E-bikes have become a familiar sight on Auckland's congested roads as riders zip along cycle lanes and power up hills with alarming ease and speed.

But how fast are they?

How much time, if any, do they save when it comes to the daily commute?

Two months ago, on the eve of Auckland's "March Madness" period of peak traffic, we conducted an experiment comparing four types of transport.


The aim was to see which was fastest when it came to travelling the 12km rush-hour commute from New Lynn in West Auckland to the middle of Auckland's CBD.

Cycling came out the clear winner - beating bus, car and train by almost half an hour.

But the one form of transport we didn't test was an e-bike.

So two months after our first experiment I took the same route, at the same time, this time on a borrowed e-bike, to see how long it would take to get to the Herald's offices in downtown Auckland.

I begin the commute outside a house a short distance from New Lynn's train and bus hub.

It's two months to the day since I last rode this route, but battery-powered assistance means this time I'm keeping up with the cars around me, rather than have them pass me.

I began the route to the CBD at New Lynn.
I began the route to the CBD at New Lynn.

It's the first time I've ever ridden an e-bike and the speed the bike cruises at is impressive.

And not being squeezed into the kerb by passing cars actually makes me feel safer than riding a normal pedal-powered bike.


I hit my first significant traffic jam five minutes into my journey on Great North Rd - but the slim-line beauty of an electric bike means I can manoeuvre through the traffic while effortlessly powering uphill.

Ten minutes later I arrive at my first dedicated cycle lane and it's time to really get moving.

I'm now cruising along at more than 30km/h and hardly pedalling.

At the end of the cycleway near Kingsland I hit a hill that almost killed me two months ago.

This time I hardly notice it.

Then it's the famous pink cycleway through Spaghetti Junction and down the dedicated cycleway next to a jam-packed Nelson St.

The journey from New Lynn in West Auckland to the Auckland CBD took just over 26 minutes - 15 minutes faster than the pedal-powered bike and almost 40 mins faster than the bus, train and car.

And it was quick, fun and almost free.

The only real downside, on a morning without wind or rain, was not really getting the decent work-out you would on a pedal-powered bike.

Of course, my relatively effortless journey meant I'd hardly broken a sweat – so no shower or change of clothes were needed before getting down to work.