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Amazing content!! I also have a blog, Geekwake
Hey, you mention the new XCity with the downtube battery. Any idea when that’s due to be released ?
Sorry, I don’t know when it is coming
We’ve had the new 24″ wheel version of these thru at work, it’s is a very impressive bike too, motor has 90nm of pull and the knobbly 24″ wheels means it will pretty much climb a cliff face!
Looking at a car-replacement type bike (i.e. a longtail style). These seem to range from late $4k for an Ezee Expedir up to $9k+ for a Tern GSD or a Yuba. There’s also a Hikobike Ute with a mid drive Bafang, which seems to be a good unit. I suspect that the Hiko may be manufactured through a company that lists on Alibaba, so although the bits seem OK it gives me pause, especially given that they say they are ‘designed in NZ’. Anyone bought a cargo bike/longtail to transport kids and gear? If so, what have your experiences been? I live in Dunedin, so hills and weather are a given and the bike needs to hack it. Interested in hearing any feedback or recommendations.
Hi there; I just bought a 2020 Merida eOne Sixty 8000 and am mightily impressed except for Shimano’s infamous software customisation app called eTube Project.
I repeatedly get to the window on my ipad or iphone that invites me to ‘pair’ withthe SCE8000 display unit via Bluetooth and enter a passcode (which comes standard as “000000”), then get a message “Unable to authenticate”.
Of course, there is no web portal for asking Shimano direct and its FAQ page is essentially useless. Have you heard of anyone experiencing this problem and did they find a solution?
Hello. A very useful review, thank you. One question if I may: have the NZ Specialized dealers officially confirmed that bikes sold in NZ will have the speed limit set at 45kph and not the EU/Aus limit of 25kph? Thanks in advance.
Has anybody got problems with rattles in the Smartmotion Hypersonic. I’ve got one up front but cannot track it down. Added a pad inside the battery area but did not seem to make any difference. Any hints appreciated. Mark
Just saw a YouTube video about cable rattle in MTB down tubes. My issue is really bad on big bumpy downhills. Hypersonic had 3 cables in there!
Have had my HyperSonic for over a year and have upgraded it with an external Dropper and tubeless Maxxis Assagai Front and Aggressor Rear. Take it regularly on my local Black Diamond runs in Australia which are very dry and dusty (take the easier lines due to the limits of the 120mm suspension), but have never had or heard any rattles whatsoever. Also, I have two batteries, a 11.5 and 15aH. Irrespective what battery I use.
Thx for the comment and I have not tested the bike to the degree you have. Also in Australia. Still a novice. However, had a puncture and had extreme difficulty in breaking the bead on the Schwalbe tyres. Had to use a heat gun until they smoked to get them off. Now use slime. About to get a second battery for more range. Rode recently with 2 other guys on different emtb brands and did not realise how quiet our bike motor is. Also better power. Thx, Mark
Also bought a second battery. Exact same size, but more capacity. Over the past year have decreased my pedal assist down to an average 2 and sometimes 3 as I have become fitter, lighter and have worked out the right gear selection for maximum effect on all surfaces in torque and cadence mode.
Am a moderator for a worldwide eMTB Forum based in the UK with nearly 7,000 members and it surprises me with the number of issues that come up with the “name” brands. Noise is one of those and agree that the Bafang motor is one of the quietest and marginally more powerful ones around.
Extremely happy with my Hypersonic which is excellent value for money backed up with great service by Ian here in Oz.
BTW, also added Renthal 800mm FatBars with a 4″ rise and has improved the bike’s handling for me, especially pumping the bike around local bush pump tracks.
Enjoy the ride👍🏻
Hi Mick, relooked at your email. Could you please indicate where you get your bike serviced – “Ian”. I am in Adelaide but have had poor service with basic questions from the Australian Smartmotion office – I do not think they look at their own website. I actually rang an Auckland NZ dealer to ask about a battery price – he was 100% on the bike. I got my bike from MiCycles here in Adelaide. The proper “dealer” closed down some time ago. Thanks, Mark. PS, still trying to solve the rattle. The cable grommets into the down tube are hard plastic and glued in!
Living the dream, lucky you
Earmarked for my bucket list 😉
Hi, how does the 21ah battery compare with the standard issue battery?
Hi Desmond , Well with 756wh it will out perform most other battery ranges on the market. Some Hubdrive models will carry more Wh. But being Hubdrive they will be less efficient than Midrive. I get way past 100km on the 21ah version weighing in at 100 Kg on the fastest 40-45km/h setting. At that rate I do put in effort though – on throttle alone its much less . regards chris
I have an E-Zee Sprint step through. Bought by my wife for my seventieth birthday. The first two years of use I was living in Wellington and commuting to Johnsonville regularly, cycling up Ngaio Gorge. I chose an E-Zee sprint as it was good value, and well equipped. A sturdy, no nonsense sort of bike and I actually liked its traditional look, now improved with a Brooks sprung saddle (highly recommended as you can’t fit a sprung seat tube). I liked it better than more expensive options as it was much more powerful hill climbing, had an accelerator and assistance to around 37kph. e.g. my wife road the E-Zee Sprint up Brooklyn hill at 27 kph without too much extra effort. These attributes are a real safety feature when commuting in traffic, being able to keep up and get away quickly. So much of what is the “best” e-bike is what you intend to use it for. I would have preferred a mid drive, but most of them then were limited in speed and power. The front hub motor can be “clattery” and noisy at times on higher assist levels. And I’d never buy a bicycle with derailleur gears, hub gears are much better for the sort of use I make of my bicycle. I’ve done only 3,500 kms so far but it’s been a reliable work horse. The original distributors have stopped supplying this make, and they say they’ve had a lot of problems with them, but I am surprised as they are relatively simple and sturdy, my experience is fine and the present distributors challenge this claim (obviously!) The cycle is sturdy enough for the better kept cycle trails. You don’t need that many speeds (for commuting or touring) with an electric motor, contrary to one person’s contribution here. I now live in Martinborough, which is pretty flat, and my biking is now just for pleasure and keeping fit. The E-Zee sprint perhaps is less suited for this, as it’s heavy and the need for it being so fast and powerful is less. Most of the time I’m pedalling without assistance, just using for steeper or longer hills and wind, so a lighter, more nimble bicycle might suit better. I was really impressed by the e-bike kit provided provided by Lekkie, and was tempted by the model I tried . That way you can find the bicycle you’d really like, and electrify it with a mid-motor, with torque sensor and accelerator. The motor is a Bafang and is noticeably much quieter than all the other e-bikes I tried. I think the cost of having this kit fitted is about $2,000. If I did decide to change my electric bike, this is the way I’d go, though I’d try and find a bicycle where the battery can fitted on the down tube and not over the rear wheel for better weight distribution. I’d also avoid having anything too complicated electronically. KISS.
Hi John, FYI the distributor of eZee is now Electric Bike Team in Auckland. Take what the other guys said with a pinch of salt. They are one of the most reliable bikes around which is one reason they are popular for fleets.
Thanks guys for these responses but I posted that query some months ago and have since bought a bike. I remain very interested in hub-gears esp the Alfino but I wanted a MTB or “hybrid” style and I noticed that no brand in NZ used that gear system on those styles. Well, affordable ones anyway. I figured there had to be reason for that. Maybe weight, ratios or reliability?? In the end I bought a Giant Hybrid E. At $3400 it was a good deal BUT I’ve learnt a lot about E bikes and Torpedo 7 in the process and I’ll do better next time. Cheers, Win
I tried couple of ebike racks
1. Bike barns ebike rack (BnB rack) which serves the purpose but is quite heavy to load and unload from towbar, doesn’t fold like ezigrip rack, but the spacing between bikes and support for large wheelbase, tires is excellent with adjustable’s but doesn’t come with integrated tail light or number board. I sold this as it was quite heavy carrying and also on towball.
2. Thule 925, this is one of the most over rated e bike rack I have come across, if you have two eMTB’s which are almost same size with different suspensions, don’t ever go for this rack. The spacing between bikes so narrow, the holder positions are so difficult to get through if you have two identical bikes as the bike holding arm is placed on one side rather than in the middle. So I found it very difficult to get it right and took me lot of time, so returned it back.
Now I am left with no bike rack and I need one to get around.
1. From the pictures above I can see that the holding arm is quite small to hold the to tube? I have a full suspension bike and I cannot use the seat tube to hold the bike and it’s an EMTB, so how can I make sure to hold the bike with the holding arm?
2. I am not sure what’s the download weight on your towbar, my car can only support 50kgs. my 2 ebikes are around 40kgs ( without batteries while travelling on bike rack), I can see that ezigrip bike rack weighs 18kgs+, which would be 58kgs in total on the towbar way above my rating weight. Can somone provide me with any options on carrying them around.
Hi everyone. If you want the best one for every situation then the new Buzzrack E-Scorpion 2 beats the others hands down!!!
See the following link for more info: https://www.sunandsnow.co.nz/collections/buzzrack/products/e-scorpion-2
P.S. The Ezigrip E-Bike rack is just a down market version of the standard Buzzrack Scorpion 2 (confusing name similarity…but they already had it named before we could comment). The std Scorpion 2 has a few upgrades as compared to the Ezigrip one and is the same price. All are made in the same (Buzzrack) factory.
E-Scorpion 2 features: Takes longer wheel bases, more gap between bikes, more frame attachment positions, wider/fatter wheel supports (takes fat bikes without any accessory), lighter, more stable, easier to load….and the list goes on. The only problem is that the first shipment has sold so well that there is very limited stock until early December 2019. But you can pre-order for that shipment.
We still have plenty of the standard version available. See: https://www.sunandsnow.co.nz/collections/buzzrack/products/scorpion-e-bike-carrier
Be great if you could continue testing e-trikes. They would get me out of using my car as a shopping trolley.
I have recently purchased a bike capped at 32kph…. any idea if it is possible to remove the limit or increase it… when the assist swtiches off of the flat it is like the brakes are going on.
Hi Damian, probably not easily unless it was a dealer imposed limit. You can install a “dongle” to trick the controller, but the manufacturer are gradually closing loopholes that make that possible. 32 isn’t a bad speed to be limited to though unless your needs are for long distance commuting, in which case a different bike might be needed.
I find that you can do 45kms on a full charge with 14.5 ah battery. Also 300w So not as far as I had estimated.
I’ve had one of these for 16 months, put 11,000kms, been entirely drama free. One puncture at 9,000kms, otherwise just normal consumables like brakes pads and chains.
Handles a 50km round trip without issue, battery starting to fade a bit, will probably replace it after summer.
Highly recommend, was cash positive in 6 months, after 9 months we went from two to one cars. Financially it’s the best purchase I’ve ever made.
I have been using an electric trike for the past 3 years, following a major brain surgery that left me physically disabled/paralysed leg and with major fatigue. I previously enjoyed cycling for recreation. My e-trike is a godsend. Once I overcame my initial anxiety and got used to the e-function, (only took me a couple of trials) I was away! It has a brake, so have never had an issue with it running over my foot! I added a strap to stop my paralysed foot slipping off the pedal. I can free pedal, pedal and use throttle, or just throttle. Good for going up hills, not so good if it’s wet. No reverse but it’s manageable. I use on both footpaths and sometimes on quiet roads.
Really awesome review… definitely want to know more when the aluminum version comes out.
Hi, have you found anything out about the Hikobike yet? I’m thinking of purchasing my first ever ebike and when I saw this bike at Mystery Creek, it looked good.
I haven’t reviewed any Hiko bikes in recent times. You get what you pay for. I think your best buys lie with Main brands unless you want something they don’t have.
Hi Tim, I have 3 e-bikes, a Reid Urban+, Merida eOne Twenty 500, duel suspension MTB and a Wilier eAdventure. I use my Merida as a daily commute and in the past 18 months have clocked 12500km. A typical commute is usually 32 to 40km return and 320 meters of climbing. Where I live south of Adelaide I have some great trails, MTB park, linear trails and beach front shared use paths to choose from. I vary my rides all the time and on the weekends will carry a second battery in an Oveja Negra top tube bag to give me a range of around 100km and up to 1000m of climbing. I describe riding a big heavy duel suspension MTB as like driving a big barge Ford Fairlane, big, comfortable, stable, plenty of power and performers great in the hills. Clocking up so my km has its down side. The main thing is having to change the chain and cassette around every 3000km and the rear tyres and disk pads. Though I bought a load of WTB Bridger tyres a while ago for $20 each. Amazingly I have never had to have the wheels trued. The duel suspension is perfect for my commute but may not be the ideal bike for everyone.
Has anyone worked out how to change the speed setting? Its set to 40kmh but as its greyed out and so cannot be changed. Anyone managed to do this now or is it locked to NZ at this speed and can only done by direct hardware access.
Purchased this rack after finding the EziGrip was not long enough for my ebike (I got a refund on the EziGrip – thank you Avanti+) and used the discount coupon mentioned in the review above to save $50.
The rack is more expensive but the quality is there which justifies the extra cost. It is really adjustable and very easy to set up and use. One of the big things for me was that it will accept towballs other that the 50mm ISO variety – it also takes up very little room in an already rather crowded shed.
Great engineering which does a great job also looks good! Very pleased with my purchase.
Excellent and fair review. I’ve had my E-Zee sprint for about three years, it’s a sturdy reliable workhorse and I find it quite attractive in it’s utilitarian but traditional form and smart black paint job. A posh Japanese brass bell, a sprung Brooks leather saddle (a nearly essential addition) and a pair of bright red Ortleib panniers smarten it up even more. The front forks are not very good but they have a traditional curve which looks smart. The powerful motor, the accelerator and not being speed limited make it an ideal commuter bike for cities, the ability to take off quickly from traffic lights and keep up with the general flow of traffic (maximum speed assisted and pedalled is about 37 kph) is a very important, and often unstated, safety feature. I used to live in Wellington, and being a fairly heavy robust bike but able to charge up Brooklyn hill at 30 kph without a lot of effort is revelatory and it was very stable in the wind. I tried lots of bikes, none had anything like the same powerful hill climbing ability. I now live in Martinborough, and if I were looking for an electric bike for here, something a bit more lightweight and sporty might be better and easier to pedal without electric assistance. But as it is I’m happy with the E-Zee sprint. Perhaps my only major gripe is the front motor can be quite noisy at times – like a box of nuts and bolts being rattled around when you’re pedalling and the motor is in an “over-run”. I see you’ve also positively reviewed the upgraded and more expensive model with torque sensor and Alfine gears. I’ve done well over 3,000 kms (I took a year off cycling) without any problems at all but I’ll be taking it to the local bike shop for a routine service.
I’ve had a Magnum Metro Plus for ~18mo now and have put 5000km on it. For $2799 it has performed well – cheaper than taking the train! I have a 31km daily commute so it’s getting ridden quite a bit. My only complaint is spoke breakages, like some other commenters on here. At about 2500km, I was breaking a spoke every 100km or so. I’d have them replaced by the dealer each time, and they’d check spoke tension was OK. Still kept happening. I figured the spokes must be made from rubbish metal, so replaced them all with Sapim Strong 13g and had the wheel trued properly. No change – kept breaking spokes every 100km. Next, I placed washers under all of the spoke heads at the hub (again having to rebuild the wheel and have it trued). This seems to have solved it – it’s been 1500km since any spoke breakages. So, if you’re having trouble with spokes breaking on this bike, I suggest you put washers under the spoke heads at the hub. I spent $5 for the washers (from eBay, some French bike shop will post them out for next to nothing), $10 for a spoke wrench (Trademe), a few hours removing each spoke and reinstalling it (minimal skill required), and $35 for the local bike shop to true the wheel (I lack the skill and tools to do this). I wouldn’t bother replacing all spokes with new ones.
Thanks Philip for info about the Pro User It looks a lot stronger then all the other ones I have seen.. Also great that it fits on different size tow balls.
I just have to ask the seller if the bikes are lockable when on the rack.
Use the code EBNZ at checkout and get a discount (full disclosure, I also get a commission)
Hi Tim, I’m looking at the Fathom e+3 for daily commute then some weekend trail riding every now and then. I’ve been riding a hybrid road bike with 8 speed nexus internal hub and found the 18k each way/36k round trip commute has become a grind (particularly in the wind/rain) so i’ve reverted to the train much of the time. I took the Fathom e3 for a ride and was very impressed. Plus the commuter specific rigid bikes like quick e etc look uncomfortable and you don’t get the versatility of the mtb. i was wondering what you think of the Fathom for a commute of that distance? Cheers, Richard
Hi Richard, I use my bike for commuting each day and then do a trail ride each weekend. My commute is only 10km round trip. If I commute below level 5 assist, the battery lasts the week. I always charge it Friday night as my weekend ride is typically 50km+. Note, this is all on the flat. My gut feeling is that on full charge at full assist you’ll get 35 to 40km. On level 1 assist you’ll get up to 100km. I altered my level 1 assist to be 100 perc. Factory default is 50 perc. You wont need full assist for commuting though. Level 3 is ample. On the flat you’d get 2 to 3 days commute at that level. I mix it up though. Usually level 4 or 5 to get to work and then 1 to 3 to come home. I go level 5 for the thrill and to vanquish the cagers crawling along in their isolation vehicles. Honestly I look foward to hopping on my bike to ride to work. I’ve had my bike about 6 months now and every time I hop on it it like I just been given my first bike for xmas.
