Electric bikes and the law: everything you need to know about ebike regulations. E bike speed

Fastest Electric Bikes: [30 MPH] E-Bikes Reviewed for 2023

We feel like we’re repeating this often – possibly every chance we get – but it’s true:

An electric bike is a fantastic way of getting around – quick and convenient, without anegative impact on the environment.

Then again, there’s a not-so-fine line between quick and mind-boggling, adrenaline-inducing, stupendous fast – and the electric bikes in our round-up dared to cross it.

So, if you’re a self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie in search of the fastest electric bike, keep reading.

Fastest Electric Bike

The 12000W Enduro e-Bike is regarded as fastest electric bike in the world. With a top speed of 62 mph (100 km/h), the Enduro holds the title as the fastest production e-bike. This is the result of using a ridiculously powerful 12000 W electric motor, supported by a high-capacity battery. However, we did not include it in our list because we consider it to blurring the lines between an electric motorbike and a true e-bike, but judge for yourself from the pictures below.

How Motor Power Influences Speed

The speed of an electric bike depends on the electric motor. All things being equal, a stronger motor will yield faster speeds. However, the relation between electric power and speed is not linear, due to friction, wind resistance and grip. Below is a summary of how different wattage electric bike motors perform on flat terrain:

  • 250 W motor reaches a top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h);
  • 500 W motor reaches a top speed of 25 mph (40 km/h);
  • 750 W motor reaches a top speed of 28 mph (45 km/h);
  • 1000 W motor reaches a top speed of 35 mph (55 km/h);
  • 1500 W motor reaches a top speed of 40 mph (63 km/h)

Classification of E-Bikes

For the sake of regulation, electric bicycles have been put into three different classes. However, this classification hasn’t been adopted throughout the US. In some states, e-bikes are treated as conventional bicycles. And there are no license or age limit restrictions to ride one, as of yet. In the EU for example, class 1 and class 2 are the only electric bikes which are street legal.

Class 1: Pedal-Assist Only Up to 20 mph

The electric motor will assist you while you pedal up to and until you reach 20 mph (32 km/h), when the assistance ceases.

Class 2: Pedal-Assist and Throttle Up to 20 mph

Same top speed as Class 1 However, they include a throttle mode, either a thumb toggle or a twistable handle, quite similar to what you find on a traditional motorcycle.

Class 3: Pedal-Assist Only Up to 28 mph

These electric bikes function like class 1 e-bikes but are capable of reaching a top speed of 28 mph.

Class Unrated: Unrestricted

This class’ speed is only capped by electric motor power, and these are the e-bikes we will be focusing on in this review.

We reviewed five of the fastest e-bikes capable of pushing the limits of street-legal pedal-assisted speed!

In a hurry? After 43 hours of research, we recommend:

Juiced Bikes CrossCurrent X

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative and don’t mind a smaller battery, the CrossCrurent S2 might be for you. It has a 676Wh power pack and can achieve the same speeds as CrossCurrent X.

IMREN 750W Fat Tire

If you’re looking for an affordable fat-tire electric bike that is super fast, the IMREN Electric bike is the right choice!

Rad Power RadRover 6

RadRover’s blend of ruggedness, extra-wide tires, and a 750-watt motor – with the 25 mph speed to boot – makes for excellent off-road biking experience. Oh, and the bike doesn’t cost an arm and a leg!

Quick Comparison Table

Best Allrounder

Rad Power RadRover 6

Go-anywhere, do-anything electric bike

Fastest Road E-Bike

Juiced Bikes CrossCurrent X

Fastest road electric bike made to tackle flatter grounds

Fastest Budget

IMREN 750W

Super fast affordable flat tire e-bike

Technical and Legal Differences between Electric Bikes and Speed Pedelecs

Do you already have an e-bike that meets your daily commuting needs, but you want something with a bit more juice to it? Or is this your first time shopping for an electric bike?

