FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

It’s great to hear that you’re thinking about making the switch to riding, that’s the most important first step. Taking control of your commute means a change of habits and that can generate many questions. We’ve listed a few below. If your question is not listed, please get in touch with us via the contact page.

General Questions

E-bike” is a broad categorisation of bicycles equipped with an electronic motor. E-bikes can be operated as a pedal-assisted bicycle or as a throttle-operated bicycle. Before 2012, there was a single standard for e-bikes in Australia, allowing for both pedal-assisted and throttle-based operation, with a motor of maximum 200W. In 2012 the Commonwealth added to this existing standard a second definition of e-bikes, called “pedelecs/pedalecs”, following the European standard (EN15194). This European standard requires an e-bike to be pedal-assist only, so you are required to pedal to engage the 250W motor. The motor provides support up to a speed of 25kph (with a fade out between 25kph and 27kph on most models). Technological development is concentrated on pedelecs now. Therefore, to give you the best user experience, all models in our range are pedelecs.


E-bikes

Not very different at all, except for the additional push you get from the motor, which makes it so much easier and more fun! Other than that, pedalling, operating the gears, brakes, and steering on an e-bike are basically the same as on a regular bicycle.

Yes, all the e-bikes we support are pedelecs or pedal-assisted electric bicycles, meaning that you need to pedal to engage the motor. The drivetrains in the bikes we offer have different levels of support to help you along, but they are like a well-trained dog: they will only help you when you ask them to!

The level of exercise you get on a pedelec varies with the support level you choose, but generally it is similar to walking. For the same amount of effort you’ll be going about 5 times faster though, without getting sweaty.

Yes, absolutely! Your effort will be similar to a walking effort and if you want more you can always switch off the support. 

Yes you can. Our e-bikes can be ridden like a regular bicycle when the battery is flat, however there won’t be any support from the motor. Pedalling will be slightly harder than for a regular bicycle due to the pedelec’s extra weight. Even when the battery is flat you’ll still be visible at night though as the display and the lights will continue to work for a long time after. To avoid running on a flat battery, just keep an eye on your display which shows the current charge of the battery.

Every e-bike comes with a charger – much like a phone charger – which you can plug into a regular power point. Simply use your e-bike key to easily remove the battery and plug it in to charge. On most models, you can also charge the battery while it’s mounted on the e-bike.

A full charge takes about 3-4 hours. We recommend to just plug it in overnight so you are ready to ride in the morning.

It’s hard to give precise estimates as there are many variables at play, like the battery capacity, the age of the battery, the drivetrain brand and type, your e-bike model, the support level used, the terrain you ride in etc. A rough estimate is that for standard e-bikes a single charge will get you anywhere between 30-150km. Our own experience with a few of the Bosch e-bikes in Melbourne is that we get to around 60-80km using support levels 2/3 where 4 is the highest. For a cargo e-bike, it may be a bit less because of the extra weight and worse aerodynamics. We achieved around 30-50 km per charge while test riding the Butchers & Bicycles tricycle.

You don’t need to worry about battery life, as our full-service novated lease packages include battery replacement. In general, the batteries of the drivetrains we use are highly sophisticated pieces of equipment, using technology similar to that found in mobile phone batteries (albeit with about 40-50 times the capacity). Bosch guarantees batteries will last at least 2 years or 500 full charge cycles, but they expect batteries to last much longer than that.

The premium e-bikes we carry in our range generate very little noise while in operation. Try it out for yourself. 

Short answer: as fast as you can pedal. Long answer: the engine gives you support up to 25-27kph, but you can go faster if you want to by pedalling yourself (or using gravity to your advantage).

No, at this time we only carry 250W e-bikes complying with the European pedelec standard in our range. These e-bikes give you access to the latest technology and the best user experience.

Please let us know via the contact page which e-bike you’re interested in, and we’ll be in touch to discuss the options.


Riding practicalities

Road rules around Australia classify a pedal-assisted electric bicycle (“e-bike”) as a bicycle, meaning you can ride it anywhere you can ride a conventional bicycle. This includes bicycle lanes and shared paths. Please always be courteous to fellow road users, in particular on shared paths where you have to yield to pedestrians.

No, you don’t need a license to ride an e-bike, and you can ride it anywhere where a regular bicycle is allowed.