Anyway, if you decide to get one of these (which you should), you’ll want to change the seat, its pretty hard. I also changed the pedals, they’re small. I just swapped both over from my old mtb. I also bought some comfort grips which are pretty cheap.
Two issues I had with the bike were a constant tinging from the front disk brake rotor and a rattle in the battery when riding offroad. The guys at The Hub here in chch sorted all that out under waranty/no charge. They put a stiffer rotor thingy on to eliminate the noise. The rattle turned out to be a loose battery lock. They tightened and glued it for good measure.
Long story short. 18km commute? No problem. You’ll just be charging your bike more than me. At 10c per charge 🙂
Thanks very much Tim, I’m pretty sure i’m going to get one! Is yours limited to 25kph or 32? only reason i ask is the shop I’m dealing with list it as limited to 32 however i’ve seen a shop review (NZ based) that says they’re limited to 25? Cheers
Mine goes 32kph. I wouldnt get a 25kph bike, youd be dissappointed. I reckon 32 is the sweet spot. 45 would be awesome, but not if the traffic you are undertaking is at a standstill.
I reckon the e+3 would do 40 easily if you jailbreak it. Above that you woyld be spinning your pedals too fast. This would obviously void your warranty on the motor/battery.
I think the E+3 only comes in 32 if you buy it in nz. If you purchase from countries that limit the bike to 25 then you might find yourself in bit of a bind. Buy local, it’s a no brainer.
Thanks again Tim, yep, I’ll definitely be buying local… I was also looking at the Giant Explore E+2. however at the risk of sounding shallow it looks nowhere near as cool! Plus less offload capability i guess – although the commute is the primary purpose for buying it… I appreciate your advice! Cheers
Eleven months on, Nelson-based Jace Hobbs still has negative comments loaded up on his website relating to eZee brand bicycles he used to sell.
So I ask, are these bikes genuinely rubbish, being that which Jace currently insists on? In which case, did he knowingly sell rubbish products, misrepresenting these to his customers, which included contracts with government agencies?
Or, is he now rubbishing these bikes, knowing full well that what he is currently representing on his website is totally untrue?
Either way, this makes the man look very dishonest, and he sullies his own reputation significantly. If I was from one of those government agencies, I would be taking a close look at the claims he is currently making about the eZee brand bikes they were sold.
So Jace, if you’re reading this, STRONGLY suggest you have a serious rethink on the current listings on your website; dishonesty is a really difficult reputation to shrug off.
These bikes are not rubbish. Like any brand, they have some issues but are built to a high standard for reliability and longevity.
Hi, great story, very nice. I just bought a Volterra myself, but the shop did not have a manual for it and are slow to get me one (if at all). would you be willing to send me a copy of your manual please?
That’s interesting, what brand was it? I kinda think that Longabike might be worth a try as the rear suspension can be unlocked to perform independently.
I have a Gazelle Orange C8 MHI ( Impulse Motor ) – Can I make it go faster than 25kph? Live in Palmerston North.
Most likely. Google “impulse ebike tuning”
Gidday, lots of good info here for an old guy planning to buy an Ebike. Could I see some comments please on planetary gears? I like the sound of them, like the fact that you can select a gear while stationary. I don’t see many (any really) advertised. What’s holding them back??
Longevity with mid drives, and an inability to use them with rear drives. Most of the hub gears (eg Alfine, Nexus) are planetary gears.
I wouldn’t have anything other than a hub (planetary) gear, much easier to manage for commuting and touring. Any presumed “loss of efficiency” with a hub gear is a non-issue with an electric motor. It is said that having a mid-drive motor with a hub gear can wear out the gears more quickly. I am not able to judge that. For instance, the Shimano Alfine is a better quality gear than the Nexus and perhaps it might be a better option?. If you’re not a big, powerful rider, I doubt there’s any real issue but you’d best ask the dealer or get some independent knowledgeable advice. Cheers.
I dont like the confederate flag thing, in the light of recent events..its not acceptable. We also had cordial chats with Mike- but on reflection they were one way- about how he wanted to 3d print guns etc.
We did it all on our e bikes and carried our gear.
We did the same sections also in Feb, agree the ride is fantastic and well worth doing. We stayed in Hokitika and arranged a shuttle (Chris at wilderness shuttle was brillent) to take us and bikes to Kapitea. We then rode back to Hokitika. Stopping at Cowboys Paradise for lunch. The next day we rode Hokitika to the tree tops Return before heading south, more adventures were waiting in Central Otago.
Can’t agree with your opinion of Mike. F ing and blinding at our mixed group is not the way forward. All because one of the group had inadvertently locked their back wheel on “his” road.
Will do the trail again but Mike won’t be seeing any more of my money.
Hi, re Lake Mahinapua – If you biked from Ruatapu back to Hokitika on SH6, there is a loop going to he Lake Mahinapua Camping Ground, from where you get to see the lake. We did this trail in December 18, and loved it. http://dizzysfoldingbike.blogspot.com/2019/01/west-coast-trip-part-3-west-coast.html
Nice write-up Desiree. Huge kudos for your fortitude doing all those trips on a folding bike!
Hi Barry, First more than 70% of all bikes sold in the Netherlands are E-bikes. And that already for the last 5 years. So I belief that within the next 5 years more than 50% of the new bikes will be E-bikes.
I do no belief you second item. Batteries are sill becoming higher in capacity. And smaller packs reduces the range (anxiety) and no mountain biker wants that. The weight of a pack is not the limiting factor. However extra packs are. I have a full suspension bike with a 48V 12Ah high output battery pack, build under 20Kg, with stand, mudguards, lights, alarm and carrier. The biggest weight is the motor. My sons mountain bike is 36V 10.5Ah and weights 17kg.
Have purchased the Magnum Peak and converted to urban settings with road tyres etc. I found that the Metro was too aggressive with engaging assist
Apparently there is an ‘Eco mode’ which the dealer can set that makes it a bit more user-approachable if this is the case.
Thank you for the review. I’ve been finding your site very helpful (complete beginner).
I’ve tried my very best to purchase this bike from Torpedo 7 but despite my efforts they haven’t been interested in selling it to me! I’ve called and visited their store and have been promised I’d get a call back but never did. Finally I was told that the one they had in stock was actually a returned bike in ‘completely unsalable condition’ and the other two in stock are in Auckland and that due to ‘store politics’ they couldn’t get one in for me.
Do you know of any other stores which stock this bike who would like to sell me one?
Hi Louise, that’s not very good service… If you contact electrify.nz they can point you in the right direction if indeed they have any left. I know they are discontinued, however, the Gepida Reptila is a very similar bike and might suit you too. Also from electrify.
Darn tootin you can commute on an emtb! I bought a Giant Fathom e+3 back in November 2018. This bike is awesome. I decided 32kph was plenty fast enough. Picking a dedicated commuter bike to be able to do 45+ seemed risky. Flying up the bike lane beside standstill traffic at 45 seems risky to me, and I’m a guy who does a lot of risky sports. re: lights and mudguards. These can all be attached and removed easily. In fact I’d prefer snap-on lights. Wired in ones are only going to fail on you eventually. re: Slicks. My crappy 30 year old Avanti montari had slicks as I tended to commute mostly and ride trails once a weekend. You can ride McCleans Isl. with mtb slicks if it’s dry. However I’ve decided to keep the knobblies on my emtb because the you just have to click on 1 level of assist and the weight and drag of the tyres are gone. With plus size knobbly tyres I’m now flying around McCleans Isl like I’m on rails, and the plus size tyres are like having suspension. re: hills. I followed a mate up Rapaki track for the first time in my life. This guy is a seriously fit mtb’er. He was working really hard. I was still only on assist level 1 and my heart rate didn’t get above 110. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I had to turn off the motor for the top half just to get a work out 🙂
Oh one more thing, commuting on an emtb you can go over curbs, steps rough terrain etc without a care. Try that on your minuscule rims and tyres and no suspension! I had divert across a paddock yesterday to go around tree that had fallen in the local park. I didn’t even have to pedal any harder and had no loss of speed.
Cool story Tim!
Hi Tim, I have a bit of a dodgy back and ride a full suspension bike at present. Is the fathom with its big tires still a bit jarring or does the big tire and the front suspension do the trick. I do a mix of commuting and a few trails.
Hi Allan, my father was a chiropractor. The one thing I learned from him is look after your back. I choose the hardtail because I’d I couldn’t bring myself to part with $5k-$7k for a full suspension ebike. I got the fathom for $3k. The kind of riding I do which is trails and commuting doesn’t justify all those extra dollars. However your case is different. I’ve tried a couple of full suspension bikes and they really do make a big difference. For the sake of your back you deserve a full suspension bike. However the ride of the fathom is way better than my old Avanti. I’ve had suspension envy for 20+ years. I was a bit underwhelmed by the front suspension though. I reckon the tyres make the biggest difference for me. Having said that on a 1 hour ride around Mcleans Island I will still hit a decent hole or bump and go ow! I should also mention that the stock seat is hard. I swapped that out for the one on my old bike which is a WTB seat. I never appreciated how good that seat is. I could now ride all day. Make sure whatever bike you get, you also get yourself a comfortable seat. I’ve got a birthday coming up. I’m now looking at getting a thudbuster, for the sake of my backside.
A very helpful review, thanks. I took one of these for a test ride and quite liked it, seemed like good value. But can you elaborate on why it may not be suitable for a heavy user? Would the same comment also apply to the Smartmotion eUrban?
Speaking of which, I see there is a new version of the eUrban available now, with the battery on the downtube. Any thoughts about whether the new eUrban or the Metro/Metro+ might be better for semi-regular commuting?
Hi Andrew, my comment is related to what they are built for – the Magnum is built to a price-point and you can’t expect it to last as long as the more expensive and better-specced bike. Yes, to an extent that would also apply to the Smartmotion though probably a bit less so.
Regarding which is better… the Magnum will do hills better, I’d fancy the Smartmotion to be specced with higher quality components. Both are well supported locally so that at least isn’t an issue.
Well this is a long time ago now, but I ended up with the Smartmotion eUrban G4. I’ve done about 3000 km on it so far in 10 months, commuting about 16-18 km every day. No problems except a recent puncture, and a collapsing seat post due to two defective bolts (replaced at no cost under a product recall). The integrated lights are very handy, and the rack is super-useful. One unexpected benefit, in addition to hill climbing, is that it really helps with riding into persistent westerly headwinds (I commute in a east-west direction).
I sometimes think it could do with being a bit gruntier on the steepest hills, and the motor is a little whiny when it’s on full tilt, but those are only minor points. I got rid of my old dunger of a car a while ago, no going back now.
Thank you so much for the great information, I’m traveling into cbd for work here in Wellington, its only 4K one way, this is roughly 50% cycle path and 50% road.
Id ideally like to then use the bike to go further such as groceries and town from time to time.
This would also open the opportunity of riding in the wet given the extra support.
What bikes would you suggest that might suit my needs above?
I got an Onya F-19 eBike and I love it!
Just wondering, is there actually a fix for the USB port? Or is it disabled for a reason? Any update on that?
There is an electrical fault on some batteries that is easily fixed by the shop. It apparently also affects the temperature display.
Hi there, your site is a fantastic source of info, so thanks fo4 your efforts.
I’m looking at getting a reasonably entry-level eMTB but am conscious of ‘you get what you pay for’. I’d mainly be commuting to work in Wellington (live at the top of one of the higher hills), but am keen to do a little off road riding too. I’ve done short test rides of the Haro Double Peak I/O (can get it for $3600) and the Trek Powerfly 5 (can get for $4200). Both were good to ride, but I can’t find out much about the Haro. I have also seen the Giant Fathom E+3 online, which seems like good value for money at under $2,800 with what appears to be similar level specs or better to the Haro. Can you offer any insights, particularly on the Haro vs. Giant or would I be better to spend a bit more for the Trek?
Party of what you pay for is support and resale. Both Giant and Trek are well supported in NZ.
I bought one of these a few weeks ago as my first e-bike, and I’m absolutely loving it. I picked it as it seemed to tick most of what I was after, mid-drive, step-through, not speed limited like some of the Euros, and designed in NZ. It handles really nicely, is very comfortable to ride and I think it looks great too.
I tried no-hands too and also got into quite a bad speed wobble, so perhaps it is design-flaw with this bike.
Anyway, loving the e-bike so far, don’t think I want to drive anywhere ever again!
Great review and the reason I went and bought the Hypersonic. Can confirm that there is a lag when changing gears on the road, but you hit that uphill track, no issue at all with gear changes. Tyres dig in and you take off. Worked out assist level 3 or 4 is the best. 5 only for those steeper technical sections. Speaking with a Giant dealer yesterday who was giving it a once over, he was quite impressed with the standard of components. Says it all.
Excellent little report, very helpful for someone looking to buy their first ebike. Win
Great review. How fast would this be on the open road? I have a potential commute of 20km dirt road and 10km sealed road (all flat), so looking for a bike that can do everything fast.
Thinking of commuting to work on one of these. 30km each way on back roads (not the highway as I would get killed on day 1). About 10km is sealed back road and the other 20km is flat Canterbury gravel road, but it can be rutted or heavy gravel depending on when they last repaired it. Looks like a good bike for this as you can get good speed (would be nice to do this in under an hour each way) on these bikes. Any thoughts, I’m thinking full suspension is better than hard tail.
I reckon you could, but equally a hard tail bike or commuter with decent tyres would work too. Have you ever ridden a bike with a body float seat post? Like a magic carpet ride. Much better than the cheap suspension seat posts on many bikes.
How many hills? I have the 14.4 AH battery and
battery on the Hypersonic is only ok but I find I can chew through is pretty quick sometime – 30k each way might push it if you want to use anything above 1 or 2 assist. You would be charging after every commute anyway. (My wife’s battery on her bike (not a Smart Motion) although slightly smaller is much better). It is very good on the road though due to the Smart Sam tires which roll well.
What is the highest voltage if the highest wattage in NZ is 300w as I want to build a trailer that can hook on to multiple bikes with batteries in trailer (with hub motor).
Vast majority of bikes are 36V, they charge at around 42V. Some are 48V, but you can get DIY kits/batteries at 72V
Is there anything local in a similar price range that compares as you now get a 52V/750W model and am really tempted to get one ship out. Tried a few other ebikes and disappointed as after a few hills you start worrying about wether you with have enough battery to get you home. My Dad has a juiced cross current bought two years ago and we have given it a few good test runs on the Coromandel. The only issue he has had was a loose battery connection which was sorted. In the market for a $4k ebike but don’t know what to buy that can at least do a 50km+ ride with hills?
I wouldn’t. The reason you can’t get them here anymore has a lot to do with reliability and warranty costs on the importer that were not met by the manufacturer.
Maybe consider a home built?
Just picked up one of these (and a Metro) on the weekend. Concur with the review – very good value for money. Only complaints so far (only 2 commutes and a bit of a weekend ride though!) is the lights – rear light being separate unit and front light on Metro+ turning on with battery (but not on the Metro – battery switch on Metro doesn’t seem to do anything) and that it could really do with a slower speed (e.g. 10km/hr or so) than 1. Making 1 and 2 slower would do the trick. Otherwise, fantastic.
Will update at the end of summer with any issues we notice.
There is an ‘ Eco mode’ that the dealer can enable that makes it all a bit slower. The distributor is aware of that feedback and I believe has passed it on to the manufacturer.
Hi, I note that there is one of these ebikes on Trademe at present, but I guess it is buyer beware.
My question is, as someone considering an ebike commute (22km approx) from Henderson to Albany, that would include uphill from Lincoln Road to Hobsonville and Greenhithe bridge to Upper Harbour Highway, would you consider those hills ‘steep’? Thanks in advance.
Those are not especially steep hills. Makora Rd is a bit, but any ebike is better than any unpowered bike up there and it is short.
Interesting piece. Looking at this from the UK prior to next regular NZ family visit. Here I have a Nano Brompton conversion with electric drill batteries. I can carry as many as needed for the journey and they weigh less in total than the single battery alternative. Seems to work so far.
About that torque/cadence sensor – it is a nightmare. I’ve had my bike 10 months, and its been in for electrical repair 4 times, 3 torque/cadence sensor related. The torque setting just cutting out completely or continually surging. I have a 45km round trip commute and love riding this bike when everything is working, but unfortunately I just don’t trust it anymore.
