Electrify NZ's E-Bike buying guide helps you choose the perfect E-bike for your needs. Get expert advice on brands, motors, batteries, and styles to join the E-Bike revolution with confidence.
Black ATBL 48V Electric Bike Auckland

Electric Bike Buying Guide

Buying an E-Bike in New Zealand

Electrify NZ's E-Bike buying guide demystifies the process of selecting your ideal E-bike for riders in New Zealand. Tailored for riders at any stage of their journey, we look into key considerations like electric bike brands, motors, batteries, and bike styles, ensuring you make an informed choice that best suits your lifestyle and preferences. Join the E-Bike revolution with confidence, guided by Electrify NZ's expertise.

Navigating the electric bike market can be overwhelming with its mix of reputable and lesser-known brands. Here’s how to identify a quality e-bike:

  1. Check Components: Quality parts, like Bosch motors, indicate a reliable bike supported in New Zealand.
  2. Research the Brand: Brands recognized in discerning European and US markets usually guarantee quality. Be cautious with NZ-only brands, especially those claiming local design—these might be low-quality imports with a local brand name.
  3. Avoid "Alibaba" Imports: Many see importing e-bikes as an easy business opportunity, leading to subpar products and poor after-sales support.
  4. Purchase from Established Retailers: Look for stores with a physical presence and a dedicated bike or e-bike workshop, indicating long-term support and service commitment.

Legally, e-bikes must be rated at 300W or less to be considered bicycles. Most bikes on the market are either 250W or 300W. There can be variations in power between bikes of the same "wattage" so, as always, we recommend test riding.

We sell all both main types of motor - hub drives and mid-drives They have their pros and cons and it depends on how you use your bike.

Hub drives do a great job for most riders. A rear hub will get better traction in steep or loose terrain than a front hub, although rear hubs combined with rear-mounted batteries can however create an imbalanced bike. Mid-drives offer better efficiency and balance than hub motors, and are better for long, steep ascents. However, they often cost more and usually don't have a throttle option. Our tip: Be wary of dealers who tell you 'x' type of motor is better than all others (which is usually because they specialise in type 'x'). Try the different options and decide for yourself.

The battery is the most expensive component of an e-bike, and a part more likely to fail on a cheap e- bike. The cell manufacturer is an important consideration - Panasonic, Samsung and LG are quality brands.

There are however other electronics like the Battery Management System (BMS) that are also important and will be less likely to fail if the bike itself is from a good brand.

Some manufacturers will state very optimistic or unrealistic ranges for their bikes. Batteries are also measured in "watt hours" which is voltage (usually 36 or 48) times the number of amp hours e.g. a 48V 13Ah battery (624Wh) is one third larger than a 36V 13Ah battery (468Wh).  As a general rule, expect about 15km of range per 100Wh of battery - but this number can vary substantially depending on the power of the motor, the level of assistance, the weight of the rider and the terrain.

The majority of electric bikes on the market will be either city/commuter bikes or mountain/hybrid bikes. Folding bikes are also available for those who like portability, but unless you have a specific need to store your bike in a small space you'll be better off on a rigid frame bike. City bikes are generally suitable for pavement and low gradient off-roading like rail trails. Many people find a low-step frame and upright seating position more comfortable for this type of riding. They are perfectly strong enough for their intended purpose and easy to get on and off.

Frame sizes are measured in centimetres from the centre of the crank to the top of the seatpost.  Generally smaller rider will prefer a frame under 48cm, medium sized riders 48 - 52cm, and taller riders 52cm or more.

Mudguards, puncture resistant tyres, lighting and carrier racks are all things that come in handy on city bikes. Mountain or hybrid bikes have a crossbar that provides extra frame strength but is more difficult to mount and dismount. They usually come with a "forward" rather than "sit up" riding position and chunkier tyres for grip on difficult terrain. Unless you plan to ride on terrain more challenging than a rail trail, you'll probably be more comfortable on a city bike. Tip: If you like the mountain bike "look" but plan to ride mainly on pavement, ask your dealer about adding slicker tyres, mudguards, lighting and a more upright handlebar stem to optimise your ride.

Apart from the motor, battery and other electronics, e-bike components are just standard bike parts that can be serviced at any bike store. With the assistance of the motor you don't need the same range of gears on e-bike versus a regular bike, so they usually come with just a single set of gears on the rear - but you'll still want a minimum of 7 for hills. Shimano make the majority of shifting systems on e-bikes, and most electric bikes come with basic but quite adequate Acera or Altus gear. More sophisticated riders might prefer to spend more on a higher end system like a Shimano LX. 

A suspension fork is great for reducing those bumps along the way – SR Suntour are often good general purpose forks, while Rockshox and Fox are often found on good mountain bikes.

If you want to use your bike on and off road, a lock-out fork will let you switch for comfort and efficiency., while if you're into serious offroading you might want to pay the extra money for rear suspension. 

Brakes are one of the most important parts of your bike – again Shimano make decent brakes, as do Tektro. Avid and Magura are also known for good quality stopping power.

Hydraulic brakes usually cost a little more, but allow you to apply strong braking pressure more easily because the brake fluid (rather than just your own hand pressure) is doing the work.