wheel electric bike
Reinvent joyriding with Level.2. An upgrade to our flagship commuter ebike, Level.2 is as innovative as it is efficient. A fully integrated battery, four integrated lights, and a front suspension fork provide ultimate comfort and safety no matter the terrain or time of day. Equipped with preinstalled fenders and a rear rack, Level.2 can transport it all, from work essentials to picnic goodies, without the elements taking their toll. Aventon’s first electric bike engineered with a torque sensor means a more natural riding experience. Take control of your ride with Level.2 intuitively amplifying your effort or go against electric and pedal solely with your power.
An intuitive, color display shows your speed, battery charge, pedal assist level, distance traveled and more. In addition, it allows you to control your ebike’s class rating and integrated lights. Sync to the Aventon app to share your trips with your friends.
Level.2’s upgraded torque sensor recognizes how light or hard you’re pedaling, meeting you exactly where you’re at, amplifying your own power. Not only promoting a more natural riding experience but also conserving battery life and extending range!
Monitor your speed, battery life, distance traveled, and more mid-ride with the intuitive Color Display. Sync to the Aventon mobile app for additional riding data and to connect with the larger Aventon community!
A front suspension fork with up to 65mm of travel means you can ride anywhere and everywhere with comfort and confidence! Adjustable to match your preferences, Level.2 can absorb every bump in the road or be adjusted to your best feel on the road!
Pre-installed fenders will protect you from the elements, rain or shine, while an attached rear rack means you can transport all of your essentials, whether you’re heading out for a picnic or heading home from work!
Discover your level with a powerful 500W rear hub motor. Paired with a torque sensor and fully integrated fast-charging battery, you’ll get to your destination in record time with juice still to spare.
Five levels of pedal assist mean you’re in charge of how much or how little electric assist you get from your ebike, while a throttle will propel you at speeds up to 20 MPH, keeping you moving when pedaling is just an afterthought!
Aventon has the right without notice to the consumer to substitute components of at least equal quality for advertised Aventon ebike components in the event of the unavailability of such advertised components. info
I already have a pace and the level is a step up. The torque drive makes for a smoother transition and easier to start off. The shocks also smooth out the ride. However it is a bit harder to get a workout at a slower speed. Level seems much faster at assist 1.
I bought this to commute to work and now I take it everywhere. I live in Seattle, it climbs hills like a champ. The hills were always my barrier for regular bike commuting because let’s face it. who want to show up to a meeting all sweaty. This is the best purchase I’ve made in a long time!
Hi Stephanie, This is exactly what we love to hear! We’re glad you’re able to commute to work and be outside and more active. Thanks for the awesome review. Aventon
I love all the options and ease of use of this bike. Made me excited to ride. Lots of trips planned. Thank you
Coming from a level 1 step through there was something familiar about the level 2 when I rode it. The torque sensor really does make the ride more smooth. The new backlit display is bright and easy to see in the daylight. The brake light and side lights make me feel safer on my commute home from work at night. I honestly didn’t want to wait for someone to assemble it for me so I did it myself. I was a bit nervous but the bike is pretty much assembled on the package. I just had to watch the easy to follow instructions on the Aventon website. All in all it took me about an hour to assemble. I definitely recommend purchasing the level 2. you won’t be disappointed 🙂
Thank you for taking the time to leave feedback on your new e-bike! Cheers to many great rides and welcome to the Aventon Family!
I bought the Level 2 for my wife and she was having so much fun I decided to get a Level 2 for myself. I have been riding a roadie for 26 years. I am 75 years old and sometimes the knees get a little sore. This is something my wife and I can do together and keep up with one another. She gave up on standard bike riding because of her knees and now she has no problems. This is a well built bike and brings the joy of riding back in our lives. The bikes are heavier than normal but we purchased a ramp for our porch and we keep the bikes in the house. Buy one-you won’t regret it.
Hey Rider, Thank you for sharing this wonderful photo of your new e-bikes. We can’t wait to see where you both will go next! Don’t forget to register your e-bike at https://www.aventon.com/pages/bike-registration! Cheers, Aventon
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The BikeRide Guide to Choosing the Best Class 2 Electric Bike
What is an Electric Bike?
Electric bikes use an electric motor, along with pedals and some of the gearing of a traditional bicycle. This helps riders to travel longer distances and up more hills, than would otherwise be possible with their own energy.
Electric bikes are great for anyone looking to travel further than they could on an unpowered bike. This makes ‘e-bikes’ suitable for commuters, senior cyclists, delivery workers and riders with compromised ability.
Class 2 e-bikes offer throttle-only power, which means that riders can accelerate without pedaling at all. In most nations, it’s a requirement that electric bikes are partially human-powered.
The uses for an e-bike are as varied as the uses for regular bicycles.
Definition of a Class 2 E-Bike
On Class 2 electric bikes, the motor can be activated by a throttle, without any pedal assistance.
Many of the best Class 2 electric bikes also have a pedal-assist function.
Electric assistance is limited to 20mph. Any further acceleration past this speed, will be due to the rider’s own effort. Like Class 1 e-bikes, Class 2 e-bikes are permitted to be ridden in the same areas as regular push-bikes (streets, bike lanes and multiple-use bike paths).
Class 2 e-bikes are less common outside of the U.S. and China, where they are more highly regulated.
Class 2 e-bikes offer a throttle-only option; activated by a trigger, button or grip-twist handle. Using a throttle, you can activate the motor without pedaling. This is useful when taking off from a dead stop at traffic lights.
Working the throttle without pedal assistance will drain an e-bike’s battery fairly quickly.
In addition to an independently-operated throttle, most Class 2 e-bikes also feature multiple levels of pedal assist. The motor kicks in when you begin pedaling.
In many countries, only ‘purely pedal assist’ e-bikes can be ridden without a license or registration. In the United States, these are categorized as ‘Class 1’ and ‘Class 3’ e-bikes.
On the best electric bikes, pedal assist operates intuitively. It should allow you to maintain a desired level of input and fitness, according to the level of assistance that you choose.
Most e-bikes have 3 to 5 levels of pedal assist available. They’ll also give you the option of disabling the motor. With no throttle or pedal assistance, your e-bike acts like a regular (but heavy) push-bike.
Types of E-Bikes
Commuters and Urban / City Bikes
The most popular types of e-bike are commuter and urban bikes. Many riders are looking for an e-bike that can get them to work over long distances without working up a sweat.
You’ll want all the features that you would seek in a pedal-powered commuter, plus a moderately powered motor and battery capacity (unless you are commuting exceptionally long distances).
Tough U-locks and a removable battery are essential if you are locking up your e-bike in a public area.
Folding e-bikes are also popular as commuters. They suit a multi-modal work commute that also involves using a train, bus, car or ferry.
For some riders, they can be used in conjunction with travel, to suit being transported by car or stored in a mobile home or boat. A folder may suit you if you live in an apartment.
