We’ve pulled together a collection of electric bicycles that cater to a variety of needs.
For all intents and purposes, the Z20 is the e-bike all-rounder. Made from lightweight alloy, the bike weighs just 21.6kg, making it easy to handle. It folds in two places exceptionally quickly, above the forks of the front wheel and in the middle of the frame, which means you can stow it anywhere where space is at a premium. The Z20 will just as easily fit in the boot of a car as it would in the suitcase holder on a train – it was built for portability.
Inside the main frame is a long lithium battery that can be extracted for easy charging. The manufacturer’s estimate on range lists 80km, but this is dependent on usage – if the rider is navigating hills, this would significantly ramp down that projection.
The grunt comes in the form of a 240W brushless motor situated in the hub of the rear wheel, and there are three different levels of propulsion open to riders: 0 is nothing but pure pedal power, while 1 offers assistance from 30 to 70 per cent to take the load off the manual work.
With the third setting, you twist the throttle on the grip like a motorbike and rely totally on the motor to propel the bike. A small LCD screen on the grip monitors speed, trip distance and battery life.
There’s a front headlight for night excursions and a pump is cleverly situated in the seat stem.
Shimano-6-speed gears provide more than enough for commutes or moderate use – you’d struggle taking it through the Alps, but as a practical e-bike for city or suburban dwellers looking to shave some dollars off living expenses and not having to deal with coagulated traffic jams, the Z20 is a bona fide option you should be considering.
Range: 80km Charge time: 5 hours Weight: 21.6kg
Benelli Prégo and Bravo
With a rich history stretching back 110 years in Italy, Benelli initially started life in 1911 as a service station. Ambition pushed the company into motorbike and scooter production for the next 100 years, before it entered the burgeoning e-bike market in 2011. The two current models making an appearance in JB are the Prégo and the Bravo. Essentially, from a performance perspective, both bikes are the same. The difference is in the design and colour. The white Prégo offers a lower top tube step-through frame and would suit older riders that would struggle to lift a leg over the bar, or a rider wearing a skirt, while the Bravo adopts a more traditional shape and is black in colour.The Benelli pair is what we would describe as a city commuter bike designed for the streets and not for taking into the hills on a bush-bash.
Both bikes are hub-drive and feature a 250W motor with plenty of torque.
The battery can be charged in situ or removed if you don’t want to lug your bike indoors or upstairs. For night riders, a button on the display will activate both front and rear lights directly from the battery. Power assist comes in three modes – two levels of pedal assist with a max speed of 25km/h, and one that will propel the bike up to 6km/h without any pedalling required. The seat is quick release as are the wheels (another advantage of the hub-drive configuration), so both bikes can be easily stowed in the boot of a car. Complemented by front and rear hydraulic disc brakes, the entire package is rounded off with excellent Shimano Altus 1×8 gears.
Range: 90kms Charge time: 2-4 hours Weight: 25kg
Getting around town on the D12 will always draw attention, because it’s a cool looking bike that combines a commuter aesthetic with a BMX style. Designed as an urban roadster, this e-bike will handle light off-road conditions, but it isn’t built to throw down a mountain with a Go-Pro strapped to your helmet. It’s foldable, too, so you can throw it into a car or slot it away at home – it’s perfect for riders with limited space at their disposal. Some thought has been put into the build – especially with the battery, which is uniquely positioned in the seat stem and can be easily removed for charging. There’s a front and rear light (the rear also serving as a brake light) to compensate for all riding conditions, and at 18.5kg it’s certainly on the lighter side of what you’d expect for an e-bike. The D12 comes with 20-inch wheels, a rear-wheel 250W motor, and is fitted with a Shimano 7 gear shift – a name you can trust.
Three levels of pedal assist incrementally up the level of effort required to power the bike, and when you hit 25km/h pedalling on the top level, pull the throttle back and cruise without exerting any energy at all. A display will give you all the vitals and there’s even an electronic horn to scare pedestrians witless as you speed past. One of the reported issues with the previous D11 model was the brake build quality – this has been completely improved here. Overall, the D12 is a solid entry point e-bike and a good option for navigating the daily commute.
Range: Up to 100km Charge time: 7 hours Weight: 18.5kg
Chunky. That’s the first thing you’ll think when you see the Fiido M3 up close and personal. This, of course, relates to the tyres that measure a whopping four inches wide on 20-inch wheels. With this in mind, you can take the M3 practically anywhere; it’s good for mountain trails, grass, bush, and as a standard road bike helped by the addition of suspension in the forks. Like the D12, it’s foldable (even the pedals fold down on this one) for easy storage and the battery is in the frame. It can be removed for charging, or alternatively, and if you don’t live on the fourth floor of an apartment, there’s an external port on the frame to charge directly without having to fold the frame in. There’s a 250W motor situated in the rear hub, with three levels of pedal assist. And again, when the setting is running in full auto, as per Australian laws, the speed is capped at 25km/h when using just the motor.
The e-bike comes with a 7-speed gear cassette from Shimano, and stopping power is via mechanical brakes. A sleek LCD display provides all the stats you need, and there’s a button for a front light (only a rear reflector on this one) and a horn. The M3 is a bike that will suit multiple needs, from the urban traveller to riders looking to tackle more challenging terrain.
Range: Up to 100km Charge time: 9 hours Weight: 25kg
Please note: Each state and territory in Australia has a different set of rules and regulations pertaining to the usage of e-scooters and e-boards (including where e-scooters and e-boards can legally be used and whether e-scooters and e-boards need to be registered with the relevant road traffic authority). Any user of this product must ensure that that they check and abide by their local by-laws and use responsibly. Ride with caution and always wear a helmet and protective gear when riding your e-scooter and e-board.