Red ones, orange ones, black ones, even pretty purple ones – no, I’m not discussing my shoe collection but the sudden invasion of bike-share schemes on the streets of Sydney. But is there any difference between them other than colour? Here we compare the Sydney bike-share companies for factors like how much it costs to ride, size of the deposit and whether the bikes have gears. So, which is the best bike share in Sydney?
You can’t walk 50 feet right now without coming across a share bike – or encountering someone wobbling along on one – so I wondered, how do the Sydney bike share schemes all compare? What’s the difference between them? Which is the best Sydney bike share? And so here we are..
How does Bike Sharing Work?
All the Sydney bike-share companies work pretty much the same way. Download their app, use it to find an available bike near you. Book the bike then go pick it up. To unlock it, you scan the QR code on the bike and voila, it works. You can now pedal away to your heart’s content and then, when you’ve finished your ride, lock it up, which signs out and away you go.
Some of the bike share schemes also offer some kind of rider rating scheme. You start with 100 points and your points go up with good behaviour (completing rides, alerting the company of any damaged bikes, recommending friends) but they go down if you do things wrong (like book and cancel too many bikes, park them illegally, forget to lock them when you leave them or, use your own lock). Lose too many points and you’ll either have to pay more for riding or, might even be banned altogether.
The Helmet Issue
All the Sydney bike share schemes also offer helmets – well in theory anyway but, as Reddy Go told me ‘some people really loved the design of our helmets and decided to keep them,’ so, there will be times when you get to your bike and it’s gone – which is bad news as it’s Australian law that you always wear a bike helmet.
Each bike share scheme does aim to make sure each bike at least starts the day with a helmet. If you get to your bike and it doesn’t have one, report it (that gets you brownie points in rating schemes) but you’ll have to select another bike to ride it legally (or carry your own helmet).
Considering I’m updating this post in 2020, you might want to carry your own helmet anyway just to limit the number of things you’re touching compared to everyone else.
The good news is, that most of the bike companies operating in Sydney in 2020 have hygiene on their mind with enhanced cleaning protocols with longer-lasting disinfectants.
The bikes are also stored outside in UV light which might help naturally reduce levels of some lurgies left on them (although whether the big lurgy beginning with a C is destroyed by UV is still under debate). To be extra safe, therefore, it might be worth wiping things down before you use them and sanitising, then washing, your hands once you get off.
So, with the housekeeping done, here’s the bit you came here for…
Comparing The Sydney Bike Share Schemes
So, now to the big question what is the difference between Jump vs OnYahBike. Who on earth are GoBYKKO? And how much does it cost to pedal around Sydney? Let our handy comparison of the Sydney bike-share companies give you the facts so you can decide which is the best Sydney bike share…
Disclaimer: I can’t actually ride a bike anywhere near cars without shaking, so for the sake of my health and anyone driving near me, this post is not comparing the Sydney bike share schemes on how easy the bikes are to ride. It’s just summing up the factual info about hiring via each scheme in one handy place.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which mean I earn a small commission if you use them to book. This does not cost you any extra. This does not include links to any of the bike companies, I have no affiliation with any of those.
OnYahBike – The Silver and Orange Ones
This is the new name for the company Mobike that first started working in Sydney in November 2017. They currently also work in Mexico Chile and the Gold Coast.
They have 1600 bikes in Sydney and cover pretty much all of central Sydney City, plus out to Mascot and Newtown and as far east as Moore Park. They don’t work in Bondi and the far eastern suburbs or North Sydney.
How much does OnYahBike cost? They have a PAYG plan and cost 20c per minute. You can also buy a subscription plan which gives you unlimited rides for $29.90 a month
How much is the deposit with OnYahBike? There is no deposit.
What type of bike is it? They have geared, non-geared and electric bikes in their fleet.
How long do you have to get to your bike? You can reserve your bike for 15 minutes before you unlock it. There’s a maximum of 3 cancellations a day.
What’s the app called? OnYahBike. Find out more on the company here.
Jump by Lime – the Red and Green Ones
These were owned by Uber, but now they are owned by Lime who used to have the bright green electric bikes in the city. I know, my head is swivelling with confusion too but trust, me things change fast in the Sydney share bike industry! You’ll also find Lime’s Jump bikes in Auckland, London, Paris and Berlin and they have 500 bikes in Sydney – with more to come.
