Electric bike reviews

Test results for 18 electric bike options ranging in price from $1050 to $3299.
 
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01 .Introduction

CHOICE checks out electric bikes

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.

On this page:

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.

Brands and Models tested

  • 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 

How RideOn Tests

RideOn 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.
 
 

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We've included the best from each type of electric bicycle option, including the fully kitted out bike, conversion kit and folding bicycle from RideOn's test.

3 CHOICE buys

Gazelle Orange Plus Innergy XT (2013)

Scored 96/100 | $329996%

Good points:

  • Simplest, most user friendly of all e-bikes tested, with subtle, effective assistance
  • Beautifully constructed and accessorised: Shimano Nexus 7 hub gear
  • Puncture-resistant tyres

Bad points:

  • Single button for assistance levels, however only three levels to scroll through
  • Quite expensive
  • Pedal assistance only

 

Bionx Conversion Kit

Scored 90/100 | $198490%

Good points:

  • Powerful and easy to control via good, clear display
  • Four levels of assistance and regenerative braking
  • Pedal or throttle assist options

Bad points:

  • Regenerative braking is really only useful for long descents
  • Requires installation by dealer ($100-$150)

 

Dahon Bullet Ezee

Scored 87/100 | $204987%

Good points:

  • Both pedal and throttle assist
  • Shimano 6-speed rear derailleur with Revoshift twist grip

Bad points:

  • No puncture resistant tyres

 
 

Instructions

Comparison table list

  • By default ALL tested products are listed. You can select up to five items to view in a side-by-side comparison.
  • Additional columns can be viewed by using the Next/Previous buttons.

Using the filters

  • Use the filters to show only products that meet your specific requirements or which have the specific features you're interested in. Selecting filters automatically updates the Comparison table list.
  • The number shown in brackets represents the number of products that will be shown if you select that filter. 
  • You can view additional filters by selecting the Show more filters button.

Compare products

 
Table Allowing the user to select a number of products dependant on their filter options.
Items to compare

Select up to 5 items below.
Then click the compare button

Compare
 
Price ($)Overall scoreFunctionQualityPriceAppearanceThrottle / Pedal AssistPuncture-resistant tyresBatteryMotorTypePositionAdjustabilityRideClaimed rangeContactUpdates from distributorBrand
                   
Orange Plus Innergy XT (2013)3299963938910Pedal onlyYes36v 9AhGazelle
Forza244993384096BothYes36v 11AhEzee
Street239993374088BothYes36v 11AhEzee
Classic1899923736109Pedal onlyYes36v 11AhOrdica
Torq Alfine324991.538407.56BothYes36v 11AhEzee
Easy Motion Neo City2449913636910Pedal onlyNo36v 9AhBH
Element Lux2449913636910Throttle onlyNo36v 11AhPromovec
Conversion Kit198490363879250w Pedal or 200w bothna37v 9AhBionx
Sprint244990364086BothYes36v 11AhEzee
Balance Innergy (2013)319590363879Pedal onlyYes36v 9AhGazelle
Legato/Maestro 3-speed199590363699Pedal onlyNo36v 11AhPower Ped
Easy Motion Neo Cross2499883436810BothYes36v 9AhBH
Easy Motion Neo Race2799883436810BothNo36v 9AhBH
Swift Conversion kit105088363688Throttle onlyna36v 9AhSolarbike
Bullet Ezee204987353697BothNo36v 11AhDahon
Super-light e-bike299585343588250w Pedal or 200w throttleNo36v 9AhNuibike
Sonata179585343489Pedal onlyNo24v 9AhPower Ped
Easy Motion Neo Jumper329984.534346.510Pedal onlyNo36v 9AhBH
Quando200083.532387.56BothYes36v 11AhEzee
Mantis Li14199582323488BothNo36v 14AhPower Ped
Commuter269578313188Pedal onlyNo36v 10AhPedego
Tracker179575303276BothNo36v 10AhPower Ped
Tango259574303266Bothns36v 9AhHirun
Cruiser229574292889Pedal onlyNo36v 10AhPedego
Mountain229072282879Pedal onlyNo36v 10AhEnvi
Tricicletta290066262668Throttle onlyNo36v 9AhItalwin
Compare

How RideOn Tests

RideOn 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 setup, 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.

Using the table

Scores Scores The overall score is made up of: Functionality, 40; Quality, 40; Price, 10; Appearance, 10. Price Recommended retail, as of January 2014.

Table Notes: na Not applicable. ns Not stated.

Updates from distributor Since RideOn undertook testing in June 2013, there may have been some changes to the bicycles tested. We've contacted each distributor to see if there were any updates and have put these into this column. 

For further information, see the July 2013 issue of Ride On magazine, or visit rideonmagazine.com.au.
Accessories such as racks with panniers, lights, mudguards and chain guards, locks and pumps are all convenient to have on board when using any bicycle, although they all add weight.

A throttle is useful if you’re unable to pedal, quite tired from pedalling or taking off from a standing start. However, this drains the battery faster than just pedal-assist. A combination of throttle capability and pedal-assist may be best.

Front hub motor means easier maintenance if you need to remove the wheel for a puncture. Rear hub motors can be quite complex for maintenance.

Puncture-resistant tyres will lessen the potential for repairing the tyres, which is useful if you have a rear hub motor.

Higher watt motor means more torque or take-off potential from a standing start. All will be set from 200-250W for legal reasons, but a 350W limited to 250W will give greater torque than a 250W motor.


Battery and travel distance - As a basic guide, a 36V 10Ah battery (360Wh), which is a very common capacity for an e-bike battery, will take you 50km using the highest level of assistance or 100km using the lowest level of assistance. A 36V 9Ah battery (324Wh) will provide about 40 or 80km and a 36V 14Ah battery (504Wh) should take you 55 or 120km. Hills, headwinds and carrying a lot of weight drain the battery further, and using a throttle drains the battery more quickly than a pedal assist system does.