Velo de Ville AEB 990 review – the sustainable all-round e-bike for everyday use

Sustainable & custom made in Germany - here is our Velo de Ville AEB 990 review.

Whether gravel bikes, panniers or even e-bikes: we take a look at companies that operate differently in a world of higher, faster, cheaper. We believe that values such as quality, regionality and fairness are the basis for sustainability in all its facets. And we have something in common with AT Zweirad GmbH – better known as Velo de Ville. In this article, we introduce you to the German bike manufacturer from Altenberge. We were also able to give an e-bike model from the Münsterland-based company a try and present our Velo de Ville AEB 990 review here.

Velo de Ville – bike manufacturer with experience, history and clear values

The history of Velo de Ville dates back to 1966. At that time, Albert Thiemann and Franz Ferlmann founded the “Ferlmann & Thiemann OHG”, which “… was to serve the purpose of distributing two-wheelers and technical articles …”. At that time, the bicycle was not exactly booming. In addition, the company was already based in Altenberge in Münsterland at the time. There were more than 25 bicycle wholesalers operating around Münster at these times. Will that go well?

Today we know: It went well. One of the reasons for this was undoubtedly the company’s philosophy, which was already pronounced at the time: basic values of humanity, uniqueness and diversity have characterised the company’s actions from then until today.

The business developed more and more from a pure sales organisation into a “real bicycle manufacturer”. The focus was on quality and individuality. Different frame heights, many frame colours, different colours of mudguards and brake cables were the beginning of this custom-made approach – which was anything but the standard in the 1980s.

In the meantime, Albert Thiemann had separated from his business partner and had been running his family business alone since 1978, which grew steadily and took on ever clearer contours. The first step towards manufacturing was taken with its own bicycle frame, the “UNA”. This was followed by an in-house powder coating process. The Münsterland-based company has been offering its first pedelec since 2009 – the basis for our Velo de Ville AEB 990 test bike and a real growth driver for the company, which moved to its current premises in Altenberge just a few years later.

Today, the 8,800 square metre facility houses a powder coating plant, two new assembly lines, an in-house impeller production facility and state-of-the-art warehouse technology. Another production building and new office space were added in 2020. Today, Velo de Ville has more than 300 employees from 20 nations.

Velo de Ville summarises its values concisely and to the point: “VELO DE VILLE stands for uniqueness, individuality and diversity. We offer quality and craftsmanship from Germany and believe in sustainability and social responsibility. Our customers count on comfortable, healthy and economical mobility in everyday life and leisure.” Would you like to find out more? Then you can do that here.

Velo de Ville – Custom bikes from the manufactory

If you want to buy an e-bike from Velo de Ville, it’s worth taking a look at your needs and wishes in advance. You can then compare these with the offer. Because individuality plays a major role in Velo de Ville bicycles. You can find all sorts of advice on the Velo de Ville website. You can also contact the bike manufacturer’s large dealer network.

Then you are ready for the configurator. You can put together your perfect bike or e-bike from a wide range of options. From the frame shape, colour and size to the equipment details – the options are impressive.

Our Custom Velo de Ville AEB 990 test bike

So let’s take a look at our Velo de Ville AEB 990 test bike! Our customised test package was put together from a wide range of configuration options. The selection options are by no means limited to the frame colour or size. You start by selecting the desired groupset. Even here, no important options are left unconsidered: You can opt for a classic derailleur or a down-to-earth Shimano hub gear.

Are you more the type for a fully automatic Enviolo hub gear or for the high-end Rohloff model? In our case, the test bike was equipped with an 11-speed Shimano CUES drivetrain.

Let’s move on: Next, choose the right frame shape. There are three variants to choose from: Wave, Trapeze and Diamond. Wave corresponds to the classic step-through model. Trapeze comes with a very steeply sloping top tube. This is a mix of wave and diamond, so to speak. The latter is the classic “men’s bike” frame shape. And that’s exactly what our test bike turned out to be.

