Frequently askedquestions

What maintenance is involved?

Beyond standard bike maintenance, there is very little extra required. Just ensure moving parts are lubricated and that electrics do not get submerged. 

All our electric bikes have LCD consols with self diagnostics, so, should something go wrong, e.g., a throttle is damaged when the bike falls over…   you will get a specific error code on the LCD consol which will tell you what component has failed. All our components have marine rated plugs close to the component, so it is very simple to swap in new ones.

Cheap ebikes have no such plugs so a simple task becomes a day-long nightmare…    unthread internal frame cables…   then somehow rethread the new cable (often impossible without cutting other wires, etc)…   trust me… I learned this the hard way!!

Can I ride in the rain?
Yes. Our ebikes and kits are weatherproof. Be aware though, they are NOT waterproof. Riding through deep water that submerges the motor will cause the system to fail.
How far will the bicycle travel between re-charges?

Again, depends on what eBike or battery you purchase. For example, Our SmartMotion electric bikes will get up to 60km of pedalassisted biking (@22-25kph) per charge from the 36v10ah battery! This is more than other ebike brands with 12ah batteries, due to our higher quality geared motors. Of course, if you go faster, or the terrain is hilly, your range will lessen. Our Pedego Commuters have been known to do over 100km in level 2 assistance from the 36v15.4ah battery!

How long does it take to re-charge the batteries?
This depends on what of our products you purchase, as the battery sizes vary. Normally between 4-7 hours to charge.
When should I re-charge batteries?

The battery can be charged after every ride, or when it is flat. Lithium batteries don’t discharge much at all over time. And small charges are fine too. No need to fully discharge before each charge… Lithium batteries actually prefer shallow discharge, so top up charging after each use is a good habit to get into.

Beware: There are cheap lithium batteries and then there are GOOD lithium batteries… I learned the hard way… my first import of ebikes had cheap batteries… they all failed within 6 months!! Nightmare!! Our batteries are the best available on the market and cost twice that of the cheap cells… but they come with a 2 year warranty… many other ebike brands only have 6 month warranties… some only 90 days!!!

The battery represents nearly 50% the value of your ebike and must be of the highest standard to give you good value for money. Always check the warranty details on any ebike you look at.

Can the bicycle be ridden with just pedal power?

Yes. The choice is yours – battery power, pedal power or a combination of both. The latter actually achieves the best results; just bring in the power when you need it… hills, head wind, late for work, want to pass that lycred up speedster just to peeve him off!. Oue ebikes also ride beautifully with the power turned off… No resistance from the motor, combined with top-end bicycle components make for a superb ride, unlike many of the cheap ebikes I have tested that rode like a dog! Substandard brakes… rattles… unbalanced wheels… incorect ride geometries and gutless too.

Is there any way to secure or lock the battery when I leave my electric bike parked or do I have to take it with me?
On our eBikes the battery is key-locked onto the bike frame and is totally secure. Naturally you still have the choice to unlock it and take the Battery Pack with you.
What is the difference between Pedal Assist and Torque Sensor Assist?

Pedal assist is the system used on Pedego and SmartMotion bikes. A sensor mounted on the pedal crank senses when you are or are not pedalling, and how fast you are pedalling and supplies motor power to suit… is is a little like cruise control on a car.

Torque sensor assist is common in China and japan and a spring system is installed inside the pedal crank that measures how hard you are pushing on your pedal and offers motor power to suit. It sounds great and I imported several samples to test… Have you ever had a bike with a loose crank? This is what it feels like… every time you push on the pedal it gives about 10mm!! Bloody awful…

All our electric bikes have fully rigid axles and cranks… they ride and feel like bikes.

My advice… avoid torque sensors.

Does the motor slow me down when not in use?

Not in our Pedego and SmartMotion electric bikes. Our brushless motors have an internal freewheel so the motor is stationary when not powered. This means when you are not using the motor, there is no resistance from it… your bike performs exactly as a bike, as there is no extra friction. In some other eBikes in NZ there is no freewheel, so friction builds once you are over about 20kph… trust me, even a brushless motor has a lot of friction if there is no freewheel… going down a steep hill the planetary gears are screaming.

Does the battery recharge going down hills?

Our Pedego and SmartMotion electric Bikes do not have regenerative charging. I researched this in depth and came to the conclusion it was better to go for a high capacity lithium battery and a motor with an internal freewheel… This means you have plenty of capacity (up to 80km range) and a motor that does not drag when not in use… so yourelectric bike still rides like a normal bike down hills or freewheeling, or motor off.

The amount of resistance you need to create any useful amount of charging is quite high… instead of whizzing down a hill like on a normal bike, you crawl down at 10kph… and might only get an extra 500m of range!

If you think, on a normal bike ride, how often do you have the brakes on for more that a touch? How often would you have your brakes firmly on for 5 minutes solid? Never! Regen charging works well on heavy vehicles that stop and start a lot… like buses, rubbish trucks… but it is a gimic on bikes.

