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Hello all. My story is pretty simple. I'm a computer-nerd / tech-geek since childhood and I've always found the concept of a motorized bicycle a neat idea. I've always wanted to own an eBike, but most of them available in Germany were waaay too expensive for my small wallet; paying several thousands of Euros was just a no-go. About two years ago, I had made myself familiar with crowdfunding. The main reasone had been to support a digital artist who wanted to publish a comic book, but after having my first contact to the IngieGoGo site, I got curious (of course) and started browsing the vast content offered, especially the technologies-section. And well, it was about to happen: I stumbled over the Sondors campaign!

The concept of a fat-bike was absolutely new to me; I had never seen one before. As soon as I saw the first picture of the IGG Sondors, I instantly fell in love. I wasn't just fascinated about the concept of a fat-bike (that would have been enough for me to hit the "get that perk" button, it also was an eBike! After realizing the affordable price, the decision was made and I backed the campagin by buying the appropriate perk.

This was the point where I started to make myself familiar with the laws and complex regulations for eBikes here in Germany, and I quickly relaized that I'd had some obstacles to take in order to ride the Sonors e-bike (almost) legally here at home. Well, I think I got it almost sorted out, but there are still some loose ends to fix; I'll talk about that specific issue later on.

I also started to gather information about the parts used by Sondors, especially their origin. I wasn't really surprised to learn that all of the parts used in the Sondors eBike were from chinese manufacturers (which is not a bad thing at all, just to make that clear) ... I mean: Reallity Check! That's where the highly affordable price has its origin. But as I said, that's totally OK, it was a very interesting process to learn about all of those topics.

To cut a long story short: I backed, I waited (patience is a virtue after all), I hoped, and finally I GOT my bike at the end of 2015. I did some small modifications to the bike, but finally decided to keep it that way and just RIDE it. Here are some pictures:

SondorsOwnersForum_Bike_2016-05-01_A.jpg

SondorsOwnersForum_Bike_2016-05-01_B.jpg

I think I got it managed to setup the bike to ride it 90% legally here in Germany:

  • Head lamp
  • Backing light
  • Front, rear and side reflectors
  • Driving mirror
  • Bicycle bell
  • Turn signals (wing lights)
  • License plate (oh yes, the Sondors in its original setup has to be insured here in Germany) (lapsed, see below)
  • Speed limiter (through the LCD)

The remaining 10% which remain unsolved / unclear are:

  • I actually would need a EU compliant type approval document (an operating permit) provided by the manufacturer
  • I actually would need to wear a motorcycle helmet instead of a bicycle helmet (yeah...right)

I mainly use my Sondors in urban environments, such as for riding to work and back again, when the weather is nice. I try avoid riding it when it's raining. I haven't made longer rides, yet, but a wanna try to max out the battery range capacity sometime. I also plan to register my bike at my local police office, to enable them to have a chance to find the bike if it gets stolen. Since fat-bikes and especially the Sondors are extremely rare in Germany, they might have a good chance to track it down.

That's all for now, folks. Thanks for dropping by!

UPDATE: Bye bye license plate, bye bye insurance. Those friggin' updated EU regulations ...

Edited by 3D-vice
Updated due to new EU regulations
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Thanks for sharing your experience with a Sondors in Germany.  I live in the US, but may be offered a job in Vienna, Austria soon.  I've actually lived there before for several years.  Anyway, if I do get the offer, I plan to get an e-bike and not get a car.  When I lived there before, I did get a used car, which turned out to be a huge money sink, and we didn't really need it since public transport is so great in Vienna. 

Ideally, I'd get a Sondors or even another e-bike in the US and ship it over because the cost of US e-bikes is so much lower.  From what I've found online, a "cheap" front wheel hub motor on a simple city bike is the least expensive option in Vienna, but those start at 1000 euros.  To get a decent e-bike with a mid-motor in Vienna starts at 2000 euros (unless you find a sale). 