How much does Jump by Lime cost? They cost $1 per ride to unlock and 0.45c per minute to ride.
How much is the deposit with Jump by Lime? There is no deposit.
What type of bike is it? Electric pedal-assist which means you get a bit of help when going uphill. These bikes have three gears and reach a top speed of about 25kph. A nice touch from the app is that it tells you how much charge each bike has left. Obviously, you want to pick the one with the most juice as if the batteries start to run out you won’t get as much of a boost from the engine.
How long do you have to get to your bike? There isn’t a time frame.
Anything else I need to know? While you can pick your bike up anywhere the app tells you one is free, there are restrictions as to where you can drop them off. These are marked on the Lime app in red and include many popular destinations like around Circular Quay, The Rocks and Darling Harbour and small pockets of inner Sydney.
What’s the app called? Lime – Your Ride Anytime. Find out more on the company here. You can also hire the Jump by Lime bikes via the Uber app.
GoBYKKO – The Hotel Ones
This works a little bit differently from the other bike schemes in Sydney, in that they aim at hotel guests and have their bikes stationed at hotels. Already working in Newcastle, NSW, Canberra, Perth and the Sunshine Coast, they launched in Sydney August 2020 with two stations installed at the Veriu Broadway and Veriu Green Square hotels (with more to come, check their website for details on that). You pick up and return your bike to the same destination – but with a 70km battery range they can take you all over Sydney.
How much is GoBYKKO? Rates are $5.50 per 15 minutes (or $7.50 per 15 minutes including insurance), $35 for half-day (4 hours block) and $48 for a day (9 hours block). Weekly rentals are also available at $95 per week plus $20 insurance.
How much is the deposit with GoBYKKO? There is no deposit
What type of bike is it? Premium electric bikes (Pedalecs) with motor assistance up to 25 km/h and 7 gears
How long do you have to get to your bike? No pressure. The rental period doesn’t start until the bike is out of the dock
What’s the app called? GoBYKKO doesn’t work on an app. Instead, you have to register at their hiring website. This isn’t a big issue as remember, the idea of GoBYKKO is that you pick up and drop off the bike at the place you’re staying rather than dropping them off and finding a new one later.
Sydney Bike Share Schemes Compared at a Glance
So in summary here’s how the bike share schemes in Sydney compare for price, deposit and how likely you are to get the bike up a hill!
How Many Bikes in Sydney
OnYah Bike: 1600
Go Bykko – 2 sites
OnYahBike: Central, West, South, but not the Eastern Suburbs – check the app for exact rules
Jump: All areas – but you must drop them off in designated zones marked in the app.
Go Bykko: All areas but you must return the bike to where you picked it up
Cost per 30 minutes
GoBykko: From $11
Some of the bikes have packages for longer rentals which make these prices cheaper.
OnYahBike: Geared, non-geared and electric
Jump: Electric Pedal Assisted
I try to keep this post updated, but people come and go in this market all the time. If you see a new bike in Sydney, drop the name in the comments and I’ll check it out.
Prefer to Take a Bike Tour?
While the bike-share companies are a great way to get around for locals and tourists, if you’re just visiting Sydney you might want to combine your cycle with a guided tour to learn about the city as you pedal and there are a few bike companies offering guided rides around the city to choose from.
For starters, you could check out Bonza Bike Tours who offer different itineraries around the city.
Bonza also hire bikes by the hour or day. Check their website for details of those.
If you’d prefer to travel by e-bike, you can head out with Sydney Bike Tours. Their tour covers a whopping 24 kilometres taking in the main sights but also less-touristy suburbs like Woolloomooloo and Pyrmont. Click here to see more on that tour.
Past Bike Companies In Sydney
There used to be a lot more bike companies operating in Sydney, but they fell by the wayside. I’m leaving their entries here though, partly so you can see where your favourite has gone – or, just in case they come back – you never know, the market is pretty fluid and it will just save me typing it again!
oBike – The Silver and Yellow Ones
This Singapore-based company were the first to bring bike share to Sydney in June 2017. They currently work in 13 countries around the world and have about 1100 bikes in Sydney – and over 150,000 members in Sydney and Melbourne. They operate in the CBD but also North Sydney and the Northern Beaches, out to Bondi and as far west as Paramatta.
How much does oBike cost?: As I type this, the pricing is $1.99 for 30 minutes – however, your rating might alter this. Right now if your rating score falls below 80 this goes up to $9.90 per 30 minutes, if your score is below 60 you’ll be charged $19.99 per 30 minutes – but they tell me they are refining this so watch out for an update.
