Demo Days Coming to Bicycle Garage Indy North
Interested in electric assist bikes but are overwhelmed by all the different information out there? Good news, we are doing Electric Assist Demo Days at our North location!
We will have lifestyle and hybrid style e-bikes from Trek, Giant, Electra and Momentum available for you to test out. If you’re interested in a bike to ride with family, around the neighborhood or even the park, these bikes are the answer.
In order to demo our bikes you will need to wear a helmet, sign a waiver (on site), as well as have an ID and credit card. You will be able to demo as many of the bikes as you would like. Each demo ride will be a MAX of 20 minutes long and you will be able to ride through a small course we will have set up.
Electric-Assist Bicycles Make Possible
E-bikes let you go farther and faster, and help you do more by bike. There’s an e-bike for everyone, no matter if you’ve never had a bike before, are coming back from an injury, want to keep up with faster riders, or just want to have fun on every single ride. E-bikes flatten hills, let you carry heavier loads, and help you cut back on car trips. The best part? You still get the benefits of a traditional bike, like exercise, time outside, and not having to sit in with traffic jams or find parking.
Sometimes you’ll ride for fun, sometimes you’ll ride for fitness, and sometimes you’ll ride just to get from A to B. No matter how you spend time in the saddle, e-bikes offer unique solutions to the challenges of any ride. These bikes are all about possibility.
Even if your ride varies from day to day, an electric bicycle always gives you the option to do and experience more.
Electric Bikes Are For Everyone
Ride with friends Farther. Faster. Don’t sweat the commute Climb any hill Have more fun A clean solution for a messy world No learning curve Get out there
The Federal E-BIKE Act is Back and Needs Support!
Action Item from League of American Bicyclists:
Let’s get more people on bicycles: the Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment (E-BIKE) Act creates a tax rebate for people buying electric bikes similar to the tax incentive for buying an electric car.Use this page to encourage your federally elected officials to co-sponsor the bill. If your representative or senator is already co-sponsoring the bill, a thank you note will be sent instead! A bill introduced Tuesday, March 21, 2023 would offer Americans up to 1,500 off a new e-bike. The basics:? E-bikes, e-cargo bikes, and e-trikes are eligible? Bike price capped at 8,000? Max credit of 1,500 or 30% of purchase price? Income cap of 150k for singles or 300k for joint filers? Eligible e-bikes must be certified for safety (a nod toward fire risk from cheap, imported models)
“We should invest in bike lanes, not subsidies. Indeed, safety is the biggest hurdle to getting more people to bike. But bike lanes are cheap! The biggest constraint isn’t money, but politics. e-bike owners.- people demanding bike lanes
“E-bikes are already popular. Why subsidize them?”.- Because not everyone can afford 1-2k to buy one.- Because they create positive societal externalities (lower emissions, better health, etc), so we should encourage their use
“Why not subsidize pedal bikes?” Pedal bikes are great. But in the US, adult pedal bikes are frequently used for recreation, rather than transportation. That limits their ability to replace car trips. E-bikes are more likely to do that.
“Won’t 1,500 off a new e-bike just make rise 1,500?” This is a fair concern, especially since many car companies jacked up EV after Biden signed the IRA. But the e-bike market is much more fragmented – which helps keep down.
“I can’t use an e-bike where I live. Why should I care about them?” Because e-bikes pollute far less than even an electric car. Converting car trips (including others’ car trips) onto e-bikes helps slow climate change, which benefits all of us.
Electric-assist bikes amplify your own pedal power. The electric-assist bicycles Bicycle Garage Indy sells are pedal-assist bikes, which means there’s a motor that helps the pedals turn when you’re riding, but no throttle like a motorcycle or dirt bike. When you’re pedaling, the e-bike gives you a boost. When you stop pedaling, the bike stops assisting.
Here’s what you need to know about how e-bikes work and the parts that make them unique.
High Performance Motor
The e-bike motor is located around the pedals in the bottom bracket area. Depending on the model, the motor has a power output between 250 and 350 watts and provides assist up to 20 or 28mph.
Long Life Battery
Electric-assist bikes run off lithium-ion batteries. They’re waterproof, durable, and can be recharged on or off the bike at any household electrical outlet. How far it will get you depends on the level of assist, type of terrain you’re riding, and your weight.
A handlebar-mounted controller lets you choose your level of assist, plus it tells you how fast you’re going and how much battery you have left. You’re in control of the whole experience without ever having to take your hands off the handlebar.
