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Buying Guide

So, you want to buy an e-bike or e-scooter but not quite sure what to get?

Frankly, there are only two reasons you are here… you have a practical need for cost effective, eco-friendly transport, or you just want to have fun! Ok, it’s possible there is a bit of both reasons that apply to you but predominantly you are going to be leaning one way or the other. So, the first thing you need to do is tell yourself the truth about why you are here.

Here’s a few practical reasons:

  • You live in a hilly area.
  • You're not all that fit or you have limited mobility.
  • You want to be able to take off more easily from an intersection.
  • You want to switch from a car to a bike or scooter (to avoid traffic jams and enjoy easier parking, reduced emissions and lower costs), without being limited to only short or flat rides.
  • You don't want to get all sweaty – particularly if your workplace doesn't have shower facilities.
  • You want to avoid using public transport or you want to be able to carry your scooter with you onto the public transport.

Here’s the fun reasons:

  • They look cool! Some more so than others. Check out the Rayvolt and Eunorau range of e bikes and the E Move range of e scooters for some totally wild looking machines.
  • They’re fast. The E Move Cruiser scooter will power along at 45 kph and that is also certainly true for some of our bikes (of course we’re talking off road speeds here because there are legal restrictions to how fast electric rideables are allowed to travel on Australian roads!)
  • Did I mention they look cool and they’re fast?

So, there you have it. Of course, you are welcome to use list number two to motivate you to buy and list number one to justify your purchase. I won’t tell anyone, I promise!

Seriously though, before you buy, you should have some idea of the style of riding you are going to do. If you need to carry out errands like reasonably sized shopping or carrying passengers, you'll want a cargo bike. If you want to get to and from work, you'll look for a commuter bike or scooter. 

If you want to just use it for more off-roading or beach riding, we have a purpose built models for that – check out the Rayvolt Beachin’ and the Eunorau Fat  models. 

If you need to carry it with you in the car or into your work place, you will probably want a foldable model of bike or scooter, rather than one with a rigid frame.

Don’t be afraid to ask for a test ride.

If you’re in Brisbane our Watt-A-Ride showroom is located at Tingalpa. You’ll need to let us know you are coming though so drop us an email or ring to have a chat first. If you aren’t in Brisbane but you happen to see a 40 foot bus driving around with Watt-A-Ride written all over it, flag it down – that’d be me, living the dream of travelling this great country.

Watt-A-Ride bus  

I've usually got at least a couple units onboard – unless I'm  sold out, of course. If you aren’t able to get to Brisbane or flag down the bus, give us a call and we’ll certainly do our best to tell you so much about the products, you’ll feel like you’ve ridden one!

How do you ride an electric bike?

If you’ve ever ridden a bicycle, you can ride an e-bike. If you’ve ever ridden a scooter, you can ride an e-scooter. Electric bikes work by assisting your pedal movement as you're riding. Additionally, some bikes also have a throttle so you don’t need to pedal at all, if you don’t want to.

For the most part, riding an electric bike is the same as riding a normal bike – you'll still need to steer, brake and pedal, but the pedalling bit is somewhat more optional. Electric scooters, take off with a push and then keep going with a throttle. Too easy! 

The best part about electric rideables is you’re able to ride faster and longer without as much effort, because the motor is doing as much of the work as you want to let it. You can choose from a number of settings to adjust the amount of assistance you're getting from the motor based on your needs and the conditions. This makes e-bikes a great way to get fit because you can decrease the pedal assist as your fitness levels build up. 

How much do electric bikes cost?

Ok, they aren’t cheap. Ours are in the $2000 to $6000 range – and you get what you pay for (which is why you will never see an $800 brand in our line-up). Our E Move scooters are in the $1300 to $2200 range but keep an eye out for the soon to be released Roadster which will bring scooter riding to a whole new level both in terms of performance and price! On top of the unit price, you may want a few accessories so make sure you factor that into your decision-making process. 

How much do they weigh?

Check out the specifications sheet on every product page. They vary but some can exceed 30kg so bear in mind how you are going to transport it.

How long does the battery last and how far will it get me?

