Electric Bike Common Questions
Here are some of the questions we get asked frequ.. often, along with answers as well as some things to know you may not have thought to ask.
If you need to know something not here, feel free to make contact with us on the contact form at the bottom of this page or email us.
General questions about electric bikes first.
- Do I need a license to ride an electric bike?
You don’t for any of the bikes we sell (although the rules vary from State to State a little). The motors on our bikes are all under the power limits for the States and are also built to stop providing assistance once you get to about 25kph. If you are not sure, it doesn’t hurt to check.
- How far can I go on an electric bike?
You can go as far as you want. It is a bike after all, but if you mean under power then that is up to you. All our bikes have adjustable power settings so you can vary the power they provide during your ride. In addition not all our bikes have the same size battery. Bigger batteries will take you further. In general you are looking at between 30 and 80km.
- Do I have to pedal or are they like motorcycles?
It depends on the bike. All bikes have pedals, but not all have throttles on the handlebars. A lot are designed to only help you while you pedal. The smaller bikes and the trikes (three wheels) often have throttles. These are speed limited to around 6kph when using only the throttle.
- Can I control how fast they go?
Yes you can. This question is often asked when people are concerned the bike will ride off without them. The bikes are not like that. They are more like you’ve come across a gentle hill. The assistance is like that for most of the bikes. When you pedal they assist and when you stop pedalling they stop assisting. They also have a boost setting that determines how much they’ll assist your pedalling. The boost is set to cut out at around 25kph. Most of the bikes have better than normal brakes too since the inclusion of a battery means that an electric bike is a bit heavier and so it takes a little more brake than usual to stop them.
- What is their maximum speed?
As fast as you want to go just like any bike, but the power cuts out at 25kph so any faster than that is all you.
- Do I have to put my bike together when I get it?
No. If you get a bike from our shop it will have been assembled and tested. If we ship a bike to you then the level of assembly depends entirely on the bike. More often than not we fully assemble a bike being posted and just turn the handlebars to the side. If you want us to send you a bike have a chat to us first and we can work out the details.
- Are they hard to maintain and get parts for etcetera?
An electric bike is still more bike than electric which means most of the parts are standard bicycle parts and most maintenance is normal bike mechanic type of maintenance. The electric part is a little trickier and those parts you can get through us. Unless your bike is quite old. If it is an older model we can often figure out a workaround but there is no guarantee so contact us if you’re not sure.
- Will they work in the rain and deep puddles or will that stop them?
All of our electric bikes have the electrical parts sealed away from the environment. They aren’t waterproof though so don’t try to ride one on the bottom of your pool. Rain and puddles are thus no problem, but heavy floods might be. It is a good idea to keep your bike clean and dry though like any bike if you want to get the most out of it and the longest life.
- Will they fit on a normal bike rack?
It depends on which electric bike you get, but in general they are the same dimensions as a normal bike and thus fit a bike rack. The battery is the heaviest part of the bike and may put the centre of gravity in a different spot so if this is the case for your bike, take out the battery.
- How heavy are they?
Electric bikes are as heavy as a normal bike when the battery is out of them. There are two main types of battery; lead acid and lithium. Also there are obviously different sizes of batteries.
The lightest batteries are the Lithium ones and they can weigh as little as 3kg. The large Lead Acid may weigh as much as 10kg. So in total an electric bike will be around 15 to 25kg. Once again this value can vary a lot. The more expensive electric bikes weigh very little because of the higher quality frame materials, components and batteries.
We get a lot of questions about the batteries so here is a section just on electric bike batteries.
- How long does it take to charge up?
Depends on the size of the battery, but in general from dead flat to fully charged is around 2 hours from a mains supply. The temperature of the battery, its size, and its type all vary this value a bit, but that gives you a ball park figure.
- How heavy are they?
A battery can be as light as 3kg or as heavy as 10kg depending on their material and size. Lithium are lighter than Lead Acid for the same storage capacity and most electric bikes are lithium powered these days. This makes a full size road bike with battery around 20kg.
- If they go flat, can I still ride them or am I stuck?
If an electric bike runs out of power completely then you are now on a normal bike that happens to have a battery attached. All our bikes use brushless electric motors which means that when there is no power in the motor, there is also almost no resistance. Some bikes have geared electric motors and when your battery is empty your pedalling has to both push the bike and spin the motor.
- If I pedal, does that charge up the battery?
It would be good it if there was a switch to store pedal power at one part of the trip to use in a different part of the trip but that isn’t how electric bikes work. There is no regenerative capacity on any of our electric bikes (regenerative means that braking or hills turn the motors into generators. This happens in some electric cars, but electric bikes are too small so regenerative braking is just extra weight). The only thing pedalling on an electric bike does is move the bike and tell the motor to assist. Most of our bigger bikes won’t help you with the motor unless you are also pedalling.
- Do I need to run the battery down to empty to get the most life out of it?
No you don’t. In fact it is best if you don’t. The lithium batteries in most of our electric bikes prefer to be trickle charged back to full when you finish a ride. A lot of the bikes have a battery maintenance system built-in to preserve the battery life by handling the charge and discharge rates of the battery.
- How long does a battery last?
Depends on the battery. The Lead Acid batteries won’t cycle as many times as the Lithium batteries. Lead cycle around 500 times. Lithium closer to 800 times. This means that with typical use you can expect 5 years or more out of your battery. The majority of current electric bikes are lithium powered.
- Can I take out the battery?
Yes you can, but you don’t have to. All batteries can be charged either on or off the bike. Taking out the battery means you have the option to have a spare battery if you are away for a weekend trip away from power.
- Did you know that most of our electric bikes have a key lock that keeps the bike attached to the bike to limit battery theft.
Just something you may not have thought of. A big rechargeable battery is many hundreds of dollars so they can be attractive. Some of our electric bikes have the battery built into the frame (although they can still be removed) so that it isn’t even obvious that your bike is an electric one. All our bikes have a key that locks them into place on the bike.
- Can I get a spare battery?
Yes you can. You will need to get one specific to the type of electric bike you have. There is no universal standard electric battery defined yet.
- How much does it cost to charge up a battery?
Electricity prices vary quite a bit from state to state. Down here in Tasmania where we are based the electricity is currently quite expensive because drought means we have been getting our power from diesel generators, but normally we are hydroelectric and so are relatively cheap. Regardless of the price per kilowatt, charging up a 10 Amp Hour battery is still only around 10 cents of electricity.
- How much does a spare battery cost?
It depends on the type and size of battery. You are looking at several hundred dollars at a minimum, but the best way to find out is to give us a call and have a chat, or send us an email.
So there you go. With luck this FAQ has answered most of your questions. Contact us with any we’ve not covered using the contact form below or feel free to email us directly.