Frequently Asked Questions

General

Who are you?

Check out our bios to find out more about EBR!

Where are you based?

Ebikereviews.com.au (EBR) is an Australian company based in Sydney, New South Wales.

What is an ebike?

An ebike is an electric bike, powered by electrical assistance in the form of a motor and battery. Assistance can be engaged by using throttle, pedaling or both, depending on the ebike itself.

Reviews

You refer to torque sensors and pedal assist sensors. What are they and what’s the difference?

A torque sensor is in itself a pedal assist sensor (PAS) which helps the motor know when you need assistance. However I didn’t always refer to it like this early on in our reviews.

A pedal assistance sensor is simply a sensor that detects pedaling through one of the following:

  • Cadence; rotations of the crank arm (pedals) per minute – RPM, or
  • Strain/torque, where it feels how much tension is on the chain or pedals in order to give you the assistance you require.

An ebike is usually fitted with one or the other. Early on, PAS were all cadence sensors, so in most cases (unless stated otherwise), where I refer to a PAS sensor I’m referring to a cadence sensor.

Cadence sensors look like circular plates and are installed right behind the crank arm (see here & here). They’re fitted with magnets (usually 5 or 8) and a sensor ring which detects the magnets on every rotation. This then sends a signal to the controller once you begin pedaling. Once you reach a certain RPM (usually 2 or 3 revolutions of the crank arm), the motor will begin assisting you. Manufacturers usually bundle throttle with a bike fitted with a cadence sensor to help the bike initiate movement, as it can take 2-3 revolutions of the crank arm for the motor to come on. Without throttle it would be quite difficult to initiate movement on a hill with a 20+kg bike when you need to rotate the pedals 2-3 times for the motor to come on.

Torque sensors are a newer, more expensive technology to ebikes. Lately, more and more high quality ebikes are being released with torque sensors. Torque sensors measure the torque/strain from the chain or pedals. Once they feel any flex on the rear drop out or pedals they will generally start giving you assistance. They are able to detect how much assistance you need depending on how much effort you’re putting in; i.e how much flex or force it can detect. If a torque sensor feels high strain (i.e going up a hill), it will give you more assistance. Less strain, less assistance. Therefore the more effort you’re putting in the more assistance you’ll get back. They’re most commonly installed on the ebikes drop out or through the crank, however they can be custom fitted elsewhere such as in the motor housing.

Ebikes will offer different levels of assistance with both types of sensors, which could be in the form of Low, Medium, and High on the LCD or button display fitted to the handle bars. Other manufacturers have 5 or 6 levels of assistance. This means you can change how much power the bike is actually giving you, to no assistance at all.

Both sensors work only by you actually pedaling. It’s important to note that cadence sensors will offer you the same amount of power purely dependant on the assistance level you have set. Therefore there will be no difference to how hard or how light your pedaling. Torque sensors however work differently, as it looks at both your assistance level and your pedaling efforts.

Which one you prefer comes down to how it feels to you. Torque sensors are much more responsive, while also feeling very natural, as it delivers power directly proportional to your pedaling effort instead of feeling like an on-off switch.

How about throttle, where does it fit into all this?

Before Australia began adopted EN15194 in various States, most PAS ebikes had throttle. This meant you could use throttle only (up to 32km/h on a 200w bike) if you wished and not pedal at all, or simply use throttle to get you rolling enough then switch to pedaling. Most systems did not allow both to run at the same time. Ebikes abiding by the 200w laws are still sold in shops across Australia. These can still be bought with throttle as long as the build date of the ebike or kit is before the implementation of the new laws, otherwise it’s illegal. The Roads and Maritime Authority in NSW have allowed an amended ruling for 200watt bikes to be used, as long as it’s propelled solely by human power, i.e no throttle.

Go back a step, what’s EN15194?

EN15194 is a European standard for PEDELECS (pedal assisted bikes) in Europe. Australia had it’s own rules prior to the adoption of this standard, where ebikes had to have a nominal 200w motor limit, with throttle restricted to 32km/hr. The actual assistance speed limit while pedaling was not restricted, but a 200w motor can only assist so much.

EN15194 now only allows for throttle up to 6km/h, known as a walk assist, but increases the motor nominal power to 250w. Assisted speed is also restricted to 25km/h, which means anything beyond this speed and your pedaling on your own with no assistance.

While losing throttle, especially up to 32km/h can be frustrating, the new legislation has allowed for a lot of high quality ebikes from Europe to start hitting our market. This is a good thing in so many ways. Several State Road Authorities have already adopted EN15194, such as Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria.

