E-motor helps posties climb hills

ESTHER ASH-COVENTRY
Last updated 05:00 19/12/2012
Natasha Martin/Fairfax Media

Postie Jenni McDonald

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Timaru-made power-assisted bicycles are being tested by two posties.

Washdyke company Reiker Cycles has designed and produced the E-Bikes and is awaiting another order.

Owner John Shaw said he presented his design to NZ Post in 2010 after researching the needs of modern posties.

"They carry more weight and travel more distance," he said.

He has made the parts on the E-Bikes (electric) interchangeable with the NZ Post standard model so they can easily be modified to carry the 36-volt lithium- ion battery on the back and 250-watt motor on the front hub.

The E-Bikes were put out on trial in Palmerston North and were successful and have been rolled out in Tauranga and Auckland. The two bikes in Timaru allow Mr Shaw to test the product and develop and future-proof them further over the next three months.

They have a top speed of 25kmh and the battery lasts between 30 and 35km before needing a recharge, which takes about five hours.

Most posties have a run of between 20 and 25km, which usually takes about 2 to three hours.

Postie Viviene Tee said the E-Bike made a huge difference to her hilly Marchwiel/Highfield run.

"It's fantastic, a little miracle," she said.

Mrs Tee has 28 years' postie experience and, since testing the bike from last Wednesday, said she is not as tired.

Jenni McDonald, whose round includes Newman's Hill, said she was surprised at how powerful the bike is.

The rider has a choice of four levels of speed, which can be selected on a touch screen on the handlebar.

If they stop pedalling the bike slows down and stops.

It can also be used as a non-electric bike.

NZ Post delivery business leader West Coast-Canterbury Duncan Burman said Timaru was chosen as a good site for trials because of its variable terrain.

"The E-Bike enables posties to cover more ground with less effort. " he said.

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