In the further course of the configuration, you click through a variety of selection options. Then comes the frame height, which is of course particularly important. Now choose a colour. Equipment details follow: Would you like a bike with lights or one that comes completely clean without many attachments? How about the ergonomics package? Can it be a suspension fork? And which Bosch display system would you like to use? You can specify every detail and choose all kinds of useful accessories at the very end.

This includes the selection of luggage racks, front racks or a frame lock. Do you need an extra battery? Would you like to equip your bike with a GPS tracker? If everything fits, click on “Finish” and you can look forward to your “almost” custom e-bike from Münsterland. Incidentally, this comes in a sustainable “bike garage” made of cardboard with a reusable recycled protective film. You can return this packaging to the cycle via your retailer.

Highlights of our test configuration: Our Velo de Ville AEB 990 test bike is equipped with a suspension fork, a suspension seat post and a robust pannier rack. It also has lights and mudguards suitable for everyday use. It comes with a frame lock (for which we recommend this chain) and GPS smart module including use of the smart Velomate app. The frame colour is called “Olive Green matt”. In addition to the basic price of 4,049 euros, special equipment worth 1,627 euros was added, bringing the total price to 5,676 euros.

Our Velo de Ville AEB 990 test bike – what kind of e-bike is it?

Let’s take a closer look at this high-quality-looking, olive-green vehicle. Velo de Ville assigns it to the “Allround” category. This already gives a good indication of the intended use. Or rather the intended use: because Allround stands above all for versatility. Whether you are looking for a loyal companion for everyday use or would like to take your bike on a long e-bike journey: the AEB 990 should be able to do it all.

Incidentally, the Velo de Ville AEB 990 is the top model in the series. It differs from the cheaper models primarily in terms of the drive. It is equipped with the most powerful Bosch motor including fully networked, smart features. Specifically: A powerful Bosch Performance Line CX motor (85 Nm), a Bosch 625 Wh battery (surcharge 200 euros) and a Kiox system (surcharge 60 euros) are installed.

Thanks to the “full everyday equipment” with high-quality lights, mudguards and pannier rack, the bike is equipped for all kinds of everyday journeys. Shopping, to the doctor, visiting friends or simply enjoying a leisurely ride: It’s all possible with our Velo de Ville AEB 990 test bike.

Of course, the bike is neither a “super fancy” commuting bike nor a sporty gravel racer. The AEB 990 appeals more to classic cyclists who are looking for one thing above all: a well thought-out everyday bike that simply works. There are also many “inner” values that buyers consciously opt for: It is a very high-quality product that places great value on regionality. The Supernova lighting system, for example, comes from Gundelfingen in Baden-Württemberg. The tyres come from Schwalbe in the Bergisches Land region. They are also very concerned about the issue of sustainability.

The frame lock is from Abus in Wetter, the motor from Bosch in Stuttgart. Components such as the handlebars come from Humpert in Sauerland. Of course, not all of these products are manufactured 100% in the German company headquarters, but it is still recognisable: Velo de Ville tries to operate as regionally as possible. The paintwork and the entire assembly then take place in Münsterland. Of course, all this comes at a price. But you also get a very high-quality, durable and sustainable product.

Velo de Ville AEB 990 – Urban-Everyday-Trekking-Bike

The first ride on our test bike was perhaps not the best way to make a good first impression: It was to the dentist. At least the visit was half as bad. The ride there and back was all the better for it! Such trips are always much better on a bike than by other means of transport anyway: You’re moving, you’re out in the fresh air and you’re incredibly flexible.

With our Velo de Ville AEB 990 test bike, you are ready to go almost immediately and don’t have to worry about your bike. After all, this is one of the olive-green road racer’s specialities: comfortable everyday rides.

It didn’t matter that it was still a bit dusky early in the morning and that the road was still wet from the night’s downpour. The bike has lights and mudguards. Quickly hook in the bag, which can later be used to stow the thick winter jacket and hold the large bike lock. The integrated frame lock is quite handy, but of course does not offer really good theft protection. Unless you combine it with an Abus chain – that’s a great solution, of course.