Honestly one of the best purchase I’ve made. Cost more than my used ’98 BMW here in the states, but I can get everywhere around town nearly as fast and never have to look for parking spots. It’s an absolute joy to ride at the full 28mph.
I put on some aero bars to help reduce drag (not to go faster! but to get better range).
Mine was the floor model, and the motor had to be swapped out in the first two weeks of ownership, which was covered by warranty but disconcerting nonetheless. Then I’ve been riding everywhere since!
Only not looking forward to a harsh upcoming winter when riding will be unfavorable!
Hi, lots of great info on here and thoughts. I’ll pop along to the Bike Expo here in Chch this weekend but has anyone had good experience with e-bike retailers in Chch? Looking at commuting 20kms each way up the Bridle Path and maybe down Rapaki to Hornby. Not entertaining Dyers in the morning with the way people drive on there.
Hi Ian, we bought our bikes from Papanui Cycles and found Kevin the owner good to deal with. Bike Barn at Home Base, Shirley is also good and Evo at Tower Junction a bit hit and miss depending on who you get to talk to.
With regards to commuting over the Port Hills via Bridle Path you will need a good quality MTB and will find that going uphill will really suck the juice so will probably have to recharge after each way.
I would recommend the Bosch performance line CX motor with 75 nm or torque such as in the Trek Powerfly for climbing steep hills.
Also the Shimano Steps 800 motor in a MTB. Be aware that descending steep hills on gravel tracks is a completely different kettle of fish than on tarseal if you have not done it before.
Many thanks for those comments, rode several bikes today, admittedly on the old runway at Wigram and had some good yarns with retailers which is a good start as this won’t be a quick purchase partly because of price…quite a variety of bikes about today which was great as you could compare on the same day in same conditions…well wind anyway.
Jut how difficult is taking off the rear wheel? Just looks like a regular spindle rather than a quick release.
Agree with the tires those Kendra stocks are awful and cheap.
It’s easy enough to do, just a bit fiddly on the roadside and needing a big spanner rather than a QR or Allen Key.
I found it quite easy in the confines of my garage, but its a bit harder out in the field. The main issue I found was to ensure that you remembered which part of the nut assembly went where, also be aware that the paint will be removed around the nut and leave a white underbase assuming the red / orange bike.
I shredded my rear Kendra’s on tiverton road on glass, replaced with a puncture resistant tyre by Vittoria which has much better grip and handling.
thanks guys I’ll give them Kenda’s a go but will likely swap out to Schawlbe marathon pluses which I have on 2 regular bikes.
Evo have them in 27.5 x 1.50. On Kiwi roads they are the only things I found that are almost completely bomb-proof.
Off out to try the bike for the first time on a brief 20km pootle!
Crikey – I reckon $2000 over 2 years for maintainance is a lot !
What warranty did the bike have and did you really think you’d be up for a new battery within 2 years ?
Fair enough tyres, brakes etc but even so, the total seems high.
The battery was an upgrade. I got a new motor that sucked more power.
This depends on usage, but things like fish pads, chains, spokes and other drive train components are high wear items on ebikes. I’ve done well over 20,000km now and actually had very few problems for a high performance machine.
Interesting how we have come to (almost) accept $9k for a bike these days !! There is huge choice and price variation in the market for this sort of bike. I recently bought a 2018 Giant Full E+ for just over half the cost of this bike, with similar spec – alloy frame, not carbon – and love it. I’d be interested in your thoughts if you have tried it.
For me the Giant offers way more bang for buck.
Now that I have ridden a Giant Trance E (which I imagine to be similar) this is a different proposition. It’s more of a performance MTB than the Giant, so I’d say if you are serious then worth the difference.
What brand and model is the bike ?
Hi everybody. O bought this week my e-bicke MATE X 750W High performance motor limited to 20 mph (32 km/h). I need to know it this e-bike will be illegal or not. Can somebody gave me some feedback? Otherwise I need to cancel the order…thanks!
If you plan to use it in NZ, it will be illegal. I’d never buy an ebike without local support anyway, it’s a very bad idea unless you are an electronics handy-person.
I am also in the process of ordering a Mate X 750, could you let me know if you are still going ahead with yours?or text me on
o two one nine nine seven five two four
Yay for IGH! Only have to replace one cog.
Reproofing my rain jacket and pants was a sneaky bugger for me.
Thanks for the fast reply, I just read about the OceanCurrent Juiced bike, but can’t find anyone that stocks one in NZ…is it not avail here? Cheers, Lorenzo.
Juiced bikes are no longer available in NZ
Hi all, good read on the e bike world, I am currently researching what to get, want a mountain bike with good speed and power, will be using it to go 15km to work each day, and then back, so it needs a reasonable range, and it is open road, so good speed might be beneficial. What would I expect to pay for a good mid drive in this format please? My budget would be around 3500.00. Is it too low? Cheers Lorenzo.
Probably, unless you can find a second hand deal or otherwise get lucky. You might consider one work a Bafang Max motor that is also unlimited. Bottecchia Kripton if you can get one. They are quite fast with the right tyres on.
I bought an e-bike in Jan and absolutely love it. It is a Fleetwood with shimano steps mid frame motor and suitable for both road and trails, and I have used on both. Does about 60km on mid assist step per charge and I have been able to ride it without motor on at times – some models are very heavy. Just putting it out there as a model to consider if you want versatility. I have done over 2000km already!
This is a really helpful thread as I am looking to buy an e-bike as well. I currently have a standard MTB and would prefer a step-through and something a bit more upright. My riding will be a mix of city and off-road trails and I want to do the Otago rail trail, the West Coast Wilderness trail and the like. I am currently looking at a 2018 MERIDA ESPRESSO CITY 800E EQ which also has an “off road” model, the 2018 ESPRESSO URBAN 600EQ which is not a step-through. The other main differences are the handlebars, seat and battery – all other specs are the same. I am concerned that the battery placement on the carrier on the former bike will make the bike “rear heavy” on hills (dangerous??) and that rough tracks will subject it to too much vibration compared to the vertical battery on the URBAN 600EQ. Do you see either of these issues being a major drawback for the off-road riding I want to do?
If you are genuinely going to do off-road trails, the ride quality of a bike with mid motor and battery will be much better than if either was at the rear.
They need a better battery rail system. One with three points of contact instead of two. The battery is massive and constant vibrations over a year or so will warp the rails and cause the bike to turn off and on rapidly.
I think they supply a seatpost clamp thing that holds the battery. Electric Bike Team gave me one after a service, but ignoring it was a mistake ;-;
Luckily I brought a new rail ages ago. Just need the right screwdriver.
To be fair I don’t think this is a common problem. You ride more in a year than most people will in their life!
Got Maurice and the team to install a new terminal base plate, even after installing a new rail I had lying around. The problems still occurred with the new rail. Turns out the battery was moving about causing sparks to pit at the metal terminals. The old rail was just fine.
But then a month later, I noticed some metal shavings around the new base. And what do you know, it’s starting to pit again!
This time Maurice just ended up swapping the base plate for XT60 connectors. Comment on invoice: “modify battery to use an XT60 connector that is manually unplugged when
battery is removed. To remove, unlock battery as normal, slide out about
10cm, unplug by hand, then continue sliding battery out.”
When I asked Maurice if this was common, they said they’ve had maybe 20 cases? Can’t quite remember. I think mine was one of the severe ones out of the 20 or so? Makes sense with your comment though! 🙂
Very interesting. I am in the market for my first e-bike, and found the statements about eZee from Electric Bike Hub to be very off-putting (and generally inconsisent with other reviews I’d read). I didn’t want to discount the brand but seeing a bike shop diss them like that made me hesitant. I’ll take it with a big heaping bowl of salt now… Thanks!
Very timely. Good info. Wish I’d known about your link to Chain Reaction earlier tho.Thanks Barry.
Have you tried Tannus solid tires for on-road commuting?
I haven’t. Rode an Onzo though 😁
Their site says they use ‘rubber’ airless tires. Tannus uses the material you find in high-end sport shoe soles. What’s it like riding an Onzo?
Maybe a high-end suspension seat post which dampens the smallest of bumps would help 😀
Onzos are dockless share bikes in Auckland
Just make sure the bearing/shocks are niced and sealed. Ferment them in some salt water. Then BOOM, unstealable rusted-in seatpost 😛
Great post thank you. A key element to also consider is tyre pressure. With electric assist, you can afford to run them at the lower end of the recommended range for a softer ride and better grip on grass, sand, and gravel. My Merida eOne Sixty is running 27.5 Super Moto X 2.8 in at 22 psi. The recommended range is 21 to 42psi. They run really smooth.
I thought you were not allowed to throw your jet over an EB because the motor could kick in and unbalance your foot on the pedal.
Great article. Do you have any hill test times for these bikes . Versus say the ECity and Hypersonic ?
Sorry no, I didn’t test this one in my urban setting. In fact I haven’t tested either of those in that way. I will do for the midCity.
How tall are you? Looks like a lot of seatpost showing?
Hi Antoine. The prototype bike isn’t very big. Had to use my own long seatpost.
Thanks for your thoughts. Dont we see the opposite in other markets where the big guys go for the masses (volume before margin) and niche smaller players do low volume high margin (until big buys them out). Loads of premium hand built bikes or cars (historically) from small guys.
Haven’t seen that too much in the ebike market though. There are some brands like Vintage that aim there but I suspect they are very low volume.
Compared this metro+ and Ezee Bolt, which one do you suggest for city and non-heavy cycling?
The one you liked the most when you tested them.
Just Landed 10 of these for everyone’s pleasure at Bikes&Barbers – both SAND and Green in stock and some with the 21ah Globetrotting battery option. Come see us 🙂 test rides with a smile – and good coffee just next door. cheers chris
I had a big smile to myself reading this, as it echoed a few thoughts I have always had. Good on you for speaking up. Keeping the industry professional is our best defence against big-box retailers and crappy bikes/crappy service. A united front will serve us well in the longer term, and when advising customers, my view is that acknowledging qualities of another brand while extolling virtues of your own is the most credible approach. For example, at Think Electric Bikes we no longer sell Magnum, now that the Electrify chain is established, but it doesn’t mean the bikes are suddenly rubbish! Still good bikes, and we still support any warranty claims and maintain a good relationship with the Electrify boys. It’s a small town, really!
I’ve always been confused with the relationship between Electric Bike Hub and Electric Bike Hub Auckland. This puts the final nail in my understanding. Thanks for an interesting read 🙂
I have the same bike and have had very similar experiences; squeaky brakes, broken rear wheel spokes etc. I have now completed 15,000 km in 30 months and had to replace the motor and battery, 1 tyre, 4 chains, 1 chainwheel, 1 gear change cable, 3 disc pad sets, 2 pedal sets, 1 saddle and 1 hand grip set. In short maintenance has been much more expensive than I thought it would, although total cost is still less than a car. It is still a great bike and faster than ever with upgraded motor (250W) although interestingly the new battery made much more difference. I actually enjoy commuting on this bike, and it has made me loose 5kg and have lower cholesterol which must be the biggest benefit of all.
another good information website is the UK ebike discussion forums at http://www.pedelecs.co.uk/forum/
This has been going since about 2005 and it is a good resource for more technical information about electric bikes
For a commuter bike, why does this have an uncomfortable racing bike seat?
It doesn’t… it is a comfortable gel saddle of mid-width. Saddles are a very personal choice, a bit like shoes. What is comfy for one might be dreadful for another. Don’t ever let that be your primary selection criterion for a bike.
Nice review. We bought 2 of these and both have been having issues breaking rear spokes. We took it to our LBS and they replaced but have told us there looks to be a weird design with the spoke pattern. Anyone else having issues?
Hi Hayley, it seems to be a common complaint with cheaper ebikes (especially more powerful rear hub ones) in that the wheels aren’t very well built. If you are having issues, at some point you will likely need to get them properly rebuilt with all new spokes and nipples and in the meantime it should be covered under warranty. To be fair, I haven’t heard that spoke breakage is a common occurrence in the Magnums.
Thanks for that information. We will look into the rebuilding at the bike shop we purchased them from. We are part of a group who regularly ride together and the 3 of us with the Metro+ are the only ones who have had issues with spokes. We ride quite sedately so I thought it might be a issue with the bikes in general.
I have a Metro+ and recently had a rear spoke break. The shop where I purchased the bike were happy to repair for free under warranty. Unfortunately 60km later, a 2nd spoke has broken (they have repaired this also). Had no other issues with the bike (it is great and copes with my infrequent but very long (2 x 41km) commute beautifully). Just hope this isn’t going to happen again.
eBiking is revolutionising cycling for both young and old. I’m 68 and rode regularly on my Trek full suspension bike, but then tried an ebike and was immediately hooked. Instead of an hour or so of excercise, I now go out for 4-5 hours. I have started to blog my long tours so that the growing numbers of seniors can share my favourite routes. I emphasise with your experiences but rest assured many others are working out how to deal with the ebike revolution.
I have a golden motor smart pie edge hub motor putting out 1000w. I’ve just installed a Cycle Analyst V3 and Sempu torque sensor after spending the last 5 months riding to work with a throttle and cadence sensor. The difference to me is black and white. The torque sensor is the best upgrade I’ve made on my bike. The Cycle Analyst gives feedback on human torque created in watts which shows on the CA screen, and I’ve set up the CA to return 2x the watts created by me and send to the hub motor. My ride is fast on the way to work and back, and at the same time I’m working my legs to get the job done. This is a way better option for me over throttle and my heart rate stays elevated during the trip. It’s a bionic type of feeling. I’ve set up the CA to deliver smooth abundant power when I start off from the lights. The system is a cut above my previous setup. Torque Sensor vs Cadence Sensor?
Torque every time.
How on earth do they make these so cheap? Not that you’d be allowed to ride one on the cycle path or the road, but the aluminium framing, motor and battery specs look incredible compared to an ebike of the same price
Great story. Where did you leave your bike at the airport?
Hi, I am a heavy rider 92-96 kgs depending on fitness etc. Would I need to upgrade the suspension for general riding? and to what? Costs? Cheers Adam
I shouldn’t think you’d need to do anything apart from adjusting the air pressure in the suspension to suit you. You are not especially heavy 🙂
In April I took a Moustache eBike along the Otago Rail Trail. It was fantastic and thats the bike I’ll take again when I’m back.
1. Wanting some guidance on an entry level e-bike + value for money to commute from westgate to CBD in Auckland mainly from fitenss perspective.
2. I was perplexed on the statement re life of bike. you mentioned it to be 2-3 years and average entry level bike is around 2-3 grand which means cost of owning the bike is almost a grand per year. Is this correct?
Your mileage may vary and a well maintained bike could last longer. Some bikes are more durable than others, but in heavy use I think that is a reasonable expectation. There are also costs of maintenance. In my own “business case”, I assumed around $2k per year in costs and depreciation and that’s probably about right.
thanks for the prompt response. any suggestion on question 1?
That’s the point of this website!
ha ha.. yes I get it, thanks mate. I understand you prefer to be independent and not be biased toward any manufacturer / retailer. thanks for taking the effort to put so much information especially in local context. this is really valuable I am sure is appreciated by many who has any interaction with cycles.
The grippiest tires I’ve used are the Schwalbe Kojak 50-559. Unfortunately not (officially) tubeless compatible.
FWIW, The Specialized Electrak Armadillo tyres that came with my new Turbo Vado are impressively grippy when cornering in the dry. Ordinary in the wet, but I think that’s normal. Will see how long they last
If your tyres are ‘Gripton’ compound then that is good. They are grippy.
Yes they are
My wife and I are pensioners but thought an ebike would be great for exercise. However we cannot afford too much. We saw at the clearance shed a Mexller M16 city e-bike, do you think this would be ok or would we be wasting our money going by the old addage you get what you pay for. We will be using them mainly on the cycle way.
You get what you pay for. After sales service is possibly the most important factor. All to see the spares of you have any doubts, and ask yourself if the local distributor will be around to provide support in five years time. It’s a tough business, this bicycle business.
I have one of these. It’s an Ok bike for the money. Front shocks are not the best tho. It is surprisingly good on the road despite the tyres and wide bars. Climbs well off road. I agree about the over use of the labels/decals….. Seat… meh…
That’s a stormer of a review, Barry. great to hear how much you enjoyed the bike! We have a demo model at Think Electric Bikes (www.thinkelectricbikes.co.nz, 25 Lake Road, Devonport) and all-comers are welcome to come and give it a spin!
Hi. I am considering buying an electric bike for daily commute (west Auckland to cbd -roughly 22km one way and a very uneven terrain). I am a first time biker to Auckland and i am very confused with the options available. Thinking between a Trek powerfly 5 and smartmotion pacer mid drive. Any help or suggestions appreciated.