Even though the popularity of e-bikes has exploded in recent years, there’s still a lot of confusion regarding what an electric bike is – and isn’t. It gets even worse when you throw the relatively new category of speed pedelecs into the mix.

And since it’s hard to ignore speed pedelecs when talking about the fastest electric bikes, we figured it’s best to clear things up before we go any further.

So, what’s the difference between traditional electric bikes and the high-speed alternatives known as speed pedelecs? And what’s a pedelec, anyway?

Let’s start at the beginning:

What’s a Pedalec?

Pedelec – short for Pedal Electric Cycle – is a collective term for electric motor-powered bicycles that rely on pedal-assist as a means of propulsion. With pedelecs, motor assistance kicks in automatically when you start pedaling, but there is no throttle present.

That still sounds a lot like an electric bike, doesn’t it?

That’s because the electric biking community tends to use the two terms interchangeably – which brings us to our next point:

There’s a difference between an e-bike and a speed pedelec – and it boils down to propulsion methods.

A pedelec can deliver varying levels of pedal-assist but no throttle. The motor’s there to boost your pedaling power, not replace it entirely. On the other hand, an electric bike is generally throttle-based, delivering power on demand – without the rider necessarily having to do anything.

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That wasn’t too hard, now, was it?

Now, pedelecs are generally split up into two separate categories based on the top speed at which they can provide motor assistance to the rider. You have the conventional electric bikes with an assisted-pedaling speed of 15.5 mph and those that can reach – and exceed – 28 mph in pedal-assist mode.

If you’re here looking for an electric bike that can achieve the latter, what you’re after is the so-called speed pedelec – or, simply put, a high-speed e-bike.

How Fast Is Too Fast?

So, we already pointed out that, if you want a fast e-bike that’s approved for use on United States’ roads, a Class 3 speed pedelec is your best bet.

We’ll dig deeper into how this classification works later on in the article. For now, it’s important to remember that it groups electric bikes based on motor power and achievable top speeds.

An electric bike with a pedal-assist speed of 15.5 mph is treated the same as a conventional bike in most countries worldwide. That means that you don’t need a license or a license plate, and you’re not required to wear a helmet – even though we highly recommend that you do.

A speed pedelec (or a high-speed e-bike) can easily hit the 28 mph mark in pedal-assist mode. It doesn’t sound like a lot – not compared to a car – but make no mistake about it:

You’ll be dealing with dangerous speeds whenever you hop on a high-speed electric bike – and that’s never something to be taken lightly!

So, unsurprisingly, the regulations are a lot more rigorous when it comes to fast e-bikes:

You’ll likely have to register your two-wheeler with your country’s vehicle registration authorities, get a driving license, and wear a helmet at all times. Plus, you’ll have to obtain liability insurance.

If that doesn’t tell you how serious things can get at these speeds, we’re not sure what will.

Laws and regulations ruin all the fun, huh?

But we’re talking about introducing electric motor-powered two-wheelers that reach speeds of up to 28 mph onto the roads. Oh, and just for comparison, the average cycling speed is around 10 to 12 mph.

It’s easy to see why high-speed electric bikes are no joke.

Fastest Electric Bikes – Top 5 Picks for 2023

These days, there seem to be two distinct flavors of electric bikes hitting the streets:

The more casual-feeling e-bikes that meet the needs of daily commuting, running errands, and cruising around town – and the high-powered beasts that take top speeds to a new level.

The five electric bikes listed below decided to go down the fast-and-furious road – and are our top picks for the fastest electric bikes of 2023!

Juiced Bikes CrossCurrent X

CrossCurrent X is a standout commuter electric bike, checking off a considerable list of features at a price that won’t break the bank.

The range of 70 miles, 28 mph adjustable top speed, ultra-durable tires, smooth pedal assist, and throttle operation are some of the fantastic features of this e-bike.