No, road rules classify an e-bike as a bicycle and therefore no registration is required.

The great advantage of riding an e-bike is that you do not get sweaty, so that’s a big barrier tackled straightaway. If you want to learn from an expert, Sydney blogger Velo-á-porter has good some great tips on riding in heels or with a skirt and when it’s very hot.  At E-stralian, we’ve been riding bicycles wearing whatever we happen to be wearing for a long time, so if you want to learn more, please get in contact.

It’s important to lock your bike to an immovable object using a high-quality lock. E-stralian will you supply you with a lock that is approved and tested by insurers and lock rating agencies around the world. Kryptonite has some great videos on how to lock your bike securely.

Absolutely, and we love to help you build that confidence. Our packages come with a free bike skills refresher course led by certified bike skills instructors. We can also point you to additional training opportunities if you seek some more practice before you hit the road. Our co-founder Thijs is a certified bike instructor, and would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have so please use the contact page to contact him directly.

Most often you will not need to ride on those busy, major roads, but can find quiet back streets and shared paths that are much more enjoyable to ride. As part of our package, we’ll help you figure out a suitable route between home and work, because we understand it’s much more energizing and comfortable to ride through parks or explore local neighbourhoods on your way to work than it is to be moving along with multiple lanes of traffic.

Most traffic rules for cars also apply to bicycles, but every state has a few rules that apply specifically to bicycles. You can find more information on those rules on the website of your state transport department or roads authority. We will talk you through those specific rules during our bike skills refresher course that comes with our packages to make sure you hit the road with knowledge and confidence!

Google maps is a good start, but you really want to check the route in detail before riding it because often there are better alternatives, using quieter streets or shared paths. The Travel Smart maps are great sources as well, available for many councils in Victoria and also some in other states.


The E-stralian lease

Once you decide on which e-bike you’d like to ride, the lease starts with a lease agreement, which is like a car novated lease agreement. It is an agreement between E-stralian as the owner of the e-bike, you as the e-bike rider and your employer. E-stralian then buys the e-bike for you. It’ll be delivered either at the shop, at your workplace or at the E-stralian office, ready to go! With the delivery also comes help for finding a safe and comfortable route to ride to and from work, and a bike skills refresher course so you’ll be up to speed on the e-bike, bicycle road rules and your bicycle skills before taking off. During the lease term, your employer withholds the lease payments from your salary. The lease payments cover not only the financing for the bike, but also the service and maintenance (based on the number of kilometres you expect to ride), roadside assistance (currently only in Victoria) and insurance against theft and damage if you accept our insurance offer. So you’ll know exactly what amount you’ll be paying each paycheck and you really only have to do the ride thing!

Unfortunately, we only offer leases for e-bikes at this stage.

At this stage the FBT exemption is limited to e-bikes. The ATO ruling makes use of existing FBT legislation which focuses on motor vehicles. Unfortunately, it does not apply to vehicles using human power only. We would love to see tax incentives for regular bicycles too in Australia. We’ve used them ourselves back in the Netherlands and they are great to get people riding (a new bike).

Yes, the lease agreement is like a car novated lease agreement. It is an agreement between E-stralian as the owner of the e-bike, you as the e-bike rider and your employer. E-bike novated leases are much simpler than car novated leases. Almost all car novated leases use a budget for fuel, service and maintenance, and that budget requires reconciliation of receipts and potentially additional payments at the end of the year. E-stralian offers a flat fee for service and maintenance, as long as your actual use of the e-bike is similar to the expected use we agreed on in the contract. That means no receipts or reconciliations to be done, saving you and your employer time!

We will of course do everything we can to make the switch as easy and comfortable as possible for you. Nevertheless, we understand that it is a big shift in your daily routine and it’s great you’ve given it a try! The delivery of your e-bike marks the start of your two-week trial period. If within those two weeks you decide it’s not for you (yet), then you can just hand back the e-bike and we’ll void the contract (please check the novated lease agreement for the exact conditions).

Assuming your use of the e-bike falls within the FBT exemption in the ATO ruling (CR 2015/80), you can fully salary sacrifice the lease payments, saving you several hundreds of dollars each year compared to purchasing the same full-service package directly. The exact amount depends on the e-bike you choose, the distance you travel and your personal characteristics. Please refer to the calculator to see how much you could be saving!