A good folding bike is small, light and often used for shorter distances. This means that you can get away with a less powerful motor and a battery of moderate capacity. These factors help to lower the overall weight of an electric folding bike.
Electric Mountain Bikes – ‘E-MTBs’
Electric mountain bikes (e-MTBs) are available in both hardtail (front-suspension) and full-suspension varieties. They are ideal for avoiding exhaustion on all-day rides, by hauling riders to the top of downhill runs.
Fat Tire E-Bikes
Hauling heavy tires through snow, mud or sand can get tiring and limit rides to shorter distances.
The extra boost from a pedal-assist system can allow riders to carry more and ride further. A powerful motor and high capacity battery are important here.
But electric fat bikes are not just a niche choice.
Many first-time e-bike buyers head straight for a bad-ass, do-anything, monster-truck look and floaty ride style.
This can only be provided by a big bike with balloon tires. There are many models to choose from, in all price ranges.
A recent sector of e-biking has appeared with the emergence of e-Gravel bikes. You’ll be looking for all the usual gravel bike bike features available in your price range, plus a few specific to the electric bike world.
Gravel is more of a performance sector. High-speeds, long distances and efficiency are priorities. As such, you might look to light-weight builds with high-capacity batteries.
Electric cargo bikes offer an exciting alternative to the family car. Some families have even sold their second or only vehicle after purchasing a versatile cargo e-bike. High quality specimens can be configured to carry two children, in conjunction with a load of groceries.
For anyone employed in the delivery business, electric bikes provide a cheap means of transporting cargo, especially in urban areas. Running costs are low. Also, an electric bike can easily wend its way through heavy traffic and won’t need a parking spot when it reaches its destination.
Electric cargo bikes are usually quite heavy. In conjunction with the big loads that they’re expected to lug, the drain on batteries can be considerable. Look for a high capacity battery or a dual-battery system. You’ll also need a reasonably powerful motor and a system that expresses considerable torque.
Rehab and Limited Ability
For whatever reason, you may have a limited ability to cycle. This could be due to age, injury or a physical disability. E-bikes can be a great way to supplement or rebuild strength.
Depending on your intended use, you’ll have different requirements concerning motor wattage, battery capacity, torque, build and configuration.
For some, a retro-styled e-bike is the way to go. If this is the direction you’re heading, then performance and speed probably aren’t your top priorities.
On your old-school roller, you can get away with a moderately-powered motor expressing average torque.
Even so, some of these frames are large and heavy. So you’ll need at least enough battery and ‘oomph’ to reach optimum cruising speeds.
Electric Road Bikes
Electric road bikes allow riders to ride for longer at faster speeds. They assist less-able or older riders to maintain pace with their riding group.
Most electric road cyclists prefer to pedal actively throughout a ride. For this reason, most road e-bikes are Class 1 electric bikes, being configured to rely on active pedal-assist. Throttles are not common.
Most of these bikes are lightweight and are equipped with streamlined motors and batteries that are smaller than those found on other electric bikes.
Because e-Road bikes are so lightweight, the decrease in motor size and battery capacity does not necessarily translate to less power or battery range.
|Most electric road bikes are Class 1 e-bikes|
Before you can make sense of the e-bike options available to you, it’s helpful to get a basic understanding of e-bike terminology.
Sometimes, approaching the world of e-bikes can be daunting. Even if you are a clued-up cyclist and bike aficionado, the additional knowledge needed to make a discerning e-bike purchase can be bewildering. But it needn’t be. You don’t have to be an electrical or electronics engineer, but it’s handy to have a few terms under your belt.
Watt Hours (Wh)
On your e-bike, ‘Watt hours’ is a measure of available energy. This is probably the most important measurement to look for in your e-bike specs. It will be abbreviated as ‘Wh’ and is the most reliable measurement of your bike’s battery capacity.
In gas-guzzling terminology, think of it as the size of your fuel tank. In simple terms, the higher the number of Watt hours, the more range that is available to you. The amount of energy that your battery has available is known as its ‘capacity’.
Watt hours can be calculated if you have access to the voltage and amp hour figures for a bike’s battery. It’s a simple calculation.
- 24V x 20Ah = 480Wh
- 36V x 10Ah = 360Wh
- 36V x 11Ah = 396Wh (≈ ‘400wh’)
- 48V x 17.5Ah = 840Wh
So what does it mean, this term ‘Watt hours’ ? A ‘Watt’ is a unit of power. ‘Watt hours’ is a measurement of power used over a period of time and represents a measure of ‘energy’.
In terms of what you need to know, regarding your e-bike purchase:
A 250Wh battery can deliver:
How does this translate to your ride? If you are really working the throttle at its limit, your battery will last half the time that it would if you were running the battery at half of its capacity. Simply put, if you lay off the juice and contribute some pedal power, your battery lasts longer.
A bigger battery will take you further, but can add considerable weight.
“But how far?”, I hear you ask. This varies according to a number of factors, including:
- Bike weight
- Rider weight
- Rider input (pedal power)
- Wind speed (and direction) – this can dramatically affect energy consumption
One expert puts it like this:
“On a lightweight electric bike, on typical fairly flat roads, not much wind or none at all, while barely pedaling… not working up a sweat, on pumped tires, typical 200lb or less rider, expect burn rates of 17 watt hours per mile on average… It can be much more or much less depending on countless factors but this is a realistic number to start with.” 10
Therefore, as this same expert goes on to say, “A 36V 10Ah battery pack with 360Wh of capacity would… in theory provide 22 miles (36km) of range, from a full 100% charge.”
These calculations are much more straightforward if you pay attention to the kilometer figures in the calculations (and convert them to miles). From this info, you can easily work out what battery would be suitable for you. Is your commute longer or shorter than 22 miles, return? If so, and you were using the battery mentioned above, you wouldn’t have to charge at your destination.
In reference to an e-bike’s battery and on manufacturer’s specifications, ‘Amp hours’ should always be listed.
For the buyer of a new bike, Amp hours is useful in calculating Watt hours.
This is done by using the aforementioned formula:
Voltage x Amp Hours = Watt Hours
Amp hours will almost always be within the range of 8Ah to 28Ah.
Voltage relates to the entire system on an e-bike. Voltage pushes the flow of energy and generally relates to speed. The higher the voltage, the faster your e-bike can go. A 36V system won’t necessarily use a battery that’s exactly 36V, but it will be close.
Usually, new e-bike systems sit between 24V and 48V. There are also 52V options.
To simplify, torque describes the amount of power available to you at lower revolutions (RPMs). In straightforward on-road terms, the benefits are two-fold. A motor with higher torque will give you more power from a dead stop. It will also help you climb hills at a faster speed, for a longer period of time.