Frame Design

The e-bike is well crafted out of 6061 aluminum with high-quality welds and a stylish matte finish. It has a comfortable handlebar with ergonomic handgrips that feature wide flat ends enabling you to rest your hands during your ride.

CrossCurrent X comes with the Suntour NCX suspension fork with a hydraulic lock and adjustable spring rate providing a smooth riding experience. it definitely makes a difference compared to a no-name suspension.

Motor Battery

The e-bike features a 750W Bafang motor that allows the bike to go a little over 30 mph on a flat road in its ‘race mode’ with some pedal assist.

However, the best part of this electric bike is its massive 52V, 19.2Ah battery. If you multiply these numbers, you get 998Wh which translates to more than 90 miles of range. This range is greater compared to the majority of competitors. In other words, this electric bike will take you further than most other e-bikes on a single charge.

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative and don’t mind a smaller battery, the CrossCrurent S2 might be for you. It has a 676Wh power pack and can achieve the same speeds as CrossCurrent X.

Wheels Brakes

CrossCurrent X comes equipped with 28 x 1.75-inch Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires, famous for their excellent capabilities to repel flats.

This bike also features Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, which offer incredible stopping force. a light squeeze is all needed to stop this 270lbs rider. Ultimately, these brakes provide a safer and more enjoyable riding experience.

IMREN. Fastest Budget E-Bike

Need an electric bike that provides excellent all-terrain performance at high speeds? If so, you want a bike with a durable frame and reliable parts. IMREN Electric Bike aims to provide exactly that.

As a relatively unknown brand in the electric bike market, this IMREN’s endeavor promises a lot of bang for the buck. let’s test it out and see what it brings to the table.

Frame Design

IMREN’s frame is made of 6061 aluminum alloy, and the bike weighs 72 pounds. The geometry is standard for a commuter fat e-bike, but the toughness of the build ensures stability and security, no matter the terrain or speed.

This e-bike features a no-name alloy front suspension, effectively preventing the bike from sliding and tail flicking during emergency braking. It absorbs bumps and holes quite well for the price, though.

If you’re looking for an affordable fat-tire electric bike that is super fast, the IMREN Electric bike is the right choice!

MREN comes equipped with a big 48V 16AH battery, which offers you 35 to 60 miles per full charge, depending on the riding style.

Motor Battery

The equipped 750W motor makes Rapid biking an enjoyable experience. The e-bike features a half twist throttle that releases your thumbs, making it easy to control your speed.

The engine offers more than enough power to drive uphill and over all terrain. Make any off-road less tiring by engaging the intelligent PAS. This electric bike is extremely fast if you consider it a fat tire bike. you can reach up to 32mph and even more if you pedal and give it full throttle!

Wheels Brakes

Having 26 x 4.0-inch fat tires provides great traction, so you won’t have any problem cruising over snow, gravel, and dirt and enjoying the ultimate electric biking adventure.

In addition, front and rear hydraulic disc brakes on the IRMEN offer control force and comfort over all terrains roads. Every little detail makes for a perfect e-biking experience.

Rad Power RadRover 6. Best Value-for-Money Fast E-Bike

Rad Power Bikes’ fifth-generation RadRover is one hefty, big-wheeled, rugged-but-charming, go-anywhere, do-anything type of electric bike.

It might not boast the insane speed levels of our previous pick – but it’s a blast to ride, nonetheless. So, make no mistake about it:

The RadRover 6 certainly holds its own among the best fat-tire electric bikes – all without costing an arm and a leg.

Be sure to read the full Rad Power RadRover review, and see why they call it the Hummer of e-bikes!

Frame Design

Bike electrics aside, the RadRover 6’s conventional components are comparable to your average mid-range bicycle. It’s the frame’s construction – coupled with the e-bike electrical drive – that makes a difference and gives it that large-and-in-charge vibe.

The 18-inch 6061 aluminum frame is built for off-roading conditions, but surprisingly enough, it doesn’t weigh as much as you’d expect from such a robust-looking bike.

