Jason Chanine was riding his e-bike to work in Melbourne when the battery caught fire. The electrical apprentice said he had converted his bike into an e-bike after getting “a cheap Chinese kit online”.
“It was fine, then on the way it just exploded, it went crazy,” he told news.com.au.
Chanine took the battery off the bike when it started smouldering, but said that people living nearby were terrified – “they thought it was a bomb”.
We reported on a similar story in June when a cyclist in south-west London saw the battery powering a motor he’d had fitted to his mountain bike burst into flames.
Witnesses said it continued to burn for half an hour, with several explosions sending debris into the air.
Following the London incident, Dave from our sister site ebiketips, said: “There are a lot of aftermarket e-bike kits readily available in the UK, some of which are legal for use on UK roads and some which are not: if it's over 250W, has a throttle instead of being pedal-assist, or doesn't have a speed sensor to cut the motor above 25km/h, it's not legal.
“Obviously when you're buying direct and cheap you're putting yourself at the mercy of a manufacturer's quality control, and it's often difficult to know what the build quality of a system is even after it arrives.”
He added: “Our advice would be to choose carefully, and not just to go for the cheapest system you can find.
“If you do want an inexpensive e-bike then there are manufacturers of both full bikes (B'Twin, Cyclotricity, Powacycle) and retrofit kits (Panda, Dillinger, Woosh) that will back up their bikes or systems with a full UK warranty.”