Thanks to RideOn magazine for allowing us to reproduce their results of 26 electric bike options, priced from $1050 to $3299.
There are many reasons you may prefer an electric bicycle to a purely pedal-powered model:
- You don’t want to cycle as hard, as your workplace doesn’t have shower facilities.
- You’re recovering from an injury.
- You want to be able to take off more easily from an intersection.
- You want to keep up with other cyclists.
- You live in a hilly area.
Electric bikes work by assisting your pedal movement as you’re riding – they cut in when your speed drops below a certain level. You won’t get pedal assist beyond about 27.5km/h. Some have a throttle, so you don’t have to pedal at all, and some have both throttle and pedal assist.
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For more information about Bikes and cycling, see Bikes.
Costs and limitations
They’re expensive, ranging from $1050 for a conversion kit for your existing bike to more than $3000 for a ready-made cycle with all the trimmings such as lights, racks and panniers. They generally come with guards for wheels and the chain, making bike commuting a cleaner prospect.
However, there are limitations. Whether you use a conversion kit to turn your current bike into an electric version or buy one ready-made, it means more weight – up to 27kg for a ready-made bicycle. Also, they only get you so far before needing a recharge. One claims a limit of 30km, while another claims up to a more impressive 100km before needing a recharge. Most give a broad claim because it depends on a number of variables such as whether you use the throttle and the topography of the area. Typical recharge time is four-six hours.
How do they run?
All the bikes on test have lithium-ion battery packs with 8Ah-14Ah capacity, and voltage from 24V-37V. They range from 200W-250W – you need a licence for anything more powerful. You can expect the batteries to last for about 500 charges, and replacements cost between $395 and $550. If you charge only partially, this does not count as a full recharge but a fraction of a full charge. Check the manual for proper battery charge maintenance.
While these bikes are gaining traction in the cycle market, there are some height limitations. Taller riders may find their choices limited.
- BH Easy Motion Neo City
- BH Easy Motion Neo Cross
- BH Easy Motion Neo Jumper
- BH Easy Motion Neo Race
- Bionx Conversion Kit
- Dahon Bullet Ezee
- Envi Mountain
- Ezee Forza
- Ezee Quando
- Ezee Sprint
- Ezee Street
- Ezee Torq Alfine
- Gazelle Orange Plus Innergy XT (2013)
- Gazelle Balance Innergy (2013)
- Hirun Tango
- Italwin Tricicletta
- Nuibike Super-light e-bike
- Ordica Classic
- Pedego Commuter
- Pedego Cruiser
- Power Ped Legato/Maestro 3-speed
- Power Ped Mantis Li14
- Power Ped Sonata
- Power Ped Tracker
- Promovec Element Lux
- Solarbike Swift Conversion kit
test using a strict series of criteria, all of which are weighted equally for their overall score.
- Functionality: how well the product does what it’s supposed to do, including ease of set-up, operation, usability and maintenance.
- Quality: how the product is put together and the longevity of construction
- Price: is the product worth the price?
- Appearance: how the product looks.