One might argue that 69-pound weight is hefty enough, but we’re talking about a fat-tire bike here. It was never meant to be as lightweight as a folding city cruiser. Plus, all that weight comes with a 275-pound load capacity.

Motor Battery

RadRover 6 comes fitted with a Bafang 750-watt geared rear hub motor and features five pedal assist levels, all powered by a 48V 14 Ah Lithium battery.

Now, let’s talk performance:

It comes with a factory-set speed limit of 20 mph, but here’s the cool part – you can max out the speed to 25 mph through the control panel.

While it can’t compete with the Flatlander in the speed department, a top speed of 25 miles per hour is anything but slow.

Range-wise, you can expect to get anywhere from 25 to 45 miles on a single charge, depending on whether you’re using pedal-assist or throttle-only.

Wheels Brakes

A good portion of RadRover’s stability and traction in off-road conditions stems from the extra-wide, 26-by-4-inch Kenda Juggernaut tires. As chunky and comically large as they are, the tires make transitioning between various terrains a surprisingly smooth experience.

We would’ve liked to see it equipped with a set of hydraulic disc brakes – but that’s far from a complaint:

The Tektro Aries mechanical brakes, with 180-millimeter front and rear rotors, do a satisfactory job of providing enough stopping power.

Trek Allant. The Fastest Commute Ebike

Another one of Trek’s models that made it to our list is the award-winning Allant – a fast electric bike designed with the urban commuter’s needs in mind.

Granted, on the surface, Trek’s Allant looks relatively mild-mannered and tame, as you would expect from an average cruiser built for getting around town. It’s what the automotive world would call a sleeper – an ordinary-looking vehicle that packs a punch under the hood.

But once you start paddling and wake up this speed pedelec’s motor, you’ll find that it can put many more aggressive-looking e-bikes to shame.

Frame Design

The design and shape of the Allant’ frame was an instant attraction for us:

Every inch of the bike’s frame looks well-thought-out, aesthetically pleasing, and seamless – especially with the removable integrated battery (RIB) system.

The slightly downward-slanted top tube and a stand-over height of 32.9 inches further enhance the inviting vibe, with comfortable frame geometry and ergonomics to boot.

Trek managed to shave a few pounds off by opting for a high-performance hydroformed frame. However, at 54 pounds, Allant is still relatively heavy, most likely due to its in-tube battery and motor size.

Motor Battery

Beneath the frame’s polished surface lurks a real punch of power – Trek’s Bosch Performance Line CX 250-watt mid-drive motor. Top speed-wise, it sticks to the same 28mph limit as Trek Domane – not that it’s a bad thing:

Venturing into the over-30-miles-per-hour speed range is thrilling and all. However, most of us feel more comfortable – not to mention safe – sticking to Class 3 speed pedelec models, like the Trek Allant.

The mid-drive motor is backed by an equally impressive long-range 500-Wh Bosch battery.

And by long-range we mean – you’ll be able to squeeze over 100 miles out of it in Eco mode.

No matter how you cut it, that range is mind-blowing!

Allant features 27.5-inch wheels fitted with Schwalbe G-One tires, perfectly suited for urban commuting. They can handle the bike’s weight and drive power and provide enough traction on city roads, without affecting cruising speed.

Also, it gets bonus points for the SR Suntour front suspension fork’s nifty lockout feature that can engage or disengage depending on how rough or smooth the roads get.

The responsive Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes with 180-millimeter rotors mean that efficient braking performance won’t be a concern. Feel free to push the Trek’s Allant speed pedelec to its limits; it will still stop it in its tracks when needed.

Kasen K-6.0 High-Power Electric Bike

Last but not least, we want to talk about Kasen K-6.0. If the idea of getting a high-power, fat-tire, Class 3 electric cruiser sounds tempting, you’re in for quite a treat.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty details, there are two things you should know:

First, Kasen has the most powerful motor of all the e-bike models on our list; we’re talking 1000 watts here. And second, it’s relatively easy on the budget – well, as much as an e-bike of its caliber can be, anyway.