Torque is measured in ‘Newton Meters’ and you’ll see it listed in e-bike specs, using the abbreviation ‘Nm’. Lighter bikes require less torque, so 40 to 50Nm should be plenty, while e-mountain and cargo bikes need more torque to overcome heavier loads and troublesome terrain. Expect figures up to and beyond 75Nm.
|This mid-drive motor claims up to 160Nm of torque|
We’ve discussed how technical factors relate to range, but what should you expect when you’re shopping around? If you are consulting a seller about your needs, they should be able to give you advice based on a few factors. It’s a good idea to either consult an expert (who can give you trusted advice), or use the information available (to assess the specifications listed for new e-bikes).
The reason for this, is that some vendors and manufacturers may overstate range expectations.
Using either of these methods, an expert or yourself should assess your needs based on:
- Your genre and style of riding (commuting, mountain bike, gravel, cargo etc)
- The amount of pedaling you’ll contribute vs. the amount of pedal-assist that you’ll require
- Your own weight
The average range of an e-bike, using moderate levels of assist, is around 20 to 35 miles. Do you need more than this in a day? For most riders’ commuting needs, this is ample.
For bigger cargo needs, you may need more power and a bigger battery. Previously, we mentioned how range is affected by a number of factors including; wind, elevation, pedal effort and the combined weight of you and your cargo.
Your range is also influenced by how you use the motor. A lot of stop-starting and throttling will tear through juice in a Rapid fashion.
The resistance of muddy, slippery or snowy surfaces will require more effort from your battery to overcome.
One of the factors that is mostly outside of the rider’s control, is the outside temperature. Both extremes of weather can lead to deficits in battery capacity. First in the short-term, then eventually degrading the capacity on a long-term basis.
Now that you get the basics, let’s look at the important components that make up an e-bike.
Electric Bike Components
The battery-pack you see on e-bikes looks like a singular unit. It usually takes the appearance of a long, black box.
Within this ‘battery pack’, a number of smaller battery units are connected together in succession (as a pack).
Once you’ve got the basic technical factors sorted, you can understand your battery needs. The experts advise to seek out a battery that offers slightly longer range than what you’ll usually need. This will cover you when you inevitably get lost on a lonely, unlit highway, far from home.
Many first-timers aim for a huge battery, in an effort to cover the longest possible ride. The problem here is that large batteries add considerable weight. This extra weight slows you down and requires more power to overcome, creating a Catch 22 situation. In any event, ‘slightly more than what’s needed’ is a good yardstick.
Some bikes come pre-configured to accept a dual-battery setup. This means that you can keep weight down and use a single battery on less-demanding trips, while having the option to slot in a second battery on epic quests and trips to the lumber yard. A second battery means double the range, but double the weight.
Many bikes come with a lockable battery. You will be provided with a key that allows you to lock your battery pack to your bike’s frame.
Almost all modern battery packs are removable. This allows you to charge the battery wherever a convenient outlet is located.
Just as importantly, it allows you to remove the pack to prevent theft. But if you’re just spending two minutes to dash into the bodega for a loaf of bread, it could be more convenient to lock the pack and leave it where it is.
Most batteries are expected to last for 300 to 1000 charge ‘cycles’ or for around 3 to 5 years. After this period, your battery will not last as long as it did when box-fresh. It’s natural for battery life to reduce over time.
Most major brands give their batteries a 2-year warranty.
|Temperature extremes can be detrimental to battery capacity|
Experts advise e-bikers to seek a battery that has a two year warranty, at minimum. Other factors that affect battery life include:
- Use with heavy cargo loads
- Exposure to extremes of temperature
- Frequency of charging (a battery should be charged at least every three months)
It’s a good idea to make every effort to prolong your battery’s life, as they can cost from a few hundred to as much as 1500 to replace.
Manufacturers will often state how long it takes to fully charge the battery on an e-bike model. This information can be invaluable. If you’re someone who has a long commute, you might need to charge-up for a few hours at your destination. Or, you might not have this opportunity.
Charging times vary according to the capacity of your battery and the amperage of your charger. 2-amp and 3-amp chargers are common stock options that are often sold with new e-bikes.
If your e-bike comes with a 4-amp charger, you’re in luck. This is considered to be a ‘fast charger’.
It’s possible to charge a battery at either a fast or slow rate, though persistent ultra-fast-charging will lessen the life of your battery.
This device is the brain of your e-bike. It’s connected to your bike’s battery, motor and throttle. It controls the movement of power from the battery to the motor, by pulsing on and off very quickly. This function is known as ‘Pulse Width Modulation’ (PWM).
It prevents excess stress and overheating of your battery, as well as ensuring that your motor doesn’t overheat. What this means, is that you can’t instantly slam the throttle from a dead stop to full bore.
The controller sets a limit of how many Amps are allowed to flow to the motor. This is known as the controller’s ‘maximum amp rating’.
The ‘maximum amp rating’ can radically affect how much power is available to you.
Many sellers will advertise their e-bike models according to the motor’s wattage. Mostly, you’ll see 250, 350, 500 and 750-watt e-bikes. At first, this may come across as a straightforward way to determine the power of your desired e-bike. However, wattage means very little on its own. It’s important to take into account your battery’s voltage and the maximum current (in amps), that your e-bike’s controller can handle.
An e-bike with a 36-volt battery and a 15-amp controller is capable of putting out 540 watts at peak power. 36 x 15 = 540. This is the case, even if it’s advertised as having a ‘250 watt’ motor. So you might be getting more power than you originally expected.
The intricacies of e-bike power ratings can become very detailed. You can find resources online to satisfy your deepest level of curiosity. For now, let’s go into the other characteristics of e-bike motors.
There are two main types of e-bike motor, each being positioned differently on your new e-bike. They both have benefits and drawbacks.
Hub motors are situated within the hub of an e-bike’s rear or front wheel. On new e-bikes, rear hub-driven motors are common. They are the most affordable option available. Front-driven hub motors are becoming less popular and are usually found on electric conversions of standard bicycles.
There are two main types of hub motor:
Geared hub motors use internal nylon gears to reduce the motor’s output to optimal speed and efficiency. This makes them more complicated but lighter than direct drive systems.
They offer more torque and are a bit noisier than direct drive systems, which are simpler, more reliable and more powerful. But they’re heavier and larger than geared options, resulting in more demand on your battery.
|A geared hub motor|
- Hub motors are usually the cheaper option
- As a reliable, self-contained system, it requires minimal maintenance
- If your chain breaks, you can ride home solely on the power of the electric hub
- If your hub motor fails, you can pedal home using your bike’s drivetrain
- Hub motors put less stress on the bike’s other gearing components
Things to Consider
- Hub-driven systems can overheat on long, steep climbs
- They’re heavier than mid-drive options
- Tire changes can be complicated, involving disconnecting motor wires
- Direct-drive motors don’t have any internal gears
- Geared hub motors have a single gear ratio
- Having a heavy hub motor on the rear or front wheel can imbalance an e-bike
- Spokes are more likely to break, due to the weight of the hub in the wheel
- The width of a hub motor may limit cassette gears to seven speeds
- Tire widths are limited by the rim that’s attached to the hub motor
- Hub motor cadence sensors may result in lurchy or awkward motor timing
Rear wheel hub motors may place too much weight at the rear of your e-bike.