With an e-mountain bike, ride more trails in less time, and spend longer in the saddle! It’s all possible thanks to the powerful motor and integrated battery. An e-MTB is the right choice for discovering new trails or running lap after lap at the bike park.
Is this the end of range anxiety?
Battery size options, optimised design and even range extending batteries engineered in-house. Could this truly mean one more lap?
How do you ride?
Parts and accessories for your mountain bike
Whether you’re looking for the latest kit, computer mount, pedals, mudguards or you just want to personalise your ride, you’ll find what you need in Gear.
Buying your first electric mountain bike can be overwhelming with the ever-expanding range available. Our buyer’s guide has everything you need to know to help you decide which Canyon e-mtb is for you.
First-time rider or grizzled veteran, each of us faces the same question: Which wheelsize is right for me? That’s because mountain bikes generally wear either 27.5” or 29” wheels. A growing few also sport the combo 29/27.5 “Mullet” option. So, which size should you choose? Here’s a quick guide to mountain bike wheelsizes.
Deciding between an MTB or e-MTB is not easy. This guide will help you make the decision. Read on to find out more.
E-bike batteries are expensive to replace, so you need to take good care of them. By following our advice, you’ll get the longest life out of your e-bike’s battery.
Find out the reasons behind the price tag of your favorite electric bike including frame types, motors, battery sizes and accessories.
What is an E-MTB?
An electric mountain bike (often abbreviated to E-MTB) is a mountain bike with an integrated motor to help you pedal. Important to note is that you must pedal to engage the motor so nobody’s getting a free ride!
Hardtail E-MTB or full-suspension E-MTB?
The key difference between a hardtail and full suspension electric mountain bikes is the suspension. Hardtails do not have rear suspension while full-sus mountain bikes have a rear shock.
Should I get an aluminium or carbon E-MTB?
An important distinction between most bikes on the market is the frame material. The weight of the frame will be less of a consideration when buying an e-bike since most of the benefits of a lightweight frame are negated by the additional weight of the e-bike motor and battery.
How much travel does my E-MTB need?
As a general rule of thumb the more travel an E-MTB has the gnarlier the terrain you’ll be able to comfortably ride. Suspension acts as a dampener for rocks and roots so the bigger the rocks you anticipate riding the more travel you’ll need.
How far can I ride an E-MTB on one charge?
We get asked this question a lot and there’s no one answer. Obvious factors like battery capacity motor and rider weight will affect the distance you can travel but there’s a number of other little hacks you can keep in mind if you want to extend your e-bike’s range.
Electric Assist Mountain Bikes — A COVID Safe and Fun Alternative to Shuttles
But in this new world we find ourselves living, for the safety of our Downieville community members, the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship (SBTS) decided to suspend all Yuba Expeditions shuttle activity for the 2020 season. SBTS felt it was the right thing to do for the town to prevent the spread of COVID-19, because sitting in a van packed with people from all over the country isn’t a great preventive measure. Folks coming to Downieville now have to either find another permitted shuttle service or self-shuttle. But amidst this health crisis, a third option has come to the forefront: the e-bike.
Experiencing the Santa Cruz Heckler
In August, SBTS hosted a couple days of riding from The Lure in Downieville, inviting SBTS partners from Santa Cruz Bicycles, Shimano, Fox Shox and the U.S. Forest Service. Yuba Expeditions made their demo fleet of Santa Cruz Heckler electric assist mountain bikes available to us, and we did two big days of riding too physically demanding for most humans on traditional mountain bikes. The Santa Cruz Heckler is considered a “Class 1” e-bike, meaning it has a battery and motor that assists in pedaling, but does not have a throttle and cuts assist at 20 mph. The bike will not provide assistance unless the rider is pedaling.
We were also fortunate to have Matt Hebberd of Rim Tours in Moab, Utah join us on the rides. Not only is Matt one of the founding fathers of mountain biking, growing up in Marin County in the 1970s, but he also co-owns Rim Tours, founded in 1990 as one of the original and longest-running mountain bike tour companies in the United States. In addition to being one heck of a capable rider, Matt is also an amazing trail chef, preparing evening meals from his built Ford F250 Rim Tours expedition rig used for backcountry tour support.
