An e-bike is a bike with an integrated electric motor offering the rider assistance. You control your speed with your feet like a regular bike, but when you push the pedals on an e-bike, a small motor engages and gives you a boost. Assistance can be delivered in two ways:

  1. Hub assistance — power is sent to a wheel hub for help. 
  2. Pedelec — the power assistance is relative to the amount of energy the rider is putting into the pedals.

Is riding an e-bike cheating?

One of the most common misconceptions is that e-bikes are ‘cheating’. In fact, there is little evidence to support this claim. Because cycling is more accessible on an e-bike, studies show that many users get more exercise than those who ride regular bikes and are less likely to drive a car or catch public transport. Many e-bike riders also ride traditional bicycles which result in higher weekly activity levels than their non-electric counterparts.   

Are e-bikes good for the environment?

With a growing need to reduce congestion on our roads and promote alternative modes of transport, battery electric vehicles (BEV) are presenting themselves as the go-to option. The emissions produced through the manufacturing process of e-bikes and batteries are substantially offset by other environmental benefits, including vastly reduced energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. The negative effects of these processes are insignificant compared to the excavation and manufacturing processes of traditional gas cars, trucks, and even larger electric vehicles.

Are e-bikes a good fit for everyone?

E-bikes are now being made for all riding styles. There is an e-bike for everyone, and they are more affordable than ever. For people affected by illness or impaired by other health conditions, the introduction of the e-bike has been a lifesaver. The added power makes carrying a load or going uphill doable. Trends in Europe show that e-cargo bike sales grew by 60% in 2019, boosted by the inclusion of cargo e-bikes into the FedEx and UPS fleet. Not only is this good for the industry, but it could mean one less delivery truck on the road.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I buy an e-bike?
There are plenty of great reasons to buy an e-bike. Offering many of the same benefits as traditional bicycles, e-bikes help reduce the cost and environmental impact of transport, improve well-being, and strengthen community connectivity. However, for riders, the real advantage of an e-bike is the ability to climb hills or fight headwinds with ease, while providing the capability to ride longer and further. With motor assistance, you can easily commute without breaking a sweat, so you can dismount and continue straight into the office or coffee shop without the need to shower or change. E-bikes are also a great option for people who want to get into riding but feel they can’t due to fitness or health challenges.
How is it powered?
Battery packs are connected to the bike via the frame tubes or pack rack, and can be charged in conventional power points over a couple of hours. Most e-bikes have a range between 50-120km on a single charge. Lithium-ion batteries can absorb between 500-800 charging cycles before performance reduces.
What are the rules with e-bikes?
You can travel on any roads and paths unless signage states otherwise. A pedelec bicycle is only powered when the rider turns the pedals, and the assistance cuts out at 25km/h. These e-bikes can generate 250 watts of power and fall into the European (EU) standard (EN 15194). If the e-bike exceeds these regulations, it is considered a motor vehicle and regulated by standard road rules. The EU standard must be recognised on the bike to show that it complies. If the motor is the primary power source, you cannot use it on roads or paths.
How fast will they go?
To be ridden on all roads and paths in Queensland, e-bikes must be speed limited to 25km/h. This means, once the rider reaches 25km/h the electrical assistance will cut out completely. However, the rider may continue to pedal without electrical assistance or if the battery is flat.
What type of e-bike is right for me?
Due to the popularity and innovation in the e-bike sector, there are many different categories of e-bikes. To make sure you chose the right e-bike for you, determine the primary purpose of the e-bike before choosing a style of e-bike. To help make this easier check out our quick quiz that will help you identify which type of e-bike suits you best. 

Why ride an e-bike?

We sat down with Jake, Jill and Simon to get an insight into their e-bike journeys and how it’s impacting their lives. From commuting to mountain biking, they explain how e-bikes are changing how they travel, saving them thousands and reducing their carbon footprint. If you’re thinking of buying an e-bike, this is a must watch!

Simon’s Story

It is amazing how a simple change can make a big impact. My wife rides an e-bike (she doesn’t drive anymore). She suggested if I get one, then we could drastically reduce our car usage. Remember, we aren’t the lycra brigade — I am an overweight middle-aged male — so biking isn’t an obvious choice for commuting. So far, in just under five months, I have done 1500km on the e-bike. Most of it locally (within a 5-8km radius) and commuting to the city occasionally. That’s trips to go grocery shopping, outings (e.g. coffee shop), medical appointments etc. All things you tend to do close to home.

Eleven months later, I am still thoroughly enjoying the use of my e-bike. I even took it last week up to Tewantin/Noosa and used the e-Bike for trips to the beach, the RSL for dinner (yes, they had a bike rack in the car park!), general sightseeing and more. The experience is going well, and I thought I’d show you the benefits through some numbers and stats.

Simon English riding his e-bike
Simon's e-bike journey

How my e-bike use stacks up against using my car?

e-Bike UseCar Use
11 months11 months
Distance Travelled – 4306kmDistance Travelled – 4306km
Electricity charging costs — $0 because I have PV (solar) and a home batteryFuel Consumption (L/100km) – 18 with an average price of petrol at $1.6/L.
Maintenance — approx. $300 (I live on some big hills, so I’ve already been through a set of brake pads, and I managed to break a couple of spokes — long story…)C02 Emissions (g/km) – 260
CO2 savings — 1.12 Tonnes
Fuel Savings — $1240

The above data is based on my car alternative, a 2007 Petrol Toyota Prado. Visit the Australian Governments Fuel cost and CO2 calculator to find out what your total fuel cost and CO2 Emissions are.

Want to test your e-bike on one of Queensland’s most iconic rides? Join this year’s Downer Brisbane to Gold Coast Cycle Challenge.