2019 Electric Bike Buyer’s Guide Australia

It’s the 21st century, and while we may not have flying cars yet, we do have electric bikes. You’ll see electric bikes more and more as they become a popular mode of transportation across Australia. Heres our guide filled with everything you need to know about buying and owning an electric bike.

What is an electric bike?

When you think about an electric bike, think “possibilities,” in a similar way you may think about a “regular” bicycle. Then, take the idea to the next level, because this type of bike can be the ultimate in transportation and give you an enjoyable activity at the same time. Keep this in mind: You don’t have to be a cycling enthusiast (yet) to enjoy an e-bike. It’s a great way to get up on two wheels without having to depend only on pedal power.

To answer the question, this is a bicycle that also has an electric motor to assist you. There are a few options, including hub assist, but you’ll find the pedelec design has become extremely popular with enthusiasts and may be right for you. The motor is located in the same area as the pedals, to giving you extra power (depending on how much you use the pedals). As you shop for your new e-bike with the help of this guide, you’ll learn about functional pedals, throttle-based systems, and whether your bike is subject to motor vehicle rules and regulations.

Man riding bike through city

How are they different from a traditional bicycle? 

The differences between the electric bike and the regular, classic bicycle are basic, in that they look very similar when standing side by side. However, when you look a bit closer, even the novice will see a number of differences. You can also think of the difference this way: Riding either one can be enjoyable, though a regular bicycle will probably exhaust you more quickly!

The frame and other parts on the bike powered by electricity are generally a bit more durable, built stronger to handle the added power and increase in weight. Most of the e-bikes available have a power output of 250 watts, though there are some variations.

Man riding bike over bridge

Are there any laws around riding an electric bike in Australia?

In general terms, you will be following the same road rules and common-sense guidelines as you would with a standard bicycle. But the use of the e-bike is also guided by power limits and speed limits. The regulations applied to this bike, such as the limit on watts, are easy enough to understand.

If your bike has electric assistance, the output of the motor will be no more than 200 watts for a pedal cycle with throttle. This limit also applies to bikes with a hub-driven auxiliary motor. The limit increases to 250 watts for certified pedelec bikes. These are considered “power-assisted pedal” transportation.

As you shop for your bike and talk with a trusted supplier, you’ll also hear about the speed limit of 25 kilometres per hour (kph). If you exceed this limit with the motor, the system will decrease assistance and you’ll find yourself using your own power. This limit is placed on bikes for safety purposes. If you plan to use your new bike in the United States, you’ll find the wattage output and speed limits are somewhat different.

Couple holding bikes in park

How much does an electric bike cost?

Prices range from $800 to $15,000+ but generally around the $1500 mark. As you can imagine, there are a lot of options and differences to account for this array of prices. Some of the differences can be explained by the variety of e-bike types – mountain bikes, city/folding bikes, bikes designed to carry cargo and so on.

E-bikes offer a number of benefits not available with the standard, pedal-powered bicycle. The list includes:

  • Quicker trips to work, school, shops
  • Less physical effort, less sweat
  • Great option for cities and other busy areas
  • They’re fun (OK, regular bikes can be fun too)
  • Two bicycles in one – electric assist and standard pedal power
  • Hills aren’t as difficult
  • Easier on the joints
red bike handles and frame

The best place to go with any questions about electric bikes is your local bike shop.

Not too sure where the nearest bike shop to you is? We’ll show you! Put your suburb in the search bar below and we’ll show you every bike shop in your area, as well as when they’re open.

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      Brit McDowell

      Lifestyle Specialist & Subject Matter Expert

      Brit McDowell is a Product Specialist at Localsearch with a background in marketing, business and tourism management. Aside from her specialisation in technical processes, Brit is known for her green thumb and growing succulent collection, love of dogs (especially Dalmatians), eye for home interior and fervour for travel. Brit is also a Lifestyle Specialist on the Localsearch Blog and enjoys sharing her research and knowledge in home and gardening services, food, beauty and general lifestyle tips and tricks.