Australian News Briefs: Lusty In Transition, Threat to Future E-Bike Sales

Lusty Becomes New Distributor of Transition

Transition is a high-end enthusiast MTB brand that was founded in 2001 in Washington State, USA. For many years the brand has been distributed in Australia by Brisbane based importer wholesaler SuperSports, owned by Rodney Jess.

Newcastle, NSW based Lusty Industries has recently taken over as the exclusive distributor. Founder Johnny McLean told The Latz Report that their first shipment of Transition was due to land in Australia by the end of January.

Until 1st Jan 2023 Lusty was the exclusive Australian distributor of Santa Cruz mountain bikes, before this was transferred to the Australian subsidiary of the Pon.Bike. Pon had purchased Santa Cruz globally years earlier, but says its policy is to leave its individual brands to decide who distributes them in each country.

There are other major Pon owned global brands that are distributed in Australia by companies other than Pon.Bike Australia. These include Urban Arrow, Cannondale, GT, Schwinn, Mongoose and BBB.

Growing Pressure on Apartment Residents Not to Store or Charge Certain E-Bikes

Owners of e-bikes or e-scooters will not be allowed to charge their batteries inside their apartments under rules developed for strata schemes concerned about fire risk.

The Owners Corporation Network (OCN), an independent body representing apartment owners, has drafted a model by-law on the management of e-bikes and e-scooters after a series of fires sparked by lithium-ion batteries.

If adopted by strata schemes, the by-law would also ban residents from storing cheaper imported models, modified, or damaged e-bikes on the property.

OCN board chair Fred Tuckwell said they supported the uptake of e-bikes and e-scooters as a clean mode of transport but wanted to ensure they were stored and charged safely.

“We’re not saying ban the things. We’re just saying mitigate the risk and just be cautious and sensible,” Mr Tuckwell said.

“Don’t buy cheap junk, don’t hot them up, and don’t put them in the fire egress path.”

Ideally, apartment buildings would install fire-safe charging stations in common areas, but Mr Tuckwell acknowledged few complexes had that infrastructure.

The OCN considered whether a ban was necessary but found well-designed e-bikes that met Australian certification were safe and the risk was largely confined to modified, damaged, or cheaper unsafe variants.

ACCC Report Says E-Bikes Worse than E-Cars

The ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) released a report in October 2023 on the safety of lithium-ion batteries, that were also used in electric vehicles and increasingly in other personal devices such as laptops and phones.

It found batteries in e-bikes and e-scooters were significantly more likely to cause fires than electric cars and trucks due to low-quality products, and failures of these batteries could be “particularly catastrophic” due to the volatile liquid in the batteries.

Fire and Rescue NSW reported 149 battery-related incidents between January 1 and September 15, 2023 — a 16 per cent increase on the same time last year.

Of these incidents, 22 per cent involved e-mobility devices — a 94 per cent increase on the same period the previous year.

Meanwhile, Bicycle NSW CEO Peter McLean said it was unrealistic to stop people from charging batteries in their own dwellings.

“There’s no point bringing in rules that can’t actually be enforced and probably only encourage people to do the wrong thing behind people’s backs,” Mr McLean said.

Mr McLean, who has two e-bikes, understood apartment owners’ concerns about fires, but said the risks could be managed.

“In our experience, they’re certainly very, very safe pieces of micro-mobility equipment,” he said.

He said many fires were caused when a battery was plugged into a fast charger that was not designed for it, which led to dangerous overcharging.

Mr McLean called on the Australian government to crack down on the importation of chargers and e-bikes that did not meet Australian or European standards — something the OCN supported.

Strata law expert Cathy Sherry said some residents would be surprised that strata schemes have the power to set rules governing activity inside their homes.

“Most of the time that’s probably going to be inappropriate, but some of the time it’s not,” Professor Sherry, who is based at Macquarie Law School and Smart Green Cities research institute, said.

“So if somebody does something that causes a fire risk to the building, it’s not just their home that’s going to be affected, it’s everybody’s homes. So it is entirely legitimate for the owner’s corporation to be regulating something if it presents a real risk to other people in the building.”

The OCN will hold an online information session next month for members to consider the issue.

A longer version of this article was first published on 10th Jan 2024 at

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