Having Matt along for the ride is helping us understand the future prospects of offering guided e-bike rides with a support crew, and what will be needed to logistically pull off such a feat. Speaking of support, SBTS kindred spirit Marc Cosby, aka “Uncle Coz”, met us each day halfway through the ride, providing lunch and a fresh e-bike battery so riders could extend the fun.
Day One – North Yuba Trail to Fiddle Creek and Halls Ranch
The first day a group of riders pedaled out of Downieville on North Yuba trail, through Goodyears Bar to Rocky Rest campground where Uncle Coz met us with lunch and a battery resupply. The goal was to evaluate the recent trail restoration work SBTS completed on North Yuba, repairing numerous landslides that shut the trail down for years, as well as identifying trail work that still needs to be done. By taking partners on the trail, they can see firsthand what work remains; work that partners might be able to financially support to keep the trail open and passable for the public.
“North Yuba trail is a perfect example of an ideal e-bike trail,” said Greg Williams, SBTS Executive Director. “This is a trail that would physically crush most mountain bikers because of its constant gains and losses of elevation, which is why the trail barely ever gets ridden. But on an e-bike, a group of 10 riders of varying skills and fitness levels can all enjoy it together.”
After a cool down dip in the North Yuba River, the crew climbed Fiddle Creek trail, with commanding views of the North Yuba River and the Sierra Buttes, finishing with a brake burning descent down Halls Ranch trail, returning to Downieville with an easy pedal along Highway 49.
Day Two – Climbing to Chimney Rock
Day two took the crew into the high country, leaving Downieville up Sailor Ravine and Heliport trails, then over to Red Ant OHV road, connecting into Saddleback Road, then all the way up to Chimney Rock trail where the crew met Uncle Coz for lunch and a battery resupply. Navigating across the volcanic slopes of Chimney Rock is iconic with commanding 360 degree views, incredible rock formations, towering cliff walls and knife edge ridge riding; it’s a trail that takes peoples’ breath away with its beauty and steep climbs, especially on a traditional mountain bike.
Most folks dedicated enough to climb from Downieville to the top of Chimney Rock on a mountain bike face at least three hours of climbing more than 4,000 vertical feet. It’s a ride that is usually only done once a year, or sometimes only once. But with the electric assist of an e-bike, Chimney Rock can be enjoyed multiple times in a season, finishing with the huge reward of riding Empire Creek trail, Downieville’s original downhill trail that Greg Williams first guided mountain bikers on back in the late 1980s.
“This birth of e-bikes reminds me of the early days of mountain biking,” said Williams. “We are seeing a whole new era of riding possibilities that weren’t previously realistic. And thanks to the OHV-legal status of Downieville trails, there are no conflicts riding e-bikes here.”
Expand Your Adventure Bubble
The capability of e-bikes will enable more folks to enjoy a wider range of trails, dispersing trail usage more evenly and taking stress off the main Downieville trails. E-bikes will also reduce the demand for shuttles, enabling folks to pedal right from Downieville into the high country, saving fuel, wear and tear on vehicles and roads. And having partners like the Tahoe National Forest in attendance helps land managers understand the positive attributes of e-bikes, the potential impacts and how they fit in with other recreational uses.
Want to have an entirely new and exciting Downieville riding experience? Yuba Expeditions is currently demoing Santa Cruz Heckler e-bikes, featuring a full size run as well as extra batteries that can be rented for those long rides like Chimney Rock. But riding an e-bike is most fun with company, so bring a few friends and let your legs be the shuttle for a weekend.
eBike Ride Options
- Full boost rides as well as great one battery rides.
- If Downieville seems too much, test your skills on Quincy’s flowy and fun trails!
eBike Ride Tips
- Most big rides in Downieville are 2 battery rides.
- Be aware of your battery life, use eco and trail if you are unsure.
Yuba Expeditions is operating under Special Use Permit in partnership with Tahoe National Forest, Yuba River Ranger District.
Electric Bikes for Kids and Teens – A Buying Guide and Top Picks
Electric bikes for kids are quickly gaining in popularity, and the technology powering them continues to get better and better. From electric balance bikes for motocross kids to electric commuter bikes and e-mountain bikes, kids ebikes are an incredible tool for enabling kids to go faster and farther than their little legs can carry them on their own.
Whether you have a future bmx star, a young child tackling longer distances, a teenager commuting to work, or you’re a parent looking to replace short car trips, there’s an ebike for that! Ebikes for kids vary widely in purpose, so understanding what to look for as well as what is available is essential to finding the right bike for your child and your family.
