Cycling with the help of an electric motor is fun, fast, and you won’t arrive hot and sweaty.
It makes going up hills or carting children or luggage a breeze, and most of all you’ll feel like a kid again! New technology means that bikes now have a very useable range, are much lighter, climb fantastically and have a long life span. You can choose to buy a complete electric bike or convert an existing bike with a conversion kit. Electric bikes use is booming – they are the fastest growing bicycle category.
Riding with an electric motor can also be safer, particularly anywhere that you are riding in traffic – you’ll get off the stop line quicker and through intersections faster, all the better to stake your rightful claim to your bit of road.
Types of electric motor
There are many electric motors out there, and a fast pace of innovation and improvement. But the bulk of bicycle motors are front or rear hub motors (the motor is incorporated into the hub), or mid-drive motors, that are centrally mounted and drive the cranks and chain of the bicycle. Hub motors can be geared or direct-drive. The mid-drive motor gives the advantage of being able to use the bikes gears with the motor, making for better hill climbing.
A motor with a higher voltage will have more power on the hills and for acceleration. Think of voltage as the cubic capacity of a car engine.
All e-bikes need batteries to operate. They can be frame mounted, on the rear rack or within the motor itself. Larger batteries generally equate to longer range and faster speeds, and also higher cost. Batteries that are mounted separately have the advantage of being easily replaceable or upgradeable, while those that are contained within the hub (for instance the new Copenhagen Wheel) can allow for a very clean and simple design, but are limited in terms of range and power by the space that the design allows for.
A quick word of warning. There are many electric bikes out there and the list grows daily. Many are high end, well executed pieces of engineering, but there are also a lot of lemons! The rule of thumb here is you get what you pay for. Those cheapo generic bikes might look like a bargain, but you’re likely to be disappointed by poor performance and shoddy, even unsafe build and components. It’s always worth spending a bit more on a reputable product with proven technology.
- No sweat! You’ll arrive at your destination refreshed, not frazzled, and you won’t need a change of clothes or shower after your commute
- Parking is a cinch. You’ll no longer waste time and money looking for a parking spot, and you’ll be able to ride right to where you want to go.
- No more waiting in traffic. You’ll often beat the speed of a car commute in town, and don’t forget you can use the cycleways and bike lanes to spice up your commute too.
- Running costs are next to nothing: Your average day will cost less than 10 cents (up to 50 kms). Over one month, that’s only about $3.
- You will become more active and finally be able to work on your fitness goals. Rather than having a regular bike collect dust in the closet, you’ll find yourself looking forward to the next ride on an electric bike.
- You will burn calories and get more exercise on an electric bicycle, than if you take the car.
- Biking is proven to help improve coordination. Even if you haven’t cycled for years, well, it’s as easy as riding a bike!
- You’ll have more time enjoying your surroundings and fresh air.
- It’s a great de-stresser – you’ll benefit from a calmer start to your work day and a buzz that will stay until it’s time to bike home, especially in smaller towns where you can choose trails instead of roads.
- You can go further on an e-bike without worrying if you’ll have enough energy to cycle back. Take a weekend trip to the country or spend a day exploring.
- Electric bikes make it quick and easy to run errands. Drop the kids at school. Pick up the shopping. Add a rack and panniers or even a trailer and you’ve got all the load capacity you need. Step up to an electric cargo bike and you’ve got a viable car-replacement. According to the Ministry of Transport half of all trips in NZ are less than 6 km long (and 17% less than 2km long!), so biking makes good sense.
- Electric bikes do a great job of flattening out those pesky hills.
- E-bikes are a great leveller. If your partner is a sinewy cycle fanatic but you find it hard to keep up, an electric bike even out the gap!
Types of Electric Bikes
Electric Assist Cargo
Electric cargo bikes are the ultimate in car replacements. Suitable for carrying large loads of tools, children or business equipment with ease. A great option for a super low running cost vehicle for a family or business.
Most electric cargo bikes will have large batteries to accommodate for a busy day of riding and moving loads. Most new electric cargo bike owners rapidly form a love relationship with their electric cargos they become life’s new best friend!
Fine examples: Surly Big Dummy
Commuter style electric bikes are designed to suit the every day rider as a no stress alternative to the car. They are normally built for a pleasant ride, with mudguards, comfortable seats and luggage capacity. These bikes have power limits set to meet local laws. Most have an assisted range of about 30-40km.
They are designed mainly for on road use or light trail riding and are easy to ride with smooth power and easy handling characteristics.
Fine examples: Moustache Lundi, Moustache Friday, Smartmotion eCity
Electric Off Road
Off-road electric bikes or electric mountain bikes can be exempt from laws restricting speed and power so often have faster top speeds and more power than a commuter style bike.
They are usually built around a mountain bike style frame with front and rear suspension, while some high end designs are using custom made frames built to fit specific motors. Some models have a centrally mounted motor to improve weight distribution and allow for the use of gears to improve climbing. Due to the higher specification of parts these bikes tend to be more expensive than commuter styles.
Fine examples: Moustache Samedi 27/9
Electric Conversion Kits
An electric conversion kit allows you to turn the bike you love into an electric bike. It also allows you to choose any bike and get the latest components and design.
Someone with good bicycle mechanical skills can install a conversion kit or you can have a qualified bike shop do the install for you. Your bike can be restored easily to its original state later if you want to get a new bike and transfer the kit.
Choosing a kit can mean you can choose the power and range you prefer, creating the ultimate electric bike of your dreams.
Fine examples: Lekkie Summit, Stoke Monkey
We have a small but growing selection of Electric Bikes and conversion kits in the online shop, and many that can be ordered for you. If you don’t find what you are looking for in this website, or if you are unsure what is best for your needs, get in touch and we can help find the perfect Electric Bike for you, or help you convert your trusty steed to an electric cruiser.
For tips about owning an electric bike, download our e-Bike Owner’s Guide
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