycle with an electric motor. Are children’s bikes electrified now?

Legally, children are allowed to ride e-bikes

From a purely legal point of view, children are allowed to ride e-bikes, regardless of their age. The Road Traffic Act does not provide for any restrictions because e-bikes and regular bikes are treated equally.

Unlike e-scooters, which have a minimum age of 14 when driving on the road, there is no age limit for two-wheeled bikes. At least when it comes to the feet. These are electric bikes that support the driver and can reach a top speed of 25 km/h. However, the term e-bike is often used for such bikes.

Instead of electrical support not for children

“I’m not a big fan of putting young kids on an e-bike,” says bike expert Dirk Zeidler. Children to deal with make. “The evolution of the market is simply that everything with wheels is electrified,” Zedler says. He doesn’t want to be stylized as an e-bike opponent. “On the contrary. But you don’t have to cover every road with an e-bike.”

Above all, Zedler can’t fathom situations where parents are out with cool e-mountain bikes and the child is gasping behind them on a rickety bike. “This is just a mistake.” Child automation isn’t an expert solution either. “Anyone traveling with children should ride a regular bike.” In the expert’s view, e-bikes are only recommended for young people aged 14 or over, if at all.

But are these bikes even needed? The Federation of the Two-wheeled Industry, which regularly publishes market data on the industry, does not have any reliable figures for children’s e-bikes.

“We estimate that the range of electric-assisted bicycles in the youth sector will increase – albeit at a reduced level,” says Tim Salatsky, Head of Technology and Standardization. It is imposed by the general public.

The “Supercharger” e-bike from Riese and Müller has two batteries and therefore 1200 watts. This means the performance is about twice as strong as that of conventional e-bikes. | Photo: Annette Riddell, dpa

Bicycle expert Dirk Zedler sees it this way: “There probably won’t be a huge trend in kids’ bikes.” And bikes are simply too expensive for that.

They are already available in discounts, but they cost about 1000 euros there. Up to 2,500 euros can be paid for a branded electric bike. Zedler believes that it is neither economical nor sustainable for a children’s bike. The batteries broke down relatively quickly, so the bike could not easily be passed on to its smaller siblings.

Are chords any good?

But what to do if parents don’t want to dispense with their e-bikes or don’t own a regular bike anymore, but don’t want to provide their kids with e-bikes? The two-wheeler industry has developed tow ropes that you can use to pull your child behind you. It can be attached to the parent’s saddle and the child’s bicycle handlebar.

However, Zeidler criticizes such ropes. “I think this is a tricky thing. Anyone who has ever towed a car knows how fast it vibrates when the person behind it doesn’t pay attention for a moment.”

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He also sees this danger with traction ropes. This rope can come in handy for short sections uphill, but there are better systems out there so kids don’t spoil the fun. For example, with wheels that can be attached to the parents’ bike – similar to an attachable tandem. Zedler names another trend that runs counter to kids’ e-bikes: ultralight bikes. These are easier to maneuver and children can make better progress. Completely without electric motor.

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