07 Sep E-Bike Buyer Guide
Curious about these fancy new electric bicycles? Have you seen people happily riding along the trails or commuting to work on one?
We’ve put together a beginner’s guide with all the basics and what you need to know about the world of e-bikes.
HOW THEY WORK
e-Bikes use an electric motor somewhere on the bike to help propel you forwards. There’s a few different types, but we’ll focus on the mid-drive systems that mount the motor around the bottom bracket. They use a battery mounted on, or inside, the down tube to supply power to the motor.
They use a “pedal assist” system where the motor only works when you’re pedalling. It’s not like a motorbike or scooter where you twist a throttle and the bike moves. You have to pedal for the motor to help you out.
All e-bikes we sell are programmed to only use the motor until you reach 25kph in accordance with Australian law – more on this below.
Each e-bike has different power settings so you can choose how much of a boost you’d like. The lower settings are great for accelerating from traffic lights, or going up low inclines. The higher power settings can help you get up really steep hills. It’s amazing what you can climb with the motor helping you out.
There’s a small control unit on the handlebars of each bike so you give a quick flick of your thumb and adjust power as you go.
TYPES OF E-BIKE
The last couple of years have seen an explosion in eBikes and the industry is diversifying quickly. There’s a type of eBike for just about everyone.
Right now we sell commuter-focused e-bikes and electric mountain bikes (e-MTB). The commuter bikes have a comfortable upright position and slick tyres for rolling around on the tarmac. Some include racks and mounting points for people who want to carry some gear with them. Commuter e-bikes will are brilliant for all of your utility and leisure travel. Use them for getting to work during the week, and rolling to the cafe on the weekend. Short trips are a breeze on e-bikes and reduce your reliance on the car.
We have a range of e-MTBs for anyone who wants to hit the trails. There’s an e-MTB for every rider whether you want a hardtail, XC weapon, enduro, and even long-travel downhillers. Adelaide is a killer place to ride an e-MTB with stacks of trails and parks near the city. E-MTBs are very capable bikes for getting around. You can ride it into work all week then hit the dirt at the weekend.
There’s an emerging market or electric road bikes. Currently we don’t stock any road e-bikes but we’re watching it very closely for the future. The Adelaide Hills, particularly those around our store, are incredible for riding road bikes. There’s gorgeous roads and cafe-laden towns dotted all across the map. For those wanting to explore, got a little further, or keep up with their ride buddies, road e-bikes can be brilliant.
One of the great things about e-bikes is just how many people and different types of rider can benefit from them.
Commuters love e-Bikes. Not only do they liberate people from cars, but they can get you to-and-from work with much less effort than a regular bike. That means you’re not sweaty and exhausted to start your day. You can even ride in your work clothes without having to change outfits when you arrive. The pedal assist gets you up to 25 km/h cruising speed in no time and then you just pedal gently to maintain it. There’s more and more bike infrastructure springing up to make your ride easier and safer.
Some people buy e-bikes so they can ride with faster people. The motor can help kids keep up with their parents, or even parents keep up with their kids! Perhaps your partner is a strong cyclist, or some of your mates, and you still want to join them without slowing them down. Anyone with an injury or condition that means they can’t train much can buy an eBike and still head out for a lovely ride.
Our electric Mountain Bikes have been popular with people who want to spend more going down the trails, and spend less energy climbing. You cover more distance, throw it down more runs, and ride more trails when you don’t have to struggle your way up the the top again. The motor could mean you don’t need a shuttle van to get you back up after a run.
Anyone who wants to ride more for less effort will love an e-bike.
We have a detailed battery guide so we’ll just cover the basics here.
E-bikes use a rechargeable lithium ion battery with varying capacities depending on what bike you buy. The battery and motor work in glorious tandem to move you forwards.
These aren’t paltry little laptop or phone batteries. They will help you move for hours. Most commuters will go days without recharging their batteries. Even the hardcore e-MTB riders will have to work very hard to empty their batteries in a single ride and spend a lot of their rime climbing.
Once you’re low on juice you just plug them into mains power and let it replenish. It’ll take a few hours from empty to full and be ready for your next ride.
AUSTRALIAN EBIKE LAWS AND REGULATIONS
Don’t worry, every eBike in our store is completely legal in Australia so you won’t break any laws by riding one. Laws are quite simple, and restrict how much power and speed of the bikes.
Currently all eBike motors in Australia must are limited to:
- 200w without a pedal assist system
- 250w with a pedal assist system
- 25kph maximum speed limit.
Obviously you can put out as many watts as your legs are capable of, and are allowed over 25 kph (speed limit depending) but you can’t get any help from the motor. It might sound limiting, but it’s a useable amount of power. Once the motor stops helping, you’ve had the help to accelerate and then it’s a matter of cruising along.
Buying an e-bike guarantees future support for changes in regulations. The growing e-bike market in Australia means there could be changes in legislation in the next few years. So we can help you if the power limit or speed limit is raised. We’ll plug it into the manufacturer’s software and make sure your bike is up to date.
WE’RE HERE TO HELP
Get in touch if you need any more information or help choosing the right e-bike for you. Whether you need a work commuter, trail shredder, downhill destroyer, or cafe cruiser, we can help you find it.
We’re equipped to service all brands and types of e-bike too. Head to our servicing page to book in a service.
Cheers and ride awesome!
-The WIll Ride team