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Commonly Asked Questions about ebikes or electric bicycles in Singapore

Commonly asked questions about ebikes or electric bicycles in Singapore

Ebikes is also known as Power Assisted Bicycles (PABs) in Singapore.

The ebike is complements the human power therefore both the legs and motor are working together. It is not a complete replacement of human power in the case of an electric scooter (e-scooter).

Therefore, a fair comparison will be between conventional bicycle and ebike and not e-scooter and ebike.

Here are some of the commonly asked questions about ebikes in Singapore.

Laws , regulations and standards

Is ebike legal in Singapore?

Yes, it is a legal transport device as long as it is Land Transport Authority (LTA) approved, affixed with LTA orange seal, registered and use by a person aged 16 years old and above.

Is ebike banned in Singapore?

No, ebike is not ban in Singapore. You can ride ebike on roads, cycling paths and shared paths in Singapore.

There are regulations to ensure the safe use of ebike or electric bicycle in Singapore.

For example, all ebikes must be typed approved by the Land Transport Authority (LTA). And before the ebike can be used on public paths, it must be registered and affixed with a registration orange seal. The rider must be 16 years and above and it is also mandatory to wear a helmet.

Does Singapore has different classes of ebike?

No, the authorities do not have such practices in Singapore unlike the United States. All ebikes in Singapore must be:

  1. Pedal assisted
  2. No throttle
  3. No assistance mode
  4. Maximum continuous power output is 250W
  5. Maximum assisted speed is 25 km/h (ie motor will cut off before 25 km/h)
  6. Maximum weight is 20kg
  7. Minimum age for rider and pillion is 16 years old

On the other hand, in United States there are 3 classes of ebikes:

  1. Class 1: Pedal assist only, no throttle and maximum assistance up to 32 km/h
  2. Class 2: Pedal assist with throttle and maximum assistance up to 32 km/h
  3. Class 3: Pedal assist only, no throttle and maximum assistance up to 48 km/h

Can ebike go on the road?

Yes, all LTA approved and registered ebike can be used on the road. The rider must be 16 years and above and it is mandatory to wear a helmet.

What is EN15194 standard?

The EN15194 is a European standard for electrically powered bicycles with a maximum continuous rated power of 250W using a maximum 48V system where the assistance is progressively reduced and finally cut off as it reaches a speed of 25 km/h, or when the rider stops pedaling.

The EN15194 standard evaluates the safety of the ebike in several areas, not limited to design, electrical safety, safe for road use.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) adopts this standard with an additional requirement that the ebike cannot weigh more than 20kg.

What is a Power Assisted Bicycle or PAB?

An ebike is also known as Power Assisted Bicycle or PAB in Singapore. Some other common terms are electric bicycle, pedelec, pedal assisted bicycle, pedal electric cycle.

Where can I register my ebike?

If your ebike already has a Land Transport Authority (LTA) orange seal affixed, you can register it at onemotoring.

The registration fee is $50. After which, you would need to fabricate a liscense plate and affix on your ebike.

If your ebike does not have a LTA orange seal, it is likely that it is not typed approved by LTA. You would need to bring the neccessary documents to the appointed inspection centers for type approval. Based on our experience, it is not possible for a normal consumer to obtain the required and correct documents from the ebike manufacturer. Therefore you are strongly advise to purchase a LTA approved ebike.

How do I know if my ebike is approved by LTA?

LTA approved ebike will have an orange seal affix to the ebike. On the orange seal, there is a registration number which will also be the liscence number reflected on the liscence plate.

Secondly, when the seller transfer the ebike to you, the ebike details will be available to you at the “Confirm PAB transfer” page.

Check the model and specifications, it must be the same as the ebike.

When in doubt, hold the transfer and verify with the seller.

Finally, make sure the ebike does not have any throttle or start up assistance. The motor should only start when you pedal. When you stop pedalling, the motor should stop. Else the ebike differs from the above, it would mean the seller had modified the ebike rendering the ebike illegal.

Technical

Do you still have to pedal an ebike or electric bicycle?

Yes. Ebikes are also known as Power Assisted Bicycles (PABs) in Singapore. Ebike has similar construction as conventional bicycles, except ebike is equipped with a motor to provide assistance when the rider pedals.

Therefore, the motor will not be activated if the rider stops pedaling.

And in Singapore, it is illegal to ride an ebike with throttle or equipped with a motor that continuously provides assistance even when the rider is not pedaling.

