PureTrails pedal assist ebike hire: get a boost up those hills

Ebikes are becoming increasingly popular and are a great option for those with limited mobility or health to get out and experience the exhilaration of cycling with partner’s, family and friends around the South Island’s beautiful cycle trails.

We use high quality 2017-2019 model hybrid Merida ESpresso City 600/300 ebikes with step thru and low bar frames for the smaller-mid size (height) range. For the larger (height) range we use the 2021 Merida eBIG NINE 300 SE ebike which is more of a mountain bike style ebike. The pedal assist ebikes feature a 250w mid-drive motor, 9 speed gears and select-able assist level. There is no throttle, meaning you still need to pedal to activate the motor.

We remove all mudguards, racks, lights and kick stands from the ebikes to keep the weights more manageable for our team who have to lift them on and off our cycle trailers! There is a small pannier bag attached to the handlebar for small items and a drink bottle.

Ebikes are allocated based on heights and the trail that you are cycling. As we have a limited number of ebikes available for hire on our supported cycle tours, ebike bookings can be secured with a non-refundable payment of $200. Refunds are not available if you change your mind about hiring an ebike at a later date. We do not hire our ebike fleet out for independent cycle rentals.

I’ve never ridden an ebike before, will I be able to manage it ok?

Although modern ebikes are fairly easy to ride, we strongly recommend you practise riding one BEFORE your tour with us. Modern ebikes come with state of the art technology that makes the bikes very intuitive to ride and easy to use. Our e-bike motors are designed to deliver power in a way that assists the user’s normal pedalling action; there are no throttles or sudden bursts of power; the user must pedal to gain assistance from the motor. Use the power assist levels depending on the terrain, along with the bicycle gearing to get the most from the e-bike. The e-bike unit senses the amount of effort then supplies a power spread automatically.

Is an bike the right option for you?

Ebikes are becoming increasingly popular and accessible, allowing folk to get out and enjoy riding our smorgasbord of cycle trails like never before. On cycle tours they are a brilliant option for those with limiting health issues, those with limited time to train for epic cycle journeys, and for those who have spent years trying to keep up with a more active spouse or partner!

Over the last few seasons we have found there is a popular misconception developing among our cyclists, that simply by hiring an ebike, the level of difficulty of any given trail becomes negligible. Sure, an ebike offers an unparalleled boost in power which makes riding along the flats and up hills or into headwinds a breeze. It’s a bit like when you learnt to ride a bike for the first time and your dad ran along beside you with his hand on your back, propelling you along.

However what most people do not understand about ebikes is they are considerably heavier than a standard bike (21kgs vs 13kgs) and subsequently are harder to control, especially on moderate to steep descents. They also do not offer any benefits on loose gravel or uneven ground, and in fact are probably harder to control in these conditions due to the heavier weight.

While modern ebikes have excellent technology that intuitively delivers power depending on your level of pedaling resistance, if you do not understand how to change gears effectively, the motor can and will fail. You cannot rely on the motor to pull you up a hill if your pedaling slows down or stops completely. If you stop pedaling, the ebike will also stop, even in ‘turbo’ mode.

As such, if you lack confidence or basic cycling skills, if you have balance issues or trouble changing gears or even braking, an ebike may not be the best option for you. We have had several nasty accidents as a direct result of these issues in the last 2 years.

An ebike is no substitute for a lack of experience or confidence, and could in fact get you into trouble quicker than a standard bike.

So if you are considering hiring an ebike for your next cycle tour – good for you. But please heed our advice. If you have never ridden an ebike before, please hire or borrow one in your local area, practise on a range of terrain and surfaces to get a feel for how they work BEFORE your cycle tour holiday.

Setting the Assist Level

There are 4 levels of assistance and walk mode and the power assist can also be turned off:
OFF: Ride the bike without any power assistance.
ECO: Supplies the minimum amount of assistance, good for cruising along flat roads and easy surfaces.
TOUR: Supplies a good spread of power for general riding
SPEED: Supplies more assistance for steeper inclines
TURBO: Supplies up to the maximum available power for hills

How far and how fast can I go?

Range varies between 50-90km depending on the battery, rider weight, terrain, weather, speed, level of assist selected and level of pedaling. The motor is designed to cut off if the bike reaches 25kmph.

Can I turn the motor off and just turn it on for the hard bits?

Yes you can, however you will find the e-bike with the power turned off will be harder to ride than a standard bike due to the heavier weight (20kg vs 13kg). You also only have 9 gears rather than 27 gears, so a reduced gear ratio.

How do I book an e-bike?

We recommend you book an ebike hire as early as possible as availability is strictly limited and bikes are hired on a first come first serve basis. In order to secure an e-bike contact us with an accurate measurement of your height and pay a non-refundable ebike hire payment of $200.