Pinarello bike destroyed as aftermarket motor battery catches fire

The owner was riding the Tour Down Under’s Corkscrew Road when his bike burst into flames

Police tape (Getty)

A Pinarello bike was destroyed when the battery of an aftermarket motor burst into flames.

Rider Gary Ryan, 79, suffered burns when the motor caught fire while he was riding the Tour Down Under’s Corkscrew Road climb on Monday (January 14).

Flames were sent 10 feet into the air and fire crews were called to stop the fire spreading, according to Nine News in Australia.

Ryan told Nine News: “Coming up the hill, my electric bike caught fire and I threw it down.”

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His friend Keith Harris said: “He just managed to get off the bike before it actually burst into flames.

“It was probably ten-foot high flames to start with from the bike.”

>>> Electric bike motors: everything you need to know

Flames from the motor’s lithium battery set fire to puncture repair CO2 canisters on the bike, causing the blaze to spread to nearby foliage.

Fire crews nearby were monitoring another fire and were able to quickly attend the incident and extinguish the blaze.

Mr Ryan’s shorts caught fire during the incident.

There are different kind of motors that you can find fitted on bikes.

The majority of modern electric bike motors are placed at the bottom bracket (in between the cranks), while they can also be positioned within the hub of the rear wheel.

You can also mount – directly to your seatpost – a friction motor.

In October last year, a house fire was started in Maryland, USA by a build-it-yourself e-bike kit containing lithium ion batteries.

Robert Floto, 25, was assembling the electric bike when two of the battery terminals made contact, causing an instant explosion.

>>> New e-bike category ups the power to 1000 watts

Floto escaped the house, taking the bike with him, but the fire spread to the house and emergency services were called.

In 2017, a fierce fire broke out in an indoor car park in Germany after an e-bike battery exploded.

Thankfully no-one was injured in the fire although one person did have to be evacuated by the fire service from smoke-filled car park decks via a ladder.

Alex Ballinger
Alex Ballinger

Alex is the digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.

Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. 

Away from journalism, Alex is a national level time triallist, avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.