What type of ebikes do you review?

EBR chooses to review ebikes which we think are of high quality and interesting. The ebike must also be sold in Australia, or at least making its way into the Australian market in the near future. We will not review products which are for sale only on eBay, or whose manufacturer does not have a dealer network with a shopfront, i.e online stores. The product must also have local Australian after sales support.

These bikes can include but are not limited to road bikes, race bikes, mountain bikes, comfort bikes, folding bikes, cruiser bikes, tricycles and recumbent bikes.

Further to the above, we will only review ebikes when dealing directly with the manufacturer or distributor. We do not deal with any store fronts or dealers.

If you’re interesting in talking to EBR about reviewing one of your products please contact them.

Do you review kits?

Yes. EBR chooses to review kits which we think are of high quality and interesting. The kit must also be sold in Australia, or at least making its way into the Australian market in the near future. We will not review products which are for sale only on ebay, or whose manufacturer does not have a dealer network with a shopfront, i.e online stores. The product must also have local Australian after sales support.

Further to the above, we will only review kits when dealing directly with the manufacturer or distributor. We do not deal with any store fronts or dealers.

If you’re interesting in talking to EBR about reviewing one of your products please contact them.

Does that mean you only review ebikes and kits available in Australia?

We’re happy to review ebikes and kits from manufacturers from all over the world if we think they’re a high quality product.

If the manufacturer has no intention of establishing a distribution network in Australia, the bike will not be given an Australian scorecard or rating. We think it’s only fair ebikes and kits which are available in Australia are ranked and compared between each other.

Instead the ebike or kit will receive an international scorecard and rating, which allows it to be compared to other products available overseas on EBR.

If you’re interesting in talking to EBR about reviewing one of your products please contact them.

Are all ebikes and kits created equal?

No, although there’s an opinion by some that they are.

There are thousands and thousands of different ebikes and kits available all over the world. Unfortunately many of these are sold on ebay with no after sales support or lack of information on parts if something goes wrong. Some are also very low quality. Which is why EBR choose what ebikes and kits they wish to review. EBR want’s its readers to not only be able to make an informed purchasing decision on a good product, but they also believe that’s its vital a product we’ve reviewed has a dealer network set up to support customers after the sale, or at least in the process of establishing one if its a yet to be released product.

Do you review ebikes and kits that are 200w or 250w?

Yes, we review both.

Do you review any high powered (250w plus) off-road only ebikes?

Yes. However, it will not receive a standard Australian scorecard or rating and won’t be compared with any other bike which conforms to EN15194. High powered bikes can not be ridden in public and do not conform to EN15194.

In your video reviews you have a box in the top right with a bunch of numbers. What do they all mean?

  • The first readout is gradient in percentage and degrees. This can be negative (green line) if going downhill or positive (red line) if going up hill. The higher the number the steeper the hill.
  • The second readout is heart rate in beats per minute. The riders maximum heart rate is 195BPM.
  • The third readout is cadence, in revolutions of the crank arm (pedals) per minute (RPM).
  • The fourth is speed in Kilometers per hour.

How do you know the grade of a hill?

Using a barometric altimeter sensor in conjunction with measuring the distance covered using a second sensor mounted on the wheel, the grade is calculated in real time and recorded. No GPS data is recorded, as we find it inaccurate with grade, elevation and speed, in conjunction with real time video.

The Barometric altimeter has been pre-calibrated from a known reference point above mean sea level. The accuracy of the barometric alitmeter is +-3m which equates to an accuracy of +-4% grade on the hill EBR test the torque of all their ebikes.

Sometimes I notice that the speed read out on the LCD is different to what is shown in the top right?

Ebikes can measure speed in different ways to display it on the LCD. Instead of interfering with how this is done, and in order to record our speed accurately, we use a speed sensor mounted on the rear wheel.

The speed sensor EBR use was tested for accuracy using a Stalker Pro II radar gun and was found to be accurate within +-0.2km/hr when calibrated with the correct wheel size.

GPS is not used as it gives to many random readings and does not update in real time with a 1 to 3 second delay..

In your reviews you refer to the maximum range you achieved on an ebike. How do you test the range and how can you possibly compare the range of two completely different ebikes?

There are many factors which affect the range of an ebike. These are, but are not limited to (in no particular order):

  • Battery capacity and battery voltage related to watt hours
  • Speed of travel
  • Weight of rider and bike
  • Nominal and more importantly peak power of motor
  • Pedal efficiency
  • Gear selection
  • Terrain
  • Head/tail wind
  • Stopping and starting

We’re hoping by doing practical and consistent tests, that the reader will have a better understanding of what range can be expected.

