Popularly known as e-bikes, electric bikes are bicycles that use an electric motor for propulsion besides the traditional pedaling system. Electric bikes have been around for over 100 years, with the earliest patents dating back to the 1890s. We have a variety of e-bikes ranging from small-sized models to bigger bikes with powerful motors.

How do Electric Bikes Work?

Just like electric cars, the motor in e-bikes is powered by a rechargeable battery pack; often lithium-ion that averages 20 – 25 miles on full throttle. The motor is connected to the rear hub, and when powered on, it rotates the tire.

Classes of E-bikes: Class 1 vs. Class 2 vs. Class 3

Three types of e-bikes are used explicitly in electric vehicle laws and regulations.

Class 1 – These electric bikes have motors that are activated when the rider is pedaling and will power the bike to a maximum of 20mph before stopping.

Class 2 – These e-bikes are also called low-speed throttle-assisted electric bicycles and have motors that exclusively power the bike up to a speed of 20mph. Note that you don’t have to pedal; there’s a throttle for controlling power.

Class 3 – Also known as speed pedal-assisted electric bicycles, Class 3 e-bikes provide propulsion assistance when the rider is pedaling and stops when the bike reaches 28mph.

How Fast Can E-bikes Go?

When it comes to pedaling, you can go as fast as you wish, but when the motor is on, things become different. Technically speaking, the more powerful the motor is, the faster the bike can go. However, there is a limit to the maximum power an e-bike can have. In the market, you will find 20mph e-bikes and 28mph e-bikes.

E-bikes Licensing, Laws and Regulations

E-bike laws and rules vary. In Canada, for example, you don’t need a license to ride an e-bike categorized as a Power Assisted Bicycle (PAB), which are basically e-bikes with an electric motor rated 500W and below, according to Canada’s Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations (MVSR). However, e-bikes may be restricted from some lanes and roads, depending on local laws.

The United States is no different with each state having its own rules and regulations regarding e-bike riding. Among the aspects that vary include age restriction, license requirement, and helmet use.

In the UK, there is an age restriction of 14 years, but no license is required.

Wrapping up

Indeed, electric bikes are a better and simpler mode of moving around when going to school or work. They are ideal if you live in hilly places as you can get uphill without sweating much. For the elderly citizens too, they come in handy. But the biggest advantage of e-bikes is the low emissions and less noise pollution compared to gas engine motorcycles.