With that said, let’s see what else the Kasen K-6.0 has to offer!

Frame Design

When we had our first look at the Kasen’s K-6.0, our initial thoughts went somewhere along the lines of:

Oh, wow, that’s one striking-looking e-bike!

We’re still not entirely sure if we meant that in a good way or not – but personal preferences aside, there’s nothing wrong with its construction:

The 6061 aluminum alloy frame has a tough and robust feel you’d want – and expect – in fat-tire models. Plus, it has a 275-pound capacity, which is in line with what most other e-bikes can handle.

However, the beefy-looking top tube and the e-bike’s hefty 80-pound weight are a bit too much.

Motor Battery

As far as sheer motor size and power go, Kasen blows the competition out of the water – or, you know, leaves it in the dust. Its 1000-watt Bafang rear-drive motor is the most powerful on the list.

But, as we’ll explain later, higher wattage doesn’t always guarantee higher speed. Kasen’s 1000-watt motor is living proof of that, as its top speed still clocks in at 28 mph.

However, the 48V 14.5Ah Lithium battery can’t quite keep up with the power-hungry motor, as Kasen has a modest – and rather limited – maximum range of 28 miles.

Wheels Brakes

The large wheels with double-wall alloy rims promise some durability, while the 26-by-4-inch Kenda tires ensure a comfortable and stable ride on most terrains. What’s more, the MOZO hydraulic suspension featured on the e-bike’s front fork makes the ride even smoother.

If you’re going to use an e-bike as powerful and speedy as the Kasen K-6.0 as your daily means of transportation, safety should be a priority. Luckily enough, the Tektro disc brakes do an excellent job of putting the K-6.0 to a halt.

BAKCOU Flatlander. Fastest Electric Hunting Bike

When you have a team of outdoor enthusiasts designing an electric bike, as is the case with BAKCOU, one thing’s certain:

It’s going to look – and behave – like a hunting tool engineered and fine-tuned to go faster and further than your average e-bike ever could.

BAKCOU’s Flatlander is an easy-on-the-wallet blend of everything you loved about the Mule and Storm – from high-end components to off-road toughness and insane power – designed to tackle flatter grounds.

Read our Flatlander review and see what makes this BAKCOU e-bike our top pick – besides the fact that it’s easily the fastest electric bike on our list!

Bakcou Flatlander. The Fastest Electric Hunting Bike

Frame Design

It might be designated to flat land – hence the name – but that doesn’t make the Flatlander any less rugged and capable of venturing into the wild. It has a lot of the same trustworthy components as its legendary brother, the Mule.

The high-grade aluminum alloy 6061 frame, with a stand-over height of 29.5 inches, weighs a not-so-light 63 pounds. However, the extra weight contributes to Flatlander’s overall sturdiness and more-than-welcome 300-pound load capacity.

Plus, it’s fitted with aggressive-looking, skid-proof pedals, a shock-absorbing seat post, and 740-millimeter handlebars with locking handle grips.

It has hunting e-bike written all over it – and we’re not complaining.

Motor Battery

BAKCOU opted for a Bafang 750W rear hub motor, which probably doesn’t sound as mind-blowingly powerful as you expected.

Flatlander doesn’t seem to lack anything in the power and torque department. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be able to hit top speeds of over 35 mph that easily.

That’s right; more than 35 miles per hour!

We’re not sure whether to be terrified or impressed by it.

It’s powered by an extended-distance 48V 14.5 Ah Lithium-ion battery, which promises an equally impressive range of over 40 miles. If that’s not enough, upgrading your battery to the 17.4 or 21 Ah versions are also an option.