Front hub driven systems have decreased in popularity. With minimal weight on the front-end of most bikes, riders can easily spin-out under torque, on wet and slippery surfaces. This has led to a number of wipe-outs.
Mid-drive motors are situated between the cranks of your e-bike. These motors require a specific kind of frame, that accommodates a motor in place of a regular bike’s bottom bracket. What’s the skinny?
- A central location leads to even weight distribution on your e-bike
- They are typically lighter and smaller than a hub motor of comparable power
- Direct pedaling input leads to more range, especially across climbs
- Tire changes are unaffected by mid-drive motors
- A torque sensor accurately meters out assistance according to pedal power
- Riders generally report a smoother ride quality
- Tackles steeper hills for longer than a hub motor of similar power
- open to different set-ups that use standardized bike components
Things to Consider
- They’re usually the more expensive option
- These motors depend on more rider input, through pedal-power
- Mid-drives wear harder on chains and cassettes
- They are more complex and require more maintenance than hub motors
- Most brands don’t offer repair options outside of warranties
|A mid-drive motor on an electric mountain bike|
Choosing a Motor
Hub-Driven Motors offer maximum assistance for less pedal effort. This suits senior riders or those with a disability, as well as anyone seeking physical rehabilitation for an injury.
But they’re also great for anyone who’s a less-experienced or less-frequent cyclist. If you’re a new rider or returning to cycling, a hub-driven e-bike may be for you.
Mid-Drive Motors suit riders who want a boost, but who still want to stay fit. They are the preferred option for experienced cyclists. Riders who know how to change gears will be able to attain an efficient ride and extend the life of a mid-drive e-bike.
- Direct-drive hub motors have less torque than geared hub motors
- Geared hub motors are the choice for more torque, from a hub-driven option
- Mid-drive motors in low gear, can climb steeper hills for longer than a similarly powered hub motor
There’s nothing unique about e-bike brakes. But with consistently high speeds and extra weight (compared to a regular push-bike), you’ll be seeking ample stopping power.
Almost all e-bikes use disc brakes. Mechanical disc brakes are reliable and easily adjusted. Hydraulic disc brakes are more powerful but may require professional adjustment and repair.
Some cheaper e-bikes come fitted with rim brakes, usually as V-brakes. You may also find drum brakes on a rear wheel, sometimes used in combination with a front wheel rim brake. Be wary of the increased stopping distance and foresight that these brakes will require.
|A hydraulic disc brake and rear hub motor|
Electric bikes are heavier than their pedal-powered counterparts. That’s just a fact. Maybe one day, this won’t be true. But for now, it’s unavoidable. A motor, battery and cabling all add up to decent heft.
Eventually, most e-bikers run into the unexpected situation where they run out of battery. It’s important to consider how heavy an e-bike is to pedal unpowered. Some e-bikes are relatively easy to propel on flat ground, without juice. Others can be a real slog.
There is another situation where the weight of your bike can have heavy implications.
If you live in an apartment or walk-up, carrying some e-bikes can be almost impossible. Others aren’t too much of a problem.
Here’s a rough idea of e-bike weight ranges:
Commuter, City and Hybrid Bikes commonly sit somewhere between 33lb and 55lb, but can get as heavy as 100lb. ‘Moped-style’ e-bikes can reach 120lb.
Full-Suspension e-Mountain-Bikes: Lighter, more expensive models can be as svelte as 37lb, which aids maneuverability on technical trails and jumps. Full-suspension fat bikes can weigh up to 100lb. Retro-style e-Bikes may have large, sweeping frames. They suit a casual riding style that isn’t radically affected by extra bulk. They often weigh between 55lb and 65lb.
E-Road Bikes are the lightest of all, with an overall weight as low as 19lb. Most sit somewhere between 28lb and 31lb. These trim figures are reflected in the high of these bikes.
Electric cargo bikes present the heaviest options, weighing in above 70lb. But these rigs may be capable of carrying as much as 440lb in extra baggage.
500 to 700
At this price, expect e-bikes with a hub-driven motor in a configuration that may be similar to an e-bike conversion. You can source bikes at this price from big-box retailers. Componentry and gearing will be similar to the level of a low-cost big-box bike. Some folding e-bikes come in at this price range.
Most bikes in this range are urban commuters or present as ‘mountain bike-style’. Some will have mechanical disc brakes. Others are set up with rim brakes (V-brakes) or even drum brakes. Heavier aluminum and steel frames can be expected.
On low cost bikes, front suspension is not unheard of. At this price, it can offer limited benefits and durability. It’s possible that cheap suspension will only add complexity and weight, without real benefits. 36V motors are affordable in this price range.
The price savings you receive from online retailers are due to the fact that many of these manufacturers don’t have to pay for a ‘middleman’ or storefront. Your e-bike will be partially assembled for packaging and transport. Keep in mind that any warranty that’s offered may be contingent on having your e-bike professionally assembled by your local bike mechanic.
After-market servicing and parts may or may not be locally available.
700 to 1400
Motors at this price range are mostly hub-driven. Frames are usually mid-range aluminum.
Componentry may be similar to that found on a 250 to 500 pedal-powered bike. Most bikes in this range are commuters and city bikes.
1400 to 2500
In this arena, quality shoots up a notch. Known brand-name mid-drive systems enter the fray, including Bosch and Shimano. Frames may be of a lighter, higher-quality aluminum construction.
Handy extras include racks, mudguards and lights that are integrated into the bike’s electrical system. Many of these bikes are still urban/city/commuter types but some lower-end and flat-bar road bikes also become available.
A few mid-range, hardtail e-MTBs can also be found. Hydraulic disc brakes are now common.
2500 to 3500
In this range, your dollar gets you a more powerful mid-drive motor and a higher-capacity battery.
Hydraulic disc brakes should be standard. Integrated lights and accessories can be expected, while name-brand components are a given.
At the least, frames should be high-quality aluminum.
3500 to 10000 and Beyond…
In this corner, we have full-suspension electric mountain bikes, high-end commuters, performance e-Gravel, drop-bar e-Road bikes and reliable cargo machines.
Components are lightweight, high quality and durable. Racing rigs are fast and light, with concealed batteries and inconspicuous motors. Many are made from carbon fiber.
Motors will be powerful and batteries are high capacity. Some options come ready-built to incorporate a second battery in a dual setup.
It pays to consider the inclusion of extras and integrated accessories as part of the cost of your new e-bike.