Can you ride the ebike as a conventional bicycle? In other words, without the electric power

Yes, an ebike with the power switch off functions just like a conventional bicycle.

Using it like a conventional bicycle does not harm the ebike in any ways. Nevertheless, you may find it more difficult to pedal an ebike than a conventional bicycle. The key reason is conventional bicycles usually have gears for riders to select the most efficient gear ratio.

Can you ride ebike in the rain?

Surprising, ebikes are more weather proof than e-scooters. This is because ebikes are meant to be a replacement to conventional bicycles which riders are already riding regardless of rain or shine. But please remember it is weather proof and NOT water proof. Therefore, the ebike will be damaged if you ride in submerge water, example during a flood.

Nevertheless, it is recommended to check with the manufacturer or retailer first.

Can ebikes go up steep slope?

Yes. It is much easier riding up a slope on an ebike than conventional bicycle. It is like someone pushing you from behind while you cycle up the slope.

In generally, ebike with mid-drive motors are better at handling slopes than rear mounted hub motors.

You should also take note of your riding style. Lean your body forward, towards the handlebar to maintain traction on the rear wheel. Keep the momentum and plot your route by looking far ahead.

Do ebikes charge while pedaling?

Most of the ebikes do not charge when you pedal. In other words, the motor does not function like a dynamo. There are a few ebikes in other countries which has regenerative braking. The disadvantage of this feature is it is more difficult to pedal when you are using the ebike as a conventional bicycle (ie with the motor switch off).

How fast can ebikes go?

Ebikes can go as fast as your legs can pedal. Ebike is still fundamentally a bicycle.

The only key difference is that an ebike has a motor which will assist the rider up to 25 km/h. In other words, the rider only needs minimal leg power to achieve around 19-20km/h. Usually from 20 to 24-25km/h, the rider will need to put in some effort.

But after 25km/h, it will be just 100% leg power.

Can you ride an ebike without the motor and/or battery?

Yes, an ebike can be used with assistance from the motor. It functions just like a conventional bicycle.

But do take note that this does not convert your ebike into a bicycle legally. In other words, you are still not allowed to ride your ebike on pedestrian pathways.

Why are ebikes heavier?

Other than the additional components such as motor, battery, controller and wiring, the ebike frame has to be sturdy to hold up these components. Therefore, an ebike will be heavier than a similar design and size conventional bicycle.

Are ebikes dangerous?

If you are referring to the design and electric safety, all the ebikes in Singapore have to be certified to EN15194 and type approved by the Land Transport Authority. Therefore it is generally safe if you use it as per the user manual, do not modifiy and regularly maintain the ebike.

If you are referring to cycling on vehicle roads, then are not more dangerous than conventional bicycles. The risk associated are the safe as any other vehicles on the road. Obey the traffic rules, make yourself visibile at all times and always signal your intention in advance.

Is my ebike using electric or mechanical gears?

At the time of writing, there is no such technology called electric gears. The correct term will be electric assistance level. Most of the ebikes have 3 modes: low (eco), medium (normal) or high (sport). There will be a plus and minus button on the display panel to shift between the different modes. Pressing the plus will signal the motor to give more power and vice versa. There is no switching of gears in such a system, rather the motor output is the controlled parameter.

Most of the ebikes in Singapore fall into this category.

On the other hand, some of the ebikes in overseas come with mechanical gears. These gears are controlled by a gear shifter mounted on the handlebar, similar to mountain bicycles. In such a system, the rider can use a lower gear when riding upslope and a higher gear when going downslope.

Therefore the rider has more control over his ride.

Finally, please do not confuse the above with gearless or geared motor.

Price

Which is the best ebike in Singapore?

The best ebike is the one that you are most comfortable riding it and is pleasing to your eyes.

In Singapore, consumers do not have not as much choices as in other countries. This is partially due to the Land Transport Authority (LTA) additional requirements, on top of the EN15194 standard which other countries adopt.

You should always test ride the ebike before purchasing. Share with the sales promoter your requirements and let him introduce suitable ebikes.

How much does an ebike costs?

In Singapore, LTA approved ebikes range between $900 to $2000. Most of the ebikes fall within the $900 to $1300 range.

Non LTA approved or pending approval ebikes usually cost less as it is not approved for use in public paths.

If you are wondering what is the “feeling” of riding an ebike on road, watch these videos to find out more:

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