So $800 for a Sondors ($500 for the bike + $100 for the LCD + $200 shipping) is a much better deal.  My employer would pay for the move, and I assume I could ship the bike as part of the move for no additional cost to me.  I originally thought that as long as I didn't use the throttle and didn't go over 25 kph, I wouldn't have a problem with a US e-bike there.  But the more I look into it and after looking into your post, I'm beginning to think it is more trouble than it is worth to buy one here. 

You say that your Sondors is now 90% legal.  Do you ride it on the street?  Have you ever been stopped by a policeman?  One of my concerns is that from my experience living in Vienna ... how should I put it?  People can be very enthusiastic about making sure that their neighbors follow all of the rules.  I'd be afraid that someone will figure out that the e-bike isn't legal and report me.  Or if I have to take it to a bike shop for a repair, the shop might report it. 

I know that Germany and Austria would have different country regulations, but they should be harmonized with the EU standard and so should be reasonably similar to each other, and so your thoughts would be helpful.  I also read somewhere that Austria has a 500 W and 32 kph limit rather than the standard in the rest of the EU.  I know that Austria does sometimes ignore EU regulations (e.g. smoking regulations for restaurants), so this is possible, but I don't know how reliable the source is. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, en2ec said:

You say that your Sondors is now 90% legal.  Do you ride it on the street?  Have you ever been stopped by a policeman?  One of my concerns is that from my experience living in Vienna ... how should I put it?  People can be very enthusiastic about making sure that their neighbors follow all of the rules.  I'd be afraid that someone will figure out that the e-bike isn't legal and report me.  Or if I have to take it to a bike shop for a repair, the shop might report it.

Hey there and welcome to the forum!

Yes, I do ride my Sondors on the street, mainly for riding to my office and back home on a daily basis (if the weather is nice). Untill now, I've not been stopped by the police, but I had several enconuters passing by a police car, yet nothing happened. I think that having a license plate on my vehicle is a positive sign. My Sondors (original IGG bike with 350W motor) is classified here in Germany as an E-Bike aka. S-Pedelec (fast pedelec), so it shall not surpass a max. speed of 45 km/h and the motor shall not have more than 500W. Fast pedelecs are required to be insured. You might wanna think about ordering an EU-compatible Sondors with a 250W motor, then it would be classified as Pedelec... assuming that th regulations in Austria are similar to those of Germany.

To make a long story short: I ride my bike while being well aware of the fact that - if a policeman stops me and is an e-bike expert - it may result in being punished. Since I have a propper driving license and my bike is 90% legal, the punishment may be not that harsh (I hope).

Well, it sucks to hear that people in Vienna are enthusiastic about reporting other people. Luckily, the people in my town are more interested in the bike itself, rather than being hobby-lawyers.

I'd recommend that you take your time for investigating the legality-tipic referring your country. It took me more than a month of investigating all the regulations concerning e-bikes, s-pedelecs, pedelecs, etc. in Germany. It's a rather complex matter and there are a lot of legal limbos.

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Thanks for replying.  I did see somewhere that Austria has a 45 km/h and 500 W limit but it must have been referring to an S-pedelec.  I wouldn't mind getting insurance and getting it licensed, but I really wouldn't want to wear a motorcycle helmet.  I drove a gas scooter for a few years and wore a motorcycle helmet. I can't imagine wearing such a heavy helmet that limits your view and hearing while riding a bike.  I would think that from a risk perspective, it would actually be less safe because you'd be more likely to have a wreck in the first place.  

I haven't gotten the offer yet, so it may be irrelevant at this point anyway. But if I do, I think I'll end up getting an e-bike there so that I don't have to worry about the legal issues.  That's too bad because they are so much more expensive and under-powered there.  But it is what it is.  It would be worse to pay for a US e-bike and not be able to use it there or be constantly worried about getting caught.   

Happy riding and thanks again! 

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