Some e-bikes come fitted with front and rear lights. The best systems are connected to your e-bike’s battery and can be operated from a switch on the handlebar.
Other e-bikes are equipped with fenders and racks. A chainguard may be integrated into the design of your e-bike. It’s a sure way to keep your clothes grease-free on commutes.
These accessories can cut costs and make things easier, because your bike is ready-to-go from new.
E-Bike Classes and Laws
In the United States, electric bike laws vary massively from state to state. In many areas, electric bikes are classed into three categories. This affects where you can ride your chosen e-bike and how fast you can ride it.
Class 1 and Class 3 e-bikes can not be operated by a throttle without applying pedal-power. This feature is reserved exclusively for Class 2 e-bikes.
Please refer to our other guides, for more information on Class 1 and Class 3 e-bikes.
All classes are limited to a motor size of 750 Watts.
It’s best to check your local laws before purchasing an electric bike. This is especially true when you are ordering a bike online, as it may be tuned to match the laws of another state or country.
E-bikes are not illegal and you needn’t fear that you’re flouting the law by buying and owning one. Local governments and authorities are also users of electric bikes.
In the last decade, cyclists have realized that e-bikes are a great way to ride for longer distances and at higher speeds. Electric bikes allow many cyclists to make that long-distance commute to work, while leaving their car in the garage.
In times past, e-bikes were sometimes seen as exclusive to a less-able or less-motivated rider base. Some competitive cyclists looked down on them. This is no longer the case. They even have their own dedicated professional racing events.
In recent years, e-bikes have revealed themselves as one of the fastest-growing transport solutions in built-up metropolitan areas, worldwide.
Whatever your reason for choosing to go electric; shop around, choose wisely and ride on!
Owen Jesse Owen has spent decades building and riding bikes; as a messenger, photographer and for an environmental non profit. He’s volunteered teaching others to fix their bikes and loves a genre busting bike build.
I’ve ridden every electric motorcycle out there. Here’s what I’ve discovered
Electric motorcycles are my jam. If I’m on two wheels and it’s not a bicycle, then odds are I’m on an electric motorcycle. I don’t ride them because they’re clean or green, though those are nice side benefits – I ride them because they’re fun and enjoyable. They’re infinitely better than sitting in a car watching the world go by through glass. And the ownership experience is so much nicer than gas motorcycles due to their greatly reduced maintenance, lower cost of ownership, lack of vibrating cacophony, and a laundry list of other reasons.
My love of these awesome e-motos has put me in a unique position of having ridden pretty much every one of them out there.
Now let me stop the pedants right here for a second. No, the title isn’t clickbait.
But to say it in more words than fit in a headline, I’ve ridden basically every electric motorcycle out there, not counting a few cool international models I’m still missing (Stark Varg, TS Bravo, etc.) and a few super low-volume boutique e-motorcycle companies in the US (Tarform, Lightning, etc.).
But other than those few edge cases, I’ve ridden every major electric motorcycle currently available in the US, and some that aren’t even available yet.
Here’s a rundown of what you need to know about each company, the cool bikes they build, and how they ride. And since I could never possibly cover each one in enough nitty-gritty detail in a single compilation article like this, make sure you click through to the in-depth reviews I’ve done on these bikes as well.
To avoid playing favorites, I’m also going to bang these out in alphabetical order. Sorry, Zero, but that’s on you guys.
One of the best parts is also just how many looks and Комментарии и мнения владельцев you get. The last time I was riding one was in San Francisco when I attended the Micromobility America 2022 conference. People were stopping me on street corners just to ask about these wild-looking things. Another experience near Miami was the same thing – people were riding up next to me on the street just to talk about it.
I also like how they have a locking trunk in back and how the rear seat can also be used for a decent amount of cargo space (when you’re not carrying a passenger).
The range is modest at around 100 miles in city conditions, but highway riding cuts that range down quickly. Don’t expect to go on long touring rides with these.
I’ve also tested the open-top Arcimoto Roadster, which feels more like a trike motorcycle. Its chopped top and sportier seating position give an entirely different sensation. It’s a lot of fun, but I prefer the FUV for daily riding.
Neither are the most practical vehicles on the road. They’re too wide to lane split but too small for carpool duty. But they make up for it in sheer charm.
The only other slight downside is that you’ve got to think about your placement on the road as a triple-track vehicle. Unlike a motorcycle, where you swerve around obstacles or a car where you straddle obstacles, triple-track vehicles like these trikes mean you have to be more accurate when “threading the needle” with potholes, road debris, etc. If this were your daily driver, then I’m sure you’d get used to it quickly. But each time I hop back in one, I have to remember that I’ve not only got three wheels on the ground, but each one follows a different line.
CAKE has three main platforms: the Kalk electric dirt bike, the Ösa electric utility bike, and the Makka electric moped. To be fair, I’ve only tested the first two, and it wasn’t a particularly long test ride on either, but they were both quite enjoyable.
The Kalk is their original dirt bike-style electric motorbike. It introduced the brand’s Swedish design with a love-it-or-hate-it appearance and showed that CAKE was here to play with the big boys. You’ll regularly see CAKE Kalks flying through the air and taking big jumps in stride.
The bikes are powerful, fairly lightweight, and a lot of fun to ride, though they’re pretty pricey at around 14,000.
The lower cost INK line drops the price by a couple thousand bucks, but these still aren’t budget bikes. Fortunately, they do have both on- and off-road versions of the Kalk line, meaning you can actually use them as street-legal motorcycles too.
The CAKE Ösa is a utility bike that was first marketed as a “workbench on wheels.” That feels like a suitable name for these things. They are incredibly modular and are designed to be customized based on your needs. Whether that’s delivering packages, powering an electric saw for a carpentry job, or working as a forest ranger and carrying around axes and chainsaws, they’ve been outfitted for just about everything.
They’re also quite powerful and fun to ride. I was having a bit too much fun with one in a gravel lot in Munich, leading to one of my only motorcycle crashes from getting a bit too jubilant in the corners.
CAKE’s rides are awesome-looking and fun-riding electric motorcycles, but they don’t have the same bang-for-buck you’d get elsewhere. You’re paying for fancy Swedish design, which is still worth something, but it means these won’t be the best option if you’re trying to squeeze every penny. For those that want something different looking though, CAKE takes the cake.
CSC is a California-based motorcycle importer that deals with largely Chinese-made bikes, both ICE and electric. They’ve got some of the best in the business, and they only work with good-quality imports. They also have an absolutely massive warehouse in LA that is stocked to the brim with dozens of spares of every part on all of their bikes, which ensures that you get US-level service if you ever need a spare part. I’ve tested all of their electric motorcycles, but my sister has their CSC SG250, and the head mechanic at CSC even walked us through a carb tuning question over the phone while we worked on the bike. So don’t think that just because these are Chinese bikes means you’ll get bad quality or poor service. You get good versions of both.