How much is the deposit for oBike? $69. If you cancel your membership it can take between 1-30 days for the money to be refunded to you – although it’s more likely to be 14 days. You can also only cancel once free of charge – join and cancel again and they will deduct an extra fee.
Does the oBike bike have gears? No – although they do offer geared bikes in Phuket so, don’t rule out seeing them in the future. Other things to know about the bike, it weighs 16kg and has a frame they say is particularly good for smaller people.
How long do you have to get to your bike? 10 minutes
What’s the app called? oBike – you can also check out their website here. Just one little quirk to know about before you register though, you can’t change your mobile number. They say they are working on this, but until they do, if your mobile number changes, you’ll have to deregister your account and open a new one.
Reddy Go – The Red Ones.
UPDATE: As of July 2018 Reddy Go have pulled out of Sydney.
Formed in May 2017 Reddy Go is an Australian company. Their founder Donald Tang says he loves to bring good ideas he sees in Europe or Asia to Australia – and this is one of them. They currently have 2600 bikes in Sydney right now and operate in most of Sydney’s suburbs.
How much does Reddy Go cost? $1.99 per 30 minutes. Each $1.99 buys you a cycle credit that lasts 30 minutes, if you keep it for a shorter period, you still use up one credit. You have to top up 10 credits at a time.
How much is the deposit with Reddy Go? Normally it’s $99 – but, at the time of writing (Nov 17) this has currently been waived. How long this will go on for they haven’t told me. If you do have to pay a membership fee though it’s refundable within 14 days if you cancel the agreement – assuming all bikes are back where they should be.
Do Reddy Go bikes have gears? Yes, they have a 3-speed gear system making them handy for Sydney hills. The bike is made of lightweight aluminium. Also, they tell me that their saddle goes the highest of all the shared bikes making them particularly good if you’re taller.
How long do you have to get to your bike: 15 minutes
What’s the app called: Reddy Go. You can also visit the website. It has the most comprehensive contract of all the bike share schemes which is either a very good thing – or quite scary depending on how you look at it.
EarthBike – The Black Ones
I’ve not seen these in Sydney’s CBD yet, only around the Olympic Park area but EarthBike tell me they are in areas including Chatswood, Rhodes, Manly, Burwood and Wentworth Point. They have 1000 bikes allocated to Sydney but haven’t put them all out yet as they are still fairly new.
How much does EarthBike cost?: Generally, it’s free for the first two rides then $2 per 30 minutes after that – but they do run special promotions that you find out about if you sign up. For example, until 10th of November 2017, it’s unlimited free 30 minutes ride.
How much is the deposit with EarthBike? $69 – refundable at any time. It doesn’t specify on the app how long this might take to return if you cancel.
Does the EarthBike bike have gears? No
How long do you have to get to your bike? The app doesn’t specifiy a time
What’s the app called? EarthBike. I have to admit I found the app a bit clunky to use – and it never seemed to show me any bikes. That might be because I hadn’t paid a deposit or was out of the area they operate in but the other share schemes did display their location without my having to pay a deposit. You can also find them online.
Ofo – The Yellow Ones:
Update: Ofo left Sydney in June 2018
Ofo is the biggest bike sharing scheme in the world. Operating in over 180 cities, they have 10 million bikes in operation – with currently 600 bikes in Sydney. A couple of things that make Ofo different is they suggest sensible places for you to park your bike when you’re finished so you don’t annoy the neighbours – and, they are geofenced. If you try and park outside an area in which they are licensed, you will lose some points from your score.
How much does Ofo cost? $1 per 30 minutes with a maximum ride cost of $5 – I also got an offer of my first ride free on the app.
How much is the deposit with Ofo? None – you just enter your details in the app and go
Does the Ofo bike have gears? Yes, it’s a 3-speed
How long do you have to get to your bike?: No obvious time specified on the app
What’s the app called? ofo. If you want to read more about them online click here
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which mean I earn a small commission if you use them to book. This does not cost you any extra. This does not include links to any of the bike companies, I am not linked to any of those in any way.
Help Others Find Sydney’s Best Bike Share
Like this post, then why not share it on social media. All your hills will suddenly become flat if you do…(and no I didn’t park the bike near the striking street art, I was just lucky!)