Electrical bicycles in Australia are nowadays easier to spot; you can find them in the streets without looking too hard. Even though Australia doesn’t match up to Europe in terms of cycling, the advantages of e-bikes have initiated a sharp growth in purchase and usage within its cities. E-bikes have transformed the way Australians travel and most users have replaced day-to-day commuting with electric bikes.
As more people embrace motorized bikes, sellers work on better technologies to serve a broader market.
But first, how legal are e-bikes in Australia?
In plain terms, electric bikes are legal. However, the floor gets slippery when we define the word ‘bicycle’ against e-bikes. So, for your bike to be considered legal, you must be able to pedal your e-bike like normal bicycles. Advances in technology have seen e-bike sellers introduce pedal assisted e-bikes. The e-bikes assist while pedaling to a certain extent and therefore make riding on difficult terrains easier. They are also faster than normal bikes. The pedelecs (a common term in Europe) have motors that use up to 250W of electric battery power.
In defining what’s not legal, Australian laws restrict the power of e-bikes to 250W and speeds of not more than 25km/hr. The speed normally comes preset by the manufacturer, although you can de-register it- in which your e-bike won’t be legal anymore! The use of throttles in e-bikes is another tricky path. Once you see someone heading past 30km/h without pedaling, then consider that e-bike illegal.
Now that we are familiar with Australian laws, let us have a look at some of the best Australian brands launching e-bikes in 2018-2019:
AVE Bikes have always been on the forefront of performance-based technologies especially with the well-known Bosch-powered drive systems. The Australian based company switched ownership about three years ago resulting in a fresh launch of advanced electric bikes back in 2018.
Ave MH11 Compact Nuvinci e-Bike
Riding on an AVE e-bike is quite an experience and the bikes have pretty much standard designs. The first ‘Made in Australia’ e-bikes, launched on 3 March 2018, saw a release of three main models of e-bikes; Ave SH11 Adventure Crossbar, Ave TH11 Adventure Stepthrough, and Ave mh11 Compact Nuvinci e-bike, all with Bosch CX.
Ave TH11 Adventure Stepthrough e-Bike
Well, if you think I missed out the Ave TH11 Rennsport Carbon, you’re probably right. The fourth model by AVE has some interesting background to it. Having a bright orange appeal and hand-made carbon frames, the e-bike is AVE’s best trim yet. Carbon brake levers as well as 4-piston brake calipers have been mounted on this e-bike, coupled with unique one lever gear shifting straight form California based BOX components.
Earlier before its launch, one local seller had the chance to get the AVE Carbon TH11 before the release date. Unfortunately, the bike was stolen one month before the launch, and even the suspect caught on camera. The local seller later offered a $5000 reward for anyone who knew whereabouts of the bright orange electric bicycle. At a retail of $7000, at least AVE should start thinking of fitting their future models with GPS.
All in all, AVE have (no pun intended) had quite a jump in 2018, and the four trims of e-bikes prompted a growing customer base. After going through reviews of several buyers, the e-bike’s performance is pretty much the same as US-based Scott’s range of e-bikes, which uses Bosch CX technology as well. However, Scott has already released 2019 models of electric bicycles and is not looking to stop anytime soon!
After what was a business trip to China, Dave and Naomi Dyson soon discovered the rising popularity of e-bikes in China and were keen to bring back their own brand to Australia. It took them less than a year to start Dyson e-bikes as the first model was built back in 2014.
Dyson Adventurer e-Bike
Fast forward to 2019 and they are still producing efficient e-bikes with the latest model, Hard Tail Evo, rolled out early this year. Although the company is still trying to find its name in the Australian market, the Hard Tail Evo has a lot to offer than most budget e-bikes.
Many e-bike manufacturers bulk up their two-wheelers with large components, you would think it’s a DIY project. Dyson e-bikes look more streamlined and you may confuse them with normal bikes. The Hardtail Evo is built with standard frames made of aluminum and a sturdy black shade finished off with a satin coat. They also mounted Suntour NEX front suspension forks in case things get a little bumpy off-road.
Contrary to most high performance mountain e-bikes components, the Hardtail Evo is a little bit toned down and is better suited commuting around the city. The Shimano Alvin 9 speed gear fitted in Hardtail Evo allows the e-bike to shift accelerations up to a mere 25 km/hr. You can take the speed blame to Australian laws…at least for now.