Now let’s get to the bikes. The most impressive in the lineup is the CSC RX1E. I rode one near LA, and it was so much more impressive than I was expecting.
It’s got a super comfortable adventure bike setup, even though it’s really more of an urban commuter. But with a liquid-cooled motor, top speed of 80 mph (130 km/h), and a range of 112 miles (180 km), it can handle any commute you can throw at it. At its current price of 8,495, it gets you similar performance to an entry-level Zero motorcycle but at a fraction of the price.
A much smaller bike in the company’s lineup is the CSC City Slicker, which is more like a Honda Grom-sized electric motorcycle. It has a lower top speed of 45 mph (72 km/h) and is definitely meant for sticking to the city, hence the name.
The removable battery makes it convenient for charging in an apartment, yet it still gives you all the motorcycle fun of flying around turns while trying to drag knee. It may have scooter-level performance, but it comes in a motorcycle-shaped package. When riding the City Slicker, I would always get questions from people and thumbs-ups along the way. There’s just something about a mini-moto that makes people look up.
Speaking of scooters, the CSC Wiz has much of the City Slicker’s performance but in a true scooter platform. That means you get a cargo trunk, a step-through body for even more cargo space at your feet, and a big comfortable seat with plenty of room for a second rider. As long as you are OK with speeds in the low 40’s of mph, then the Wiz is a great, low-cost electric scooter option at just 2,495.
Last but not least, you’ve got to check out the CSC Monterey. At just 2,195, this vintage Honda Cub-inspired scooter looks incredible. It’s underpowered and only gets up to 32 mph (51.5 km/h), but it makes up for the lackluster performance in pure charm.
I got a Monterey, and everywhere I went, people would smile and give me a thumbs-up. When I parked, people inevitably want to ask me about it. It’s a crowd-pleaser for sure. I ultimately gave it to my father, who gets a kick out of the classic styling. It also goes nicely in his retro-themed garage. If you live in a beach community or other area with lower-speed roads where a 32 mph scooter will suffice, the CSC Monterey is a hoot to ride.
I’m more of a comfort cruiser type of rider than a super-tucked sport rider, and so while the Ribelle is fun, that streetfighter is sportier than I really need. The EsseEsse9 was my favorite with its lower pegs and higher bars, even if the bike has slightly less power than the Ribelle.
But when Energica launched the Experia, that bike quickly became my favorite of the bunch. The sport tourer combined a powerful drivetrain with a comfortable and upright seating position. And with level 3 DC fast charging, touring is a reality with quick charge stops while grabbing a coffee or a bite to eat.
The Experia is my hands-down favorite of the bunch, but any time I get a chance to hop on an Energica, I know I’m going to have a good day.
I was on the Ribelle for a couple of days on a recent trip to San Francisco and had a blast on the bike. While going over the windy bridges, I was glad to be on a solid, heavy bike as opposed to something much smaller.
So while I’d definitely opt for the Experia if it were me, the company’s sportier bikes are still a blast. The only model I haven’t tried is the Evo, which is just so much sportier than I’d ever need or want. But those who have them seem to love them, so to each their own!
Gogoro technically isn’t available in the US… yet. But since the company is rapidly expanding its presence, I’ll include Gogoro just in case they decide to come stateside soon.
The company recently expanded to Tel Aviv, Israel. For those who don’t know, despite being in the US often to ride new bikes and enjoy the country’s vast diversity of riding areas, I actually live in Tel Aviv most of the year. And so I was one of the first to get a new Gogoro S2 ABS electric scooter when they came out.
The scooters use a pair of swappable batteries that are the heart of the Gogoro Network. I’ve never charged the scooter – I’ve only ever swapped batteries. Theoretically, the range is well over 100 km (62 miles) in the city, but I’m often taking it up to its top speed of 95 km/h (59 mph) on highways, and so I often get closer to 60-70 km of range (36-45 miles).
But there’s a battery swap station every mile or two in Tel Aviv, and so range just isn’t an issue. When the batteries start to get low, I just roll into a battery swap station and pop in a pair of freshly charged batteries. The whole thing takes barely a minute if I’m moving slowly, and I can get it done in 30 seconds if I’m quick. A monthly subscription of around 38 covers my access to the swap stations.
The bike is also available in a chain-drive off-road version, though I like the belt-drive on-road version better as it’s quieter and also lower to the ground, which is nice for my 30-inch inseam.
The bike isn’t wildly powerful, but it’s enough to beat cars off the line at green lights, which is what I expect out of a commuter bike. Anything less, and you might as well get a scooter.
Kollter is actually known as Tinbot in Europe if you’re wondering why there are nearly identical-looking versions across the pond. And the company is coming out with several new models in the next few months that offer more power and speed, so this is going to be an exciting company to watch.
I LOVE me some LiveWire bikes. I was one of the first to ride the original production version of the Harley-Davidson LiveWire back in 2019, and my takeaway was that it was an incredibly-performing bike that was also grossly overpriced. Well, perhaps not grossly. But at 30K, it was pretty darn pricey.
The company ended up spinning off LiveWire as its own all-electric sub-brand and relaunched the bike as the LiveWire One.
At closer to 22K, now we’re talking. I’ve ridden the LiveWire one as well, and it feels pretty much the way I remember the H-D LiveWire to have felt a few years ago. The bike is incredibly powerful off the line with a 0-60 mph of 3.1 seconds.
It’s fun in the canyons and works great in the city as well, and I love the Level 3 DC fast charging for quick fill-ups. The last time I was riding the LiveWire One in LA, I made frequent use of the fast charging in 20-minute stops, which allowed me to get over half of the battery’s charge back into the “tank.”
I also had the chance to test an early prototype of the LiveWire Del Mar, which is LiveWire’s second bike, schedule to be released early next year.
At 17K, it’s a decent bit more affordable than the LiveWire One, but it still offers nearly the same 0-60 mph time. It’s not a toned down LiveWire One, though – it’s an equally fun bike in its own right.
In fact, I also find it more comfortable since it doesn’t have as long of a reach as the LiveWire One. The only downside in comparison is that it’s likely to have around two-thirds of the range of the LiveWire One. (We don’t yet have full battery or range specs from LiveWire at the time of publishing.) But as a more urban-oriented bike, even 100 miles (160 km) of range is going to be plenty for nearly any commuter.
After my LiveWire S2 Del Mar test ride, I was kicking myself for not pre-ordering one of the Launch Edition bikes. Those 100 individually numbered motorcycles are all but guaranteed to become collectors items one day.
This alphabetical ordering gives us some doozies, like NIU’s cute little city scooters following up behind LiveWire’s rocket of an electric motorcycle.
But I call ’em like I see ’em, and I see NIU as a great option for anyone who needs a modestly powerful scooter in the city. I have the NIU NQi GT Long Range, and it has served as my daily driver for just over two years. The scooter does absolutely everything I need it to do (well, except for taking my dog to the vet) and has been an awesome way to get an electric vehicle in the city when my wife and I neither want (nor can afford) something as large as an electric car.
