On Your Bike for National Ride to Work Day

More than 65% of the Australian Workforce use a private car for their daily commute! With 12% of global greenhouse emissions coming from road transport, looking at how we get to work can make a huge difference. We sat down with Julian Illich of Tiller Rides, ahead of National Ride to Work today to learn more about e-bikes and their benefits.

More than 65% of the Australian Workforce use a private car for their daily commute! 
With 12% of global greenhouse emissions coming from road transport, looking at how we get to work can make a huge difference.

We sat down with Julian Illich of Tiller Rides, ahead of National Ride to Work today to learn more about e-bikes and their benefits.

What are some of the benefits you see to choosing an e-bike as opposed to driving a car to work?
Here at Tiller Rides, we are all about urban transport, so we try to distance ourselves a little from cycling. The benefits of cycling are quite different from e-biking, even though there is some overlap.

This includes:

  • No sweating -  a common reason people get an e-bike is that they don’t have to work up a sweat, even on hills, so they can wear regular clothes. This is good for those that aren’t fit or have an injury. 
  • Increased range - compared to a bicycle; the e-bike enables people to go a lot further by bike – making a bike more usable as a form of transport. Riding from Fremantle to Perth each day becomes possible for even the average rider.
  • It’s cheaper – cars cost a lot to own, maintain, and fuel. An e-bike, on the other hand, will do 100Km for about 25c of electricity and avoid registration costs and parking costs. 
  • It’s healthier - while e-bikes are assisted, the pedelecs that are the most common e-bike now respond to the riders pedal power, so you still need to do some exercise. Research from Europe shows a significant increase in fitness from using an e-bike instead of a car. 
  • Its greener - e-bikes are greener to manufacture (25kg of materials compared to a petrol or electric car of 2000kg). They are also greener to run – even when charged with coal-fired electricity, are much greener than combustion cars or electric cars – mainly because the electricity isn’t wasted carrying around a 2000kg vehicle. 
  • Avoiding traffic - an e-bike can avoid or move through traffic with ease, meaning you can arrive on time every time. 
  • Easier to park – with the e-bike, you are often part right out the front of where you are going – removing the hunt for parking – and the cost. 

Tell us a bit more about ‘The Roadster’? We understand this has been dubbed the Tesla of e-bikes!
The Roadster has been designed from the ground up, to have all the features that an urban rider desires, integrated into an e-bike with the style that suits any occasion.  

Before designing the Roadster, we asked urban riders what was annoying about their bike or e-bike and what stopped them from using it more often, and from there, designed it to solve these problems.  

The Roadster has the largest feature set of any urban e-bike, all integrated into its stylish unique frame. It’s been compared to the Tesla because: 

  • The design isn’t limited to what’s been done in the past which has resulted in a feature set that is well beyond anything else on the market and uses the latest tech to make using it as easy as possible.  
  • Like Tesla, our customers are also at the heart of everything we do – hence we create products that deliver an unparalleled experience.  
  • Like a Tesla, we also have digital connectivity, which enables a lot of smarts like the ability to locate your bike remotely and enabling the bike to update itself. 
  • The Roadster gives you what you would expect from a modern electric car in an e-bike. 

How does an electric bike actually work (and how do you charge it)? people on bikes
The most common electric bike is called a Pedelec – which means that the electric assist is activated by the pedals being turned. 

When the pedals are turned, a motor controller senses this and supplies an amount of assistance to help the rider pedal. In Australia and Europe, the power assist is up to a maximum of $250 Watts, and assistance cuts out at 25km/h. 

Most e-bikes are charged with a charger much like a laptop charger – you plug it into a standard 240V wall socket and plug in the e-bike. A small rectangular transformer converts the 240V down to the voltage of the e-bike’s battery so it can charge it. Charging usually takes between 5 and 10 hours, depending on the speed of charge and the size of the battery. The 95km range of the Roadster takes an overnight 9 hours charge. 

What features should one be looking for when purchasing an e-bike? 
Below are the key features we believe an e-bike needs to be appealing as a car replacement. All of these have been integrated into the Roadster – and a lot more. These are: 

  • 70km or more range battery - so you can ride for a full day without running out of power – and when the battery gets old, it still has good Range. 
  • Integrated lights - so you don’t need to worry about it getting dark, and so you can use them for nightlife adventures. 
  • Integrated carriers - so you can also go shopping, carry things to work, and carry children.  
  • Double stand - this enables you to easily park and safely load the bike without it falling over – especially when loading children. It also keeps the e-bike stable when parking it on the train.  
  • Puncture Resistant Tyres – so you rarely have to deal with punctures when out on the roads and paths. 

What is the range on an e-bike and can they be used on different terrain? 
Electric bikes all have a different range depending on how big the batter is. Some e-bike manufacturers go for a small and cheaper battery to save on cost and weight, and these may do between 40 and 50km – on the Roadster we went for long range so it does around 90 – 95km on a charge. 

The range goes down if you are riding on large hills or against strong headwinds. 

Most e-bikes are designed for a certain use – for example, the Roadster is designed for Urban areas – roads, and works well on gravel paths because it is essentially all-wheel drive. If you want to go very off-road over rocks etc, then there are electric mountain bikes available. 

What is the price range one should be looking at when purchasing an e-bike? 

  • If a Rider values low cost and is happy with regular maintenance dealing with the logistics of choosing and using lights, locks, keys, mudguards, bike stand, power assist type, carrying things, etc., they could start with an e-bike in the $1500 – $2500 range. 
  • If they want a higher quality bike that has a good quality motor but also needs them to do all the work to choose and use bolt-on features, then they can start at around $3500 and up to $6000 – but even at $6000, there are a lot of STD features that need to be added. 
  • The Roadster is the complete solution where lights, locks, mudguards, carriers, stand, quality parts etc. are all standard – and is competitively priced at $4500 – $5000. 

You can find out more about Tiller Rides here 

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