How to Buy the Best Electric Bike in Australia | Ultimate Guide 2022
“I love how versatile they are!” This is what I heard from an e-bike lover cheerily getting her ride ready for grocery shopping. She went on telling me how she’s getting around these days, going to work, and even enjoying her weekend fun rides. “I just make sure the battery has got enough juice in it. After all, that’s what they are: Electric!” She said,
E-bikes- or Electric bikes- have been haunting me for a while now. I see them on every corner of streets, dirt roads, woods, and beaches in Australia! Seems like these bikes are made to run everywhere.
Electric bikes can be quite addictive! Coming in all shapes, colours, and sizes, they have one thing in common: They are there to cut a dash and add the joy of assistance to your transportation, daily commute, exercise, and even your off-road craze
Why are electric bikes popular?
Many believe that an e-bike is a combination of a bicycle and a motorcycle minus the disadvantages of both!
For example, when it comes to e-bikes vs bicycles, it is crystal clear that an e-bike offers a lot more than a bicycle does. E-bikes are easier to ride and the reason is you get constant assistance from a motor while pedalling. That option by itself makes your ride more versatile and gives you plenty of varieties of tracks and terrains to ride on.
Not to mention that it also gives more of a modern image to your ride and style, and who wouldn’t like that?!
Here is a list of all the upsides of e-bikes compared to other forms of transportation:
E-bikes are Green
With lithium-ion batteries and zero emissions, electric bikes are considered eco-friendly and they’re the number one choice for environmentally conscious commuters in Australia. So it would be good to know that by going electric you won’t be leaving footprints of fuel consumption and carbon emissions in the environment.
Electric bike is easily Portable
Compared to motorcycles, e-bikes are much easier to carry around. As interesting as it sounds, some riders have made it a part of their routine to carry their e-bikes with them onto the metro, bus, and even their cars and RVs so they can use the ride at the destination point. On top of that, e-bikes of the folding type make shifting even a lot easier.
Affordable and Cheap to Maintain
One thing for sure is that an e-bike will cost less than a car or a motorcycle. E-bikes come in a range of prices from less than $1000 to $10,000. But in most cases, if you’re not expecting too much of an e-bike, even a cheap one can do the job.
Besides, as long as you maintain your bike components, especially electric ones, and protect them from bad weather, water and dirt, you can save good money on maintenance too. Also, having a battery on your bike means you’re officially spared from paying for fuel and that means lower running costs.
Avoid the traffic with your electric bike
The average commute time in Australia these days includes 40 to 50 minutes of having to slow down or wait in traffic and this is increasing day by day. That is why most commuters, especially businessmen and women, decide to get around on e-bikes as a transportation solution, and believe it or not, these bikes are taking a part of the load off the city traffic in Australia.
Unlike a non-electric bicycle that requires vigorous pedalling and effort, especially on uphill roads, rocky paths, and even soft terrains (like beach sand or grass), an e-bike can easily assist you and lift most of the struggle off your legs.
Of course, based on your needs, you need to choose the right e-bike for yourself but whatever model you’re riding, you’re most likely to enjoy a long easy ride that wouldn’t be so possible on a regular bicycle.
As people see more and more e-bikes in the streets, they’re beginning to realise that e-bikes are almost doing pretty much the same job as motorcycles minus the noise. Without having to listen to the annoying noise of the engine and with just a bit of pedalling you can simply let your bike run on the throttle and take you where you want to go in silence.
No Licence, No Insurance
Owning an e-bike in Australia does not require any licence or insurance. That’s because compared to motorcycles, e-bikes are much easier to control due to their lighter weight and simpler mechanism. And this will save you both the trouble and the expenses of officially registering your vehicle and insuring it.
Important things to consider before buying an e-bike?
Let us give you some useful tips for buying an electric bike. Your decision to buy an e-bike is most probably a smart one, but with so many options, models, and features of e-bikes out there in the market, choosing an electric bike can be tricky, and it can get hard for you to know which e-bike will fit you the best. Without an electric bike buying guide, getting the right bike can turn into an endless task of comparisons and confusion.
So, if you want to make sure you are buying the e-bike that will best serve your taste and needs, there are a number of things you have to consider before making your purchase.
Size and Weight
If you already have an e-bike in mind, you should absolutely check the measurements before setting your sights on it.
Most e-bikes are indeed designed in a way that you can adjust their saddle height. But what about other parameters? You cannot change the size of a bike frame if you find it too large or too small after the purchase. Most e-bikes available online have a measurement chart showing the ideal height or weight of the rider.
Also, one more option to consider is the weight of the bike itself. At some point, you might have to lift your bike to load it onto a car or even public transport. You cannot expect an e-bike to weigh as light as a regular bicycle. After all, there are electric components like a battery and a motor fitted on it. Plus most e-bikes have wider and heavier tyres than non-electric bicycles which add to the weight. So, it is very important to check if you will be at least able to carry or lift it for a few seconds when needed.
