EBikes are taking off in Wellington, and it’s easy to see why. They make roaming around our windy, hilly city no sweat – literally.
You’ll still enjoy the benefits of being active - eBikes don’t do all of the work for you. Most models are pedal-assist, meaning they work with the speed you’re pedalling, and give a little extra push when you encounter a hill or a headwind.
Generally, cheaper eBikes will have the drive (or assistance) in the middle of the front or rear wheel. The assistance and weight distribution aren't as even and they can be a pain when you need to change a wheel. On the plus side, they’re usually a more affordable option, and they’re relatively silent.
The higher end eBikes will usually be mid-drive, with the motor located where the pedals meet the frame, and have integrated batteries and lights. Other features like torque sensors will be present on higher end models that will sense how much effort you are using, what gear you are in and adjust the assistance level accordingly. Higher end eBikes will also generally come with some other nice bells and whistles, like onboard computers and inbuilt batteries.
One thing they both have in common is that they have been designed to be eBikes and the frames built accordingly. You can retrofit a battery and motor to your regular bike, but it pays to keep in mind that the frame hasn't been designed for this purpose.
If you are looking to buy an eBike, here's some helpful guidance.