Article by John Hardwick from Mountain Biking Australia Magazine published 11 December 2015

Mountain bikers are a pretty relaxed crowd. Compared with the road cycling fraternity we tend to be far less uptight and worried about what we’re riding or how we look—as long as we’re out enjoying the trails then it’s all good, right?

Well that’s what I thought until I started reading some of the social media posts relating to off-road e-bikes. Sure people can get a bit passionate about their favourite wheel size or some new hub standard but I was seeing a whole new level of hate. A handful of people seem open to the idea but most believe they are pseudo motorbikes for lazy people and they’re going to tear the trails apart.

all about electric mountain bikes e-Bike Basics So what are these contraptions and are they set to be the terror of the trails as many assume?

The term e-bike is commonly used to describe a pushbike that incorporates an electric motor. Like anything, there are a few different types of e-bike and their designation has a major bearing on the nature of these machines.

Currently there are two types of electric pushbike that are deemed legal in Australia. By legal I mean you are allowed to use them on the road as you would with any other non-motorised bicycle. First up is the traditional e-bike; these must have working pedals and the motor can’t produce more than to 200 watts. While they do have a motorbike-style throttle, the limited power ensures that they aren’t capable of pulling massive roosts up the trail.

More recently, bikes that conform to the European EN15194 standard have been declared fit for sale in Australia. These bikes can have a 250 watt motor but they don’t have a throttle at all. Instead the motor automatically provides assistance as you pedal—the harder you pedal, the more it assists. Once you reach 25kph, the power simply cuts out. This newer breed of electric bike is known as a ‘pedalec’.

all about mountain ebikes

In addition to the purpose built pedelecs and e-bikes, you can also buy conversion kits to fit to a regular bike. Many of these kits stemmed from the days when there were few dedicated e-bikes available in Australia. With these, the onus is on the creator to ensure that it meets the regulations.

If all this makes you think of that bogan who passes you on the bike path whilst carrying a case of VB on the shoulder, well wipe that image from your mind right now. It’s illegal to ride a combustion engine equipped pushbike on roads and paths in all Australian states and any petrol powered bike is producing way more than the 200 or 250 watt figure that’s allowed on an e-bike.

Read the full article here.

Thanks John for allowing us to share your article!