The RTA's Gabriel Denoury has just announced that the changes to regulations on E bikes, which are so long awaited, are about  to happen. Basically, the allowable motors size will be lifted to 250 watts to bring us into line with Europe. Secondly, the motor assist will cut off as 25kms an hour, and the throttle which most E bikes now have, some along with the Pedelec system will become illegal.
Pedelec, a European term applies to a motor assist which comes automatically and only when you pedal

There will be a limited throttle under the new rules  to get you away from the lights which will allow you to twist and go up 6 kph. but that's it. As someone who rides an E bike as my main transport in a hilly area, I regard the  removal of the simple foolproof throttle as a backward step.

The thottle allows the most ecomical use of the battery, very important when bike ranges are not that great. But generally, the  relationship between bike and rider should be as simple as  possible,  and as much in control of the ride as possible,  too. Any fear that the bikes with throttles might be used as hoon machines, as mini motorcycles,  are removed by the  assist limit of 25 kph, one would think.

I know few cyclists here ride these bikes , but those that do, any opinion?  E bikes will be big here when utility cycling takes off, I  predict, following European and Asian trends, I guess further  that  the majority  of bikes used as transport will be power assisted within five years.

A quote in USAToday gives some idea of what's  ahead. "The E bike is the forerunner of the electrification of all personal transport."  Our course if you ride mainly to go fast or work out,  this is not relevant to you. Adding an E assist to your bike makes as much sense as adding  electric motors at Fitness First, no sense at all!

But just  getting about, not working out, will become a major part of cycling and then the E bike,  in the sit up configuration, will the bike of choice.

mike Rubbo

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I still don't get it and I am sure that the people making the rules know nothing about electric motors. Firstly the size (wattage) of the motor has no relevance to the speed that a vehicle will go as there is power to weight ratios to consider and inclines ( which goes faster a 1000Hp truck or a 100Hp motorbike). So turn off the motor at 25km/h and pedel to 60km/h. Safety would have much more to do with brakes, wheels, frame etc than speed or motor size. An electric motor is designed to do a certain amount of rpm, so it is very easy to limit the top speed that a motor can propel a bike regardless of whether it is 250 watts or 1500 watts. I have made many electric bikes for people, mostly disabled, and in my experience, it is better to have a larger motor with a design that limits top speed. I am an Auto Electrician and a General Electrican so I have some qualifications and I would love to see how the authorities come up with the rules and just who is advising them.
Mike you hit the nail on the head when you said that 25km/h limit would remove any FEAR of bikes being used as hoon machines.
Leave the throttles in the hands of the rider and let the rider decide whether to use a lot of power or to conserve power depending on the need. Simple, cheap, environmentally friendly transport. Control the throttles of B Doubles not e bikes!
I would love to see any data the RTA has on the number of people killed by electric bikes and the number of bike hoons that have come before the court.

250w is a very important limit in terms of bicycle tires, weight distribution, front hub drive and lack of talent amongst e-bike users. 


Its also much harder to get decent battery range if people keep using 750w to restart from stops - which will actually negatively impact perceptions.


if you want an electric motorcycle, there are plenty of providers.



I have 1kwh on my bike, can do 40/50km range without pedaling using upto 5000/7000 peaks

batteries weigh 8 kilos or just under.

I do not want an electric motorcycle as i have one already that produces over 100KW

All my bikes take a 5/6 kw beating... Just need good REGEN to stop brake pads from being used up so quickly

Thank you for clarifying this.  I wondered why you were having so much trouble with brake pads.  I now understand it's because you're trying to stop an electric motor bike with push bike brakes.. :o

At last some sense.

Regardless of the other problems cited, I predict that a 250 watt bike is going to encourage a hell of a lot of non-cyclists out of their cars.

Cyclists won't change public opinion. It's all those that aren't cycling yet.

And a 500 watt bike would encourage even more - especially those that live in ahilly areas or like me are old and infirm.