A typical e-bike battery usually lasts somewhere between 2 to 4 years. But what differs from bike to bike is the range of the battery which is in fact the distance you can ride your bike before it needs a recharge. However, in most cases, e-bike batteries are designed to cover a long range (60 to 80KMs). Yet, whether the bike’s battery can do the job or not depends on a few factors.
For example, delivery riders normally end up travelling a longer daily distance than business commuters who only use their e-bikes to avoid traffic. Another example is off-road riders or campers who often stay off the grid for a long.
So whatever purposes you’re buying an e-bike for, be sure that the battery is not going to leave you high and dry when you need it the most.
Safety Features and Accessories
Are you going to need a grocery basket or a cup holder? Does the bike have the proper rack to hold your child’s seat, delivery box, surfboard, etc. ? Does it have a secure locking mechanism?
Buying an e-bike is not just about finding the model that feels right. It is also important to think about the features that will make things easier for you.
For example, if you’re going to be riding in the dark very often, you’d better go for the bike with integrated front and tail lights that are powered directly by the bike battery itself. Or if you are going to make too many short stops, you ought to choose the bike with a wheel lock that secures your bike effectively.
Saddle and Comfort
Comfort always matters. Especially if you’re going to get long rides frequently, the position of sitting will either make or spoil your day. Compared to most models, there are a few e-bikes that come with larger cushioned saddles and the most ergonomic designs. For example, DiroDi Rover is one of the large-saddled popular models in Australia that is focused on comfortable riding. Click here to see DiroDi Rover in detail.
Overall, one way to know about your position of riding is to get a test ride that is long enough to make sure your arms, legs, and back muscles will not be under pressure while cruising.
As mentioned above, e-bikes come in a wide range of prices from 1000 to 10000 dollars. If you are not planning on extreme off-road biking, you can count on some functional e-bikes in Australia sold for only less than $3000. These bikes are all stylish enough to turn heads and can be ridden on most terrains around the city.
Test-riding and Return Policy
Remember to look for a purchase with a reasonable return policy. It is totally acceptable to change your mind after the purchase and decide to return the bike and get your cash back in your pocket or change the bike with another model. So, whatever brand or model you go for, make sure you will be able to simply ask for a refund if you don’t like the bike.
Besides, some brands might push you into buying an e-bike without test-riding it. But you need to know that even when buying an e-bike online, you should be able to get a test ride before making the final purchase.
How to charge an electric bike?
First of all, in order to recharge your bike battery, you can simply use any wall sockets- the ones you plug your phone into. And normally, it takes 3 to 5 hours for your bike battery to reach full charge. In fact, charging an electric bike battery is much less complicated than charging a car battery.
One upside is that in most bikes, the battery is removable and that has made it easy for most riders to separately carry the battery into their homes and offices for charging through sockets. The feature of battery portability also has a lot more advantages such as protecting the battery from bad weather, dirt or even theft!
But much like any regular ion battery, there are some factors you need to keep in mind to give your battery the least damage and the longest life possible.
For instance, in most electric bikes, batteries last longer if you consider recharging as soon as you get the warning on your bike LCD or the battery indicator. Do NOT let your battery discharge down to %0 as it is pretty damaging.
Also, you’d better not leave your battery charging up to %100 especially if you intend to store the battery for a while. Your battery will be better off if charged at around %80 or so if it is going to be stored.
Can you ride an electric bike without a battery?
Let’s make this clear: an e-bike without a battery is NOT useless! It is just a modern-looking regular bicycle. This means if for any reason, your bike battery goes flat in the middle of the ride, you can simply continue pedalling only as vigorously as you would on a non-electric heavy bicycle.
Riding without a battery can even be a choice sometimes. It is true that most riders buy e-bikes to be able to get pedal assistance when they need it. But it is also a fact that now and then they feel like pedalling themselves without any aid, and e-bikes give you that flexibility.
3 Classes of E-bikes
As you may have heard, there is a system of classifying electric bikes which are adopted in Australia just like many other countries and states.
Class 1 e-bikes (also known as low-speed pedal-assisted) are NOT equipped with throttles and all you get is motor assistance only. The motor in class1 e-bikes will assist you while pedalling as long as you are going within the speed limit which is 25 km/h. Once you reach that speed the motor will stop functioning, but you can go on speeding up by pedalling only just like riding on a regular bicycle.
Class2 e-bikes (also known as low-speed throttle-assisted) already have the option of motor assistance just like class1. But there is a throttle too. The throttle is in fact what makes a class2 bike more versatile and flexible because it will let your bike speed up to 25 km/h without your pedalling.
In some cases, riders use this option for riding uphill or on difficult tracks where it can be challenging to pedal.
Class 3 e-bikes (also known as speed pedal-assisted) are high-power electric bikes with or without throttles on which your pedalling can be assisted up to 45 km/h.
Due to the feature of higher speed compared to class1 and 2, class 3 e-bikes are not legal on bike paths of city streets in Australia and that is one thing you need to take into account while buying an e-bike. A bike shop owner likely tells you it will be OK if you ride a class 3 on city streets. But trust us, once caught, you can be in real trouble!