In order to help you find the best electric bike for your needs, we’ve broken this article into four sections. The first section is a buying guide that covers everything you need to know about buying an ebike for your child, and the remaining three sections provide tips and specific bike suggestions based on the age of the rider.
While we highly recommend reading our full electric bikes for kids buying guide, here’s are some quick tips and specific bike recommendations for those TL;DR folks :-).
Quick Tips for Buying a Kids ebike
(1) Be aware of your local laws and regulations: Many areas prohibit kids from operating Class II (ebikes with throttles) as well as Class III ebikes (ebikes with a 28mph max w/wo a throttle).
(2) Look for a bike with a torque sensor: Torque sensors allow the rider to control the speed of the bike with the pedals. Without one, pedaling slower will NOT slow down the speed of the bike, which can be very confusing and dangerous for kids.
(3) Say no to the throttle: Throttles allow kids to reach high speeds quickly without pedaling and should be avoided. Throttles on essentially all ebikes, however, can be turned off or removed after purchase.
(4) Pay attention to weight: ebikes can weigh up to 60 lb. (or more!) and can be a lot for an adult, let alone a child, to handle.
(5) eBikes vs. electric balance bikes: Small electric balance bikes without pedals (such as STACYC) typically are not covered under ebike laws, but should still be used with caution.
The Best Electric Bikes for Kids
This list was compiled after extensive research as well as leaning heavily on our own experience with electric bikes. Unlike our other “best” lists throughout this site, we fully admit that we have not tested or personally seen all of these bikes.
details about these specific bikes are included in the age-based sections below. Like always, any additional feedback and suggestions are welcome in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев.
|3 to 5||9 mph||799|
|5 to 7||13 mph||1,049|
|5 to 8||15.5 mph||449|
|8 to 10||18 mph||1,999|
|10 to 12||20 mph||2,599|
|8 to 12||Best all around eMTB||3,799|
|8 to 12||Ultimate eMTB for advanced riders||3,800|
|Adult||Comes with light, fenders, and rear seat||1,899|
|Adult||Peppy longtail ebike, holds two kids||2,199|
|Adult||Holds up to 4 kids!||3,999|
Electric Bikes for Kids – Table of Contents
Jump Down Menu – Click to Jump to your Desired Section
- Electric Bikes for Kids Buying Guide
- eBikes for Kids (Bikes with pedals – age 6)
- Electric Bikes for Toddlers and Preschoolers(Balance bikes – no pedals)
- Electric Cargo Bikes for Carrying Kids(Cargo-esque bikes that allow for a child seat)
eBikes for Kids Buying Guide
If you are new to ebikes, there is certainly a lot to learn! In this guide, we will be focusing on the features of ebikes that are particularly important for kids. While the specifics of battery life, battery volts, motor torque, and countless other ebike components are very important to the overall performance of the bike, they don’t necessarily affect kids more than adults, so we won’t be discussing them here.
For a more general reference about electric bikes, REI’s How to Choose an Electric Bike is a great place to start. For a deep dive into the electric systems of ebikes, ebikes.ca is a top-notch resource, while Juiced Bikes does a great job going into the specifics of batteries. Lastly, for reviews on adult ebikes (including some small enough for tweens and teens), electricbikereview.com is a great resource.
Why an ebike for kids?
Two words – distance and elevation. Electric bikes allow kids to ride their bikes for longer distances as well as tackle greater elevations gains. Based on our experiences with our own kids, ebikes can magically transform rides that were previously too hard, too long, or too boring… into exciting adventures that kids truly enjoy.
Electric bikes are very different than electric scooters. Many people balk at the idea of a child riding an electric bike as they envision kids zipping down the street without taking a single pedal stroke. While this is certainly possible, it’s not probable nor is it the purpose or design of ebikes for kids.
When given the right bike (kids don’t need a throttle!) and in the right conditions (longer rides or in hilly areas), kids can still get plenty of exercise on an ebike.
Kid-specific ebikes don’t have a throttle (more about this below) and require kids to pedal for the motor to even kick on. If they stop pedaling, the motor also stops. While many tweens and teens can technically fit on adult ebikes with throttles (Class II or III), many areas have regulations to prevent kids from riding an ebike with a throttle.