Hi Jessica, these are very different bikes. The Trek is a great bike, but a hardtail eMTB. So knobbly tyres, no mudguards, no lights, no carrier. The PacerGT has all those things. If you can wait a week or two I’ll have a full review of the PacerGT.
I’m going to resurrect this and ask whether anyone has any pannier bag advice for a smartmotion? Apparently the pannier is non-standard and ‘only’ fits the smartmotion panniers, which are only shower proof. I’m after waterproof and noticed other bikes with other pannier bag makes… anyone got any recommendations?
My 100% waterproof Ortlieb panniers fit perfectly on a Pacer. They come with three different thickness spacers so can handle any tube size.
Fantastic thanks! Do you have a model number for the Ortliebm would like to make sure I’m getting the right ones.
Sorry I don’t. Suggest going into a shop. Electric bike hub in Auckland definitely has them (mine came from there). You could ask for the ones like Barry has 😁 There are ones with different fitment systems.
Evo chucked in a set of smart motion panniers due to delays in getting the bike, (good on them), they do have an extra cover which I’m assuming is to add to rain protect – they are quite tidy.
Ortilieb Classic panniers fit though on the rack I’ve just tried them.
I’ve got a pair of metro ones, I think v1 style. They fit fine on the pannier itself but they use a hook based approach to fix the bottom in place and if the bags are heavy they can pop out causes the entire bag to bounce around; obviously its still attached at the top. I’ll run this set until after the summer I suspect and then swtich to the newer versions which have a lower attachment similar to the top as that should stop it unpopping when going over speed bumps.
As it stands, I’ve now covered 2000Km on the bike commuting from Titirnagi to Wynyard most days; 40mins roughly door to door!
Registered over 250W motors , no speed limit other than the posted road limit in NZ at present. 250W takes care of the top speed possibilities as air resistance kicks in vs available power.
There is really no such thing as a ‘motor’ that produces only 250W. Bosch makes four different ‘250W’ systems and they all produce different amounts of power. Further, their 250W and 350W Performance Line systems are identical, other than speed limit (25/32/45). And another company sells the same systems as one of 200W, 300W and 500W in different markets.
How many people do think walk or ride it every year? Thanks for mentioning our Wakeboarding Cable and placing a link in the article. We have had several people walk or ride it and then go for a ride or just swim or padleboard. Cheers Kerry
I thought ebikes are legally required to be restricted to 35kph while on the road in NZ. Or is this a registered motor bike that those rules don’t apply to? I trialled a Stealth Bomber with a 5kW motor that would do 80 Kph off road but had a road restricted speed setting “because the law in NZ requires it?
Your response please?
There is no speed limit in NZ for ebikes that you pedal. Stealth is definitely not an ebike. The only place you could practically use it is on private property or speed restricted as a moped, which is (IIRC) 50kph. Any place accessible to the public is bound by the rules of the road.
Stealth Bomber is an electric bicycle – it has pedals and a battery and a motor.
Hi there 🙂
I’m looking for an affordable e bike (thats going to last/good value for money) to commute to and from university every day, which is a 23 km return trip. There a few steep hills and I would like to be able to use it on rough and smooth terrains. With this in mind i’m looking at the magnum range and the Bottecchia BE16. just wondered your opinions on the bikes or other recommendations
Make sure you check with your insurer on how the ebike needs to be insured. Some have wattage limits under the domestic contents policy so may need a separate m/cycle policy
Why would an insurer create such a stipulation separate from what is legally a bicycle vs a moped? Like not insuring your laptop because too many MHz.
Advice from two insurers to date – Power assisted cycles not exceeding 300w are insured as bicycles (specified on the policy). Over 300w they are insured under the motor policy as a motor cycle The Motor policy requires the insured/user to comply with licence conditions, but if a licence is not required to ride one of these, then they will not be in conflict with the policy requirement.
Firstly, thanks for the fantastic information found here. It has really helped me narrow down my requirements.
I am in the market for an e-bike for commuting – traffic woes in Tauranga 😦 and am wondering if you have any advice on a Bottecchia or the XDS from Torpedo 7.
I don’t know much at all about bikes but maybe you should also look at the Magnum Metro. They are a nice looking bike. Not sure if I’m allowed to say but they are stocked by Electrify.nz. Not sure who else but I’m sure you can Google.
$6K and they can’t add a suspension seat? Sigh.
Actually, I think you’re “skeptical”. Note to self, turn spell check on.
Nope, this is a site for New Zealand ebikes, I remain sceptical.
That was oddly satisfying…you 1, grammar wannabe nazi 0…lol. Nice.
There was some talk about this model getting an upgrade motor. Did that happen?
I took a UI5 for a test ride around the hills of Wellington, and liked it very much. Before I go ahead and order one, do you have any thoughts about whether it’s worth considering a Metro step through? I’m very short at 5’2″ and the UI5 seemed like a good frame size. My main reason for considering the Metro was the increased power available.
With many thanks for your great work
Hi Carol, in my view the Metro is enough of an upgrade to justify it. It’s a really good buy and essentially the same frame as the ui5.
Thanks! In the end I went with the UI5; it just felt better and I’ve been very happy with it so far. My only slight gripe is that (as you noted) the up and down buttons aren’t super easy to use and in particular you have to be careful not to hit the up button when you’re on maximum power which then sets it to zero (not helpful when steaming up a hill). But I’ve gotten used to that.
It does now have a bell.
I spoke to a recent buyer of one of these who had had the brakes upgraded to hydraulic rather than cable disk brakes for added security when whizzing down Wellington’s hills. So far I’m OK with the cable disk brakes but we’ll keep that in mind.
And I’ve also noted about the tyres in the rain as well.
Many thanks again.
Thanks for closing the loop Carol, all the best with your cool new bike!
The regulation actually says ‘Power-assisted cycle means a cycle to which is attached one or more auxiliary propulsion motors that have a combined maximum power output not exceeding 300W’
That is maximum output, not continuous…
The accepted interpretation of that garbled clause is that the combined power should not exceed 300W. Remember too that this is output, not input, nor nominal rated motor power. In fact, despite sounding very legal it is a poorly worded notice. Btw 300w power should have you going along at around 37kph without rider input.
The NuVinci drive is a power sucker. When it has a normal gearbox the power will be fine.
People use Nu Vinci drives on touring bikes
I have had two catalyst now. Rubbish! mite as well call them no motion. First one gave up with less than a 1000k second replaced fared a little better before it died 1500k.
And forget customer service .
How do you think the Magnum Metro compares to the Cadence Cruiser by Kinetic?
Well I’m very pleased to say that I have a Magnum Metro + ebike and although I have only owned it for about 5 x weeks or so, I am very, very pleased with it. It is a very powerful bike with excellent hill climbing ability. 40kmh is easily achieved in top gear, using maximum power (6).
I am selling my car because I’m so happy with this machine. It will do me fine for my purpose. It will be good to just have my wife’s car to register, insure, maintain, etc.
I bought mine from Northland eBikes in Whangarei. I got great technical advice regarding the pro’s and con’s of the various drive options and because of that discussion I was intending to buy a Merida Ebig Tour. However on trying the Merida first, and then the Metro +, for me at least, the Metro + won hands down. I’m 63 and have a back injury. The ‘sit up and beg’ style of the Metro + suited me much better than the more aggressive – mountain bike style of the Merida. Each to their own, but the Metro + suits me perfectly. I previously owned an eZee Sprint for 3 x years prior to buying the Metro +, and as good as the Sprint was, in my opinion the Metro + is heads and shoulders ahead of the Sprint. However, each to their own. Thankfully we now have great options in N.Z. for cyclists and E-cyclists.
Ended up buying a Dutch made “Pro User” brand rack from Precision Imports for $899. They have a website and are also on Trade Me. This really is in another league compared to the Ezigrip. Very well made with wheel holders that actually are adjustable for bikes far longer than mine. No assembly required and fewer plastic bits as its mainly aluminium and steel. Grips any towball including the removable one on my CX-5. Very pleased so far.
Hi there, any update to this article? Personally I don’t believe in restrictions on the bikes to a certain extent but education on speed would be good in certain areas and signs or info on speeds for cornering. Maybe a dangerous riding law. For instance a cyclist going past a toddler on a balance bike with their mum on the shared cycle path should be passed at certain speed. Some guys on road bikes are insanely quick without a motor and while attempting their Stava segment they forget about the safety of others. There are definitely places to travel fast and places not to. But then there are also ebikes that need more power like a cargo bike or a bike for a heavy rider.
Where can I get the Rock Shox Paragon for that price?
Got mine at bike24.com
I found the information useful and started hitting down notes but then got a bit lost in all the options. I’m new to this and looking for a bike that has the mudguards and you can peddle as well if you want. I’m not small or fit (yet) but hoping to use the bike to inspire some exercise and commute to work. Live in dunedin so the bike would need to handle that. You seem. To know your subject so is it possible to get a suggestion? Work and home is approx 15kms and longest trip is likely to be 60kms.
Hi Simone, suggest you find a retailer near you who you trust. That’s the most important thing.
Hi, we are moving to Napier and are thinking of buying two E bikes to ride on the flat cycle paths there. Also to take down to the Otago Rail Trail. The Avanti Inc E model appeals to us. No derailleurs to worry about and belt drive so we won’t get oil in the apartment. We own Avanti MTB’s and have had no problems with their quality. What do you think of the Avanti Inc E bike?
We are new to Napier as well and have been testing the Avanti bike. Which one did you choose in the end.
Hi, we are still saving up to buy 2 e bikes. So have not tried them out yet.
Sadly you mention the Peak 48v only at the end of your review.
I am test riding different bikes to find my best option and rode a Peak recently. I reckon it’s the best e bike I’ve tested to date. I’d love to hear from anyone who has long term experience with one.
It’s certainly faster than others I’ve tried and the mountain bike set-up suits my needs, and it’s really good value. didn’t notice any obvious wiring issues other than the “cockpit” is busy with lots of wires and cables.
Didn’t think I would like a hub drive but couldn’t fault it on my short test.
Yes it is the right approach. An attractive purchase price is towards the bottom of the hierarchy of considerations when purchasing a tool such as an ebike.
– find a magnum owner who has ridden 5000 km or more on his bike / used it daily.
– is there spares back up ? –
– how is the tech guys / workshop –
– is the bike supplied with a manual
– how long has the supplier been in business … are we sure they are around in 3 yrs
Its the only fault we can see with these reviews . Too much effort is spent on the immediate new virgin feel of the bike rather than considering the long term wear and tear abilities.
Seems to be solid well constructed but:
Wheel rests are not spaced apart enough to support my size L Scott E Aspect mountain bike. So far as I could tell they cannot be adjusted. The design could be improved by using longer metal supports under the plastic channels.
The bracket which is intended to go between the tow ball and the tow bar is only useful on a flat bar type. It is not suited to a detachable or European type tow bar.
A few more specs on the box and website with this info would be a good idea.
I haven’t found any need to use the extra bracket. Mine has been mounted to fixed and removable balls.
I’m surprised that your E Aspect doesn’t fit – my size L ebike and fairly long MTBs all fit no problem.
The bike’s wheels rest right on the very tips of the holders! Maybe the wheel bases on your bikes are a bit shorter. Anyway Torpedo 7 happily refunded the $715 purchase price.
I note the Thule EasyFold 932 has ‘Large distance between wheel holders enabling transport of sturdy bikes with large wheel bases’.
It is just the $1349 price of the Thule that has me swallowing hard!
I will probably just modify my traditional tow bar mounted bike rack so the front wheel of the bike dose not hang so low.
EziGrip has confirmed that the position that the wheel trays are in can be adjusted. There are alternate holes to bolt them in to.
I bought an EziGrip but found that my bike wheelbase was a tad too long for the rack. I could see no obvious way to adjust the wheel trays so I checked with EziGrip directly about how to adjust them. I was informed that the wheel trays were NOT adjustable – only the straps.
The good news is that a new model cycle rack (c$840) is coming out in October 2019 which will cater for long wheelbase bikes.
I think the ‘plate that seems to have some function for certain vehicles’ is the piece that fits under the tow ball (which has to be removed to fit it) and acts as a locator to stop the rack slipping sideways, and the bikes knocking into your car, under braking/cornering. One screw allows it to be flipped over, so you can still use your tow ball for towing something else – handy. That said, I’ve seem the rack fitted without this and it seems to stay in place – but it is a good safety feature nonetheless.
Aah, I’ll take a look at that. I haven’t had any issues work it moving around. I really like this rack! 👍
what have you heard about the Trek Verve+ … it is what my (current non-electric) bike shop guys recommend, and it certainly felt nice on a short test ride … but i cant find it talked about above, so curious
I haven’t seen it ridden one. It looks like a nice bike with some notes: the Bosch Active like is the weakest of the Bosch motors. If you have very steep hills it won’t manage. Also the 400Wh battery is quite small so useful if you only ever plan to do short trips, which in my opinion is a bit limiting. Maximum practical range is 35-40km. May sound like a lot but most road cyclists would routinely do 2-3x that. You wouldn’t be able to complete the loop route that I am researching around Auckland.
Saying all that it looks like good value.
I took the train to penrose then south to the coastal route to onehunga. From there either continue on the coast to join up via the mototway bridge to the start/end of the 16k walk or go through to church street and down to the park where the 16k walk starts/ends. Continue using the south western shared path. The section up to hillsborough road is the only hilly section in the whole trip. The rest is pan flat. At maioro road there were road works. But continuing you pass the te whitinga bridge . Which is quite impressive. Going to the end of the South Western shared path. There is section of about 100 meters on road before you are in the Waterview shared path. I followed this up to where Sutherland road intersection with Carrington is. There are checking the Map that they have for people to see I followed the North Western cycle path. I took this down to the Grafton gully cycle path. Then on to Newmarket. this is about 27.5 km’s. A very enjoyable trip.
I had a chat to local Bike Barn the other day. Said they researched and have steered away from throttles because it is at risk with current NZ legal review. I am struggling where this is documented. Its disappointing to think someone who hasnt really understood the benefit of a throttle on an ebike make a law change for the negative.’Throttles are the commuter ebike best friend.
I think it’s also a case of “Our bikes don’t have throttles, so let’s spread FUD about throttles so that it isn’t seen as a disadvantage”
A fit cyclist can easily produce 200+W on flat ground at steady effort, so your 75W is out by a factor of 3x. And given that is likely half the ride or more, then the 5min you quote is out by a factor of 12x. Therefore I’d suggest the self charging could displace hours of charge time. The bike only needs to support uphill effort not flat or downhill to be really useful.
Right, two problems with your analysis 1) You need motive power AND charging power in your scenario, so if you want 200W to ride with and 200W to charge the battery, that’s 400W, pro cyclist territory. 2) Most people riding ebikes don’t want to produce much power, and certainly don’t want to be penalised further by having to charge a battery — that’s why most ebikers actually prefer a throttle.
Tell you what, you ride with 200W extra resistance for half your ride and see how much you will yearn for your regular bike…
My own bike has regeneration capability so I do speak from practical experience.
Hi Barry. Thanks for this very informative site. As you mention, it’s good to have NZ info.
I am in Christchurch and have been looking at the Specialized 2018 TURBO LEVO FSR 6FATTIE/29 and Trek Powerfly FS 5 (a bit cheaper).
I have had a Giant VT2 full suspension MTB for a good 10 years. I do some single track stuff on the hill here, but not very good technically. I am keen to get an eMTB because I think I will use it more, including some commuting.
If I am going to be doing some riding on the road, riding on 4WD tracks, some single track (not too technical), is the Specialized bike an overkill? It certainly seems to ride very well. I am also thinking that I might struggle to go back to a non-FS bike after all this time.
I also enjoyed riding the Trek, but it’s difficult to compare when you’re not riding one after the other.
Very interested in your thoughts. I know that you are a fan of the Specialized bike, but how does it compare with the Trek for the type of riding I have described.
Many thanks, Wayne
They are both really good bikes. The Specialized goes a bit faster out of the box (32) so might be better for any on road work. But I know someone with the trek who has dongled it do go really fast. I heard the Specialized were unavailable for a while so that might also answer your question.
Thanks Barry. Am taking the Specialized for a good long test drive tomorrow.
hi how did you go with it?. I’ve just taken one back after a wks trial with it (levo comp 2020 model)
and having ridden a couple of bikes previous this bike is out front in so many ways
There are lots of 10 speed (single front ring) e bikes out there. They will be fine for flat riding and possibly even on moderate hills. BUT if you have steep hills on your journey, get an e bike with at least 2 front rings or even 3. Compare a 10 speed to a 20 or 30 speed e bike on a good hill before you buy. I ride a 300 watt BH Emotion 29er with 30 speeds in Dunedin and use all 30 gears. For hills, gears matter on e bikes! Try before you buy.
Excellent blog post with some great information. Thanks!
Torque sensors are much better to have on a fat tire electric bike because they are often used on more difficult terrain such as sand & snow.
