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NZ Electric Bike Review

Which is the best ebike for me?

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  1. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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!

  2. 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.

    1. 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.

  3. 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.

    1. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

    1. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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?

    1. 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.

  8. 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.

    1. 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!

  9. 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!

      1. 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?

      2. Just make sure the bearing/shocks are niced and sealed. Ferment them in some salt water. Then BOOM, unstealable rusted-in seatpost 😛

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

    1. 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.

  12. 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.

    1. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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!

  15. 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 🙂

  16. 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.

    1. 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.

  17. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

    2. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.
    Cheers Bret

  20. 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

  21. Hi
    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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  22. 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

  23. 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.

    1. 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.

  24. 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…

  25. 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!

  26. 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.

    1. 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.

  27. 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?

      1. Fantastic thanks! Do you have a model number for the Ortliebm would like to make sure I’m getting the right ones.

      2. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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!

  28. 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.

    1. 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.

  29. 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

  30. 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?

    1. 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.

  31. 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

    Thank you

  32. 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

      1. 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.

  33. Hi there,
    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.
    Many Thanks

    1. Hi Liz,
      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.

  34. Hi Bazza,
    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
    Carol S.

      1. 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.

    1. 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.

  35. 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 .

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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.
    Thanks

  40. 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?

  41. 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.

    1. 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.

  42. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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

    1. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

    1. 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.

  48. 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

    1. 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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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

    1. 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.

    2. 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

  51. 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.

      1. I have done over 1,000kms road commuting on my Magnum Peak and it has performed admirably. Even in heavy rain.

  52. 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.

    1. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. 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 🙂

    1. Hi Christian,
      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 !!! 😉

  55. 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.

  56. 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 !!!

    Cheers,
    Grant.

    1. Thanks Grant.

      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.

      1. 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?

  57. 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

  58. 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.

    1. Hi Frank,
      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.

  59. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.
        Cheers,
        Grant.

  60. 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 🙂

  61. 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.

  62. 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.

  63. Question:
    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……..)

    1. 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).

      1. 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!)

    1. 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.

  64. 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.

  65. 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.

    1. 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.

  66. 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.
    Peter

  67. 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.

  68. 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.

  69. 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

  70. 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

  71. Hi,
    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

  72. 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.

  73. Hey

    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!

  74. 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

  75. 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!

  76. 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).

    1. 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.

  77. 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.

    1. 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.

  78. 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’ .

  79. 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.

    1. 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.

  80. 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

    1. 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.

  81. 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

  82. 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 :-).

  83. 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!

  84. 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.

  85. 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!

  86. 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.

    1. 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!

  87. 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 🙂

  88. 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.
    Any comments?

    1. Hi Robin
      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.

  89. 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):
    http://www.ebikes.ca/product-info/ligo-batteries.html
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0z-ivOZoi00&w=640&h=390]
    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.
    https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipNHfPA3v41IgEzSbaBPPgetwmlaQ5pQutlU9Wqc2zCPKFRzFzQgOqOfpiXMVIDtJA/photo/AF1QipPYPBBkLZk_-sQ9mdMAs-9b0skCKOKZYjdQFh5x?key=ODhnWFYtZ2E3MHA3ZG5sY3JSYVdCd3hONElHN1Vn

    1. 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.

  90. 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.

  91. 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 😉

  92. 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!

  93. 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.

    1. 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.

  94. 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.

    1. 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!

      1. 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.

  95. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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!

      1. 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.

      2. 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…

      3. 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.

      4. 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.

      5. 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

      6. 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!

      7. 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

      8. Kathy I think I’m upgrading to a Moustache! Love mine but as you say need fat tyres even for urban rides. Trina

      9. 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.

  96. 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

  97. 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 🙂 .

  98. 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?

    1. 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.

  99. 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.

  100. 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.

  101. 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.

  102. Hi Bazza,
    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?

    1. Hi Brian,
      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.

  103. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  104. 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.

  105. HI Barry,
    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 .

  106. 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.
    Cheers, Paul.

    1. 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.

  107. 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.

  108. 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

    1. 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!

  109. 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.

    1. 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.

  110. 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

    1. 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).

  111. 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.

  112. 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…!

    1. 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…

  113. 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. 😉

  114. 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 ?

  115. 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

    1. 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.

  116. 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.

  117. 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!

  118. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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?

      2. 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.

      3. 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.
        cheers ,
        Paul
        Napier

      4. 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.

  119. 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?

    1. 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

  120. 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.

  121. 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..

  122. 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.

  123. 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.

  124. 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.

    1. 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.

  125. 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

  126. 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??

    1. 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.

  127. 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.

    1. 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.

  128. 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… ?

    Cheers,

    Fletch.

    1. Hi Fletch,
      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…
      Barry