Regarding the latest improvements, it’s not easy to distinguish a modern e-bike from a traditional one. A few differences have remained, though. The remarkably higher weight, laws regarding battery handling, and vulnerability of particular electronic parts are the three most important aspects to consider when transporting an e-bike by a car, a train, or even a plane.
Roof or towbar-mounted racks?
The average weight of an e-bike might be a double of the conventional one. Heaving a heavy metal monster up on the roof sounds like a formidable task for even the toughest of cyclists. Some of the motorized bikes weigh up to 25 kilograms and this is why a towbar bike carrier seems to be a better choice than an inaccessible roof rack. Not only you might injure yourself or cause damage both to your car and the bike but every rack has its maximum given load-bearing capacity you should put into consideration.
Meet the weight requirements
Read the manual before transporting a new e-bike for the first time to avoid any inconveniences. Catching e-bikes-turned-low-flying-missiles on the highway is arguably one of the least popular experiences you’d like to have on your holiday. Transporting two road bikes of the total weight of 20 kg is obviously a different weight division in contrast to 50 kg of a pair of e-bikes. Regarding the weight of e-bikes, fasten the wheels as firmly as possible using straps to prevent undesirable wobbling. Double-check that the wheels do not go beyond the edges of the car’s back by more than 20 cm on both sides when carrying the bikes on the towbar-mounted rack.
What to take care of
Despite rumours that the transportation of e-bikes with batteries on roof racks is about to be banned in some European countries, the concerns proved to be unsubstantiated. Removing the battery before the transport, however, might lessen the total load of the rack which capacity is preferable to respect. Carrying both the battery and the engine control unit in the car would not only relieve the racks of excessive load but also keep sensitive components in a dry place, well-protected against rain. After removing any of the parts, don’t forget to cover the contacts with rubber caps provided by authorised dealers to prevent them from getting wet. Removing the battery might seem like an additional complication but most manufacturers advise to do so anyway if the bike is not used. Make also sure the bikes are locked any time you leave them unattended.
Travelling by trains encouraged
Checking websites of European railway companies such as German Deutsche Bahn, Austrian ÖBB or Swiss SBB, you’ll find detailed regulations concerning bike transport by train. Travelling with bikes is commonly encouraged in most cases, you only need to buy an appropriate ticket and accept the fact that the bike will be transported either hanged on dedicated racks or in a separated car. Consider handling time needed to get on and off the train when scheduling your connections.
Flying is close to impossible
The e-bike battery belongs among dangerous items and as such it’s excluded from planes no matter if attached to the bike or stored in your bag. This regulation makes flying with e-bikes close to impossible. You can send the e-bike ahead by a freight plane yet even in this case you have to pack the battery separately and accompany the shipping with a special safety certificate. Since every conscious biker would do anything to avoid these bureaucratic issues, the only advisable solution is to rent the e-bike in a rental shop at your destination.