Touring the island on an electric bike?

I’ve been trying to find out whether or not it is practical to travel around the island on an electric bicycle, but there isn’t a lot of information available online. I know that plenty of people have gone round the island on regular bikes, but I am unsure whether or not that’s a good idea for me since I don’t have that much experience with long-distance cycling.

  • How difficult can cycling get in this ~38C weather? Is it a straight up bad idea to cycle in these conditions? I’ve been hiking in this weather and it’s been ok for me as long as I have plenty of water, but I don’t know if the conditions are different for cycling many hours.

  • What gear should I take for long-distance cycling? A helmet, obviously, but what other items are considered “must have” (tyre pump, etc.)?

  • Does it make sense to purchase a bike or are there places I can rent from for touring? I know a few companies offer bike tour services but these seem quite expensive (even compared to straight up purchasing a new e-bike).

  • I read some news articles from a few years ago that these bikes are going to be classed as lightweight scooters and will require a license, etc. to ride them. Has this gone into effect? Am I allowed to purchase and ride one of these bikes without any license?

  • Is there a somewhat reliable way to estimate the number of miles I can cover in a day? I’d like to book hostels in advance so I can guarantee places to stay and to charge the bike battery, but I don’t want to underestimate how long it will take me to travel from point A to B.

I don’t think it’s a viable idea.

I have an electric bicycle and its range is crap. I know there are better models than mine out there but you still have the problem of range and then finding somewhere to charge the battery.

If you think the fact that it’s a bicycle so you can just pedal when the power runs out, or just use the electric to help go up hill, that is also a mistake.

Electric bicycles are crap to pedal without the electrical assist. It’s like pedaling one of those four-wheeler bikes, or a paddle boat.

As for going up hill, forget it, even with electrical assist.

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My wife and I went around the Island on a self built tandem Electric bike.
Here are some things to look out for.
I put two engines, front and back tire, two complete separate systems.
We used either the front or back engine for long flat distances and two engines together for the major mountain climbs like Bei Y Gong lu.
You’ll need at least a 30 AH at 24V battery or 20 AH at 36-48V.
Best would be two 20 AH batteries, one for the front and one for the back engine.

Another option would be a mid-drive engine with a 30 AH battery.
This would give you a range of about 120 km. It will get you over the tallest mountain pass on one charge. Go for a single lithium ion battery at 30 AH.
If you use 10 AH batteries, be careful not to destroy them when climbing a mountain.

Hey, you can rent your super-duper electric round-island bicycle to the OP, and others. A good business opportunity.

@Hamletintaiwan thank you for the information. I’m not looking to climb any mountains, and a custom setup like that is a bit beyond me, good to have a sense for the required AH though.

Been to about 6 different places to try and buy a bike in the last couple of days. All of the electric road/mountain bikes that looked fit for purpose were really expensive. I fell in love with one model that had a very nice chrome frame, small battery but decent range of 70-80Km on one charge. Fell out of love with it as soon as the shop owner tells me it retails for 88,000NTD. Even the cheapest aluminium model was 45,000.

I’m hoping I can find something more affordable soon, maybe a used bike in good condition, fingers crossed.

Going round Taiwan by e-bike is entirely feasible and @Hamletintaiwan advice is perfect. If you are new to cycling though, you’ll struggle in this heat and you may have trouble reaching the 100km a day that most people plan on, even with plenty pedal assist when/if we get winter.
Forget a store-bought bike, they are all very expensive. A DIY kit is easy if you can do a little wrenching. I just built one on the balcony in Kaohsiung from a decent, strong local-made mountain bike plus a mid drive BBSHD motor and a 14S9P 29Ah 1450Wh triangle battery and parts for US$1400 delivered. The cost is in the battery on long-distance e-bikes. Range exceeds 160km with 1000m fast climbing for my old but fit legs, YMWV. There are no standard e-bikes with that sort of performance yet and it will change your life. You don’t want to run out of battery on one of these, it weighs 27kg!
EM3ev in China can supply the kit with good warranty and is owned & run by a stand up English guy. There are a few special tools you’ll need for the install and I have those you could use.
If you give it a go, Endless Sphere is the go-to place for knowledge & advice.

Best time to go is mid/late October. It’ll be warm in the high 20s (low 30s maybe) during the day, but will cool down once the sun goes down. You also need warmer weather because if you pack light, you need to wash your clothes and for them to dry for the next day!

There’s both good and bad about booking booking hotels/hostels in advance. Good, that you know you have somewhere to stay that evening. Bad part is that you are forced to cover that distance on that day, so if you happen be physically unable to make it, you do lose out on your deposit and end up spending money on a place somewhere else. A lot of people doing the round the island bikes normally don’t book in advance because they don’t know how the day will pan out. There’s also no shortage of small hostels along the way, so if they plan a few hours or even half day out, they won’t get stuck with no place to stay.

If you’re not experienced with long distance cycling, you can look into the tour groups that Giant provides. Yes, they can get a bit expensive, but they take care of everything from water and food on your trip. All you need to do is show up. I believe you can hop onto the support car whenever you are over your limit. @okonomiyaki is out on one now and is on a mission for me to report back after his 9 day trip.

As for an electric bike, seems like @Hamletintaiwan and @fenboy got you covered!

When is the best time to cycle around Taiwan? I am looking at monthly averages, and it seems like March is the best, with moderate temperatures (65-70) and low rainfall (5 inches).

late-March to early-May.
Stick to south and east coast of Taiwan (Taitung) in the early parts, because the north always has chance of random cold front coming in during March or April.

Hey Fenboy, do you still have your DIY bike. I live in Kaohsiung also and would be keen to check it out as im considering building one similar. Cheers

Yes, I have a couple of DIY ebikes. If it’s mid-motors you are looking at, then I have all 3 of the popular motors & I’d be happy to show you the bike shed. I know nothing about hub motors, though. PM me.

Whats your contact number? You can message at