In the city, you should always secure your bike additionally. Due to the lack of wheel brackets, we ended up with a metal railing in combination with a thick steel chain. This meant that Martin could sit in the dentist’s chair without any worries. And without sweating: one of the advantages of an e-bike. In the mountainous Sauerland region, it would hardly be possible to make such rides without perspiration without an electric motor.

Comfort plays a key role in the AEB 990. With this bike, you’ll be comfortable on the road every day. This is primarily due to the upright, relaxed riding position, which is mainly aimed at leisure cyclists, but not really at sporty riders. You don’t need to stretch out here – just take a seat. The adjustable stem allows you to customise the riding position to suit your preferences by precisely adjusting the handlebar position.

The fork and seatpost provide even more comfort by simply filtering out small bumps. To ensure they work optimally, you should adjust them to your body weight. With the fork, you can easily do this yourself by changing the air pressure. You can also adjust the compression damping on the move. In this way, the fork works super sensitively or is almost locked – all easily adjustable with a rotary knob without tools. The seat post is a little more complicated. This is adjusted to your weight using the appropriate spring. You should therefore order the appropriate spring at the same time and have it fitted by your dealer.

Expensive e-bikes and theft protection

A little preparation is needed so that you can lock up an expensive bike like our Velo de Ville AEB 990 test bike in the city with relative peace of mind. We always recommend good bike insurance. A high-quality lock is essential. In the case of an e-bike, you can follow the motto “a lot helps a lot”. Because it’s not so dramatic if the lock is heavy.

In the case of the Velo de Ville, there is also an interesting safety feature: the in-house Velomate app in combination with a GPS tracking module. Velo de Ville developed the technology for this in cooperation with the Darmstadt-based company IoT Venture. This produces the “It’s my Bike” GPS tracking module. This connects your bike to the internet and offers many smart functions.

The main function is the additional theft protection: if your bike is stolen, you can locate it via GPS and hopefully find it again. The app also offers an “accident function” that alerts previously created safety contacts if the sensor registers an accident. You can also record all your riding statistics or be reminded of maintenance appointments for your bike. Last but not least, you get a discounted insurance rate if you opt for the Velo de Ville insurance partner Alteos.

The GPS module itself is integrated almost invisibly into the frame of our Velo de Ville AEB 990 test bike. The tracker and a one-year app licence cost an extra 89 euros. After that, you can extend the app usage for 1, 3 or 5 years, which costs between 34.90 and 129.90 euros. You alone decide whether you need this. The fact is that the functions are sometimes very practical and give you a good feeling of security. Similar solutions elsewhere also cost money – here you have everything neatly integrated from a single source.

How long does the battery last on the Velo de Ville AEB 990 test bike?

This is of course one of the most exciting questions about an e-bike. Because one thing is also clear: Of course, such a bike can still be ridden without motor assistance. But with a weight of just under 30 kilos, that’s not much fun. Apart from that, it is also good to know how far the battery will last on your rides. If you have a feel for it, you can, for example, estimate whether you should recharge briefly with grid power. Or can you relax and wait until your own photovoltaic system provides free electricity because the sun will soon be shining again?

Unfortunately, this is a very exciting question and everyone would like a definitive answer. But there is no such thing. The range of an e-bike is just as individual as the area you live in, the luggage you are carrying and the power that comes out of your calves. It’s quite logical: if you only cycle on flat terrain, don’t have a load with you and also pedal a lot yourself and only ride in Eco mode anyway, your drive consumes very little energy.

As a result, the range of the battery is very long. If it’s constantly up and down in your area, your panniers are packed to the top and you like to be pushed up the hills in turbo mode, the battery will be empty in no time. At least there are a few fixed data such as the motor power and the battery capacity. You can “feed” the Bosch E-Bike Range Assistant with this data and a few personal details.

This will then give you a pretty good estimate of how long your battery is likely to last. Over time, you will develop a good sense of how long a battery charge will last under your own personal conditions anyway. The Kiox system also displays the estimated range. However, because the system is not able to see the future, this information is of course only a rough guide.

As an example, we would like to present two cases that we tried out in the Bosch Range Assistant.

