• eBay Deals
  • Win a Car!

Motorised Bike Buying Guide

By Published by
Motorised Bike Buying Guide
. Views . Comments Comment
Motorised Bike Buying Guide

Motorised bikes are an excellent compromise between cars and regular bicycles. Far more efficient than a car or even a motorcycle, motorised bikes are perfect for commutes, shopping trips, or just riding for pleasure in hilly areas. When shopping for a motorised bike, the first thing to consider is the different regulations in Australia concerning motorised bikes.

The next major decision is the type and placement of the motor. Finally, one has to consider many different specifications, including battery life and capacity, weight of the bike, and any other equipment it might have. By considering all these factors in the correct order, and learning to shop for motorised bikes online, a shopper usually always finds a bike to make any kind of in-town travel fun, inexpensive, and convenient.

Australian Motorised Bike Laws

Bike riders are not required to have licences, insurance, or vehicle registration. Two kinds of motorised bikes are considered regular bicycles by Australian law. They are the pedelec and the power-on-demand e-bike.

Power-On-Demand E-Bikes

Power-on-demand electric bicycles have a throttle much like a motorcycle or scooter. However, the motor must produce no more than 200 watts and pedals must still be the primary means of propulsion for the vehicle to be categorised as a bicycle. With these types of e-bikes, pedalling is not necessary for the motor to work. Power-on-demand e-bikes are often chosen by non-cyclists who want the option of riding solely on electric power when necessary. However, any vehicle with unusable pedals or no pedals is classified as a motorbike in Australia, so make sure there is no doubt about the primary means of propulsion.


Pedelecs are a kind of e-bike that uses the motor to assist the rider in pedalling, but does not propel the bike if the rider is not pedalling. These systems use sensors in the pedals to activate and deactivate the motor. Pedelecs that are made according to the European standard for electric bikes automatically cut off the motor once the bike has reached 25 km/h. The rider is able to go faster than 25 km/h, for example on a downhill, but only without help from the motor.

In May of 2012, Australia created a new category of motorised bikes based on the European 'pedelec' definition, which allows such a bike to have a motor of up to 250 watts. However, not all states have changed their laws to include this new category.

Since pedelecs are activated by pedalling, there is some variation in the feel of different brands and models. One should look into how the motor kicks in, how smoothly it cuts out, and when it offers the most assistance to the rider.

Bike Motor Types

There are three basic motor types used for motorised bikes. They are the direct current (brushed) motor, the brushless DC motor (BLDC) and the sensorless brushless motor. The brushless DC motor is the most common, but the other two have benefits to consider as well.

Direct Current Motor

The direct current motor is a simple and reliable older motor type. It uses brushes to transfer power to the rotating shaft. On the downside, the direct current motor is heavy and creates drag when not working. This might make it a chore to pedal without the motor.

Brushless DC Motor

The brushless motor uses sensors that replace the brushes. While it is lighter and more efficient, it also has more complicated electronics that are vulnerable to damage. The brushless DC motor is the most popular choice for most ready-made electrical bikes as well as most electric bike kits.

Sensorless BLDC

Sensorless BLDC motors use even more complicated electronics to replace the vulnerable cables and wires in the regular BLDC motor. This means they are more durable and just as efficient, but almost impossible to fix on one's own. They also cost more than the other options. However, these motors are becoming more popular and may soon overtake regular BLDC motors.

Motor Placement

Besides the choice of motor, the other major decision is the placement of the motor. The two main choices are hub drives and crank drives, although other options exist. Each has benefits and disadvantages.

Front Wheel Drive

The front wheel drive set-up has a motor installed on the hub of the front wheel. Advantages are the ease of installation and the fact that it acts as a two-wheel drive because one controls the rear wheel with the pedal and the front wheel with the motor. Drawbacks are that a steel fork is needed, and that steering is affected by the weight. Another drawback with the front hub motor on a motorised bike is that a motor failure often results in the front wheel locking, which is extremely dangerous.

Rear Wheel Drive

When the motor is installed on the rear wheel hub, the back of the bike becomes overly heavy, especially when the battery is also mounted at the back. Complicated flat repairs and the need for a freewheel gear system are two more drawbacks. However, there is better traction with a rear hub motor than a front hub motor.

Crank or Chain Drive

The chain drive has a motor in the middle of the bike, near the crank. This system uses the gears of the bicycle to achieve much better torque than either of the hub motors. A chain drive is great for hilly areas, or even for pulling heavy loads. It also has a lower centre of gravity than other systems, so the extra weight does not affect handling as much as with other drive systems. However, this also means the bike has less clearance. Some other drawbacks of a chain drive are that it makes more noise, creates more friction, and often looks less streamlined than other motor types.

Other Factors to Consider

Once the major decisions about the type of motorised bike and the motor have been made, the next specifications to pay attention to are the weight of the bike, the quality of the batteries, and the ease of maintenance. The maximum weight for a motorised bike should be around 30 kg. Beyond this, the bike becomes unwieldy to move around when necessary.

Look for NiMH or Li-ion (lithium ion) batteries and make sure replacement batteries are easily purchased later on. Some specifications to compare include the capacity, number of charge cycles, and charge time. When buying a ready-made motorised bike, find out where repairs are to be done, how easily parts are found, and what maintenance is necessary.

How to Buy a Motorised Bike on eBay

Potential customers find both ready-made motorised bikes, as well as do-it-yourself conversion kits, on eBay. To find either one, simply enter 'motorised bike' in the search box on any eBay web page. Then, simply refine the search by category, price, and other criteria to look at listings that may interest you. One may also look for motorised bike parts and get an idea of the parts that are available, should you need them in the future.

Once you find a listing you are interested in, check the seller's feedback score. eBay's 'Top-rated sellers' are those with a history of excellent customer service and fast shipping times. Users also take advantage of the seller's expertise, and get advice on the best motorised bike for your needs by contacting a seller. Visiting eBay's Deals page is a great way to find special low prices for bicycles and bike gear.


Motorised bikes are quickly becoming the solution of choice for bicycle commuters, environmentalists, and anyone who loves riding bicycles but does not enjoy struggling with hills. A huge number of designs are available today, with all kinds of motors and batteries. The first consideration for Australians who want to be able to ride on paved roads is the regulations concerning motorised bikes.

This limits the power output of the motor to 200 watts for regular e-bikes and 250 watts for pedelecs. Secondly, shoppers need to choose between three types of motors and various motor placement options. Finally, one should consider other specifications such as battery charging times and the weight of the bike. By shopping for motorised bikes on eBay, one is able to compare dozens of models and get a great price on a bike.

Motorised Bike|Direct Motor|Brushless DC Motor|Pedelecs|Power-On-Demand E-Bikes

Write a guide
Explore More
Choose a template

Additional site navigation