The power of the motor is an factor as with a stronger motor you are normal riding faster and that uses more energy for the distance.
I have been researching ebike for awhile first a conversion but the prices some charge are to dear I am looking at the merida big nine e-lite 650 mainly for trail and commute what are your thoughts on this bike
I don’t know Graeme. I haven’t ridden it. Merida is a good brand, but do look at other brands too. Ride them all, ensure your retailer will be there for you in the long run.
Bear in mind that the bike you are looking at is an e-MTB, so it has a sporty stance, doesn’t have mudguards, a rack, lights, lock or puncture resistant tyres, and will only do 25km/h. Perfectly reasonable if you mostly ride trails, and it’s likely good for that. It has the most powerful Bosch motor. If commute is the main purpose then perhaps consider something else.
Hiya Barry I did go for the Merida big nine 650 with borsch running gear .it’s the best thing I ever did. After having bypass surgery in march 2017 have been riding the fire breaks at woodhall forest and commuting around the Northshore. Thanks for your help
Nice review . Spotted what Looks like non -waterproof wiring. As per the rest of the MAGNUM range. Should be noted when we know what amount of trouble that can bring on a rainy day. Wiring looks a bit un-tidy / unprotected as well.
Wiring didn’t seem untidy – the control wires all go via the display which minimises the number of wires.
I have done over 1,000kms road commuting on my Magnum Peak and it has performed admirably. Even in heavy rain.
I’m thinking of getting a conversion kit for my MTB and found this one on Indiegogo. It looks like a good system to my novice-eyes. Could could one (or more) of you guys take a look and tell me what you think? Their base-level conversion kit is $299US and they sell an e-bike for $599.
Don’t waste your money
Hi there, I have been riding my 30 speed BH 29er for 6 years now up Dunedin hills and can say a few things about e bikes. If you have real hills in mind, gears matter on E bikes! I tested lots of 10 speed E bikes. Most of them required way too much effort on the hills which means sweating and showering when you arrive. A triple front ring e bike really does mean no sweat riding on hills. Compare a multi front ring E bike vs a single front ring on a hill before you buy and you will see the difference.
The second thing I would say to e bike newcomers is ask about your bikes replacement battery for 5 years down the track. After 6 years, my battery is still “not bad” but my shop says they don’t think they can get supply a replacement battery as the frame shape has changed.
I think your correct in saying that a person buying an eBike should test several types before purchasing. But the trend now days is moving away from multi chain rings to electric motors in the cranks. Which to me is a positive. I have the Reid Urban+, now with 1750Km in 2 months and I must say the power is addictive. Lots of hills where I live in Adelaide and I was avoiding them due to my age but now with the eBike I can fly up the hills with the performance of an elite athlete on steroids. My eBike has taught me to spin those cranks for best performance, has helped me to lose weight and improve my overall fitness. Hills with and 18% incline are no match for the Reid Urban+ when set to high.
Well, its a fun discussion until something goes south. Sure you can build something “cheaper” but there is always a trade-off, and the single biggest one is simplicity. The bikes offered by the larger brands are fully backed with local service agents and local parts and a generous 2 year warranty. It is up to the individual to decide what that is worth. The $$$ build up pretty quick when you have to build a second or third bike in the first year because they simply don’t last.
HI Grant , I would have said like you – and up to about 20 months ago we would possibly both have been right. U could build at less cost – and have something of good quality -and get a good ride. We built 100’s – and we enjoyed it. BUT now that you can buy MOUSTACHE or SCOTT like above for $5500 – 6000 ( depending on model ) then i do not see the point. As i told Barry – He was riding my bike – I feel this is the best ride i’ve had in a long time. I rate it higher than the Friday speed ( which i also had the pleasure to ride ) . It’s more together than anything u -or I – could build. The SCOTT takes no Shortcuts – it’s wicked fun – handles like my old mini cooper .
The price is less than many of the road and MTB we sell in our other shops -and they only get weekend leisure use – this bike is for all the other days of the week 🙂
I’m sure the $5500 – $6000 Moustache or Scott are very good bikes, with all the bells and whistles already built in, and are no doubt great to ride. However the point – for me is about being able to build/have a very capable commuter for half that price. I don’t accept crap either.
When I ditch our second car as my travel option, (happening very soon) I could well consider a top line bike, as you have mentioned. But I would still consider the value of spending that amount on a bicycle.
If bicycles are your passion, then spending whatever amount you choose to, could make sense. I probably do take that attitude regarding buying guitars – my passion. For me I guess it comes down to the practicality/ utilitarian aspect versus the ‘want to have’ the best / latest viewpoint. I admittedly tend to be an ‘early adopter’ of gadgets and technology, so get that attitude, and do really enjoy using new and good quality gear.
I’m aware from my recent research that riding bicycles or ebikes is a trendy thing to do in Auckland and other large cities. I don’t really care about that aspect of riding. I’m about improving my health, reducing my carbon footprint on our planet, and getting around my city and neighbourhood in an efficient and far easier manner.
If I can do that, have a reliable and efficient bike, without having to spend an arm and a leg to do so – and not requiring any ‘pose value’, I would tend to do that. I also enjoy the challenge of building something practical and useful. Not everyone wants to do that, and would rather buy ‘off the shelf’ and that’s fine – especially for you in your business !!!
Perhaps it is a matter of philosophy.
All the best in promoting and selling bikes. It’s great that a lot more people are becoming environmentally aware, and choosing for a variety of reasons, to get on their bikes. I really hope to see bicycle riding really take off in this country. We are so far behind other countries in this aspect. Mind you, they probably have lot better roads, cycle ways, and considerate and aware motorists. end of rant !!! 😉
It’s amusing how Scott markets the “e-Silence” given that I find quietness is the greatest threat to my survival on an eBike. It seems I spend much of my time trying to be as noisy as possible so avoid collisions with pedestrians.
That said, although this bike is not any more expensive than other premium European eBikes, I have to agree with the first poster that in this price range you need to consider the returned value per dollar carefully.
The review bike I had didn’t have a bell either. Found myself vocalising a bit. The Vado 5.0 has an actual hooter. There are times I’d quite like that!
Thanks for the review Barry.
I’m sure it has a market, and is desirable to those who must have the ‘top of the line’ bicycle to be seen on, but seeing it ridden in your review left me a bit ‘underwhelmed’.
It is very well spec’d, but I fail to see the value in a bike of this price. I imagine I could put a Bafang mid-drive kit on a reasonable priced commuting style bike, albeit with slightly lower spec’d components and easily achieve the speed and nimbleness / handling of the Scott E- Silence SE at possibly less than half the price.
I know that’s not the point of this type of bike, and probably not aimed at the average commuter / everyday cyclist, but I believe the price of these type of bikes is out of the range / not justifiable for the majority of urban cyclists. I could well be wrong though.
Thanks again for your review. I’m not trying to be negative, and I know you are simply reviewing what becomes available in e-bikes. Like many others I appreciate your time and effort and the good job you do on doing demo’s of what’s on offer.
As an aside, I could hardly hear any of your commentary while you were on the Grafton Gully part of your ride. Lots of wind noise – probably because of how fast you were going up there !!!
The value is a bike that starts off really nice and can be ridden daily without fuss, and is easily sorted when something goes wrong. There is a difference. My own bike was a close to $6k bike that has been awesome – I am glad I spent the extra. It has paid for itself in reduction of car costs, health and happiness.
I take your point on the commentary, I need to find a way to do the voice parts without the ridiculous wind noise. Any suggestions would be welcome.
Hi Barry, I’ve just started looking at ebikes and tried this bike yesterday, so was very interested in your review. I liked the bike especially as the only other one I’ve tried was the Avanti Inc rated at 25km. I definelty want a 45km rated one and want to try a moustache and maybe a Stromer so I’m looking at the higher end. Just out of interest what is your bike that you refer to above?
Hi there, really enjoying your site. I am looking to buy an ebike and recently rode a Fleetwood. Found it really great and seems as though it fits the commuting and trails options. Has anyone used one and what did you think? Are you able to get a rack and guards for this make? Cheers. Andy
Hi Andy, suggest you talk to your retailer about that. I haven’t ridden a Fleetwood but it looks like a well spec’d bike and the importer runs a sound business with Moustache.
No doubt it ticks a lot of boxes but what people should be concerned about is the declared 300watt motor. 8fun as you describe is a popular and very reliable motor made by Bafang who make a range of e motors. Bafung only make and I quote from what I have been advised…… 220w. 250w 350w being 24 volt /36volt. Their other motors are 48 x500w, 750, and 1000w. NZLT have recently published a review and have noted the fact that some importers are advertising their Bikes are 300w where as they are 350w and some are even 500w?
300w motors are not made by the mainstream manufacturers simply because NZ market is too small and not economic.
As a Bike industry consultant and also a UE authorised manufacturer/assembler I have sourced e-bike kit manufacturer who has produced a genuine 36×300 hub motor for me but doesn’t have the capacity to bulk produce
There is an attitude by some importers to fudge their e-motor specifications to sneak in bikes quoting 300w. One importers even gets the assembler to cover the factory specification with their own labels.
Concerning is the mis-information dished out to get a sale which legally has a couple of implications. These quoted 36x300w bikes in fact should be registered and rider licence send as per current NZLTA Standards unless ridden off road.
Also Consumer Affairs laws are blatantly broken with these importers fudging their specs. The majority of E-Bikes manufactured are 36v x 240w for the EU, UK and Australian Markets, in the US some states ban e- bikes and require registration being seen as a moped, but now the Industry is in the process of aligning at 36vx350w . So any US brand bike will be 36 x 350w or more.
One of the conclusions NZLTA had was that the EU model as a template with 36v x 350w be considered. Which if and when adopted would put some form of credit ability on quoted specifications. Meantime the status quo remains and the misrepresentation continues for a miserly extra 4/6 kph.
Those that want the speed simple register and licence as per mopeds your drivers licence will cover you and mix it up with the cars and congestion.
A popular misconception is that the power of a bike is the power of the motor. In reality, it is the output of the controller. So for example a controller that can handle a constant 8A (like is in the Magnum) will consume 288W nominal power, and possibly produce somewhere between 200-250W of actual power.
The real problem is that there isn’t a standard way of defining power (input or output, what does ‘nominal’ mean?). So I disagree with your premise that most bikes are illegal.
NZTA is still discovering what all this means too, so I wouldn’t put their recent research as the definitive view either. They are probably going to relax the ‘power’ constraint and use speed as the main regulatory constraint. And even then, allow higher speeds if operators have a drivers licence. And use the speed constraints of the infrastructure (road or bike path) to limit to the conditions.
The current regulations are vague and unsuitable for the real world so I can’t see much sense in getting too hooked up on what is and isn’t technically correct against current state.
It looks like a good option for commuting at least.
Can the speed limitation on the Steps motor be ‘adjusted’ permanently to allow it to operate at its potential, rather than being restricted as it is now ?
I’m looking to replace my current e-bike with a mid-drive option, but it’s very important to me to be able to have a motor that has enough climbing power and speed, or allows me to tweak it so that it can do what I want it to. I am aware that we have legal constraints regarding motor output in N.Z. This bike seems to be restricted to below the output currently allowed though.
Hill climbing ability is the most important to me rather than outright speed, but being restricted to 25Kmh is far to limiting in my mind.
Evo Cycles were very cross with me for suggesting that the bike could be made to go faster and have blacklisted me from any further tests. Anyway… the only way is to get an appropriate dongle for a Steps motor. It halves the speed detected by the bike so max is limited to 50. There may be some that are a bit more clever but will involve some rewiring.
Be aware that all this could void your warranty, so I always suggest buying a bike that does what you want it to do out of the box. The eZee bikes (despite hub motor) are good at climbing and will go 35+, the Specialized Vados go 40+ and climb really well, Scott have a nice Speed model too that I am testing this weekend.
Well . . . silly old Evo Cycles. In that case I will probably leave them out of any bike hunt.
I’m very interested in either a Barfang kit, or as you say, buy a bike that will already do what I want it to do. The Specialized Vado sounds interesting. I will check it out.
Thanks for the great reviews Bazza. Much appreciated.
Thanks Barry for a gr8 review – Forgot to mention the whole MOUSTACHE range is available @ BIKES and BARBERS newmarket , cheers chris
Yes the LUNDI is a very well thought out design, and engineered to a higher level than most. It’s also one of the few out there which is actually NOT from Asia , These are all at BIKES and BARBERS in Newmarket – come by for a test ride and Ogle anytime 🙂
I think the big difference with the Catalyst vs the Pacer is the Catalyst has 2 front rings giving it much better hill climbing over the Pacer. I have tried steep hills on single front ring bikes with 10 speeds and for me, the low gear requires the rider to be working too hard for what e bikes are for. When you try an an e bike with multiple front rings, you may not want to ride a 10 speed unless your hills are very gentle. Gears do matter on 300 watt e bikes so the Pacer vs Catalyst decision is a no brainer.
18.3kg is super light for an e-bike, is that including the battery? Looks and sounds like great value!
I have had the Reid Urban+ for 4 weeks now and have clocked up over 800km. Usually ride around 40 km a day. I would recommend this bike for its quality components and its reliability. I only use the electric assist on the 3km hill climb out of my suburb in the morning and usually all the way home in the afternoon as I usually have a head breeze and a 6km uphill climb. I can get 2.5 days use before having to recharge the battery. This bike really make riding in the a very pleasurable experience and always use the eco setting. I only use the ‘normal’ or ‘high’ settings on very steep hills over 10% gradient. Would highly recommend this bike.
I have a 250W e bike wheel fitted but never got round to using it. It is a mountain bike rear wheel and has gears etc so you can pedal.
I have a 12v battery which likely out out 10,000 watts. Does that make the bike illegal?
If not. What if I attach a 600 watt 4-stroke low emission Honda engine, to an alternator, to that battery. And make a hybrid bike. Which I pedal everywhere with electric motor assist up hill? The small engine connects to a generator only. The battery can supply dozens of times more current than the small engine.
If this idea is illegal, it follows that any battery that can put out 301 watts is illegal. This seems to be a problem. A ‘trip ‘ fuse can prevent the NiMH or Li Ion putting out many kW. It can do the same for the small engine.
Advice (‘engines are illegal as they are over 300 watts’ doesn’t count unless they are direct drive……..)
Batteries can put out lots of power, but probably not in a sustained way. The constraint is typically in the controller for the motor, in how many amps of current it can produce over a sustained period. The motor rating is not output either, it’s how much power throughput it can handle even when the going gets tough (slow grind up a hill, hauling a heavy load).
What worries me is that I have a genuine small Honda engine with low emissions and it would be great for getting up a large hill (from sea level to about 280 metres approx); with pedal lower as well, an efficient generator (or even an alternator) I could have a hybrid e-bike where the engine charges the battery in bursts, so only muscle and electric power make the bike move,and the engine periodically charges the battery (and probably also powers the electric motor) likely under manual control.
Such a setup is healthier and will produce less emissions than my postie bike which is 1.1l/100km…. but I can afford to be arrested and there appears to be no legislation, just an ambiguous ‘gazette’ (which actually could be interpreted as making it illegal to, for example, ride a pedal bike, while possessing an engine, even unit was a tiny model plane motor in packaging in a basket on the front or something that you had just bough from the shops!)
It would likely be considered a moped
PS sorry for autocorrect typos as well!
Has anyone bought/ridden the FE2. Container door have sold them a few times.
Hi Marek, I have spoken to people who have bought them and seemed happy enough given what they paid. As long as your expectations are in line with what you paid then you are OK. Compared with the Onya F-19 from which it is derived, every component of it is ‘somewhat worse’. That includes the frames which have not-very-nice finishing, it includes the wheels which are rim brakes, the battery, probably the controller, tyres, hardware… I think the motor might be the same which may well be the only thing in common.
Hi Bazza – I’ve just come across your site – it’s a credit to your passion – well done.
I’m a lapsed mountain biker, getting creaky in the joints that matter (and hurt) most and, following an electric bike tour in Barcelona recently with my (non-bike rider) wife reckon an electric bike is defiantly in my future.
Your website is a great information resource and I’m gobbling it up.
Thanks and keep up the great work.
Great review. I shelled out 4k 4 years ago for a fabulous quality BH Emotion 29er which I ride to work (up Dunedin hills) at least 3 days per week. Its a 27 speed bike. Multiple gears separate it from lots of other single front ring 8 speed models which in testing, I found a struggle on Dunedin’s steep hills. Out of curiosity, I hope to try the Catalyst from Smart Motion as it has 2 front rings and should climb quite well. Come on manufacturers, when it comes to steep hills, gears do matter even on E bikes!
A word of caution to e bike buyers would be around buying models with batteries that mould into frames. When that model gets a face lift (new frame shape) you may be where I am with my local shop (Specialized) telling me they cant be sure they can get me a new battery for my 4 year old pre face lift model. Its worth checking future battery availability in advance of buying. Rectangular carrier mounted batteries may look bland but they are appear to be a very enduring shape.
