Red ones, yellow ones, black ones, even shiny silver 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 an oBike, Ofo, Mobike or Reddy Go – 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).
So, now to the big question what is the difference between Reddy Go vs oBike or oBike vs OFO or Ofo vs Reddy Go. Who on earth are EarthBikes? And how much does Mobike cost compared to say OFO? 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.
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
Mobike – The Silver and Orange Ones
Mobike arrived in November 2017, they currently work in China, Singapore, Italy, Japan the UK and the US and are the exclusive bike share provider on the Gold Coast. There are over 7 million Mobikes in 10 countries and 200 cities around the world – and 500 bikes in Sydney. So, how do they fit in and compare to the rest of the Sydney bike share schemes?
How much does Mobike cost? Until the end of December 2017 rides are free but after that, they will cost $2.49 for 30 minutes
How much is the deposit with Mobike? Until the end of December 2017, it’s free, after that it will be $99
Does the Mobike have gears? Right now only single gear bikes are available, but they tell me 3-speeds are on their way. The Mobike is also the only bike without a chain, it uses shaft drive and the brakes are disc and drum brakes. They say this makes them harder wearing than those in the other Sydney bike share schemes
How long do you have to get to your bike? You can reserve your bike for 15 minutes before you unlock it.
What’s the app called? Mobike. Find out more on the company here.
Lime – The Green Ones
Just when we thought the bike boom was over, in November 2018, a new, bright green bike appeared on the streets of Sydney – and these ones are electric.
Lime launched with 300 bikes in and around the city centre – and, if it takes off, more will be added.
How much do Lime bikes cost? You pay $1 for each ride you start. However, it then costs 30c per minute you ride. Which could mean a one hour hire costing $18.
How much is the deposit with Lime bikes? They don’t ask for one. You get a text sent to your phone to verify you’re you and then need to add a balance of at least $10 to the app via credit or debit card.
Does the Lime Bike have gears? The big difference with Lime bikes as that as well as pedal power they run off a battery located on the bike of the bike. This makes them a bit more suitable for the more hilly areas of Sydney than many of the other hire bikes as, when things get tough you can let the motor take over more. At full pelt they’ll reach speeds of up to 23.8kph.
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. The app also 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.
What’s the app called? Lime – Your Ride Anytime. Find out more on the company here.
Want to Cycle Around Sydney? Why not try an organised tour?
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!
Cost per 30 minutes
Reddy Go: $1.99
Earth Bike: $2 – but with some free to start with
Mobike – $2.49
Lime: $10 including $1 ride fee
Reddy Go: $99 but waived at the time of writing
Mobike: Free until end of Dec 17 then $99
Reddy Go: Yes – three
OfO: Yes – three
Mobike: Not yet but three speeds are coming
Lime: It has a motor to help with the hilly bits
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!)