FAQ ABOUT EBIKES

Before you leap into anything new, it pays to know what you’re getting. And get Frequentely Ask Questions, Answered. Maybe it takes some of the thrill out of life, but there will still be plenty of ways to get your adrenalin pumping AFTER you buy your ideal bike.

Many of our customers are curious about ebikes that are making up an increasing percentage of the bicycles seen on our paths and roads, and want to see for themselves what they’re all about. 

We’ve compiled a selection of the most frequently asked questions from customers. We can get down to the more fun questions like “which one can I test ride” when you’re visiting our store.

How fast does it go? (And can I make it go faster?)

Your ebike can assist you ride up to 25km/h; this is the maximum speed that Australian laws permit a pedal-assist (or ‘pedelec’) to assist the rider. 

After you reach 25km/h you may still reach a faster speed if you have enough momentum (i.e. if you’re going downhill) or if you pedal strongly.

How far does it go?

‘How far’ is almost like asking how long is the proverbial piece of string? A number of factors influence how long the battery will last between charges:

1) Battery capacity – the larger the capacity, the further you can ride before needing to recharge. Depending on the brand and style of ebike (commuter, cargo, mountain etc), batteries raange from 300Wh to over 700Wh. The most common battery size is a 400Wh battery, which has an average range of 80km to 120km

2) Terrain and Weather – the more you rely on your motor to assist you up hills, the faster your battery charge will be used. A strong headwind will have the same effect (although a good tailwind could mean you don’t need as much, or any, assistance). 

Temperature can also affect performance. Days of very low (below 5C) and very high temperatures (over 35C) are less ideal for your battery and may reduce the range you would otherwise achieve.

3) Load – all bikes come with a maximum “load” rating which is the total weight of the rider + luggage + bike. If you regularly carry a large/heavy load on your ebike, you may need a higher performance motor as well as a larger capacity battery. 

4) Tyres – Wide and chunky tyres have their place (i.e. on mountain bikes) but they’re not ideal on your average commuter or leisure bike. Even if you’re planning to explore some of our state’s fabulous Rail Trails, you don’t need big chunky tyres. 

Regularly checking your tyre pressure and riding to conditions will do more to ensure you’re smiling the whole way, every ride. Under-inflated tyres increase rolling resistance and the likelihood of a puncture. Over-inflated tyres lead to an uncomfortable ride and tyres wearing out too soon.

Is there a throttle?

No, none of the ebikes we stock have a throttle. To be legal, an ebike with a throttle must not have a motor larger than 200W. Our pedelec range (where you have to keep pedalling for the motor to assist) can legally have a motor up to 250W. 

Most throttle-controlled ebikes entering the country are unlikely to meet Vic Roads definition of what constitutes a power assisted bicycle

Will it get me up the hill?

Definitely. You will still need to use the manual gears to make your pedalling comfortable (both how fast your legs are going up and down and how hard you need to push down on the pedals). But the motor will be powerful enough to get you up hills and cancel out headwind… You can even carry a large load and barely notice it.

Can I take it off road?

Some bikes are better suited to “off road” than others, as are some riders. Generally speaking, an unsealed surface is fine as long as there is a firm base to the trail/track. If you’re looking to ride on soft sand, across deep/loose gravel or take jumps. Then you will definitely need more than your average commuter ebike. We can still assist you with an e-Gravel or e-Mountain bike, just let us know your requirements!

Are they waterproof?

Yes, you can ride in the rain and even hose down your bike if you’ve got it mucky – just don’t take them swimming! 

Riding or living near salty environments will require a little more care of your battery and bike to help prevent corrosion. 

Are they popular?

Ebikes are already very popular locally and internationally, and local ebike rider numbers are set to steadily rise just as they have done globally. Supply of ebikes may be a little patchy due to the flow-on effects of Covid-19 on supply chains. With the increasing uptake of ebikes as a mode of transport, but we still have a great range of styles available for customers in store.

Which is best for me?

Consider what you need from your ebike. The best bike for you will be the one that fulfills most of that list. Typical considerations are:

  • Comfort – if it’s not comfortable (and can’t be adjusted) you won’t ride it. This can be a combination of factors including frame style (step-thru/trapeze/triangle), riding posture (how upright or not you are), frame size.
  • Handling – is it easy to ride? Will it be easy to get in and out of where you plan to store it at home and/or at work? 
  • Carrying capacity – how much will you need to carry? Do you have to lug children or your children’s school gear around with you? Or nothing much at all?
  • Budget – price is a reflection of battery size, how much the motor can handle, and the rest of the bike’s components (lights, brake levers, drive chain etc). Depending on your riding needs we will help you identify the bike that will meet those requirements so you don’t buy a square peg for a round hole (metaphorically speaking).

Why are they so expensive?

Having been around for over 200 years, bicycle manufacturers have pretty much got the basics down pat – for unassisted bicycles. 

Adding a motor to a bike in a way that ensures rider safety (through frame integrity and quality electrical components) whilst also providing a really good riding experience has taken a bit of time, and is still being refined. So much research and development is being done by brands to make your experience the best yet.

That being said, the most significant factor contributing to the higher prices are the electric parts; the motor and the battery, neither of which are cheap. A replacement Bosch 400Wh battery costs ~$1,000. 

Many bikes in our range are fitted with either Shimano or Bosch electric components. Both brands have high quality engines providing reliability, and timely after sale support when required. The motors control the power being output in an intuitive/natural way, assuring the rider of power when needful but otherwise feeling like you’re riding on a cloud!

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