E-Bikes: What you need to know

As the phenomenon of e-biking takes off in South Africa, Jenni Green visits Trek Bikes SA to speak to Frank Oliveira about the rise of ebikes globally, and what their plans are for domination of the local market...

Click below to listen to Jenni Green chatting to Frank Oliveira for The Coffee Stop - and while listening, check out the Trek SA range of e-bikes here.


Most popular FAQ's

Q: Are all e-bikes the same?

A: No. There are different types of e-bikes specific for the type of riding you will be doing. Trek South Africa offers a range of full suspension & hardtail MTB’s, Commuter & Road e-bikes.

Q: Explain pedal assist..

A: Trek e-bikes are pedal-assist, so input to the pedals determines the level of assist. Riding an electric bike with pedal-assist is incredibly intuitive, and anyone who can ride a bike will immediately feel comfortable on one.

Q: What should prospective buyers look out for?

1. Battery capacity. It affects range. (Trek e-bikes come with a 500 w/h per hour battery)

2. The level of assist (legally limited to 250w)

3. Local backup and support should be considered before buying your e-bike as you want to be able to have it serviced by someone who knows the product.

Q: How long do the batteries last?

A: The general range is 32 - 160 kilometers depending on power modes, terrain and other riding conditions like load or wind. Bosch has a handy e-bike range calculator that will help you estimate the range for specific riding conditions.

Trek e-bikes are equipped with Bosch systems that provide four levels of power assist:

1. Eco - an effective, but gentle support, designed for maximum efficiency for long ranges.

2. Tour - a uniform support for long stretches, with clear focus on long ranges.

3. EMTB or Sport - an immediate, powerful support for sports riding on natural terrain and even in city traffic.

4. Turbo - a direct and maximum powerful support up to the highest pedaling rates for sports riding.

Riders don’t always need the same amount of assist. Using less assist increases battery life, while the option to use more is always there for acceleration or climbing hills.

Q: What happens if the battery runs out?

A: You can still ride by pedaling - but as this is unassisted it can be strenuous riding!

Q: Does pedaling charge the battery?

A: At this stage most regenerative motors provide a negligible amount of energy back to the battery and sacrifice a lot in efficiency.

Q: Is an e-bike a lot more expensive than a pedal bike?

A: The technology being used means they are slightly more expensive. The Trek e-bike Powerfly range starts at R56,599.00 spreading to R86,899.00 for the flagship Powerfly 9 FS Plus.

Q: Who is it for? Or what is it for?

A: Electric Bikes are for everyone

Ride with friends - An e-bike is the great equalizer. Pedal-assist allows riders of different speeds to ride together easily, so you’ll never have to worry about keeping up.Further. Faster - More speed and more distance make fitting a ride into your day easier than ever.Don’t sweat the commute - Beat the traffic and arrive at work looking fresh and ready for the day. It’s a sweat-free ride.Climb any hill - With the gravity-defying capabilities of an e-bike, hills seem to disappear beneath you.Have more fun - An e-bike takes the hassle out of the ride, so good times are all that’s left.

Q: What it is not?

A: It is not a motorbike. Electric-powered motorcycles use a throttle to engage the power. Trek e-bikes are pedal-assist, so input to the pedals determines the level of assist.

Q: How do I enter the e-bike category of the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge?

A: As you would a regular entry for the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge. After entering your details you are invited to select a CATEGORY (either Individual/ Tandem/ Ebike/ Hand Cyclist) - it is in this form you would simply enter ebike.


Mountain bike legend and e-bike enthusiast Gary Fisher breaks down their awesome benefits, how an electric bike works, and why you’d want a Trek e-bike above all else!

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