Research proved regen braking, on average, only added 4% to range, and possibly shortened lifespan of battery due to overcharging issues if a full battery received a downhilll run.

What sort of life can I expect from the batteries?

Our advanced Lithium Polymer Battery Packs will last 3-5 years, depending on use… That said, we still have many of our orignal 2006 customers still out there on original batteries.

The fact our batteries have a 2 year warranty says it all… most other brands in NZ are 6 months to 12 months.

We say there’s lithium and then there is LITHIUM! I’ve been to many battery factories in China and seen a large range in price and quality… and, there is no shortcuts… quality costs! We can get lithium cells for about half the cost of what we pay… but they won’t last. The key is in ‘batching’. In a good factory the cells are voltage tested to 5 decimal places using high temp discharge (gives the most accurate data), then batched into ‘families’ of exact voltages. This is cruicial to the longevity of the battery pack as it is the weakest cell that determines battery lifespan as the Battery Management System cuts output as soon as one cell reaches critical… and if cells are not perfectly matched and will sooner get out of voltage sync and certain cells will get stressed, and eventually fail.

Also, cheaper batteries aren’t pre-condition-charged, so need several deep cycles to avoid intial cell damage. Our cells are deep cycled 3 times at the factpory and capacity tested to 5 decimal places, so they can also check the fractional capacity loss each charge to see if the chemistry is behaving normally.

Is there a limit to the size or power of the motor I can use?

Yes, when used on roads, bike paths and/or public access areas in New Zealand, the legal limit is 300W (we are lucky, in Aussie and the EU it is only 250w). Any so-called ‘electric bike’ in NZ with a motor rated at more than 300W is legally a Moped and must have indicators, brake light, horn, etc and you must have a driver’s license to use it.

How does the energy used by a bicycle compare to a car?

An electric bicycle uses approximately 0.03MJ per KM. By comparison, an average car (10l/100km) uses 3.3MJ per KM. This is a difference of approximately 100 times. A bike gets the equivalent of 3000 miles to the gallon!!! In fact, reasearch shows, when you factor in the carbon footprint of food production, riding an eBike has less impact than riding a normal bike (or even walking!!) as you don’t need to eat so much to top up your body’s energy reserves. Interesting 🙂

What are things to watch out for when shopping for eBikes?
  1. Avoid batteries and Motors with less than a 2 year warranty (they must be low quality, cheapo cells or motors).
  2. Avoid single level pedal-assist (SmartMotion and Pedego ebikes have an LCD consol with 5 levels of assistance to suit ALL riding styles).
  3. Avoid Non-branded brakes. If it ain’t shimano, avid, or tektro, forget it! Many cheap ebikes are meant only for the internal Chinese market, where safety standards are very low. We use only well-known brands.
  4. Watch out for Non marine-rated handlebar connector plugs, or even worse, NO connector plugs (a nightmare should you damage a throttle, brake-sensor, etc.
  5. Be wary of online-only sellers with no national dealer network. Buyer Beware!! Who will service your bike in the future? We have over 30 dealers nationally, so you’ll never be let down. The only reason we have so many dealers sign up with us (5 times more than any other ebike brand in NZ) is our electric bikes are awesome, and our back up is great! We choose and specify designs that bike stores are happy to service…    this involves specific design around servicability.
  6. If you are in a hilly area, avoid direct-drive motors (no planetary gears)…  These are the chepest electric bike motors available. They are VERY heavy! (about 2.5kg heavier than our motors!) They also have low torque on steep hills and are very inefficient at low speed. Our 250w geared motors have more hill climb pull than a 300w direct drive motor and use much less power up hills. Our 300w geared motors leave them in the dust at all speed levels! How to pick a direct drive motor? A direct drive motor will be thin with a very big diameter (300mmm or more). Geared motors are much smaller (about 125mm) and wider.
  7. Check reviews…  search the web…    Good brands will speak for themselves.  And, try before you buy.
Will spare parts be available for my eBike?

If you buy one of our bikes, yes! SmartMotion is our own, NZ-designed Brand, so we carry a full range of Parts. Pedego are now the no.1 USA electric bike brand and well understand the importance of brand reputation and hence after sales service.They have supplied us with a huge range of spare parts.

A considerable part of the value of your ebike is knowing you will be able to maintain it and have guaranteed access to spare parts. We have over 30 dealers thoughout NZ and are the only electric bIke brand to be supported by the cycle retail industry through quality dealers. We achieved this by proving we are in this for the long haul and can offer the back up service the industry requires…

Cheap ebikes bought  direct off the importer??  What happens 1, 2, 5 years down the track when your controller/battery/motor/etc fails? The importer is no longer in existance as he ran for the hills after it all got a bit stressful…   so you contact (us ) and ask for help (we get calls and emails regularly of this nature)…   but, sorry, we cannot help…  the components are too specific…   your ebike is now just a really heavy bike. 🙁

A big part of the value (and resale value) of your bike is knowing you will be able to service it and get spare parts in the future…  we guarantee this service. 🙂

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