Another popular brand based in New Zealand has acquired its popularity not only through sale of e-bikes, but also in conversion kits. In our previous reviews, we have already discussed about Bafang series of electric conversion kits. Installing mid-drive motors is quite easy and anyone can do it themselves at home- just follow instructions carefully.
However, DIY installations may not be the case this year. Bafang has beefed up the market with a fresh model of mid-drive electric motor (Bafang Ultra) that has capabilities of powering up to 2Kw. Yes, that is a cool 2000W! The 2019 model can only be mounted on a special mounting plate that will need some welding. So purchasing the conversion kit definitely guarantees a visit to the garage before hitting the streets.
Bafang Ultra Max (2019)
The kit is already used in some e-bike models with Canadian made Biktrix Ultra leading the pack. The e-bike costs about $2,999 and looking at similar priced models released this year, Australians will find this a great bargain. We expect more companies to adopt the mid-drive kit later this year.
Luna also has a great variety of e-bikes, our highlight leading us to the kids section. The two Yotsuba motor e-bikes only go for about 1420aud with lockable speeds just to make sure those little hands don’t power up. This electric bike weighs only 2kg and accommodates 6-12 year old kids. Although the tiny e-bikes are Japanese made, it is worth mentioning since Luna should be the only certified seller of Yotsuba e-bikes.
Yotsuba Moto 12 and 16 respectively
Australian manufacturers have grown so big that companies like Stealth Hangar export almost 50 percent their e-bike models overseas. On the other side of Australia, Skillion stretched a little bit when they announced the Skillion Police electric Bike. The e-bike caters for the police force and with interesting features such as extra sturdy frames, GPS tracker, sirens, and lights, and radios, Skillion definitely had an edge in the market. An even more intriguing feature is the ‘chase mode’ setting that when activated, overrides legal speed settings (20kph) turning the e-bike into an anti-theft device. Skillion hasn’t indicated the price of the police e-bike yet. I think we may have to ask the local authorities for an answer!
Australians have brought a wave in the e-bike industry and we may see craftier designs as we approach the end of 2019. However, Tourer couldn’t wait any longer as they revealed their foldable line of e-bikes early in the year. The eTourer F2 will be our final skinny on best of 2018-2019 e-bikes in Australia.
eTourer (e-Bike F2)
Going for about AU$1,500, the eTourer is not only a budget e-bike but also one of the best folding bikes in 2019. The F2 features a nice folding design, great for stowing away the bike when not in use. The F2 has a 250-watt Bafang hub drive motor mounted at the rear wheel coupled with a Li-ion battery system that can go up to 40 kilometers. The LED lights on the front and rear, a pannier rack able to hold up to 20kg of weight, are some highlights of the eTourer F2.
The foldable bike has a step-through aluminum frame, easily mountable as compared to similarly priced models.
The seat post is also easily adjustable and suits riders of different heights. eTourer is a keen company when it comes to performance, and their six-speed Shimano Tourney drivetrain didn’t come by surprise. The braking system is also an industry standard with Tekro mechanical disc brakes installed.
Where to Buy
The prices mentioned in the above range of e-bikes are an average of the online price tags and not on local stores. If you are an online buyer, then consider using a few trusted sites to avoid scammers and overvalued e-bikes.
While buying at the store seems more than convenient, online shopping can save you lots of money. eBay for instance, has huge sales and most items can be bought at an auction (although second-hand products). Ebay is popular but you have to be careful as it is not entirely professional (delays, product not as described, etc.). Gumtree is probably the most popular in Australia and most companies advertise here. The online platform hosts many used e-bikes that go from a few hundred dollars to a couple of thousands.
Even though Amazon is similar to eBay, you may not have many choices. The prices are competitive, but something like a replacement part is not Amazon’s daily cup of tea. However, if you want to get your e-bikes from Chinese manufacturers, consider Elecycles, a new entrant in the selling industry that has lots of e-bikes and replacement parts as well. The company is very professional and their service is quite recommendable. A single purchase at Elecycles could take days if not weeks. Just be a little patient and you will have your package delivered.
Either way, whether you buy from Amazon, Elecycles, Gumtree, etc. the e-bike industry is here to stay and Australia is just getting warmed up. Europe and Asia may be one foot ahead, but the popularity of e-bike lovers in the Aussie States is sprouting at a significant rate. Expect more e-bikes this year from companies like Pedego, Volt, iZip, Rad, etc…try one if you haven’t. You will surely enjoy it!