Still, for adventure seekers who are planning to get their bikes off the road, on private property, farms and etc., class3 e-bikes can be an exhilarating experience.
What are the laws and regulations on electric bikes?
Electric bike rules in Australia are not that complicated. If you are going to run your bike in public streets around the cities in Australia, you need to make sure that the bike motor has only as much power as 250 watts and not more and remember that the speed limit is 25 km/h.
Apart from e-bike rules, you need to be aware of the general cycling rules as well. For example, you are not allowed to ride abreast of another rider in the street at a distance of more than 1.5 metres.
Also, remember to keep away from the flowing car traffic as long as there is a cycling path.
And more importantly, don’t forget that you and your passenger must both be wearing helmets while riding.
Visit our page to read all about Electric Bike Rules and Regulations in Australia
Do you need a licence for your e-bike?
Overall, when talking about rules and regulations, e-bikes normally have more in common with regular bicycles than motorcycles. So the good news is that no licence or insurance is required for e-bikes in Australia as long as your bike motor power and throttle features fit the rules and limits.
How hard is it to pedal an e-bike?
Some people say e-bikes can be difficult to pedal because they’re heavier than regular bikes. Well, e-bikes might be heavy to lift but not that heavy to turn pedalling into a struggle. After all, why would pedalling be hard when the motor is assisting you with it?!
However, some factors may make an e-bike sound difficult to ride in the beginning.
When you try an e-bike for the first time, you might feel like the bike is a bit tricky to handle and adjust. That is mostly because the mechanism seems to be complicated. That can make it uneasy about pedaling also. But as you gain control of the bike, you will see that not only does the pedalling feel smooth and easy but also it feels even safer to be on an e-bike rather than a non-electric one.
In fact, some riders even make it a habit to switch back and forth to pedalling mode only without motor assistance once in a while to get good exercise out of it.
The Best Voltage for an Electric Bike
Mostly, e-bike batteries come in a voltage range of 24V, 36V, 48V and 52V. Technically the higher the voltage, the more power it can provide.
Our suggestion, if you are not sure what voltage of battery your e-bike should have, you should consider how exactly you expect the bike to serve you.
For example, if you are going to do lots of uphill riding, you are most likely to need power on your bike and you should go for a battery with at least 48V. A 48V or 52V bike battery will show efficiency and power on dirt-road riding, rocky paths and any other track which can be considered difficult.
On the other hand, if you are planning to do regular cycling on flat ground in city streets, a 36 or lower-voltage bike battery will probably do the job. However, keep in mind that battery voltage is not the only factor that can affect your bike’s power and efficiency.
How Long Does an E-bike Motor Last?
A motor is the heart of an e-bike and is one of the electric system components that can live longer than any other part- provided that it is maintained carefully. In some cases, it can serve you for 10 years. The interesting fact is that the life span of an e-bike motor largely depends on the maintenance of other connected electric parts such as spokes, batteries and etc. So in order to get the most out of your bike motor you can :
- Check the spokes regularly in rear-hub or front-drive e-bikes, identify the loose or damaged ones and replace them.
- Check tyre pressure before every 1 or two rides, especially if you do long riding.
- Check the gears for faults and keep them clean, remove the dust and oil them frequently.
Overall, any maintenance habit that lifts the pressure off your bike motor, one way or another can positively affect the life of this vital component on your bike.
Does the electric bike motor location make a difference?
Each electric bike can have a different type of motor system with its pros and cons. Overall, the position of a motor on an e-bike eventually affects the performance as well as the price.
For example, normally bikes with a mid-drive system are the costliest among other types of e-bikes. The reason is, these bikes tend to be more balanced in weight distribution and as a result are easier and safer to handle. A bike with a mid-drive motor system usually goes a longer distance on a full battery charge compared to rear or front-drive systems. And of course, with the motor fitted on the centre of the bike frame, it will be easy to fix or replace flat tyres or damaged wheels as there is no motor mounted on them.
On the other hand, if the motor is fitted on the rear wheel centre (Hub-drive ebikes), the bike will be much more powered on uphill or difficult roads. Usually, these bikes will make you feel like you’re being pushed. One disadvantage is that in this system the wheel spokes might get damaged due to the pressure. And clearly, changing a flat tyre will be tricky.
There is also the third type called Front-drive or Front-wheel e-bikes in which the motor is positioned on the centre of the front wheel. Just like the rear-hub system, the front-wheel system may cause weight distribution issues. Also compared to the other two types of the motor system, a front-wheel bike is usually not expected to show powerful performance on mountain tracks or uphill roads. But it can be a good option for city commuters.
Finally, considering all features and options will help you decide on the best electric bike for yourself. But remember that nothing like a test ride can help you make sure about that decision. You should indeed take account of your budget and future maintenance, but at the end of the day, once you get on a bike and ride it in a real situation, the right bike will most probably feel right too.