Class of eBikes
Prior to shopping for an ebike, it is important to understand the differences between the three classes of ebikes on the market. Many states do not allow kids under the age of 16 to ride a Class III ebike, while many states don’t allow anyone (even adults!) to ride Class II ebikes on bike paths and trails. Check out Bikes for People’s Electric Bike Laws to learn more about your state’s regulations.
The two main differences between the classes of ebikes are:
What is a bike throttle? A throttle is a lever or button that activates the motor of the bike without having to pedal. If a bike does not have a throttle, the motor can only be activated by pedaling the bike.
|Max mph assist||Throttle|
The motor on Class I ebikes cannot assist the rider above 20 mph max. While the rider can pedal to accelerate the bike faster than 20mph, the motor will stop providing additional assistance once 20mph is reached.
Class I ebikes also cannot have a throttle. The motor can only be activated via pedaling and the rider must continue pedaling in order for the motor to operate. Most ebikes sold in big-box stores are Class I ebikes.
All kid-specific ebikes are Class I, but for added safety, they typically have a lower speed at which the motor will stop assisting. For example, the kid-specific woom UP line maxes out at 12 mph and the Kent Torpedo at 17 mph.
Like Class I bikes, the motor on Class II can only assist up to 20 mph. The main difference is that Class II bikes have a throttle that allows the rider to turn on the motor and propel the bike forward without pedaling the bike. The rider can also choose not to use the throttle and to activate the motor via the pedals as well.
Stepping it up a notch, Class III ebikes can assist the rider up to 28 mph when pedaling, but only up to 20mph when using the optional throttle. Due to their higher speeds, Class III ebikes are the most regulated and in many areas are limited to street use only.
Ebike Sizing vs. Traditional Bike Sizing
Like regular kids bikes, ebikes for kids are sized according to wheel size. So if your child is riding a 24″ bike, they will likely fit on a 24″ kids electric bike.
Like all bikes, it is also important to take minimum and maximum seat heights into account as they can vary widely within a wheel size, depending on brand. If you aren’t sure what wheel size your child needs, be sure to check out our Kids Bikes Sizing Guide.
Currently, there are only a handful of child-specific ebikes on the market (in the US). The smallest bike we are aware of is the Kent Torpedo 20″, which has a minimum seat height of 27″ and can fit kids as young as 7. The Swagtron EB-6 20″ bike is a popular bike marketed as a kid’s bike, but it is too tall for most kids and with only 1 PAS mode, it is too fast for kids to ride safely.
Larger kids electric bikes are available from woom and Commencal, but they are designed for more aggressive trail riders, versus everyday neighborhood riders. With suspension and top-of-the-line components, these bikes are powerhouses on the trail but also come with a steep price tag that puts them out of reach for many families.
As a result, many older kids (tween and teens at least 5′ not riding on a mountain trail), will likely ride an ebike designed for an adult. Our page on Electric Bicycles for Women has many bikes small enough for a 4’11 – 5’0 kid rider.
The wheel sizes on adult electric bikes vary widely from 20″ fat tires to 700c street tires. As a result, the wheel size on adult ebikes cannot be used as an indication of the overall size of the bike.
Weight of eBikes
Ebikes are heavy! While the motor does help to compensate for the additional weight to get the bike moving, ebikes can still be significantly harder to maneuver than traditional bikes. This is especially true for tweens and teens riding adult ebikes, which can weigh up to 70 pounds.
Kid-specific ebikes tend to be a bit lighter than adult bikes, but they are in turn much more expensive. As a point of reference, the 3,750 woom 6 UP with 26″ wheels weighs 37.3 lb. while the 650 26″ Hyper MTN weighs 48 lb.
Like traditional bikes, lightweight ebikes tend to be very expensive. Don’t be surprised if entry-level ebikes don’t have their total weights listed. When researching for this article, reviews of specific bikes on YouTube and electricbikereview.com were helpful in providing information about the weight and overall size of the bike.
For adults carrying kids as passengers on an ebike, the total weight of the bike can be a lot to negotiate. Over the years, we’ve found Class II ebikes with throttles to be a gamechanger when riding with a heavy load.
Using the throttle to propel that heavy load forward from a standstill is significantly easier than attempting to do so by pedaling, even with pedal assist. Once the bike is moving, it is easy to maintain balance and momentum on the bike by pedaling and the throttle is no longer necessary.
Pedal Assist Modes (PAS)
A bike’s pedal-assist mode or PAS, determines how much “help” the motor provides while pedaling. Most ebikes have 3 to 5 pedal assist modes. The higher the pedal-assist mode, the more the motor will assist in propelling the bike forward.