Case 1:
You like to ride at maximum e-bike speed, i.e. 25 km/h, and want maximum support, i.e. ride in turbo mode. You live in the low mountain range, weigh 85 kilograms and cycle mostly on good tarmac. It’s only slightly windy and you’re travelling in summer. Then one battery charge will take you around 60 kilometres.

Case 2:
You’re riding on flat terrain, there’s no wind and you’re on a long tour without any major stop-and-go. You ride at a comfortable 20 km/h and weigh only 70 kilograms. In this case, your battery will most likely last more than 170 kilometres.

As you can see from these two cases, the range is huge. The external conditions alone, such as wind, the nature of the paths or the temperature, can make a big difference. As much as we would like to give it: There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of battery range. However, you can get a good impression with the Bosch E-Bike Range Assistant – the rest is down to your experience.

In the end, however, one thing is clear: With the large 625 Wh battery from Bosch, we never even came close to the red zone of the battery during our normal everyday use of the bike. Even if you live in the countryside and the distances are greater, you are well advised to use this set-up.

To keep it that way for a long time, we recommend that you take good care of your e-bike battery. This will not only get you further – it will also save you money and is simply more sustainable. We have compiled more information on this and what you can do if your battery is really faulty here.

Velo de Ville AEB 990 test bike: What didn’t we like so much, what did we particularly like?

Let’s start with the very slight deductions “in the B grade”. There is actually only one point at which we can imagine an upgrade. That is the drive. The derailleur works well and reliably. If you’ve ever ridden a geared hub with a belt drive, you can imagine why we would wish for this. Such a drive is simply super convenient to use and virtually maintenance-free. We consider this upgrade to be particularly useful on an all-round e-bike for everyday use.

One fly in the ointment is the “control module” on the left-hand side of the handlebars. The additional light button and the rather space-intensive bell make it all a bit confusing in our opinion. It’s also a bit of a shame that the light control of the fantastic Supernova light isn’t integrated into the Bosch system and isn’t shown correctly on the display.

Otherwise there is nothing to complain about. Special kudos go to the good tyres and the high-quality lighting system. The suspension fork, which you can adjust precisely to your weight using the air pressure, also scores points. This combination ensures that the Velo de Ville AEB 990 Test Bike also feels at home on unpaved paths. Small detours on forest paths or meadow trails were a lot of fun.

A cool upgrade, if you have Ortlieb bags with Quick-Lock system like we do, is the corresponding Ortlieb pannier rack add-on. And, of course, the Bosch drive also reaps its laurels. It is extremely powerful and the battery range is more than sufficient. The drive integrates seamlessly into your pedalling rhythm. Only the quiet whirring (and of course the built-in “tailwind”) gives away the fact that you are riding an e-bike.

If you like using digital features, the Bosch Kiox system and the GPS tracker are worth mentioning. The Kiox display makes your bike “smart” and shows you all kinds of riding data. You can track your ride and synchronise it with komoot, for example. The Kiox 300 also offers you an (albeit minimalist) navigation function. We have already described the range of functions of the Velomate app with the associated GPS tracker above. Of course, both electronic helpers only make sense if you are interested in them and want to use the functions. Otherwise, just leave them out. So you save some money and enjoy the fact that your bike can ride just as well!

Velo de Ville AEB 990 – our final opinion

Bicycles are the most important tool for a successful transport transition. This is particularly true of e-bikes, as they allow almost everyone to leave their car behind. Velo de Ville ensures that bicycles and e-bikes are sustainable in every respect. This starts with the friendly, open corporate culture. It leads to extremely well thought-out, high-quality, durable and regionally manufactured bicycles such as our Velo de Ville AEB 990 test bike. How this bike is created is without a doubt the big highlight of this test for us!

But that would all be for nothing if the bike didn’t deliver what it promises. But that’s exactly what it does: Our Velo de Ville AEB 900 test bike is a comfort-orientated all-rounder for everyone. Whether in everyday life, at the weekend or on holiday: with this e-bike you are comfortable and safe on the road. The robust frame and high-quality add-on parts make it a loyal companion. All you have to do is charge it, sit on it and enjoy. The numerous configuration options really do make it your personal bike that you can rely on for many, many years.

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