June 2022

Electric motorbikes: reviews and buying guide

We try out e-mopeds as a commuting option.

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Stuart M.
14 Jun 2022
FTN Motion Streetdog

I'd love to see the FTN Motion Streetdog get added to this list when it's available - https://www.ftnmotion.com/

Tui T.
12 Jun 2022
Super Soco TC Max

I see this is a review of e-motorcycles and I agree with Peter that limiting the mopeds makes them dangerous, especially on a 60kph section of road where you become a mobile chicane. The review included the Super Soco Cafe which is a moped but not the motorcycle version the TC Max has a central motor and performs much more like a motorcycle and is speed limited to 95kph so is much more useable on some of our main roads.

Anthony M.
12 Jun 2022
Moped Top Speed

50kph top speed is fine. Really. For urban traffic, for lower risk to the rider. Faster means lower range and all of these are designed to be used in the city.

One last point, scooters are the right format. You need weather protection and secure storage. The NIU for example has that. The UBCO doesn't (it has a rack, but that is different to secure storage).

To use these as a viable alternative to a car (and these really could be a super cheap viable alternative for many) you need weather protection. It just means if it drizzles your legs and feet don't get wet, and in colder weather they are a touch warmer. It makes a big difference on a daily commute.

Bryan - Product Test Writer
12 Jun 2022
Motorcycle licence

Unfortunately the tc max requires a motorcycle licence, hence not being reviewed here. We were just looking at bikes that could be alternatives for commuters who have car licences.

Peter S.
11 Jun 2022
UBCO 2x2 Adventure bike with 3.1kw battery -made by kiwis

Owning the UBCO 2x2 in my 2nd year..I love it to bits for short local rides around Whangaparoa…catching the local Gulf Harbour ferry ..trip for the Sunday papers ..etc ..going to local beaches and parks...both off road & on road handling is excellent ….it really is an “Adventure” bike …BIG PLUS.. I can take it on a trip anywhere in the country on my cars tow bar bike carrier (with battery out)....that’s a really BIG PLUS so I plan to take it this year on backcountry fly fishing and landscape photography…

Consumer said there was an issue taking battery out ..definitely NOT on my bike ..battery easily comes out after using the bike key to unlock it ..then quickly unplug it ..just slides out..

However I have two big issues …it’s 50km speed limit (not a game breaker but)….on a 60-70km local street you are holding up the following traffic ....you ride hard left to allow passing but not safe nor great or good….so I would like a more common sense and realistic top limit set for mopeds of say 60-70km/hr with a car licence (even though I have a motorcycle license as well) (note I can do same speeds and more on my e-Bike or my road bicycle) ....the UBCO indicators are a frequent annoying fumble……otherwise I love it to bits….the fact that I can pack and carry on its carriers is simply superb….love the “unique” design which oozes its electric….very easy to keep clean as well.

Footnote …why do we need to register a moped? My Hybrid mountain e-bike or road bicycle I can do same average speeds as UBCO and can actually beat this UBCO 50km top speed down a hill anytime by switching off it’s power motor.. the road bicycle can do 80km /hr down a hill? Common politicians & bureaucrats…give us a bloody break $$$....by using the Electric UBCO locally ..I am not using my petrol engine car….I have had much interest from people about the bike ….until I mention it’s price..pity it’s a bit on expensive the expensive side ..but I would love these bikes to be easily hired (for city road use) like those lime pedestrian type scooters in our cities….you can currently hire UBCO bikes from a hire place on Great Barrier Island ..what a superb and excellent idea to see and visit the Island locations.

Bryan - Product Test Writer
11 Jun 2022
Battery lock

Thanks for the review Peter. We trialled an earlier version of the ubco which had a torx bolt holding the battery in. I guess they must have seen sense and changed it to being key operated in later models.

Catherine B.
11 Jun 2022
Short people

Hello the review mentioned tall people twice but not best bike for short people. At 5'2 it's always something I look for.

Bryan - Product Test Writer
11 Jun 2022

The lifan would probably be a good bike for the shorter rider, but none of these bikes are particularly large anyway. Best bet is to go and have a sit on one as it isn't always about the height of the seat, it's also how narrow it is and how much the suspension moves down as well. Niu also do a smaller scooter than the one reviewed here which may be a a good option for you.

Mike & Erena B.
11 Jun 2022
Which driving licence?

I could not find any reference to which driving licence is needed to drive an eScooter on NZ roads. To drive a petrol powered moped of less than 50cc or 2Kw power only an automobile driving licence is needed. However several of the models reviewed here have more than 2Kw of power e.g. the Velociraptor has a 4kW continuous motor and 2.2kWh non-removable battery. Does a rider require a full motor cycle licence to ride one of these? It would be useful if Consumer included this information.

Bryan - Product Test Writer
11 Jun 2022

The licence rules for the emopeds are based around the speed limit of 50kmh. So even though the raptor has a more powerful motor, it can't go faster than 50kmh and therefore is classed as a moped. Mopeds can be ridden on a car licence, electric or petrol.

roger h.
11 Jun 2022

For people looking for transport in this segment, the ability to stow helmets and carry shopping is important. An additional comment on under-seat or external carrying capacity would be helpful.

Jacqueline L.
11 Jun 2022
Storage space

Yes, agree, storage space is an issue. Unfortunately, the test left out the Kiwi designed STREETDOG from FTN motion. This one has a 30L storage tank and looks awesome. https://youtube.com/watch?v=wFb56xms3YI&feature=share

Bryan - Product Test Writer
11 Jun 2022

Storage is mentioned in the buyers guide and for some of the models. The streedog was not reviewed as it's not actually available yet.