Neither a bicycle nor a motorcycle, an ‘E-Bike’ is any bicycle with an electric motor integrated or attached to it.
‘Throttle’ electric bikes operate by the twist of a handlebar or push of a button which surges power to the back wheel, like a motorbike.
‘Pedal assist’ electric bike technology only contributes power when the rider is pedalling. There are different levels of assistance (either automatic or manual) for situations like riding up hills.
Sales of E-Bikes are exploding worldwide, due to affluent aging populations, Climate Change policies and the global popularity of mountain biking.
Cycling offroad conventionally is fun if going downhill, or if you’re slender and fit enough to pedal up the short, but steep gradients of Sydney bush trails. Regardless of where your body is at, mountain biking is always hard due to the sheer intensity of skill and effort required to ride technical terrain. Surely you didn’t expect a sport and recreation with the word ‘mountain’ in it, to be easy, did you? E-Bikes however, have taken the mountain out of mountain biking, so now everyone from portly gentlemen to grande dames like me can relax and quietly enjoy cycling deep into the bush with friends and family. Everyone gets fitter, stronger and happier because they are not utterly shattered after every ride. And you can keep up. And you feel like a 21 year old again. Nice! But, there’s a big Naughty List out on the roads, where e-bikes that are legally supposed to be limited to 200 or 250 watts have been known to be tampered with to produce much higher power, or the speed limiter that restricts power assistance to speeds under 25km/h gets ‘modified.’ Consequently, throttle- controlled E-Bikes with questionable power output are springing up everywhere, particularly in the food delivery sector. Consequently we have motorcycles, which require registration and a licensed rider, masquerading as bicycles. Pepperoni Pizza with that, anyone?
Across Australia, state authorities haven’t quite caught up or caught on yet… so trendy users of powered bikes, scooters or self-balancing devices have been left in e-limbo. These personal conveyances can’t be registered, technically making them illegal if used on public roads or footpaths or inside Parks.
Whether you are for or against E-Bikes, the fact remains that choosing to get from A to B without using a private car helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, traffic congestion and our reliance on oil. Additional benefits include dollops of fun outdoors, improved mental and physical health, and reduction of wider environmental impacts from fossil fueled transportation.
Just say “EEEE !” and remain Merry and Bright, all year round.
RESEARCH, TEST RIDE & BUY
DURAL: The Odd Spoke, Unit 23/286 New Line Rd, PH: 96539388
THORNLEIGH: Sydney Electric Bikes: 274a Pennant Hills Rd PH: 0411 897760
VINEYARD: Lifestyle and Leisure: 444 Windsor Rd, PH: 96276626
ONLINE: Bicycles Online (based in Northern Beaches) https://www.bicyclesonline. com.au
BE GOOD! Cycle commuting and road riding: Get a folding e-bike from $800, a ‘nice’ bike path commuter from $2500 or a very ‘naughty’ top of the range E-Cannondale for $13,000.
Offroad Cycling: Sleek and sophisticated, today’s E-mtb models perform well over the most technical terrain AND they look sexy ! (I have my eye on the beautifully designed 2020 Liv Giant women specific e-mtb’s). Browse models by global brands Merida, Polygon, Marin, Trek, BMC, Scott, NORCO and more. Expect a naughty or nice price tag of between $4500 to $9500 to get the bike build quality and battery time to enjoy cycling offroad for up to 4 hours. E-Mtb’s have Walk, Eco, Trail and Boost power settings, assisting only when you must pedal, or walk the bike (They weigh in @ approx. 22kg)