Now that e bikes have been around a while, it would be good to read a battery comparison across models to see how batteries have stacked up and how the most popular e bike manufacturers are responding to replacement requests.
Hi Stephen. Ive had a Catalyst for a year now and its brilliant. I tested many bikes and this was the fastest and safest feeling of all E MBikes. Very smooth and quiet braking, stable at speed, and the shocks take most bumps in their wake. Hills are OK but you have to put quite a bit of pedal work up steep hills (usually in first gear) as the electric motor feels quite highly geared. Along the flat at 40 KPH under pure electric power means you cover ground very quickly indeed. I also have a Magnum MI5 for the wife and this is slower on the flat but slightly better up hills (and has a throttle), brakes are awful though and squeel like a stuck pig.
Great review! The trouble with most e bikes, even 300 watt models, is they are only 8 speed. I run hills in Dunedin on a 300 watt BH Emotion 29er which has 27 speeds and can easily handle all our hills. Ive tried Smart Motions here and I struggle on hills with just 8 speeds (but nice on the flat or moderate hills). That said, their Smart Motions “Catalyst ” has 2 front rings including a small of 32 teeth so it might climb quite well. I hope to test one here this summer. Yep, tried the mega expensive Bosch models and they are really underwhelming. Too weak at 250 watts for our hills! In conclusion E bikes rock but watch out for 8 speeds models as they are too highly geared for NZ hills. Its a myth that gears don’t matter on E bikes.
Note that there are different motors in the Bosch range. The Active line is fairly underwhelming but nice if it fits your needs.
I have ridden this trail about ten times on an urban bike, not an ebike. It’s an okay ride but is no longer on my radar. Riding both ways on the day, starting from Lilydale, an all up ride of about 94 km. The scenery is better riding from Lilydale in particular nearer to Warburton. Depending on the season, in the morning, the hills of the Yarra Ranges National Park, may be bathed in sunshine or shrouded in mist. The ride is best started from Lilydale to get the uphill ride to Mt. Evelyn out of the way first up if it is going to be a return trip. The bakery at Woori Yallock is a good place to stop on the way to Warburton to fuel the body. Some of the timber bridges are a bit jarring too. For variety, taking the O’Shannassy Aqueduct heading back from Warburton is a nice ride, but the trail can be rough in parts, particularly on skinny tyres. The forest and views to the valley below is spectacular from this trail.
How did you override the speed limit?
I didn’t. I was limited to 32 when I did my test rides. They are now limited to 45.
Glad I found this site – I look after someone who had a stroke and despite being told he would probably never do anything again he got a manual bike but didn’t have the strength for hills. I got him a folding Volto quite cheaply which has done him nearly 5 years and has given him back his independence. I have heard that ebikes don’t have a long life span so hav saved this site to review when he will need to replace. Thanks.
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Hi Bazza. Many thanks for your very helpful reviews. I have taken delivery of a Vado 3.0 and couldn’t be happier. Live in Motueka so heaps of suitable trails round here. Regards Steve
Hi there I am a larger build and would like a bike to do bike trails eg Otago and bike paths around Auckland. Wondering ifthe Disovery E low be a good bike
My name is Collins and am in Mombasa, Kenya. I have the bh60 exactly like the one above. It has been working fine the last few months though i also noticed that when i put my phone in my back pocket the connection keeps dropping. At first I thought it was a one-time thing but it has continued doing that. Sometimes the bling jet turn signal does not work when i try to indicate but funny enough, i can stop music or select the next song yet the indicator buttons do not work!! Yesterday I stopped somewhere for a break while riding and switched off the helmet. Switching it back on it refused to power on and upto now is not powering on. But when i connect it to charge, the lights indicating charge come on. What may be the problem? I have tried long pressing the stop button for 20-30 seconds to reset but nothing is working. Can someone help me
I ride a smart motion bike – have had it for three years and love it but I also do some of NZ trails and find tyres a bit narrow. Thinking of upgrading to a road / off road bike with bigger tyres – one I could use for ‘timber trail ‘ for example. Any advice would be appreciated. I am not a fast or extremely fit person just someone who loves cycling out nz trails.
That’s a good looking bike! I love belt drives and am surprised more ebikes aren’t going that way.
How do you find the range between this and say the ezee? Is battery the only factor or are there other factors?
I haven’t done range tests on either. TBH range depends mostly on battery capacity, speed and head winds. It’s just physics. Motor type makes only a minor difference.
Amazing review. I have the 2015 model and my charger has recently died on me. Do you know of anywhere I could get one or where I could get mine repaired?
You seem to be in the know!
Thanks Rikki-Leigh. From a Specialized dealer! Current model chargers are compatible.
Hi again. What are your thoughts on the
Merida – ebig.tour 300 eq. Thank you you are brilliant 😊
I’m sure it is a very nice bike. If this is for your 70yo dad, consider if a step-through might not be better. Swinging your leg over the saddle gets harder with age!
Hello – My family are looking at buying our Dad a E Bike for his 70th birthday. What would you recommend. At present he just rides around town and down the river track which is flat. He would need a bike with good suspension and enough power for those lovely northeaster winds. Cheers
I would take you dad to a couple of local bike shop who have a good reputation. Talk to them about his needs. He should ride them and see which he likes, and which fits into your generous budget. If I were hime I’d want the Specialized Levo, https://www.specialized.com/nz/en-au/men/bikes/turbo/mens-turbo-levo-fsr-6fattie29/129139 a bargain at $6800. That’s less than $100 per year of his life.
Hi guys, really want an ebike but have a very limited budget. Solo mum of two small kids I wanted a bike I can do the school run on towing a kids trailer and/or having one on the back. Then on to work. Been reading about the Hiko Pulse. Any thoughts? Hard when there aren’t many to test ride! In Dunedin. I did think I should maybe stretch and was looking at the Smaetnotion Pulse but local guy doesn’t rate it. Any advice welcome. Ta!
One huge issue with torque sensors is the risk of inadvertent activation. Many torque sensors will interpret a bump in the road as pedal pressure and will suddenly and unexpectedly accelerate, even if you are not pedaling. This can lead to serious accidents (been there, done that – it was not fun).
That must’ve been a fairly extreme motor. Typical ebike setups don’t behave like that. I wouldn’t blame the torque sensor.
Now I’ve had my Vado a bit longer, I’m so pleased to have sussed out that I need to change down gears just when and how I did on my ordinary bike. ((duh!)
I was cruizing along so nicely on the straight I didn’t realize . . . – Fixed that that cracking noise on the hill. The more you ride the more you understand the working and the pleasure just keeps on.
I love my step through Vado. The balanced battery makes me feel really safe when cornering at speed. I learnt more when riding than all the confusing info online.- Will cope until the app arrives. I bought it in Wellington at iRide. Expensive yes, but I like the incorporated battery and have not been sorry once I spent the money.
What are your thoughts about the $1300 ebike from 1day? Offered up on todays listings. https://www.1-day.co.nz/products/AA7BWLK01?utm_source=Email&utm_medium=Email&&utm_campaign=Daily_Thursday
I think it doesn’t go very fast and had a tiny battery, so it is probably worth $1300. If you have that money to spend on something that you haven’t ridden and won’t be able to get parts for, then you can probably buy a bike from an established brand or outlet that will actually work and last beyond the warranty period.
Yes our current infrastructure is not very forgiving when it comes to sharing with vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. Loving all the new pathways that are popping up around Auckland, it is certainly starting to make a small difference. It is a shame we can not wave a magic wand and fix all the areas that are tight or non sharing, Stay safe and keep making that ‘best choice’ .
It is good they have opted for a speed of 32km/hr rather than restricting wattage. They have not ruled out throttles either which many find useful for crossing busy junctions and starting off or temporarily increasing speed. The Europeans have opted for mid engines mainly because of the 250watt restriction and the additional torque they provide over same power hub motor.
The review was much more realistic and thorough than I had anticipated. We should get some realistic regulations as a result. It has recognised that we inhabit a hilly and mountainous country and appears to keen on getting more folk on to E-bikes. Hub motors are cheaper and if more powerful can provide all the torque required for steeper hills. It is good to have a choice of motor, whereas in Europe the low wattage favours mid engined bikes.
There is no need to restrict speed. I rode my roadie into work this week and I felt so much less safe than on my ebike. Not much speed difference, but a massive safety difference. Ebikes are inherently safer than regular bikes. Limiting speed on the road is unnecessary and tantamount to killing the potential of ebikes as transport.
Hello thank you for this site. Can you offer any advice on the FOLDING e -bikes as I am considering buying one – for convenience for packing away in my station-wagon boot. I’ve testes the e-motion and the Rikonda brands in CHristchurch
The only one I have tested is the Onya F-19 which I can recommend. The Rikonda bikes are generic Chinese imports. e-motion make quality bikes, just make sure the battery is big enough for your needs.
І constantly spent my half an hour to read this web sitе’s posts daily along with a cup of coffeｅ.
Interesting review. Now would be a good time to try a Scott / moustache – have another 10.000 km feedback .
Maybe its something to look into – we do about 150000km each year with our own fleet. And a few customers rock 20.000 on their bikes year on year. Some at a 1/4 of the Turbos budget – with as big a smile on their face .
Btw We got 6 Scott silence Speed on way – could you do a review ?. Cheers chris aka bikes and barbers
Great article Barry. Thank you for sharing your experience with your e-Bike.
hi barry, enjoyable article. brought my first ebike this week – ezee forza and love it. your hill climbing reviews clinced it for me and it also fitted my budget ($4k). it is such fun and i really look forward to the morning/evening commute. the only issue to date is that cars dont appreciate your faster speeds so a bit more care is needed. as an aside the second car will go on the market soon as no longer need it :-).
Nice article. I’ve been riding ebikes for 9 years and also learnt some lessons: never put mountain bike tyres onto a commuter ebike. I ended up changing out 6 flat tyres over two months!
I went the other way: 15 months / 7000km ago I bought a 50cc Peugeot Kisbee scooter for $2k. Henderson to CBD 14km daily commute. $2 day petrol. I’m satisfied with that decision for speed, safety, free parking, ease etc. Although if some kind of subsidy was provided i’d happily switch to an e-bike. I do feel a tad unfit as a result.
Awesome review, Barry, almost has me tempted to get one!
Get one for your husband Arabella, I know you can pedal!
Hi Barry Good article and as above an inspiration for others. I purchased a Smartmotion Pacer partially based on your review in June this year. Travelled 700km so far and loving it. My commute is only 10-12kms each way (depending on the route I take) and more often than not takes less time than it would to drive. I read somewhere that people who ride to work arrive 30% happier which I agree with. I’m a 100% happier on the return trip!
So true. I started on the E-Bike Journey last month with Trek Powerfly 7 (Bosch Performance CX + Dongle) and love it. I’ve previously used both a Road Bike and Mountain Bike for the commute into town and was absolutely smashed by the end of the week and started dreading it. Now it is just fun, still hard work to maintain the cadence at the end of my current gearing, but fun. I’ve just clocked over 450km with many more to come.
Richard seems to be flying around town on his Powerfly, knocking off my Strava eKOMs. Would be interesting to get a long-term view on Bosch + dongle pros and cons. Clearly range is an issue – the day I saw him he had run out!
Great write up Barry. I am currently looking for my first E-bike and this helps a lot. Nige
Great review and inspiration for others
Yay, you got to the lookout point above little Huia, which hosts an awesome panoramic view of the Manukau. However you missed the Monument Walk next to Cornwallis 🙂
Thanks for an excellent review , iam looking at buying an ebike and have done some research
Our local bike shop stocks a range of bikes ,there best seller is a Volto Tui ….with quoted range of 90kms Its a brand of NZEBIKES designed in NZ made in China with its base in Tauranga
Price $1,950 The reviews are good but I haven’t seen this bike feature in any bike publications or articles.
I haven’t ridden that bike so con’t comment with authority. It is quite old fashioned in the sense that it has a direct drive hub motor, unlike the somewhat more modern geared hub motor or even more modern mid-drive. Plus side is that the motor will last forever having no moving parts, but it won’t be the best climber of hills. I’d encourage you to ride it over a meaningful distance and also ride other bikes in your price and specification range. That would include the Smartmotion-based Everglide (from Evo cycles), Smartmotion eCity, Magnum UI5, eZee Sprint. Maybe even have a look at something more pricey and see if the difference is enough to have you commit more cash to the project.
I have researched ebikes for a couple of years and bought one nearly 12 months ago (NOV 2017).
I live in Pukekohe which is quite hilly and am an older guy who wants a bit of help on the hills and an alternative to an exercycle for the non winter months, plus for a break from golf.
Have tried (ridden)many makes eg VOLTO, SMART MOTION, MAGNUM, plus quite a few others from all over Auckland and Hamilton
Found the VELOCITY the best all round for road/footpath use.
WHY… Battery 18.4AH (others as low as 10AH) which reduces range and require recharging more often… 7 speed shimano pedalling, + 5 level power assist + throttle overide..made it up Pukekohe Hill ok. Battery position below the seat good for balance and not reducing step Thru space like for the Magnum. Battery cost goes up $300 for every 2or 3AH.
Overall very good quality ..I chose the VELOCITY ZEST as Step Thru has many advantages.
Available from TE RAPA and NEW LYNN.
Cost then was $1995 (now $2100). This is nearly $1000 cheaper than the equivalent in the makes mentioned above which do not have as large a battery and no better specs.
I use Power level 1 most of the time and increase with the throttle on gradients and starting up from intersections. I have 6 or so different “courses” of around 15km which take about 45mins. I re charge the battery after 4 or 5 “trips”. I opt for minimal traffic times and as few intersections as possible. Beware of obscured driveways if you are on the footpath…few cars stop at the footpath so best to ride on quiet roads and through parks. Watch for grass drop of at edge of concrete paths.
PS Crackerjack ex The Clearance Shed have a much cheaper ebike at about $1300 which has most of the features of the Velocity .Suit the medium to smaller physique up to say 85kg, and has a comfortable seat like the Velocity. I think the Bike Barn has a similarly priced one, but make sure it has both pedal assist, and pedal only options.
Also some have wider tyres of 2.1 which are better for heavier riders..eg Volto Tui, Magnum, and Velocity has another model too. but they are dearer.
Any queries welcome.
The specialized app just does not link to my new Vado 3.0. Abysmal
The Specialized app for this bike has not been released yet. I am told November (update: January 2018).
Has anyone tried a Metro 500watt – Glide 26″ available through AMW?
No, haven’t heard of it or AMW.
I’m actually surprised you got that far – I have been over 80km on 750Wh (on flat paths) but didn’t get much more than 40km on hilly routes. Back then I wasn’t contributing too much human effort though.
Those modular batteries you want already exist (released last week):
I don’t personally think it’s a good idea for a large pack though as it will weigh more than a single pack.
Recognize this photo? Stopped for lunch at the same spot on my (non-electric) ride just over a month earlier.
BTW to make the long link above wrap properly, add the following CSS:
Thanks, I don’t have a WordPress plan with CSS-level customisation (I don’t think anyway)
I see that the Focus Jam2 has something similar to what I am suggesting. There is a ‘normal’ battery fixed in the downtube and a modular one can be added for 756 Wh total. I’ll be testing one soon too.
What would your average speeds be with a Forza, Torq and Sprint if you commuted under 10km, with a typography like that from Manukau to Wiri?
Sounds like a Monty Python question… I don’t know that! https://youtu.be/y2R3FvS4xr4
Suggest you speak to the guy who knows the eZees inside-out, Maurice from Electric Bicycle Hub or these guys http://www.actionbicycleclub.com/
FYI: We just visited a Cycle trail Bike hire operator, who also sells bikes (including e-bikes). They have been in business for a few years, and update their bikes on a regular basis. We found that they were knowledgeable, keen for us to understand what was on offer and not at all pushy. They had observed what worked on the trails for them (which happened to be what we were after) and were keen for us to try ALL the e-bikes they had (which we did). Better still they are about 15 minutes walk away if the bike fails!!! Their comments appear to be pretty consistent with what you have written.
I can’t wait for the 100Ah battery!! 😛
I want a modular battery system please, I don’t need 100Ah every day!
Interesting to read, currently running a 1500 BBSHD middrive set up. Having hit the road like a Waters slide at 40kph I find you learn to become a safer rider very quickly. I understand how there are rules in place for this kind of thing Just saying Do Not reach to the rack behind you while moving on a short handle bar bike. (We all have our idiot moments). Don’t let that deter you.
—– I’m still a massive fan of High powered E bikes. —-
Being a cyclist (no car) for over a year I only recently bit the bullet and made a powerful bike. Feels nice to be able to go the same speed if not faster than traffic and still get a good workout if you choose to.
