How to Choose an e-bicycle in Singapore: Features and Regulations

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Big thanks to Mr Chew Boon Hur from Mobot for inviting me to visit their bicycle outlet at WCEGA Plaza recently.

Mr Chew saw my tech channel on Youtube and asked if I’m interested to test ride and e-bike and I said why not. I used to ride electric skateboards not have since switched to using normal skateboards because of all the LTA regulations which essentially ban the use of all motorised wheels on footpath.

This article is written for those who are thinking of buying an e-bike in Singapore. I’ll go through the features you should look for before you buy one. Oh, I know nothing about e-bikes so everything I’ve written below are answers I got from questions I asked Mr Chew.

By the way, this is not a sponsored article. I wasn’t paid. I’m writing this because I still interested in Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs) even though I don’t ride them anymore.


The outlet I went too was the one at WCEGA Plaza. At the time of this article, they have four outlets in Singapore.


Mobot sells lots of bicycles. I didn’t even know they existed before I was contacted by the company.

What’s an e-bike?

In Singapore, there are various classifications for PMDs.

e-Bikes look just like normal bicycles except with battery and motor. These can be called Power-Assisted Bicycles (PAB) too. These will have pedals. These are only allowed on public roads, not footpaths.


e-Scooters can look like bicycles but they do not have pedals. Those above are also considered e-Scooters. These are banned.

And then there are Personal Mobility Aids (PMAs) which are motorised wheelchairs or those three wheelers that you see used by perfectly fit food delivery people, or adults who like to bring each other to places. These are allowed on footpaths and can travel at max allowed speed of 10km/h.

Anything else that has motorised wheels may only be used on PCN or cycling paths only if they meet certain requirements. E.g. Onewheel, e-skateboard, hoverboards, etc.


Here’s a graphics from LTA on the rules and regulations.


Here’s a graphics from LTA on where these PMDs & PMAs can be used.

By the way, to learn more about Singapore’s regulations for PMDs and PMAs, just visit this LTA page.

Basically if you’re on a normal bicycle, you’re not going to be restricted by these rules, except the part on wearing a helmet on the public road. I won’t be surprised if you feel sianz just by looking at all these rules or to even remember them, or at least remember the ones that relate to the type of PMD you use.

Who e-bikes are for

It’s mostly for people who need to cover large distances without having to expend too much energy. Nowadays, it’s mostly for food delivery people and people who want to commute longer distances to work/places but don’t want to take public transport for some reason, e.g. save money and or time.

Another smaller group may be people who have knee issues but still want to cycle.

For covering short distances, getting a normal bicycle makes more sense, and is cheaper too.

Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.


Some e-bikes today can look pretty sleek, sporty. The one shown above is the OVO electric bicycle that goes for S$1899 from Mobot. Pricey, yes, considering you can get a high end bicycle at the same price. But different bicycles for different purposes.


e-bikes use the same brakes as normal bikes. From what I can see, disc brakes are very common.


Battery capacity is obviously important since it affects the distance you can cover. Battery capacity is measured in ah. A 13ah battery capacity can cover 70km but actual distance will also depend on the overall weight of the rider.


Most e-bikes will have just one battery while some can have more than one. This particular bike has a removable battery hidden inside the frame.

Battery lifespan is affected by normal battery wear and tear. Charge cycle is around 500 so after a year or two, you’ll see reduced mileage. But since the initial mileage is high, even reduced mileage can still cover a large distance.


You can find the distance between two places easily with Google Maps. Just right click and choose “Measure Distance” and plot your route.


If you work full-time as for food delivery, having removable batteries is convenient because you can use one while you charge the space. A full charge can take around 7-8 hours but it will depend on the battery capacity of course.


Another advantage of removable battery is you can easily bring it home for charging so you don’t have to bring your whole e-bike back home, or stretch an extension cord out to the corridor.


Sometimes the battery are hidden inside the frame of e-bikes to make the overall design look more pleasing.

Oh the, UL2272 is a fire safety standard that covers all components relating to, well, fire safety and not just battery safety (which I always though it was just about the battery).


UL2722 I was told only covers e-scooters and not e-bikes. For e-bikes you have to look out for the LTA seal which has a number that’s registered in some database. As long as you have the LTA seal, you’re good to go (on the right places).


The number on that seal is also reflected on the license plate which is actually mandatory on an e-bike.

Something important to note is, there can be no further modification on the e-bike that comes with the LTA seal. For example, if you want to install a rack on an e-bike that doesn’t come with one, you can’t do that. So if you want an e-bike that has a rack, you have to buy one that already comes with it. Accessories and add-ons are okay, things like phone holder, lights, bells, bottle holder.


An integrated meter to check the speed, mileage and settings.


e-bikes have pedals. Those e-bikes that don’t have pedals, basically those e-scooters (which look like mini motorcycles) are banned.


This e-bike has a single gear for pedalling. The motor is a brushless hub motor that’s enclosed.


When you pedal, you can hear the motor rev up. The max speed of the motor will depend on the settings, and the max speed in Singapore is under 25km/h which is actually quite fast (imagine Usain Bolt sprinting) and will need some braking distance to stop.

Some e-bikes can have more than 1 speeds for the gears. Having more speeds in the gear system is not as important because the motor will be doing the work, not your legs.


There are e-bikes that are foldable. You can actually bring them onto MRT trains and public buses. Note that sometimes you may have to carry the folded e-bike and these are heavy (this one above is 20KG). You can fold and trolley (roll) them but from what I can see, they don’t fold as well compared to normal foldable bicycles so it’s kinda awkward to roll them around.


Some e-bikes may have this attachment in the front that allow you to attach accessories, e.g. bag, basket, case.


I’ve seem such attachments with Brompton bicycles and it’s certainly very useful because you can detach whatever you attach easily and fast.

Price range

Price of e-bikes can be from SGD 800 to 2,000.

The main differences between an affordable vs expensive e-bike comes down to the quality of parts and features. Ultimately, it has to come down to whether or not an e-bike can fit your lifestyle or the work you do.

Conclusion

Would I be buying an e-bike?

I’m actually tempted to buy one but I don’t really travel long distances. I usually just go to the hawker centre to get food, or post office which is just 1.4km away. I don’t need an e-bike that has 70KM mileage. Doesn’t make sense.

But for those who do want to travel long distances, an e-bike is worth considering. Food delivery personnels should find e-bikes to help a lot, especially when going up slopes. If you’re buying an e-bike to delivery food, then you have to consider whether you can make back the money because, well, e-bikes are not cheap. You can do the math yourself. All I can say is, the effortless-ness and convenience of using PMDs to travel is what lead to the exploding (no pun intended) popularity and eventual introduction of so many regulations.


Let me know if the comments section below if you have any questions, of if you actually want me to review any bicycles, the normal kind, not the e-bike kind because I don’t like bringing the e-bike back home to charge.

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Source: parkablogs.com

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