In most parts of Europe, speed pedelecs, or S-Pedelces, occupy a different category from standard electric bicycles. Typically, S-Pedelecs are capable of much higher speeds—above the 25 kilometer-per-hour limit of e-bikes, and are therefore categorized as mopeds. As such, these bikes must be registered, insured, and operated with the appropriate license.
Now, there are lots of different types of e-bikes and S-Pedelecs in the market, and naturally, the categorization of such can be rather tricky. Such is the case with recumbent models, wherein individual bikes would have to undergo an evaluation process prior to being categorized, therefore complicating and lengthening the buying process. That being said, the Speedmachine S-Pedelec, an electric recumbent bike from German manufacturer HP Velotechnik, could soon be setting a new standard.
The Speedmachine S-Pedelec is the first recumbent electric bike to receive type-approval as a light motor vehicle. As such, the recumbent e-bike can easily be purchased and registered as such, without the need for separate evaluation and certification. This makes it much easier for folks looking for a bike of this nature to go ahead and buy one.
That said, what exactly are the benefits of a recumbent e-bike? Well, like most things in life, it boils down to personal preference. More specifically, some riders feel more comfortable covering longer distances on bikes of this nature. There are also numerous exercise benefits to a bike of this nature, as well as less physical strain on the joints. In the case of the Speedmachine S-Pedelec, it makes use of a Neodrive Z20 RS rear wheel hub motor capable of propelling it to a speed of 45 kilometers per hour (28 miles per hour).
A Shimano XT 30 derailleur is mated to the motor, providing seamless gear shifts optimizing the rider's pedalling effort. It also gets front and rear suspension, hydraulic disc brakes, and Marathon Plus long-distance tires from Schwalbe. There's also a rearview mirror, and an IQ-XE lighting system from Busch and Müller. As for the battery, a 651-watt-hour capacity provides up to 60 kilometers (37 miles) of range on a single charge. The battery is mounted low, underneath the seat, providing high-speed stability.
All that being said, the classification of HP Velotechnik's Speedmachine S-Pedelec isn't without its drawbacks. Given its classification as a moped, it isn't allowed to be used on cycle paths, and must only be ridden on main roads. As mentioned earlier, it also requires a specific type of license. The HP Velotechnik Speedmachine S-Pedelec isn't cheap, either, retailing for 8,690 Euros, or the equivalent of about $9,298 USD.
Sources: E-Bike News , HP Velotechnik