I you want to make something powerful there are some safety precautions that I feel high powered DIY systems probably should take into account.
I write this in hope that people don’t repeat the same mistakes I did.
1) Powerful brakes (at 50+kph your stopping distance is much greater than that of a car going through same speed. Keep your distance, Get Discs, preferably hydraulic.
2) Ebike tyres. If you are commuting on something this powerful go for BIGGER tyres not smaller. You will keep almost all of your speed and this power. But you can significantly brake faster with more control without skidding out. Been there, done that.
3) Be seen! No one in a car expects a bike to go as fast as them. A POWERFUL front and rear light is recommended.
4) Be wary of corners, Brake leading into and accelerate out of, if needed for Max control.
5) Suspension, get a hard tail or a road bike. Had the motor on both. Much more comfort and control on a hard tail. Rear suspension or saddle suspension is a nice addition too.
6) It’s F*#& loads of fun! Do not forget that part. After all the trial and error, it’s worth it, to have something totally unique.
I know it seams like common sense, but I’m sure there are other crazy 25 y/o out there that are planning to do the same thing.
FYI cops don’t seem to care. As long as they don’t spot you doing 60, in a 50kph zone. Common sense applies 😉
Hi, Where can I read the Hiko review?
You can’t. I removed it. It infringes on patents held by another brand and the vendor didn’t respond to any of my questions, I won’t endorse that.
The US version of this bike is a disaster!!! Software failures plague the bike and Specialized seems unable to fix the issues! My LBS which claims to be the biggest Specialized dealer in the US has had the bike longer than I have. They can’t get Specialized to do anything!
Fortunately Specialized’s service in NZ is outstanding, in my experience.
I am in full agreement with your ‘horses for courses’ comments on the ebike industry! I believe that as long as reliability isn’t an issue, and warranties are fully supported, then there is something for everyone in the ebike supply chain. As a shop, we counsel riders on intended use, and teach for example that if its a daily rider they should to spend a bit more than an occasional use bike, as cheaper bikes will wear quicker, and the less precise componentry will need more regular tuning. But as long as expectations are matched at the purchase stage (shameless retailer plug – buy a bike from a retailer that understands the bikes and the market!), then all riders should be very happy with their bikes.
Thanks Jonno. Probably a blog post for another day – the support (or not) that you get from your bike shop remains long after the thrill of getting your new bike. I was advised to make sure that there were locally available spares for the bike I bought – even though it is a high quality bike I was glad I heeded that advice.
Thanks again for an informative article. I was involved with the NZTA consultation on road rules for low powered vehicles, and have to say I agree with Frank. The Euro standards I think are quite clear, and I recommended that NZ adopt these. They allow for people like Andrew who want to travel at 40 km/h -you just need a moped licence.
Two main issues that I think you have overlooked or downplayed. First the data on ebike/pedelec uptake is that it is not the same as the current NZ cycling market which is dominated by 30-40 year old males and a ‘sport’ image and ethos. The data I have seen suggests that the average speed for ebikes is about 17km/h or 2km/h faster than non powered bikes. So I’m not convinced of the need or demand for a faster powered speed.
Secondly as you say, most reputable manufacturers and non- reputable come to that, build to the Euro standard, so having a different standard immediately looses any cost savings from mass production. The price of many ebike in NZ are already inflated as Frank notes, by selling to a market that is based on a ‘boys toys’ approach and too many clips on the ticket.
Agree that the Euro regs are very thorough, but consensus among most riders is that the bikes are simply too slow. I really don’t see any need for the speed constraints unless voluntarily applied – it simply ruins a perfectly nice vehicle. Speed constraints should be applied to the infrastructure (road or path) not the vehicle. What works nicely at 25kph on an off-road trail is frankly dreadful on an urban street. I have ridden dozens of bikes and the ones that are nicest to ride don’t have an artificial speed limit (doesn’t mean to say it won’t top out at somewhere just over 35kph which is what you can expect from most motors and electronics).
Good healthy discussion though!
Hmm, ‘… most riders’ think the bikes are too slow. That’s certainly not my experience. I haven’t done any formal research, but from observation I’d say that, excluding the Lycra loony brigade, my average speed on a euro compliant pedelec is usually faster than just about all other cyclists I meet. And that is definitely on urban streets.
Again I think it comes down to a different mindset. Those whose only objective is to complete their journey as quickly as possible may well value speed over other factors. For me one of the great potential of ebikes etc is increased independence and mobility for those who can’t ride a non powered bike, so although I have a lot of sympathy for route not the vehicle approach, in practice I am concerned that higher speed capabilities could lead to the same impatience with slow riders that we see in vehicular traffic in NZ, and further discouragement to uptake by those that could benefit most.
Thanks for the good basic information. I’ve had a front hub drive conversion kit for some years now and looking to get a new bike but I’m continually frustrated by the lack of relevant knowledge of retail staff. They can wax lyrical about the Flibbey dabby forks and the Grinky ‘cassette’ whatever that is, but often don’t know what make the motor is, and as for the controller – ask about software capability and availability of updates all you get is blank stares.
Come on guys, the potential in the electric bike market is for people who buy bikes the same way they buy cars. Can I afford it, does it look good and does it do what I want. They don’t ask or expect to be told who made the alternator or steering wheel. Forget the ‘cycling as a sport’ market segment and get some people who know about the product and the audience.
I agree Peter. There are some stores that meet your specification but they are few and far between. This is a large part of my personal quest; to help people identify their actual needs based on what they expect the bike to do for them. Some things that are relevant to other bikes (like light weight) are less relevant to ebikes. But new things become important, good lights for example.
I found the same lack of information when choosing an e-bike 2 years ago (the choice was not as extensive then) – I did a lot of research online then set out to test ride them. This quickly eliminated many models, I found the smart motion and pedego heavy, unbalanced and motored along without much effort….this may suit some but I was looking for more of a sporty bike feel suited to tracks that gave the feel of a normal bike rather than a motorbike, definitely no throttle.
I wanted to use the assistance when needed on hills etc for my weak knees.
When I rode the Moustache Samedi….I knew it was the bike for me – just felt like a high quality normal mountain bike so I still get the exercise and give assistance on steep hills…..I had to fork out more $$$
But I found the bike to suit my needs. Unfortunately I had to travel to Tauranga to get this bike the man from “Anebike” Len knows everything there is to know about e-bikes and has many brands I would suggest you call him to chat about the bike that suits your needs.
I was also very impressed with the Hai Bike which is similar with the Bosch mid drive motor and sporty feel – but you have to check on after sales service and parts as I nearly purchased a “haibike” when the shop closed suddenly …should anything have gone wrong I would have been up the river without a paddle!
Thanks for sharing your experiences Kathy. Which shop closed suddenly?
The shop that closed down was in Westhaven (not sure of name) – the owners name was (Neil) had a great range of Haibikes as well as other brands.
Seen him recently – has opened another shop in Eden Terrace.
That must be Flux. I haven’t been there in a while and their website looks like at was last updated several months ago, so I wondered if they had maybe gone out of business. For anyone listening in… not updating your website makes it look like you are struggling or out of business…
Yes that’s the name “Flux” just checked out their website and apparently new shop in Eden Tce is now closed and they are moving to Tauranga – they have partenered up with Cyco to offer sales and service (which they needed to do) I knew of someone buying a Haibike and when something went wrong they were told it had to go back to Germany.
Can’t stress enough about after sales service.
Good real world advice, thanks Kathy!
Flux has reopened in Tauranga
Hi Kathy, Would love to chat to you about your Moustache Samedi and how it’s going. If you get this message perhaps you could reply to me? I am in Auckland, seriously considering an ebike.
Trina I’ve sent you a lengthy email regards the Moustache – at the address that Barry sent – hope this helps – feel free to get hold of me on the number I sent for more info
Thank you very much, so helpful.
Hi Kathy, can you specify which model of Moustache Samedi you bought please? And if you could CC your detailed email to Trina to me as well that would be great!
Chouette, I purchased Moustache “Silver” (2015) as its 3 years old now models have been upgraded as have the prices, unfortunately. There are so many on the market out there now – you have weigh up which bike will suit your needs for the type of riding you will do and take them for a spin.
Mine is an entry level to MTB range – so I wanted front shocks (no point in paying more for full suspension) as I don’t do true mountain biking but it is surprising how many of our Sunday rides end up in mud, grass and gravel so the fat tyres have been a benefit. I wanted a mid drive motor (more cost) but better weight distribution for a sporty feel. I also wanted one I could lift easily to transport so weight was a big factor- I also wanted a bike that rode well without assistance so I got my excercise and only used power for hills. Mine is also made for European standards so it won’t do more than 25mph – if you want Speed and a throttle it’s not the one for you.
Mine also has no mudguards – can get mucky when it’s wet and is not a step through so I have to climb over a bar to get on and off (if you are not tall) it may not suit.
Just pointing out some of the pros and cons for you to consider before choosing – hope this helps, Kathy
Kathy I think I’m upgrading to a Moustache! Love mine but as you say need fat tyres even for urban rides. Trina
Thanks for your reply Kathy, you have confirmed some things that I think would definitely be required such as wider, off-road tyres. I really would like a step through as I don’t like swinging my leg over the seat but this limits my choice considerably so I might have to decide if this really is an issue or not.
Just read your report and test on e-bikes. I recently imported the Velogical Velospeeder twin rim drive motors. The reason was that they are lightweight and totally disengage thus returning the rider to a standard bike when required with minimum weight increase.
Maybe I have the only one in the country. The assembly advice is miserable and I am awaiting the assistance of an electronics savvy friend before switching on.
I have found no reviews that have intelligently tested these motors from a riders perspective. At 76 I am beginning to doubt that I will get the assist that I hoped for on hills.
Have you experience of these motors?
Regards ….. Stan
Hi Barry, good review – just to say we add throttles all the time @ Bikes&Barbers for $49 -and we’d advise against the Schwalbe tyres …as of late half a dozen failing along seating edge on rim. It would be much better to fit Thornproof tubes ( slightly thicker ) and only a few dollars more. In terms of time and price for puncture on rear hub we charge the same as for any rear wheel -as it takes us no more time ….most days and with strong coffee. The 21ah version goes way past 120km on any setting -and is a fantastic excuse for a long trial ride 🙂 .
I have a class 6 (motorcylce) full license. Is there a way to register a high powered e-bike as a moped, or motorcycle that would enable me to ride on the road with a higher power output and higher speeds?
You can – just needs to be done at a vehicle testing station. Not sure what all the lighting requirements are, ie if it needs mirrors, indicators and stop lights.
As far as I know mopeds are restricted to 50kph and are not allowed on cycle lanes and shared paths.
They lent it to you and you bent the top tube!!!
Great review! I’m seriously looking into this model eBike. I have a 16 mile commute round trip. I regularly bike commute – except when it gets too hot in the summer (no showers at work). This will be a gamechanger.
Thanks this is very helpful!
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Yes NZTA need to get their acts together I agree, however, don’t hold your breath as NZTA will mirror how NZ Govt conduct their business: shoddy, lacking vision, and keeping us all in “grey areas” with constant shifting of the goal posts. I’m an owner driver class5 operator & there are many grey areas in our transport industry in the 17 years I have operated. So I can see many of us wanting to go electric on a bicycle finding out “the hard way” with fines & possible prosecutions as the NZTA start interpreting this exciting and fast growing trend.
Increasingly there are more and more bikes that have both a cadence and torque sensor. For example, the Juiced CrossCurrent I just bought has both (AND a throttle to boot!). Moreover the throttle is an “intelligent” system that can be used at the same time as the torque/cadence sensors. There’s no need to switch modes; the controller figures out whether you’d get more power from the throttle or your own pedaling, and smartly delivers power accordingly. It’s really pretty ingenious and, IMO, makes for an almost perfect drivetrain set-up. Doesn’t hurt that the bike is also thousands less than almost anything that would compare to it.
We appreciate your reviews and information on this website – thanks, keep it up.
I like the look and feel of the Magnum Ui5 but am interested in your lack of enthusiasm on any particular part of it. My wife & I (approaching 70) like doing formed trails – Otago, Hauraki, Northland etc, no roads or mountain bike trails, and are looking to an eBike to help care for our bodies ie give us some help on hills, in headwinds and extend (or should I say maintain!) our range. We hired some Volto Tui bikes and decided not for us primarily because of the weight and the 3 step PAS (despite the good price). The similarly structured SmartMotion eCity would suit us better. So could this Magnum. Whats your view on its suitability for our needs?
I like the Magnum. It is powerful but it’s built to a price point. People who own them really like them. The eCity is nice too.
My advice is to ride the bikes more than just around the parking lot and make choices from there.
In depth article. Keep things simple . Europe leads the way in the E-Bike market with 36v x 250w .Being a former EU accredited bicycle assembler, it is the EU that sets the standards. The most recent amendment now allows throttles. In the US various states have their own interpretations and from an industry point of view ( the bike manufacturers) 36v x350w is the US standard. This now with in the bike industry the major e motor systems manufacturers follow the two standards. NZTA has introduced a set of standards that take into considerations NZ geography and standards are 36v x300w. The problem has arisen is that the industry generally dont produce 300w hub motors or mid-drive motors. European bikes brands imported to NZ generally are 36X250W, however these brands also have US specd options for the US market…..some of these have entered the NZ market. There is considerable fudging by importers of for instance US brands 36vx350w and then saying these bikes have been de-tuned ? This then raises the issue that these bikes do not conform to NZ standards and require to be registered and the rider licenced. It raise the question that NZ standards should be modified to 36v 350w . Certainly kits are available to modify these motors either way increase or decrease wattage but then can void any warranty on the motors and increasing can burn out motors. The cost $250 dollars plus. The comment of E-Bikes speed max should be much higher 40k plus to negotiate traffic on roads doesn’t make sense why? The average speed on many of the Auckland City roads is as low as 20kph as against Christchurch 34kph. At the moment the efforts of Bike Auckland and Auckland transport is evidenced by the ever increasing cycle ways and bike specific paths what this has done has brought out families and older riders venturing to ride bikes safely.. these paths also have had an uptake of pedestrians using the cycleways to have E-Bikes whizzing past at 27kph is one of negotiating ….a child experiencing and learning the skill of riding a bike safely with out motor vehicle is a benefit in itself. Also the older generation re-discovering riding standard bikes again. I personally ride a lightweight E- Bike I fitted a 250w motor system I ride from Massey to the city under an hour faster than the train from Swanson where I live close by which is well over the hour..a car is and hour. If I want to go faster than 27kph limit I pedal it into 30’s. I am passed frequently by E-Bikes doing 40k’s easily and the brands are easily identified by brands that have been sold as complying 300w ! I have spoken to the odd rider at the lights and they say they were told the bike was sold as complying ? but having been passed previously it should have been licensed/registered… I didnt have the heart to tell them.
Thanks Frank. The reason I say 1000W is to enable cargo bikes. There are already such things and they don’t cause problems. Same with faster bikes. No sense in capping speeds if it isn’t a problem. To your point about shared paths etc, they should carry a max speed which will be less than the max speed of the bikes.
I agree the Euro bikes are great, but it does make for a higher cost bike. There is a perfectly legit entry level that isn’t Euro compliant (the cost of gaining compliance is apparently quite high). Even then they play games. The Bosch 250W motors are identical to the 350W ones.
Cheers my comments are mainly relevant to trekking /city style bikes. Max speed in France on several cycle ways I rode on was 20kph as most are shared .Yes the Euro bikes are great and that is the level that should be the bench mark for distributors. Being in the industry a a couple of roles I have is one being a consultant, I have contacts with factories in Taiwan and China who already supply the Euro market and can supply NZ all with similar specs to the well known Euro brands seen here. An indication of retail price ex factory say for a Ladies city Dutch style step thro’ hub motor with Sturmey Archer 5/8speed gears (or Nexus)internal hub 700c disc brakes could retail at approx$2000 giving a margin for distributor and a good margin for the retailer. Many of the bikes here are sourced from brand name distributors which just puts too many clips on the ticket. I agree on Commercial Cargo bikes and that should be a standard similar to a Heavy Goods scenario with Commercial Trucks etc. I bring in the odd kit for friends and associates to fit to a regular bike they own…this factory does produce a 300w motor fully compliant cost would work out at approx $1500 front or rear hub motor LCD and throttle, PAS. LED lighting and a choice of battery styles the latest that fits in a small bag.
Cheers like your site very informative.
Shame about the speed restriction. I went thru all the research and decided to convert my bike to a mid drive myself to avoid the restriction. Love it.
BIKES and BARBERS in newmarket and Papakura have just landed some of thoose MOUSTACHE bikes and we will be handling MOUSTACHE bikes in AUCKLAND . So welcome to come and test for yourself – we allways offer free demo rides . And we are just next to the domain ( by the olympic pools ) so very easy for a quick adventure .