There are quite a few elements required to accurately measure the range of each ebike to make comparison fair, some of which are beyond EBR means of control and measure.

So for what it’s worth, EBR have implemented the following somewhat limited control parameters to test the range of ebikes, to at least draw some sort result which would allow a relative comparison between each ebike. We are by no means saying this is the most accurate way of comparing range between ebikes and kits, however it does provide a consistent controlled environment during testing.

  • Video reviews do not include any footage from the range tests.
  • All ebikes and kits are tested on the exact same track which is essential a 30.3km loop made up of road and pavement. The elevation profile of this track is below. It’s important to note that the rider will begin the track from the right of the profile.
  • Where the bike exceeds 30.3km in range, the loop is started again.
  • All ebikes and kits are set on their highest assist level and kept there for the duration of the tests.
  • Range is measured off an aftermarket sensor located on the rear wheel and configured for the specific wheel diameter of the ebike being tested.
  • No brake regeneration or throttle is used during the range tests.
  • Motor assistance is not engaged down any hill.
  • The ~20% graded hill we test our ebikes is run through twice towards the start of the loop, amongst other smaller hills.
  • The battery is fully charged and then used right away for the range test.
  • There is no stop starting during the range tests. If for any reason the bike is stopped, the range test is reset.
  • Range tests only occur on days with an average wind speed < 20km/hr and temperatures between 15-25 degrees celsius.
  • The bike is kept as close to it’s maximum assisted speed as much as possible, assuring the bike is giving assistance during the duration of the range test. The maximum assisted speed varies from bike to bike, and this is noted in each review.
  • Cadence is kept at a level which relates to keeping the ebike on it’s maximum assisted speed, while ensuring it does not exceed 60RPM. This also relates to being in the right gear at the right time.
  • The riders heart rate is monitored and kept between 130-140bpm on all relatively flat grades (<10%) during the range tests.
  • The same rider carrying the same weight (excluding bike) always tests the ebikes range, so the riders weight is kept somewhat consistent across the results. If your weight is lighter than the riders, you will achieve a greater range, relative to your weight.
  • The range test is concluded when one of the following occurs:
    • The low voltage cut off alarm beeps
    • The LCD turns off
    • Assistance stops
Ebike Course Elevation Profile Ebike Course Elevation Profile

Are you saying you can compare the range of all the ebikes you test on the same playing field?

Well yes and no. They’re all tested on the same playing field, however the maximum assisted speed between each bike may vary. For example you would expect a 250w 22kg bike with a 36v 16ah battery with a 25km/hr speed limit to achieve more range than the same bike with a 9Ah battery and the same speed limit. You would also expect that a 250w 22kg bike with a 36v 16ah battery with a 30km/hr speed limit to achieve less range then the same bike with a 25km/hr speed limit. Our tests aren’t a competition of which bike can achieve the highest but. Instead they are simply to show how far you can get given the conditions set above and considering the operating limits of the bike.

How do you test for torque?

There is no single indication for an ebikes torque ability as such other then the data some manufacturers print on brochures. This might not say much if you don’t know what 1Nm or 40Nm feels like for example. Instead, in the video reviews this is gauged by how the rider feels going up the same hill with all the ebikes we test. You can monitor the riders heart rate, cadence, speed and simply look at the effort being exerted to get up the hill.

In all the torque tests the rider makes sure they have the bike in the best gear possible, to avoid pedaling too fast (high cadence), or too slow and overexerting unnecessary force. For bikes with an assistance indicator display, the rider makes sure that this is the giving maximum reading by adjusting their effort and gear selection.

In all your reviews you have a scorecard. How do you score each ebike and kit?

How we score

All our electric bikes are put through a series of standardised tests which are reported in the reviews themselves. Once an electric bike has been tested over a period of time, all the data measured and recorded is then analysed and tabulated where possible. Some of these tests produce some kind of measured value, such as top speed, charge time, battery capacity, and battery run time (given the conditions set out through the review). The data is then compared to its competitors, which may not necessarily have a review posted on our website, but a product we have ridden in the past nonetheless.

At the end of the process EBR scores based on some measured values, specification, and less easily quantifiable aspects (such as torque, power, reliability of the pedal sensor and battery run time), for over 50 aspects of the electric bikes performance and specification. These are then combined and weighed in various weights to produce the final 8 ‘top level’ categories you see. These are then weighted before being used to calculate the final total score percentage rating. The top level category scores and the final total score percentage is what you see in the table at the bottom of the conclusion page.