The NIU isn’t the most powerful scooter out there, but it keeps up with the 125cc scooters off the line without a problem.
One of its quirks is that your feet are up a bit high since one of the two giant batteries is under the foot platform, but I got used to it quickly and stopped noticing. I also wish it had more built-in storage, but I just added one of NIU’s cargo boxes on back and that gave me extra cargo space.
With a top speed of 80 km/h (50 mph), it’s been sufficient for the city, but I’d certainly love to upgrade to the newer NIU MQi GT EVO, which tops out at 100 km/h (62 mph). I test rode one last year at the EICMA Milan Motorcycle Show, and the first thing I noticed was how the more powerful motor accelerates even quicker than my NQi GT. If you’re going to be riding a lot with your partner or just want a faster and more powerful scooter, the EVO is a great option.
I haven’t ridden NIU’s RQi Sport electric motorcycle yet since it’s only been released in China. But the first chance I get, I’ll be on it.
The bike feels light and nimble, even if it’s not the fastest off the line like a LiveWire or Energica. But it makes up for it in style and experience.
The Anthem is also quite comfortable, especially for a smaller rider like me at 5’7″ or 170cm. But because you can raise the seat up by 4 inches, taller riders can feel good on the Anthem as well.
The last cool thing to mention on this bike is the removable battery. It may be small at just over 4 kWh, but it is removable with a quick release and even has wheels so you don’t have to carry the 65-pound pack inside to charge it. Instead, you just roll it like carry-on luggage. That’s a key benefit for apartment dwellers who don’t have a place to charge on the street.
But since this is a commuter bike and not really a long highway cruise type of bike, that’s probably going to be fine for most people.
I test rode one of the first production Metacycles in LA and took it on a combination of fast highway riding and local city street cruising. I got an extrapolated range of 40 miles (64 km), though that was with ample use of the sport mode. Not exactly the most impressive range, but obviously fine for anyone with a commute of less than 40 miles (or 20 miles if you don’t have a charge spot at work).
The bike itself is actually a lot of fun to ride. Not only is it a head turner and conversation starter at traffic lights, but it’s a nimble and easy-riding bike for weaving between cars and slicing through traffic.
In fact, it’s so easy to ride that it feels like a simple upgrade from an electric bicycle. If you’ve been riding higher-speed e-bikes like Super73s or other motorcycle-inspired designs and want to upgrade to an actual motorcycle, the Metacycle makes that transition quite easy.
The bike comes with some neat innovations I haven’t seen elsewhere, like a see-through glovebox with a wireless charger for your phone. The original 5,000 price was a great deal, but even the current 6,500 price feels reasonable for what you ultimately get.
Sur Ron Light Bee
The Sur Ron Light Bee is like if an electric bicycle hit puberty, lost its pedals, and grew some power. It’s not a “real motorcycle” in the sense that it’s barely 6 kW (8 HP), but it can hit a solid 45-50 mph off-road and is often found beating gas-powered motorbikes in races.
The thing barely weighs over 100 pounds, and thus it feels more like a heavy electric bicycle beneath you, except that it has a short enough wheel base and sufficient torque to flip you right over if you grab too much throttle.
The Sur Ron’s Achilles heel has always been its lower battery capacity, which can be sucked up in 40 minutes or less of super hard riding, though it could last for a couple of hours of leisurely trail riding.
But as a fun runabout that you toss in the back of your truck and take out to the boonies for off-road shenanigans, it’s a great starter off-road bike. And considering its usually priced at around 4,000, it’s just not that expensive either.
It may not be here for a long time, but it’s here for a good time.
I guess we saved the biggest for last here. Zero has so many models in its lineup that it’s hard to keep track of them these days. I think I’ve ridden most of them at this point. From the flagship SR/F and sleeker fully-fared SR/S, to the smaller Zero FXE and other bikes in between, there’s a bit of something for everyone.
I recently had the chance to test out the new Zero DSR/X, which is the company’s newest and perhaps most impressive model. The electric adventure bike gave me some of my first tastes of high-power adventure riding in the trails over Park City, Utah. Between the rider aides that help a so-so rider like me play at a much higher level to the utility additions like tons of locking storage space, that is one impressive bike! It also comes with a massive battery pack to match its massive pricetag of 24,495, so don’t expect to get into this one cheap.
Even so, Zero’s entry-level bikes in the FX line still offer a thrilling ride for closer to half of that price. I fell in love with a 2019 Zero FXS a few years ago, but the Zero FXE is likely my new favorite among the company’s starter bikes. As a commuter-level bike that still gets you fast speeds, powerful acceleration, and an entry ticket into Zero’s walled garden, it’s a hell of a ride.
Top comment by JeffnReno
I no longer ride but anyone that hasn’t had skin meet asphalt or gravel may not understand the need for protective gear at nearly any speed over 2 mph. I’ve got a few scars still to prove my point but still have many more happy memories to go with them. If I were younger and had little responsibility other than myself, I’d for sure be on 2 wheels as much as possible. Thanks for a nice article on today’s offerings.
As Zero’s have walked up, though, this undisputed leader of the US electric motorcycle market has been faced with a number of new start-ups trying to eat its lunch on the commuter end of the spectrum. Companies like Kollter, SONDORS, Ryvid, and CSC all offer interesting and unique commuter-level electric motorcycles that could give options to those that can’t afford (or can’t justify paying for) Zero’s higher prices.
One of the coolest things about the electric motorcycle market is just how quickly it is evolving. New e-moto companies seem to crop up every month, and new models are rolling out on a weekly basis.
Who knows what bikes we’ll see in the coming years?
The only thing for certain is that I’m going to need to find myself sitting in a pile of new saddles if I want to keep this up. And that ain’t a bad thing to me!
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E-Bike Classifications and Laws
Federal laws give states the freedom to regulate electric bikes in unique ways. Classification systems and e-bike laws in California are different from those you’ll find in other states. If you own an e-bike or are considering purchasing one, take some time to understand California’s regulations, as well as those you’ll encounter across state lines.
Electric Bike Laws and Regulations
There are three different e-bikes classes. Classes were created to determine how e-bikes should be used according to local e-bike laws. Currently, 36 states across the U.S. utilize the three-class system for electric bikes. States may alter some details within their three-tier systems, but most are very similar. The classes include:
- Class 1: The Class 1 e-bike provides assistance only when you pedal, and stops assisting when you reach 20 mph — great for bike lanes, bike paths, roads or anywhere you’d take a traditional bike.
- Class 2: The Class 2 e-bike is equipped with a throttle which provides a boost without pedaling, and stops assisting at 20 mph.