The PAS modes are easily adjusted by pushing a button on the bike’s display on the handlebars, or on some bikes, the downtube. PAS modes can be changed at any time during a ride.
Pedal-assist modes work by altering the total output of the motor (watts). The higher the pedal-assist mode, the greater the percentage of output the motor will produce, and the less effort the rider has to exert on the pedals to propel the bike forward.
As a point of clarification, be aware that these percentages are the MAX percentages the motor or the rider can have on the total output (basically speed) of the bike. The bike does not need to reach “100% output” in order to move.
The % of the output from the rider, as well as the motor, can vary within the set PAS range. For example, on a bike with 3 PAS modes, in PAS 2 the motor can apply up to 80% of the output, while the rider can apply up to 20%. As a result, the higher the PAS mode, the less effect the rider’s pedaling has on the speed of the bike. In all PAS modes, however, the motor will stop providing additional assistance once the bike reaches its max MPH allowed for motor assistance.
Riding with PAS
The rider must continue to pedal at all times in all PAS modes. If the rider stops pedaling (even in PAS 5), the motor will stop providing output. The bike, however, will not stop as it will continue to coast like a traditional bike. (Note: If you are engaging the throttle on a Class II or Class III ebike, the throttle overrides the PAS and you don’t need to pedal.)
To stop the bike, the rider can stop pedaling and coast to a stop or simply apply the brakes, which automatically turns off the motor.
The “feel” of riding with PAS can vary greatly from bike to bike. Compared to higher-end ebikes, lower-end ebikes tend to be jerkier and can also limit the rider’s ability to control the speed of the bike with the pedals. These differences are the result of the bike’s ability (or inability) to regulate the rate at which the motor output is applied.
Some ebikes will automatically apply the max motor output for every PAS (for example, ramping quickly up to 80% output at the first pedal stroke), while others will slowly ramp up the output based on the pedaling of the rider (slowly increase from 0% to 80% based how hard or fast the rider is pedaling).
A bike’s ability to quickly or slowly apply power to the bike is determined by the bike’s PAS sensor. There are two main types of sensors – a cadence sensor, and a torque sensor.
Cadence Sensors vs. Torque Sensors
While the PAS modes control the max % of output the motor will produce, the sensors on the bike determine the rate at which that max % of output is applied. There are two main types of sensors – cadence sensors, and torque sensors. While seemingly minor, these sensors can make a huge difference in how the bike reacts to the rider.
A cadence sensor detects if you are pedaling (not how fast, but whether the pedals are moving or not) while a torque sensor measures how hard you are pedaling (~how much tension is on the chain). Lower-end bikes typically have cadence sensors, but higher-end bikes have torque sensors.
While riding both bikes is the best way to “feel” the difference between the two, we’ll do our best to explain the difference and why we highly recommend bikes with torque sensors for kids.
Cadence sensors act as on and off switches for the motor. Upon sensing a forward movement on the crank arms and pedals, the cadence sensor turns the motor on. Once the motor is on, it then applies output according to the PAS mode selected. The higher the PAS mode, the more output is available from the motor.
The cadence sensor, however, does not have the ability to determine how fast or how hard you are pedaling, it just looks to see IF you are pedaling in a forward motion. On a bike with a cadence sensor, you can be pedaling in a very low gear with NO tension on the chain at all and the bike will still be propelled forward by the motor.
As a result, the benefit of cadence sensors is that very little effort from the rider is needed for the bike to function, especially at high PAS levels. But on the flip side, since the sensor cannot monitor how fast or slow the rider is pedaling, it can be very challenging, or in some cases not possible at all, for the rider to control the speed of the bike with the pedals.
Regardless of how fast or how slow the rider is pedaling on an ebike with a cadence sensor, the motor will apply the max % of input based on the selected PAS mode. For example, if your bike has 5 PAS modes and you are riding in PAS 3 (60% motor input, 40% human) the bike will automatically ramp up to 60% of its motor output once the pedals start rotating. Slowing down or speeding up your pedal strokes will not affect the amount of output the motor is providing to the bike.
You can increase the speed of the bike by pedaling hard and adding to the 60% output the motor is already providing (the 40% rider output), but you cannot decrease the output of the motor by pedaling slowly. If you are already pedaling at a slower pace (so as to not add to the motor’s output) the only way to slow the speed of the bike is to decrease the PAS mode, brake (which stops the motor), or stop pedaling (which also stops the motor).