Bike Segments and Rating Bars

Each bike we review fits into a bike segment to make comparisons fair. Each electric bike or kit segment then has its own scoring category, such as comfort, appearance, electronics and performance, and so on.

The category scores (rating bars), such as comfort, appearance, electronics and performance are designed to give you an idea of the strengths and weaknesses of a particular electric bike or kit. It is highly recommended that the actual review is read prior to viewing the score card, which was designed as a ‘quick snippet’ based on our findings and how it compares to its competitors.

The rating bars represent the weighted average of a range of measurements and scores within that category.

When the overall score is simply taken on its own it has very little meaning, and so it should serve as a comparison against other products in the same segment.

The product scores represent a moment in time, which relates to the date the review is published.

The overall score sits in a band which is shown below

  • 0-40% Totally Unacceptable. Run.
  • 41-50% Poor to below average, avoid.
  • 51-60% At best average, treat with caution.
  • 61-70% Average to Good.
  • 71-80% Very Good to Excellent.
  • 81-100% Outstanding.

  • Weighting

    The final score is calculated using the weighted average of 8 categories, or 5 for kits. The weightings represent our view of what’s most important to us. The bars themselves used to represent the scores for each category do not represent the weighted values, these are absolute scores.

    The weighting distribution for each segments category is shown below.

    Ebike Telemetry Overlay
    Ebike Telemetry Overlay
    Ebike Telemetry Overlay
    Ebike Telemetry Overlay
    Ebike Telemetry Overlay
    Ebike Telemetry Overlay

    Using the Road and Race Bike weighting system as an example, the weightings in each scoring category would be different to a comfort bike, as each bike has its purpose. The weighting on comfort in comfort bikes is higher than road bikes, as comfort bikes are specifically designed to be comfortable given their seating position, handle bars and so on. Likewise the weighting on appearance is higher on a road bike than a kit, as kits can’t be integrated or fully hidden as they’re not designed from the ground up with the bike.

    If you don’t like our weightings, then ignore the final score.

    Scoring Categories

    There are 8 scoring categories for all electric bikes, except kits, where there are only 5 applicable scoring categories. Some of the aspects that contribute to each score are shown below:

  • Appearance – Design, Colour, Discreteness, Integration
  • Build Quality – Construction, Materials, Finish, Weight, Carrying Capacity, Sizing
  • Battery and Charger – Voltage sag, Battery capacity, Run time, Charge time, Battery upgrade options
  • Electronics and Performance – Motors power, Controller, LCD, Pedal sensor performance, Top speed, Torque, Waterproofness
  • Comfort – Handlebars, Seating position, Saddle, Suspension
  • Accessories – Optional manufacturer upgrades such as phone integration, USB charging, Panniers, Kickstand
  • Safety – Constructability, Brakes, Lighting systems, reflective sidewalls
  • Value – Considers what you get above compared to peers and the price you pay.

I noticed you have Gold, and Platinum awards. How do you determine which ebike or kit gets one?

Awards are not given to every ebike or kit, only to those we feel deserve one. There is also no direct link between the overall score and the awards. Ebikes or kits do not automatically receive an award just because they were above a certain threshhold.

Lastly, an ebike or kit can get an award, even if another ebike or kit with a higher score didn’t.

I sell some of the ebikes you have reviewed. Can I use any of your content on our company website?

Only linking to EBR is allowed.

No content can be copied from www.electricbikescoop.com. To link to EBR, please contact EBR clearly stating where you wish to embed the link. EBR will get back to you as soon as possible advising you if this is ok.

I manufacture/distribute ebikes and/or kits and/or ebike accessories/spare parts. Can you review our products?

Please read questions above:

  • What type of ebikes do you review?
  • Do you review kits?
  • Does that mean you only review ebikes and kits available in Australia?

I’ve built my own custom ebike, can you review it?

This depends on a lot of factors. Contact EBR for more information.

I manufacture/distribute normal bikes and accessories. Can you review our products?

EBR is a dedicated website for electric bikes. Unfortunately we do not review normal bikes, as there are plenty of excellent websites already doing this.

EBR will however review accessories, as these can most likely be used on electrical bikes.

Advertising

I want to advertise on your website, what do I have to do?

Please contact EBR for more information.

Marketing

I like your videos, can you create videos like that for my company?

Please contact EBR for more information.