- Class 3: The Class 3 e-bike is equipped with a speedometer, and only assists until the bike reaches 28 mph — an excellent choice for commuters. The most popular bikes fit into Class 1 or Class 3 because riders still want to pedal.
If you’re shopping for an e-bike, it’s important to understand the e-bike laws in your state, as they may be slightly different than the popular 3-classification system. Familiarizing yourself with these laws and regulations is crucial for a variety of different reasons. They’re meant to keep you riding safely and to protect others around you. Electric bikes are fun to use and convenient, but they are still machines that require these types of regulations to protect consumers and people in public places.
Depending on the state, these regulations can be about where you ride, what gear you need to wear, certain attributes of your bike and more. When you know all about these different policies, you’ll avoid fines and are keeping yourself and others safe.
What Is A Class 1 E-Bike?
Most municipalities treat class 1 e-bikes like regular street and mountain bikes.
The fundamental distinction is that electric bikes have pedal-assist technology that works when you engage the pedals. When using this mode, the motor will not run itself without any pedaling. However, as mentioned above, class 1 electric bikes can only get a pedal-assist boost up to 20 mph. Class 1 models from Juiced Bikes also have throttle-only capabilities. Unlike using pedal assist, the throttle-only mode allows you to ride your bike without pedaling. Enjoy taking a break, or turn your excursion into a low-effort ride.
Before taking a class 1 electric bike to an area that may discourage you from using motorized vehicles, research local rules and regulations. They can differ widely between cities and states. If you’re interested in buying an electric bike to commute on standard streets and highways, you’re probably in the clear with a class 1 e-bike. Many first-time electric bike users start in this class.
Information on Class 2 Electric Bikes
The electric bike classes make many customers assume that class 2 electric bikes are one direct step up from class 1 e-bikes in handling or difficulty. Instead, the class 2 e-bike is suitable for a few extra surface terrain types, such as off-highway vehicle (OHVs) trails. If you’re unfamiliar with OHV trails, they are popular paths for enthusiasts with dirt bikes, golf carts, jeeps and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs.)
When weighing whether to buy a class 1 vs class 2 e-bike, check out the specs of the bikes you’re considering. Like class 1 bikes, class 2 e-bikes have pedal assistance up to 20 mph and throttle-only mode, where the motor can work independently. This mode may be valuable to you if you’re unable to pedal because of an injury or limited mobility.
Need-to-Know Facts About Class 3 Electric Bikes
Speed differentiates class 3 e-bikes from their counterparts in the other classes. Electric bikes under this classification continue to garner support by e-bike fans, especially ones eager for adventures. Because class 3 e-bikes offer pedal assistance up to 28 mph, they help riders go faster. Like all Juiced Bikes, class 3 versions have a throttle, so your motor is always ready to help. That means you can reach your destination with less legwork.
Is a class 3 electric bike the ideal choice for your unique needs and riding style? If you’re interested in both commuting and adventuring, we recommend checking out the full lineup of class 3 models from Juiced Bikes. You may even see some e-bikes that can qualify for a few classes available on our website. From sporty, moped-style frames to the ultimate variant in light commuters, our wide range of class 3 e-bikes will help you get where you’re going safely and stylishly.
Please be careful to obey local rules if you’re using bike-only paths for your cruising. Many places have electric bike regulations that prohibit class 3 e-bikes from some lanes and trails because of their speed, and such rules discourage visitors from racing.
California Electric Bike Laws
Since there are so many different types of electric bikes out there with different capabilities, these classes help keep cyclists, drivers and pedestrians safe. In California, and 21 other states, bikes are sorted into three classifications based on top speeds and whether pedaling is a necessary function.
Knowing the class of your e-bike or your future e-bike will tell you where and how you can ride. For instance, in California, a class 3 electric requires that the rider wear a helmet. E-bike users in class 2 and below can be any age and have access to pathways meant for cyclists.
Blending Different Classes
Juiced Bikes are super versatile e-bikes that can be used for a wide variety of purposes and can fit into multiple classes depending on the mode you are using. When you own an electric bike that meets the specifications of more than one class, you can enjoy the benefits of each class at different points. If you ride a bike that toes the line between two classifications, you have more control over how and where you ride.
If you have an e-bike that allows you to pedal or not pedal to power the bike, that model could be class 1 or class 2 in a 3-class system. Or, if you have a e-bike where you can change out the battery, you could even go between a class 2 and a class 3 specification. This added versatility gives you access to other bikeways in the state and more ways to use this versatile, fun and environmentally friendly way to get around.
E-Bike Classifications Outside of California
All fifty states and Washington, D.C. define e-bikes in some capacity, but their classifications can be slightly different from state to state. Here’s how e-bike classification looks outside of CA.
Of the states that categorize e-bikes, 36 of them use a three-tier system similar to what we discussed above. Tiered categorization allows states to separate e-bikes from other motorized vehicles like mopeds or scooters. Most of the classification parameters in these states are fairly similar, so riders shouldn’t have much trouble understanding the overlap.
Fourteen states regulate e-bikes without implementing the classification system. These include Hawaii, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, D.C., Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.
E-Bike Requirements Across States
If you live outside of California or plan to take your e-bike on the road with you, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with different e-bike laws and regulations in the U.S.
Insurance and Registration
Most states with a three-tier classification system do not require you to register or insure your e-bike. However, all 36 states that use a three-tier model require e-bikes to have a visible label displaying the class, top speed and motor wattage. You may need licensure, registration and vehicle insurance to ride in states that lack a classification system or only use two tiers.
State lawmakers set unique helmet laws for e-bike riders and passengers, and some even leave regulation to local governments. Many states require helmets in some capacity through laws centered around age, class or a hybrid of the two. Connecticut is one state that requires all riders to wear a helmet, while a few states allow you to ride without one. Inquire with your state’s transportation department to determine its helmet requirements for e-bike riders.
E-Bike Road Rules Across States
Understanding electric bicycle laws by state is important so you know where you can and can’t ride. Reach out to the transportation department or local authorities for the state in question to find out where you can and cannot ride an e-bike.
Road and Sidewalk Regulations
The legality of riding an e-bike on the road or sidewalk varies across states. E-bikes must share the road with cars and follow the same rules in Alabama, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Virginia and a few others. Some states allow e-bikes on sidewalks as well as roads, including Arizona, Washington, Minnesota and Utah. Even so, keep in mind that these states may limit which e-bike classes can ride on the sidewalk.
Multi-use Trail Regulations
Whether or not you can ride an e-bike on multi-use trails is up to local and state governments. Some states like Colorado have implemented pilot programs to test how e-bikers affect other riders on rail trails and hiking paths. Inquire with city officials to determine if e-bikes are allowed on local multi-use trails.
Contact Juiced Bikes
The experts at Juiced Bikes are here to help you understand which e-bikes you can ride and where you can ride them in California and beyond. If you are unsure about which Juiced Bikes models fit into the three classifications, please contact us online for more information!
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