Not me for one. I would love to start riding a bicycle again as I did in my youth - I am now 57 - but I cannot handle the hills in the area where I live. All the research I have done so far seems to indicate that a 200 watt hub motor would not be good enough to get me up the 8-10%+ hills. Only a mid drive system that leverages the bikes gears would approach the level of performance I would need, but there are so few of these systems around, and none that I would buy for various reasons. Also, for me pedelec would not be any good. I have a dicky knee that will frequently tell me to stop pedaling, ive had enough. With pedelec this would leave me stranded by the side of the road, unable to pedal or to walk without pain or detriment to my knee. Also, I have financial problems which limit the amount of money I can spend on an e-bike, and I do not want to buy a bike that might be outlawed at any time if the new regulations go through, whenever that might be.

Electric motors have a wide torque range, and a 250w electric motor + 50w from you will get you up an 8% hill at 10km/hr including hauling the battery weight, which is faster than a fit person of my weight without a motor and capable of sustaining 200w will climb the hill.  ie faster with a quarter of the power required from the rider.

the point to e-bikes is to enable more people to ride a bicycle with a fit riders performance envelope, not to create no-rego electric motorcycles. 

10kph? At the risk of sounding like a hoon, why would 10kph be a sensible speed to aim for? Consider the suburb of Mosman. Some people drive or get dropped off at the Ferry stop. I once rode a bike from the Ferry stop up to the town centre. I'm 65kg, 27 years old, do circus 3 times a week and once rode from Canberra to Sydney in a day and I was knackered flat at the top of the hill. The hill was clearly more than 8 percent but even if it were 8 percent, would people be happy travelling at 10kph? Would it not get more people out of their cars if they could go home at 20kph up a 10% hill in their work clothes? And would there be a safety trade off as a result of going 20kph up a hill instead of 10kph??

I'm sure I sound like a know-it-all and I'm about to get worse and tell everyone how to structure their thinking too :) What's the aim of e-bike legislation? In the case of cars, motorbikes etc it is to define the mode in a practical (enforceable) way that allows these bikes to be widely used by anyone who wants to use them. I would prefer to see the addition of the requirement to use them safely without hindering other's access to roads and space but that would disqualify cars. But hey, let's apply the double standard to e-bikes anyway and say the legislation should require that e-bikes are used safely without causing problems for other road/path users. To this end, you would say that even if you are somewhere that has hills (everywhere in Sydney) or if you are heavier than average (50% of people) then you should still be able to use them, as long as it's safe.

Jason B seems to think that the point of e-bikes is "enable more people to ride a bicycle with a fit riders performance envelope". Really? Why, because otherwise fit riders will get jealous that an e-bike can get out of the mosman ferry terminal faster than they can? Is the Mosman Ferry stop full of fit people's bicycles waiting to be ridden home and the fatties just need an e-bike to ride with them? Are all the able-bodied people of Sydney riding bicycles? No, so why then should an e-bike limit itself to working within the confines of a fit person's ability to cycle when it has the opportunity to exceed it and see bicycles in use in places you've never seen them before?

If you aim to make e-bikes mimic cyclists exactly then you can expect nothing to change - the same dismal rates of cycling in Sydney and the same crowd of people using them, just a little older. Open them up to more people and you'll have more people on bicycles which means more hearts, minds and votes wanting better bicycle infrastructure.

Exactly what I am trying to say, but much better said.

The aim of the legislation is to determine for a share path, road rules, helmet type, ADR compliance, australian standards compliance, a subset of motorcycles that can legally be considered bicycles.  It is a very reasonable definition IMO.

It would be extremely unlikely that sharepaths will be safe or pleasant for pedestrians with a large body of eligible 500w+ motor bicycles, as most entrant cyclists lack of skills is only kept from being a dominant factor by lack of power keeping them out of trouble. 

If one wanted a dedicated infrastructure that allowed for inbetween vehicles, it would be far more sensible to make a bicycle highway with a specific allowance for conventional ADR'd electric motor scooters, than it would to try shoehorn them into sharepaths.

By shared paths do you mean cycle paths that can also be used by pedestrians? Personally I have never seen one. Are there many?

II cannot see why this should prevent more powerful electric bicycles - why not simply ban electric bicycles from shared paths? If you had more powerful motors and a higher top speed, you could ride more safely on the ordinary roads and would not need to use cycle tracks.


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