It can therefore be very difficult to ride at a slow speed on a bike with a cadence sensor, especially at high PAS levels. Whether you are spinning in granny gear or huffing and puffing in high gear, the output of the motor will remain the same.
For young riders, the lack of ability to control the speed of the bike with their feet can be VERY confusing and potentially dangerous. As a result, we highly recommend ebikes for kids with torque sensors (explained below).
While cadence sensors act as an “ignition” switch to the motor (turning it on or off), bikes with torque sensors take it one step further and essentially turn the pedals into a “gas pedal”.
By monitoring the amount of pressure applied to the cranks and pedals, a torque sensor allows you to slowly ramp up the output of the motor by pedaling faster and decrease the output by pedaling slower in all PAS modes.
So instead of quickly ramping up to the max % output in the selected PAS mode (like on ebikes with a cadence sensor), an ebike with a torque sensor will slowly increase the output of the motor according to how much tension the rider applies to the pedals (until it hits the max PAS %).
For example, if the selected PAS has a max output of 80%, the bike will feather the motor’s output from 0% to 80% depending on the force applied to the pedals by the rider. At a slow pedal rate, the motor may only output 20%, but as the rider pedals faster, the rate will increase until it maxes out at 80%.
So while bikes with torque sensors require more effort from the rider (the rider can’t just coast – they must apply pressure to the pedals), setting the bike to a higher PAS mode still allows the rider to get plenty of assistance from the motor by pedaling harder (like you would on a traditional bike).
As a result, like a traditional bike, an ebike with a torque sensor allows the rider to always be in control of the speed of the bike via the pedals. Want to go faster? Pedal faster. Want to slow down? Pedal slower.
The downside of torque sensors is that they are much more expensive to incorporate on a bike. As a result, ebikes with torque sensors are rarely found under 1,500 and are usually closer to 2,000.
Single-speed or Geared
PAS modes on a bike do not replace the gears. Like traditional bikes, gears on a bike allow you to alter how hard the bike is to pedal. The PAS modes on the bike adjust how much additional input the motor adds to your effort.
Gears are especially important when tackling steep elevation changes or technical terrain. If a bike does not have a “granny gear” to allow you to easily start pedaling the bike, the motor can’t kick in, regardless of the PAS mode you are in. As a result, if you stop on a steep incline you may not be able to get the heavy bike started up again. (Unless you have a throttle.)
On technical terrain, this is especially important as the PAS modes can’t help you power through a particularly rough part of a trail if the bike is in too hard of a gear to pedal. On an electric bike with a torque sensor (which most e-mountain bikes do), in order to get full input from the motor in your set PAS mode, you also need to be able to pedal at a decent speed.
If technical terrain or strong elevation gains are not in your plans, then a single-speed ebike with several PAS modes should suit you just fine. Bikes with throttles also typically don’t necessarily need multiple gears as you can always rely on the throttle to power you up a hill.
Keep in mind, however, that regardless of the class of ebike, the throttle can never accelerate the bike past 20 mph. Speeds beyond 20 mph require input from the rider via the drivetrain (you gotta pedal hard!), so gears are also essential for riders aiming for higher speeds.
Motor Placement – Hub vs. Mid-drive motor
The motor on ebikes can be located in three different places, (1) within the hub of the front wheel, (2) the rear wheel, or (3) at the bike’s bottom bracket (called mid-drive motors). Rear hub motors are the most common on low to mid-range ebikes, while mid-drive motors are standard on most high-end bikes. Front hub motors are not common.
Mid-drive Motor vs. Rear Hub Motor
For basic riding on paved surfaces, rear-hub motors do just fine. Bikes with hub motors are typically much cheaper than bikes with mid-drive motors, but they can throw off the weight distribution of the bike. As a result, for more technical riding, mid-drive motors are always recommended. In addition to being centrally located on the bike, they are also placed lower, thereby helping to lower the overall center of gravity of the bike.
Another benefit of mid-drive motors is that it is much easier to repair or replace the rear tire of the bike. With a rear hub motor, removing a rear wheel is certainly possible, it just takes a lot more time and effort.
The Best Electric Bikes for Kids (with Pedals)
From 8-year-olds taking on longer distances with their parents to teens needing a budget ebike to commute to work, we’ve done hours of research to find the best electric bikes for kids. While we have not personally seen all of these bikes, we have tested four different ebikes with seven different kids on a variety of trails.
