Even if they look like this: S-pedelecs are not bicycles, but legally speaking mopeds. You need a driving license for bicycles, which can reach speeds of up to 45 km/h, cycle paths are taboo. How does it feel on the road?
The “S” stands for speed – which would already mark the biggest difference: S-Pedelecs can reach up to 45 km/h as long as you pedal. With normal VAEs, commonly called electric bikes, the motor stops accompanying you at 25 km/h.
This means that S-Pedelecs are legally classified as mopeds – unlike pedelecs, which are classified as bicycles. A business license and insurance number are required here, as with mopeds or scooters. You can only drive it if you have at least an AM driver’s license and are 15 years old. You can also take off with a driver’s license.
S-pedelecs are only allowed on the road
Controversial discussion: S-Pedelecs must be driven on the road. Conversely, this means that cycle paths are taboo for them, even outside the city. “In fact, on many peripheral roads with cycle lanes alongside the roads, the use of suitable cycle lanes is often the safest solution”, explains for example the German Traffic Club (VCD).
S-pedelecs hardly sell in Germany – unlike in Switzerland where, according to the Touring Club Schweiz (TCS), they even have to use the cycle path if pedestrians are not allowed there. With the Stromer brand, one of the best known manufacturers of S-Pedelecs comes from Switzerland. But many other brands also offer fast e-bikes – Specialized, Diamant, Cube, Flyer, Riese & Müller, Scott or Bergamont. The Friday 27 FS Speed Dual model with a double battery from the French manufacturer Mustache was used for the test.
The manufacturer positions Friday as an automobile alternative for commuters: “Especially in urban or suburban areas, it can be a faster means of transport than a car or a scooter”, specifies Mustache spokesperson Clément Bonneau. The S-Pedelec is aimed at cyclists for whom a normal e-bike is too slow to cover longer distances in a reasonable time – for example from the outskirts to the city centre.
At first glance, S-Pedelecs look like any other e-bike. The Mustache is no exception. It’s only on closer inspection that it turns out to be a fast e-bike. The number plate on the back is the most striking. An insurance number as proof of existing liability insurance is required so that it can be moved at all.
Bosch’s mid-motor offers a rated power of 250 watts. The maximum power output is 600 watts, the torque responsible for the acceleration behavior is given as a brisk 85 Newton meters. The motor is able to amplify the muscle power introduced by a factor of 3.4.
Powerful hydraulic two-piston brakes, specially developed for S-Pedelecs by the German supplier Magura, allow you to come to a stop quickly even at higher speeds. The fact that the four-finger levers do not require much force is also due to the large brake discs (203 millimeters at the front; 180 millimeters at the rear).
To increase the range, the developers prescribed two batteries for the Mustache: the downtube has 625 watt hours (Wh). The capacity of the additional power supply is 500 Wh. In ideal conditions, the range is more than 200 kilometers, explains Bonneau. In other words: for a week’s work, you could cover almost 40 kilometers a day without having to recharge.
In addition to the motor, the energy storage also supplies other consumers – such as the obligatory license plate illumination.
On the road with the Friday you quickly outperform a normal e-bike. But you need strong support from the legs to reach Tempo 45. The motor power input is linked to the shifting behavior: faster pedaling, i.e. a higher cadence, does not lead to more motor assistance from a certain point.
It’s not until you engage the next of the eleven Shimano derailleur gear ratios that the motor activates its next level of ignition. Bosch calls this shift recognition when engine output and gear ratio match each other. The fact that the power injection fades out quickly at higher frame rates takes some getting used to and isn’t intuitive.
On the other hand, due to its design, the Friday does not have the boom of an S-Pedelec with a rear motor, where the power is transmitted directly to the driving axle – which means that these models feel livelier and the chain wears less quickly.
The fact that S-Pedelecs look like bicycles causes irritation on the road. In interaction with other road users, this can lead to dangerous situations. At intersections, the right of way is often denied at the Friday saddle because other road users underestimate the speed of the approaching S-Pedelec. And at the start of the traffic light, drivers overtake a little more aggressively because they don’t overtake right away.
Because it is almost unknown that S-Pedelecs are not allowed on cycle paths, drivers sometimes honk, wave and indicate parallel cycle paths. Even with the Friday, as comfortable as it rolls over the cobblestones with the suspension fork and frame shock, it often feels like a foreign body on the road. In addition, the forest and forest roads being taboo, sometimes detours have to be made, which can negate the travel time benefits for commuters.
Hardware, Accessories, Peripherals
First of all: Anyone who drives an S-Pedelec must wear a bicycle helmet. Other technical details are mandatory on the bike itself: lighting is mandatory, it is always on while riding and has high beam. The German supplier Supernova contributes to the Friday as well as the rear light with brake light function.
Also mandatory: a horn. The high beam and horn can be operated directly via buttons on the handlebars. On the left is a folding mirror from Busch & Müller, which is also part of the standard equipment of an S-Pedelec.
La Mustache rolls on Schwalbe Super Moto-X tires (27.5 x 2.40) for S-Pedelecs. They promise good traction on asphalt and are comfortable to ride. Bags and baskets (Lowrider) can be clipped into the system rack from the Dutch manufacturer MIK, but they must be compatible. The aluminum construction is designed for a payload of up to 25 kilograms.
The 3.2-inch touchscreen can be used as a navigation system via a Bosch app. It also shows, among other things, the cyclist’s performance and calorie consumption. The motor assistance can be adapted to the driving behavior via an in-app purchase.
There are functional restrictions when transporting children: In Germany you are not allowed to tow a child trailer with an S-Pedelec. A child seat on the bike is authorized according to the bike press service.
At 7499 euros, the Friday 27 FS Speed Dual is not a bargain. 900 euros can be saved if you do without the additional battery. What also puts the price into perspective is its use as a car replacement – especially when fuel prices are high.
Thanks to the full suspension, the Mustache is very comfortable to drive. The components seem sturdy, as does the entire 30-kilogram build. The Mustache S-Pedelec encourages you to leave the car behind. If the journey is not too long, you save time. It shares with all other S-Pedelecs that it needs to be on the road, where rush hour slows progress. You just have to take this into account when weighing between a more expensive S-Pedelec and a cheaper pedelec.