You will no longer need to pay for fuel, maintenance, parking or tolls relating to your commute. Charging an e-bike costs only about $0.10 per charge and maintenance of your e-bike is included in your E-stralian novated lease package. That means savings add up pretty quickly; many of our customers save hundreds of dollars per year on their commute. Our calculator will give you some cost comparison between our e-bike lease and a small car as well.

The ATO ruling (CR 2015/80) states that the e-bike novated lease is FBT exempt if you use the e-bike to ride to and from work, or any other business-related travel. You may also use the e-bike for private travel other than commuting, as long as that travel is incidental in the course of performing employment-related duties or is non-work related as long as it is minor, infrequent and irregular. If you are still unsure, please speak to your tax accountant.

The ATO ruling (CR 2015/80) states that the e-bike novated lease is FBT exempt if you use the e-bike to ride to and from work, for any other business-related travel. You may also use the e-bike for private travel other than commuting, if that travel is incidental while performing employment-related duties or is non-work related if it is minor, infrequent and irregular. Other use of the e-bike would give rise to a residual fringe benefit and the taxable value can be calculated using either the operating cost method or the cents per kilometres method (where there is extensive business use of the e-bike). Your tax accountant can tell you more about dealing with the residual fringe benefit if that applies to you.

When you take out an E-stralian e-bike lease, we don’t give you a loan, but you rent an e-bike from us. The e-bike remains E-stralian’s property and the payments we charge you are rent payments. The rental payments are calculated based on a variety of factors, like the price of the e-bike, the term of the lease and your commuting habits.

Your lease rate is based on the estimated use you supplied to us, covering both regular and unexpected servicing and maintenance. If your actual use deviates significantly from that amount, we will contact you to discuss the options. We have yet to find an E-stralian who rides their e-bike less than they expected though, it’s just too much fun!


For employers

E-bikes have the same dimensions as regular bicycles, so the same facilities can be used. Since the e-bikes are of high value, we highly recommend secure bicycle parking facilities. Providing power outlets to charge e-bikes helps to show your commitment, but is not required. E-bike batteries do not need charging that often (depending on model and use, a single charge will get you a range between 40-150km), and can be charged from any regular power outlet using the charger that is supplied with the bike. Please contact us via the contact page to discuss further.

The E-stralian e-bike novated lease agreement is like a car novated lease agreement. It is an agreement between E-stralian as the owner of the e-bike, your staff member as the e-bike rider and you as the employer. However, E-bike novated leases are much simpler than car novated leases. Almost all car novated leases use a budget for fuel, service and maintenance, and that budget requires reconciliation of receipts and potentially additional payments at the end of the year. E-stralian offers a flat fee for service and maintenance, as long as the actual use of the e-bike is similar to the expected use we agreed on in the contract. That means no receipts or reconciliations to be done, saving you and your employer time!

You see the value in providing additional benefits to your staff, that’s great! What factors drive your decision to add a certain benefit for your staff?

  • Should the benefit enhance your credentials as a sustainable employer of choice?
  • Should it provide staff with a healthy and comfortable alternative to their daily commute?
  • Wouldn’t it be nice if the benefit reduces staff parking costs (and stress), leaving more opportunity for visiting clients to park?
  • Should the benefit let your staff save on tax?

The E-stralian e-bike novated lease ticks all those boxes. An e-bike novated lease gives your staff the opportunity to take control of their commute and pay for it out of their pre-tax salary. The e-bike is a competitive mode of transport for car and public transport trips up to 15km in urban environments, particularly in peak hour. The support of the 250W electric motor lets your staff ride to work without breaking a sweat, while still accessing the benefits of riding a bicycle like improved physical and mental wellbeing and reduced absenteeism. Are you ready to let your staff take control of their commute? Please contact us via the contact page and we’ll help you get set up quickly!

No form of transport is without risks, and cycling has many proven health benefits for your staff, like improved general health and wellbeing and reduced absenteeism. Moreover, as part of our packages we offer route-finding help to identify safe and comfortable routes for your staff members, as well as bike skills refresher courses to get their bike handling skills and road rules knowledge up to speed. The content of our standard courses satisfies the requirements imposed by several organisations who make a fleet of e-bikes available to their staff to ride between different work locations or to see clients/suppliers. Please get in touch and we will gladly discuss with you the options to alleviate your concerns and work with you on any specific requirements you may have.