It looks a lot like this fellow http://starkdrive.bike/
Exceptionally well-researched wisdom, Bazza. Thank you for flying the flag for ebikes in NZ.
I have to comment since I happen to own a sister of that model, a non-folding version from the same company. It’s about the same price in China, US$515, I paid NZ$1500 here in NZ, from a shop. I wasn’t expecting much but didn’t want to sink $4k into a brand name product that I would have preferred (such as a Grace Easy) in case I didn’t use it much, or worry about it getting nicked.
http://www.ele-cycle.com/product/City-Electric-Bike-EB19-2.html (but mine is the men’s version)
If nothing else, I’ve learned in my old age to be open minded. I’m a degreed mechanical engineer and have designed automated machinery, industrial controls and instrumentation products in my 30 year career. I have a pretty good grasp of materials, electronics and manufacturing as well.
Points of difference, my bike has a 350W Bafang motor and 10s x 4p Samsung cells at 36V 10.4Ah. When it arrived the rear wheel was 2mm out of true axially, outside what I considered acceptable, so I had it corrected, a cost which the Wellington vendor covered without argument. Otherwise the quality and finish is very good and consistent throughout. There are honest concessions to cost, those being a non-removable battery, no fenders and no lights, however, there is nothing about the bike that does not meet my expectations given the price.
I’ve owned it for a year now and so far done about 700km. It’s used for transport rather than recreation. I ride it full throttle, as fast as it will go all the time, only peddling when going uphill or when I want to go faster than 30 km/h. I don’t need to push the battery capacity but have not detected any loss of range so far. The 2 amp charger is perfectly suited for an appropriate charge rate of 0.5 amp per cell.
How much trouble have I had with this eBike? Yep, nil, nada, absolutely none. It’s been brilliant, flawless even.
I apologise profusely for being blunt since we need eBike advocacy websites, but your “specs analysis” reeks of pettiness and unsubstantiated assumptions. If you tested an example of the bike and arrived at those conclusions, qualified by the price paid, I would fully accept your review. But for an entry level eBike, I can’t fault the model and example I purchased, and don’t see any reason why the model you analysed would be any different.
Thanks Paul, sounds like you are one of the lucky ones. I am not against entry level bikes (quite the opposite) – what really got up my nose was the assertion that the bike was ‘worth’ $3999 which it clearly isn’t.
I find my 350 Watt, 45 kph e bike just right; there’s enough power to keep up with traffic in town, and enough power (just) to get me up Brooklyn Hill at night (a rise of about 160m over 1.5 km). I would rather the law left this speed assist level as is, but allowed a slightly larger powered motor, say up to 500 watts. I have used bikes that assist up to 28 or 32 kph but they feel like someone keeps putting the brakes on. Having almost arbitrary limits on e bike assist speeds will also be a nightmare for the authorities; there’s already speed limits, go over them and expect to get nicked.
Too many rules and regulations could make e bikes too expensive and difficult which would be a tragedy as I see them as an essential piece of any grown up transport policy.
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Hi Barry, great review! I’m keen to look at the Evox but am struggling to find a retailer for them in Auckland. Where did you get yours from? Thanks Jacquie
Thanks Jacquie. I got the Evox from Electric Bicycle Hub, East St.
Well, I think it is high time that the laws on e bikes and other electronic powered rides be amended because they are quickly getting popular.
I thought it was already simple and clear and don’t see any reason for rapid ill-considered changes. E-bikes based on bicycles, up to 300W output, are still “bicycles” and other powered rides are not. The only issues in my opinion are the ease of enforcement of “300W”, and that this number is bizarrely askew to other standards in the world, seeming to be pulled out of a hat. Since many areas of NZ are hilly, most preferable (as I mentioned below) a 35 kph speed limit which is much easier to enforce and should apply to all bicycles, power-assisted or not. The issues with pedestrian traffic on mixed use cycleways are the same and bicycles in general are getting much more common now. Cheers!
Very good analysis and well said. In short most dealers in Alibaba cannot be trusted 🙁
The whole area obviously needs to be clarified in the current review! However try ringing NZTA to ask their view on bikes that can operate on a throttle alone. From my discussion they seem to be of a clear view that they are not bikes.
In decades of mechanical engineering design experience I learned long ago not to ask bored civil servants to interpret law, thats a job for lawyers and courts. Well-written laws are simple and to the point. Throttles, pedalec, torque sensors and the way the bike is ridden are not addressed because they are not regulating those items. Like any other law you do not need to read between the lines.
Barry, this is a great analysis. You can’t get this real cross comparisons on any sites. Looks like you tested bikes mainly from two suppliers? Maybe there was a time restriction on trying others, like Smartmotion
Thanks Peter. I sure did have a time limitation, and the location meant I’d have to have the bikes nearby. I did however do the test so that I can repeat it with other bikes. I’d expect the Smartmotions to be similar to the Magnum in performance (slightly higher Max speed from SM, slightly more torque from Magnum).
I gotta wonder. Why isn’t this ebike more popular on the internet? I’ve scowered YouTube, and found only a few recent videos working with Ezee components. The rest are quite old. There’s some from from 2011, 2008, 2009, and 2014.
I’ve found only a few reviews online too.
E bike tuning dongles with no loss of control functions: https://www.ebiketuning.com/shop/category/48-bosch-gen2.html
Is the the max speed speed column part of the hill climb test data or is it a flat road measured, or a published spec?
Thanks for your efforts…!
Sorry for the confusion. That is the terminal speed during the test. It’s just a bit helpful to know if you have no intention of ever going that fast, or plan to add a tuning dongle…
Hey Barry. It was really nice to meet you after recently devouring everything on this site!
Paul & I tried about 6 ebikes up Grafton Gully on the same day. We finished with SmartMotion’s Catalyst and Pacer, borrowed from Bikes & Barbers in Newmarket. There are lots of pros and cons to consider, which is giving me analysis paralysis, but I think I’m leaning towards their Kiwi design chops. 😉
Great review, I’m looking at getting an e-bike to travel to work in. I see you mentioned it’s no good for steep hills? Would upper queen street or west end hill be considered as steep hills ?
Thanks. It’ll make it, just not perhaps as easily as some. Best thing to do is to try the bike on your route, perhaps compared to some others on your shortlist.
Hi Barry – have you got a separate review of the Evox City – I did a search of website but only the climb came up. I think you owe yourself a coffee after that mammoth effort! Eldon
No Eldon I don’t, didn’t get time on the day, not even time for that coffee or lunch! Probably will though. It’s a nice bike. So comfortable and surprisingly light. You can try it at Maurice’s shop. He has two, the red one seems different, not in a good way.
Oh dear, deal was ‘activated’ 19 March with 30 sold. Best stay out of their way if you see one…
Wish I’d read this earlier. I just bought one from Container door…haha hopefully I don’t get the problems above you’ve outlined.
Hi Andrew, did your bike arrive, and how is it going. Please share for all.
Another nice review, Bazza. I would agree with your verdicts, and second you that yes, it isn’t a power-monster of a bike, and you don’t get the ‘kick’ of alternative models, but it is smoooth like hot runny chocolate, and the build quality is top notch. Ideal for the urban sophisticate, and definitely the best rim brakes we have seen!
Thanks Jonno. I’ll remember that metaphor, everyone likes chocolate, right?
Hello, NZTA have advised me anything that operates with a throttle without peddling is not a legal bike. Why are you saying throttles are ok?
I have heard there is currently a review being carried out looking at these issues?
There is a review underway currently. There are many problems with the law currently – for example, cargo bikes that need a bit more power than 300W are “illegal”, and the definition of power is unclear. Technically, using only a throttle (rather than as pedal assist) is not within the definitions of legal. A throttle however is not illegal, and is incredibly useful especially for older people or when starting on a hill. And it’s almost essential on a cadence sensor bike. I’d hate to see that made illegal because it cuts out every lower priced bike from the market. Of course the purveyors of ‘premium’ bikes will be unfussed about it because they are not allowed under Euro laws. Nor are speeds above 25.
Thanks for the reply. As I understand it in the EU bikes that operate on throttle alone are classified as scooters unless they cut out at low speeds. Surely NZ will head the same way?
Anything is possible, but that will only affect bikes you buy in the future. I don’t see why NZ would it should follow the EU approach ahead of say the US approach.
I don’t buy that the current law outlaws throttles … if taken literally, even if it was intended to. It states that the vehicle “… is designed primarily to be propelled by the muscular energy of the rider,” and as such indicates that the design basis of the vehicle should be a bicycle, but not dictating how it is used at any particular moment. Any E bike can coast, for example, throttle or not. It just means it needs functional pedals.
Clearly the 300 W output was a silly choice, nearly impossible to measure and different from any other country. But it doesn’t allow for intermittent higher power either, otherwise it would state “continuous.”
The govt should either copy EU law or far more sensibly simply limit top electric-only speed to 30km or such, something police already know how to evaluate.
Paul from Napier is probably right and me wrong. The key word being ‘designed’. If it has bike components, pedals are in the right place… it’s a bike.
We are wondering about the pros and cons of fitting up a good mountain bike to having a new custom model, designed to be an ebike?
What do you think?
Hi Rob. I don’t know a lot about conversions, but here is what I do know:
– You would definitely want a mid-drive conversion. To get one that is legal in NZ is next to impossible. They start at 500W upwards and we are limited to 300W. This is partly because they are rated on maximum vs nominal to sound more impressive, but it is likely the label that makes it compliant or not rather than measured power output. The law in NZ says that the place you are riding = the road, so don’t take advice from anywhere else
– The conversions typically have their batteries awkwardly placed. If you look at the Turbo Levo for example it is really low on the downtube, and the difference in handling is amazing.
– If it is indeed a good mountain bike (and I’m thinking $3000+ here) then you will probably detract from its value. Your converstion will cost you ~$2000 and you can’t compare it to a $5000 ebike
– You can get a reasonable dedicated eMTB for $3500 – I am testing one on the weekend with a Bafang mid drive
I saw this bike last night, when a client phoned me about it and asked if it was OK.
You have been very polite with your comments, and truthfully, this is the bottom of the range of any e-bike I have seen. Was thinking of phoned the commerce commission over this on.
There is no e-bike like this for $3999, this would be the greatest missing leading ad i have seen.
Lets get sued together on this.
Did you find the frame rigid enough? Looks lightweight, but does it compromise on flex-resistance?
Jonno, it looks really nicely built, not flexy. The steps system is lighter than most motor and battery combos. It’s certainly stiffer feeling than a step through.
Well said ElectricBazza! As an industry we need to educate, and this piece is spot-on in terms of an education in avoidance! Great work.
Thanks Jonno. You can help fund my defence when I get sued 😉
It’s a problem that because of our isolation , the rapid growth of e-bikes and the perception that real e-bikes are overpriced we will see an increase in similar poor value bikes. All I can say to any buyer is to do your research talk to current and be aware. If it sounds too good to be true etc..
This is NOT new, you are absolutely correct, I think it will also get much much worse, sadly.
Colleague on a Catalyst had same pinch flat as I experienced (also thought he could hop a kerb) and had to call the sag wagon (his wife in a car). Something to consider – getting a flat is not an uncommon experience on a bike. This is not aimed at the Smartmotions, but any rear hub ebike.
The longest ride I have done is 60kms power level 3, torque setting. Mainly flat cycle trails around Hawkes Bay. Finished with 4 bars showing so maybe 80 or 85kms possible. Thanks for the tyre pressure tip.
Only down point I have is that my right heel catches the frame unless I kick my foot out. May need to apply some scuff protection. All the same it’s a great bike.
Lucky enough to own a pacer. My preference is to use the torque sensor every time .
Me too Charlie – nice to have as an option though. See my review.
Thanks for your comment. Your summary of the issues to consider is most enlightening.
We are retired and believe that e-bikes would extent our capabilities to continue to exercise and explore. The choice is very extensive both in performance and price. You have given us a good starting point to seek the most suitable option for using the bike trails of Auckland and the environs. We greatly appreciate your review.
Just to add to the valuable information you were given – I ride in an over 60’s group on Sundays and half of us have e-bikes – so many types available and depends entirely what you want to spend. The group leader has a Smart Motion as he only didn’t want to spend more than $3,000 he loves it but I didn’t like the feel at all so I spent the $5,000 to get a more sporty mid drive Moustache – I absolutely love it (my comments above) – I’m so glad I got the mountain version as we rarely bike on smooth terrain in Auckland especially when doing tracks – the bikes without shocks and wider tyres bounce around a lot more.
I can recommend a great bike shop – “Electric bike hub” in K Road by the pink cycle path – he knows everything about e-bikes and is very generous – would probably give you a bike to try in the weekend.
A lot of our group purchased bikes from him – great after sales service. He was not there when I purchased mine – I had to travel to Tauranga to get my Moustache though Maurice from Electric Bike Hub is able to get Moustache now.
I definitely would avoid the conversion and go for a bike that was designed to be an e-bike.
what did you mean in the review when you said: you work at ‘try’ ebike events with ElectricMeg?
I work on the Mercury events, where there is an opportunity to try an ebike.
Pretty much agree with all these comments. Have owned one for 6 months and apart form the front brake needing attention, I have been very satisfied
Do you have a shop that I can have a look
Hi Andy, I don’t sell bikes not am I affiliated with any brand or distributer. I just review.
I rode on at electric bike hub adjacent to the top of the Light Path – it was FAST
Why doesn’t someone bring these scooter type bikes into NZ? When we were in Vietnam the locals said they don’t trust Chinese motorbikes due to reliability issues – maybe the same with electric bike/scooter??
Hi Eldon, I did see one on TradeMe today. It’s probably a bit like why people prefer MTB-style bikes over the more practical hybrid/stepthru. It’s largely about looks, and no-one can deny that the Viet-bikes mostly are a bit on the ugly side. Then the actual motorised scooters (which would need to be registered here) are likely unappealing to our petrol culture. Times are changing though.
One thing to consider is that any wheeled vehicle needs to be supported by a network of dealers, spare parts etc so it does need critical mass to support a profitable business. People buying from TradeMe etc are likely to get their fingers burned. Fortunately for many vendors if they are selling at auction they are not bound by the Consumer Guarantees Act if they are ‘private individuals’. They might be in a bit of trouble if they are a business.
Hi, nice review on the Hikobike. I did think ‘Magnum’ when i saw it (and i stock the Magnum in my shop). Do you know much about the company? Its the first time i have seen one. I am based down in Devonport, by the way, currently stocking SmartMotion, Pedego, Volto and Magnum.
Hi Jonno – I met you in Devonport at one of the Mercury sessions. I am trying to find out a bit more about Hiko – their products look interesting and well thought out. Watch this space.
Thanks Barry for your efforts in writing about E bikes, I am enjoying the articles.
Hi Barry… Thanks for finally posting a review of this, your own bike…
Quite frankly… it sounds like it is completely suited to my (sporty?) desires…. but sadly, my budget is lacking… I’m currently riding a (very good quality when new, Including Shimano 600/Ultegra gear-set) +20 year-old road-bike for a 17km each-way commute…
It was a “toe in the water” affair, and I can afford a little more to upgrade… but sadly +$5k is not my region of spendature…
Frankly… I’m looking at $1500- $3000 (stretch!!!)… And, also, in my late-40’s, I’m looking to increase my sportiness/fitness level (from a below average, but not complete couch-potato level)… rather than reduce it…
I like the speed and responsiveness of the 700c road bike, but it has no easy way to fit a rack or panniers… and the skinny high-pressure tyres are not very comfortable and also puncture-prone…
Occasionally I commute on my wife’s Mongoose 26″ MTB… it’s heavy and slow, but I like ditching the backpack and using the cargo carrying panniers on the rear rack…
I’m considering an “entry level” smart-motion, Pedego or similar “quality” e-bike (but not a trade-me no-name) , set up for commuting… or a un-assisted cyclo-cross bike (shaped like a road-bike, but with room for fatter tyres, and mounting lugs for racks/panniers) with Shimano 105 (or better?) componentry…
Do you have any comments or suggestions to help steer my choice… ?
A bike like the Smartmotion e-Urban would suit your functional needs. Those are $2.5k and are a nice bike, go fast ‘enough’ at around 35kph etc. But given that you are coping fine on a 700c bike now I’d be inclined to stick with ‘acoustic’ and find a nice flat-bar hybrid/commuter bike with maybe 32c tyres (eg Durano Plus that are fairly puncture proof). I’ve seen some really nice Cannondales out there, not sure how much they cost though or where to get them.
Unfortunately finding nice commuter bikes is hard in Auckland. Which is why you see so many roadies and mtbs being used. A pity, because they don’t really fit the purpose. I’d be inclined to go to somewhere like Rode who are more urban-oriented than the rest.
Hope that helps…
Love our Pedego bikes, very luxurious
As of 1 Sep 2016, a review of regulations is underway.