The best ride for your child really comes down to your budget and how you plan on using it. Per our explanation provided in our buying guide above, we have not included any Class III ebikes. While we do not recommend bikes with throttles for kids, we have included several Class II on this list knowing that the throttles on essentially all ebikes can be removed.
We have also not included high-end kids eMTB bikes (with the exception of the woom UP which can be used as an eMTB and a commuter). From geometry to tires, suspension and brakes, there are a lot more variables to consider when shopping for an eMTB, but the basics outlined here still certainly apply.
If you are unaware of the importance of a torque sensor, please read our section about the differences in ebikes sensors above. Essentially, without a torque sensor, the speed of the bike cannot be controlled by the pedals.
Electric Bikes for Kids Comparison
|1,899||4’11 – 5’11||44||Yes||3||7||250W|
The Best Electric Balance Bikes
While electric balance bikes should never be a replacement for a traditional balance bike, they are great fun for tiny riders, especially future motocross or riders or BMX racers. From doing laps at the track to simply riding around the campground or backyard, these electric balance bikes can help instill a passion for riding at a very young age.
STACYC electric balance bikes (owned by Harley Davidson) are by far the best quality and most popular. While other cheaper brands have hit the market, most are significantly heavier than the STACYC line and don’t offer as many speed settings.
Compared to the similarly-sized Yamaha PW50 kids motorcycle, electric balance bikes are quieter, lighter, and significantly cheaper! Like the PW50’s governor, most electric balance bikes have several speed settings to limit the top speed for new riders.
|Bikes for ages 2 – 5|
|STACYC 12eDrive||735||14″ – 16″||(3) 5, 7, 9mph||17 lb.||30 – 60 min|
|Bikes for ages 5 – 7|
|GoTrax Kids||399||19.3″ – 20.9″||(1) 15.5 mph||27 lb.||15.5 miles|
|STACYC Brushless 16eDrive||1,049||17″ – 19″||(3) 5, 7.5, 13 mph||19 lb.||30 – 60 min|
STACYC bikes are also available under several other brand names, including Harley Davidson (who purchased STACYC in 2019), KTM, GASGAS, and Husqvarna. As far as we are aware, besides aesthetics, the bikes themselves remain the same across all lines.
Electric Cargo Bikes for Hauling Kids
From quick drop-offs at a friend’s house to skipping the pick-up lane after school, electric cargo bikes are a fun and fast way to get around the neighborhood! With the flexibility to hold everything from toddlers in child bike seats to a full-grown adult, your family is sure to get many years of use from an electric family bike.
There are many different types of electric cargo bikes (or trikes!) to consider. In addition to the information covered in our buying guide above, there are a lot of variables to consider. For an in-depth dive into the specifics of cargo bikes for families, we highly recommend checking out Bike Shop Girl’s Cargo Bike buying guide.
When it comes to your budget, higher-end bikes are typically lighter, offer better speed control via a torque sensor, as well as increased durability from the drivetrain and electronics. If your planned trips are within a few miles around your neighborhood, however, don’t be afraid to go for a lower-end cargo bike, such as the RadRunner Plus shown above. Although heavy and not as fine-tuned as other bikes, it works great for quick trips and after 100s of miles, we have no complaints!
|Bikes for 1 Child|
|RadRunner Plus||1,899||74.3||No||45 Mi.|
|Aventon Abound||2,199||81||Yes||up to 50 Mi.|
|Bikes for 2 Kids|
|RadWagon 4||1,899||76.7||No||45 Mi.|
|Aventon Abound||2,199||81||Yes||up to 50 Mi.|
|Xtracycle Swoop||4,999||62.9||Yes||up to 60 Mi.|
|Tricycles for 2 Kids|
|Ferla Family Bike||3,999||130||No||25 Mi.|
|Bunch Coupe||6,999||132||No||75 Mi.|
All bikes listed, except the Bunch Coupe, have a throttle
Natalie has basically been obsessed with kids’ bikes since 2010 when her oldest of three kids began riding a balance bike. After trying to convince everyone she knew about how amazing balance bikes are, she began Two Wheeling Tots. As a certified secondary science teacher, she loves digging deep into the why and how of kids biking. With her in-depth knowledge of the kids’ bike world, she has consulted with many top brands as well as contributed to articles at NY Strategist, the Today Show, and more.