Aug 25, 2021 Canyon.com
Aug 25, 2021 Canyon.com

Everything you need to know about taking your bike on a train

Most forms of public transport allow you to take your e-bike with you. Follow these tips for a safe and pleasant journey.

Everything you need to know about taking your bike on a train Taking an e-bike on a train. Photo by Florian van Duyn on Unsplash

Most forms of public transport allow you to take your e-bike with you. Follow these tips for a safe and pleasant journey.

Whether you’re using your e-bike to get to the train station on your daily commute or are planning to go on a cycling vacation by train: there are a few things you need to know, and the rules aren’t the same across all local, regional, and long-distance operators. It’s best to figure out your options and fares for taking an e-bike with you ahead of time.

E-bikes on Deutsche Bahn trains

Deutsche Bahn generally allows bikes and e-bikes on trains, though certain rules apply. Special bikes, such as tandems or cargo bikes, which take up a lot more space than normal bikes, are excluded. The conductor has final say on whether any particular bike is allowed on the train.

If the train is full, the bike stays off. During rush hour, you may not be allowed to take a bike or e-bike on the train. E-bikes that are (officially) faster than 25 km/h are also excluded.

E-bikes on local transport: Regional trains, S-Bahn, Subway

The German railway network is operated by Deutsche Bahn, but many trains are operated by other entities. As a result, there is no universal set of rules for taking e-bikes on trains. Ultimately, you will have to look up the rules with the operator of your train.

Bicycle tickets can be purchased at ticket machines, online, or via app. Look for a multi-purpose compartment with foldable seats that offer more room for bikes. These wagons are often marked with a bike symbol and typically found at one end of a train.

All-day fares on regional trains (IRE, RE, RB, or S-Bahn) tend to range between 6€ and 8€. Conditions and fares may vary on buses, trams, and subway trains.

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E-bikes on long-distance trains

First of all, note that not every long-distance train (IC, EC, ICE) has a multi-purpose or bicycle compartment. You should reserve a spot for your bike ahead of time. These reservations are typically included in the bicycle fare and can be booked up to half a year in advance.

Bicycle tickets including an e-bike reservation cost around 8€ on domestic routes and 9€ on international routes. With a BahnCard 100, the reservation is free.

Don’t forget: Bicycle tickets (and bicycle space reservations ) for long-distance trains must be booked in advance One ticket costs 8€, or 5.40€ with a BahnCard, and 9€ for international travel. However, there is no guaranteed right to transport a bike. If the train is too full, you will have to leave your e-bike behind.

But there’s also good news: Especially on the weekends and during the summer months, additional trains and luggage compartments are deployed on highly frequented routes to meet the increased demand for bicycle spaces.

Important advice for taking an e-bike on the train

  • Battery: e-bike batteries must remain mounted on the bike at all times. Otherwise, they would be classified as dangerous goods and require special packaging. This also applies to any spare batteries. If they cannot be mounted on the e-bike, you will need special packaging. One more thing: you’re also not allowed to charge your battery on the train.
  • Weight: e-bikes are significantly heavier than conventional bikes that are easy to lift, with many models weighing between 25 and 30 kg. You should find out in advance whether there is a bike-friendly way to get on the train.
  • Small bikes: e-bikes and bicycles with up to 16 inch wheels are always allowed on long-distance trains as a free luggage item. However, you need to pack them accordingly and store them in the designated luggage areas. This works especially well with folding bicycles.
  • Your bike or e-bike should never block the doors of the train or the driver’s compartment. Please also be mindful of passengers with disabilities or strollers. You should always let them get on or off first.
  • Car position indicator: on long distance train platforms, you can see exactly how the wagons will be lined up along the platform. You should check this information with the wagon number on your bicycle space reservation. You can also find this information on the DB smartphone app. Remember to take off your panniers – they might not fit through the doors.

Other bike transport options

If you don’t want to take your e-bike on the train but still want to ride it at your destination, you can send it there in advance. Deutsche Bahn and Hermes offer bike shipping for around 50€ But there are also other providers.

There are some important things to know about packing your e-bike for shipping. First of all, you should make sure the value of your bike is insured against theft and transport damage. E-bikes are often worth several thousand Euros.

Another option might be to rent a bike at your destination. For shorter rides, this is probably the easier - and often cheaper - solution. Almost all major tourist destinations have well-stocked bike rentals nowadays.

If you still need some equipment for your next cycling trip or are simply looking for a great e-bike, have a look at our online store. We offer a huge selection of high-quality e-MTBs and other bikes with and without electrical support.

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