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Are you thinking about an electric bike?

Jonno Leonard - Thursday, June 22, 2017

If you are thinking about buying an electric bike, here are some things to keep in mind during the selection process.

Where should you look?

So you want to join the electric bicycle community? There may be a number of reasons why you are looking to get an electric bicycle. Perhaps you are being affected by the rising gas prices or are sick of being stuck in traffic. Or perhaps you want to get some exercise and join in on the growing popularity of bikes in your city. Whatever your reason, e-bikes are a great alternative to driving and can be an effective motivator for getting outdoors and away from the TV.


Electric bikes are useful for anyone who would otherwise drive, especially for seniors who would like some pedal assistance. By eliminating many of the hurdles that conventional bike owners face, from that sinking feeling of attempting to cycle to the top of a steep hill to concerns about getting hot and bothered on the way to their chosen destination, e-bikes help to ease the transition to cycling proficiency as one builds one’s bike riding confidence and fitness. Surprisingly cheap to run and extremely quiet, e-bikes offer a realistic method of helping to improve mobility and fitness. Basically, they help make cycling fun.


So where do you start? It may be difficult to figure out what kind of electric bike you want to invest in. There are many shapes, models and motors available on the market today. From the power of the motor to the price, multiple factors can affect your purchase decision. The choices can be a bit overwhelming for biking novices. While some e-bikes may rank very high in the reviews, it is important to consider what is best for your particular needs.

 It is highly recommended that you buy an electric bike from your local dealer. Local dealers will have a huge range of electric bikes for sale that you will be able to test ride. There are a wide variety of e-bike types to try, including commuter, mountain, road and beach cruiser. Even if the stock bike doesn’t fit your needs perfectly, most bike shops will be able to make the adjustments necessary to make it more comfortable. In addition, you will get an idea of how the different bikes perform and handle.

It is a good idea to test ride as many e-bikes as you can to get a feeling for which type fits you the best. Another good reason to buy a bike from your local dealer is that they will be able to help you with repairs and maintenance and handle possible warranty issues.

How much power do you need?

High power systems are fun if you are looking for a rush, but they are generally heavier because they need a larger battery to give you a decent range. Some of the bikes with high power systems feel more like a motorcycle and less like a bicycle. Depending on your needs, lighter bikes can be enough for everyday riding. Test riding a number of different electric bikes with different power and motor types will help you determine what is right for your riding. Remember though, that the legal limit for an e-bike to remain a bicycle in New Zealand is 300W output. High-powered ebikes technically do not qualify for 'bicycle' use.

How much range do you need?

Having a lot of range seems like the right way to go but this can incur a significant cost. The battery pack is generally the most expensive part of an e-bike so determining your realistic range is important. Most standard e-bikes have around a 400 watt hour battery pack that will provide 30-40 kilometres of range depending on the riding conditions, how much pedal power you are providing and how much weight you are moving. The watt hours are the capacity of the battery pack. This measured is determined by multiplying the volts with the amp hours (e.g. 36 volts x 11ah = 396 watt hours). Where battery options exxist, Think Electric Bikes will generally stock the larger option, feeling that extra range is generally a welcome thing.

An additional tip is that if you are commuting to work, you may want to keep an extra charger at the office so that you can top off your battery for the ride home. This is an inexpensive way to extend your range.

How much should you spend?

It is important to evaluate how often you think you will use your electric bike so that you can determine your price range. For example, if you will be riding occasionally then you may not need the highest quality bike with all the bells and whistles. If you will be riding a lot, then you will need a bike that can handle the daily miles with reliable components. These bikes generally have high quality batteries that can last many charge cycles. But keep in mind that high tech features such as larger batteries and full suspension generally means you will be looking at a high price tag.

These are some tips to help you choose the best electric bike for you. Most important, however, is that you enjoy the rides! So try not to get too bogged down with the technical details. Just go with an e-bike that is comfortable to ride and performs the way you want it to.


For more information about where to go to find the best electric bike for you, check out our website or visit our store. Currently we have a pop up store in Devonport village that offers rentals bicycles and e-bikes, open Thursday to Sunday (winter hours), and retail sales and the chance to demo any bikes you want at 25 Lake Road. Try them out!

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