Again, check out the specs on the product pages. Range is one of the most important factors to consider when you make your purchase and some of our machines come with the option of a dual battery or spare battery to make sure you never run out of power before you get where you are going. All the Watt-A-Ride bikes are also easily recharged, so, so long as you are not in the middle of nowhere, the chances are you can find a place to plug in. That said, some of our units will travel up to 100 kilometres on a charge so you aren’t likely to flatten the batteries if you think ahead.

How to charge an electric bike

Electric bikes come with a battery charger and some have a removable battery pack. To charge your electric bike, you simply plug the battery charger into a mains outlet then connect the battery pack to the charger. You can usually expect your batteries to last about 3 years before you need to replace them.

Charging time varies considerably. For example, our E Move Cruiser charges in 9-12 hours while our Touring scooter only takes 3 to 4. Most of our e-bikes are in the 2 to 6 hour time range.

What are the laws on electric bikes?

According to federal law an electric bike must be able to function by pedaling alone, but it also has a motor attached which can assist the rider. (Tip: if it doesn't have pedals, it's a moped or a motorbike and a whole different set of laws apply.)

In 2012 the federal government adopted the European standard (EN 15194: 2009 or EN 15194:2009+A1:2011), making 'Pedalec' electric bikes legal in Australia.

What is the maximum power output?

Pedalecs can have a maximum power output of 250W for road use. Rayvolts are controlled by the EIVA app or computer which can limit the machine to road legal or unleash its full power if you are riding it in a place that is legal to so. Evia will also do a host of other functions such as:

  • Monitor speed, battery state, MPH/KM Run & essential bike specs
  • Adjust your level of pedal assistance
  • Access advanced configurations and the exclusive Rayvolt Technical support chat service
  • Play your favourite music
  • Access GPS navigation

What is the speed limit for electric bikes?

For legal road use the motor must cut out once the bike reaches a speed of 25km/hour. If you're riding without the motor, you can go faster, but you still need to observe speed limits for roads and shared paths, just like other cyclists.

Other electric bikes don't have a speed cut-out but they also have less powerful motors (maximum 200W) and the same speed limits for roads and shared paths apply.

The limits on electric bike motors mean that they are unlikely to be able to keep up with city traffic, so keep this in mind if you're considering buying one for this reason. While we have bikes that will do 45 km/hour, these are not legal on the road.

Scooter laws vary from state to state and are evolving as scooters grow in popularity. Best you go directly to your state government for the latest on what’s legal in your state or territory.

Do I need a license or registration to ride an electric bike or scooter?

No. Just like regular bikes and scooters, electric bikes and electric scooters don't require a license or registration, but riders are legally required to wear a helmet and follow road rules.

Can I ride an electric bike or scooter on the footpath?

It depends on which state you're in. Electric bikes have to follow the same rules as normal bikes, so check your state's  bicycle laws. For example, in WA anyone can ride their bike on the footpath, but in NSW only children under 16 and those supervising them can ride on the footpath.

In Queensland, scooters are allowed on the footpath but speed and riding behaviour are regulated.

When it comes to the law, the responsibility is upon you to check your state or territory's transport website for any important information on the rules and regulations regarding electric rideables before you hit the road. 

Can I convert my existing bike into an electric bike?

Yes, it's possible to buy an electric bike conversion kit and have it fitted onto your existing bike, but it may not always be the best option. Some things to consider if you are thinking about converting your bike into an electric bike include:

  • Is your bike suitable for conversion? Your bike should be in good condition with sturdy wheels and good brakes, or it may be unsafe to ride with an electric motor.
  • Will it end up costing you more?
While conversion kits are cheaper than buying a new electric bike, your existing bike may require a number of upgrades in order to function safely with a motor. It may be cheaper to simply sell your existing bike and put the money towards a new electric bike.

Consider that your bike will be much heavier once the electric motor is fitted and may not be as comfortable to ride as a purpose-built electric bike.

If you’ve still got questions…

Your best move is going to be to get on the phone and call Watt-A-Ride on 07 30960565 and have a chat. If you are close enough to Brisbane to get to our Tingalpa show room, why not book a test ride. You will know pretty quickly if you want to own what you are riding.