Wheels Brakes

Some things about the construction of this e-bike are pretty hard to miss, like the 26-by-4-inch Maxxis Minion fat tires. Others require you to hop on the Flatlander and experience them for yourself – like the air-suspension forks.

Oh, and rest assured that, with a top speed of 35 mph, BAKCOU made equipping the Flatlander with sufficient stopping power a priority.

The Tektro dual-piston hydraulic brakes, with front 203-millimeter rotors and 180-millimeter ones in the back, can put this beast of an e-bike to a full stop.

Trek Domane. Fastest Road E-Bike

If you want the smoothest possible transition from a traditional bicycle to a motor-powered el bike, Trek Domane is perfect for the job:

It’s a versatile, lightweight, and efficient road bike, capable of providing you that conventional biking experience – but has a motor and speed that leaves most e-bike models in the dust!

You’re looking at the ideal combo of fun and function in one no-compromises, do-it-all e-bike that handles anything from all-day biking tours to daily commutes and quick rides around town.

Check out our full Trek Domane review for a more detailed take on its features and performance!

Frame Design

When you look at the Domane, one thing that’s evident – even at a glance – is that a good portion of its design stems from the last-generation Domane:

IsoSpeed decoupler technology, 500 Series OCLV carbon frame, endurance geometry with a taller head tube, and a longer wheelbase; it’s all present in the Domane, too.

It’s almost as if Trek used the regular Domane as a foundation and then incorporated a motor and battery into the frame’s lines.

And although the electric components added some visual bulk to it, Trek kept the weight down at an ultra-light 37.9 pounds. No worries, though – you still get a 275-pound capacity.

Motor Battery

Trek did an excellent job of tidying up the wires and squeezing the removable Bosch PowerTube 500-Wh battery in there. Unless you know exactly where to look, the chances are that you would’ve missed it entirely.

The battery packs enough juice to power the Bosch Performance Speed 350-watt motor for up to 60 miles in Eco mode. The remaining three – Tour, Sport, and Turbo mode – will cut the ride shorter, though.

As for top speed, you can get the Domane to go as fast as 28 mph, which is in line with the rest of its impressive – and oh-so-exciting – performance specs.

Wheels Brakes

The burly Schwalbe G-One Speed 35-millimeter tires work hand in hand with the IsoSpeed technology to gobble up any road bumps and provide exceptional stability and traction.

Bontrager Paradigm Disc tubeless-ready wheels also allow you to fit the Domane with wider tires – as long as you maintain 4-millimeter clearance – if you ever decide to ditch the pavement.

Efficient brakes are paramount to the safety of any fast e-bike model. On that note, we’re glad to report that Trek’s Domane offers tremendous stopping power, as provided by the SRAM Force flat-mount hydraulic disc brakes.

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Fastest Electric Bikes – Frequently Asked Questions

How fast can you go on an electric bike?

If you’re pedaling, your physical abilities and pedaling power will be the only real limitations speed-wise. In other words, you can go as fast as you can pedal – but that’s not what you’re asking, is it?

You came here to talk top speeds – what your electric bike can reach with a little bit of juice thrown into the mix.

Unlike Europe, where electric bikes are limited to 250-watt motors, in the United States, the maximum motor power is 750 watts, with the top speed of 20 mph. That’s how the Consumer Product Safety Commission defines a low-speed electric bike, anyway.

Here’s where things get interesting – and a tad bit complex:

E-bikes are split up into three classes – Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3, respectively – adopted by many countries and states to regulate electric bikes.

If we’re going to talk about motors and power levels, you must understand how this classification works and what it means for electric bikes speed-wise first.

So, let’s have a look at each class and the speed limit that comes with it:

Class 1 – Electric bikes in this class are considered the most passive of the bunch, offering pedal-assistance without throttle. That means that the motor only provides assistance when you’re pedaling and limits the maximum assisted speed to 20 mph.

Class 2 – Class 2 electric bikes are typically defined as low-speed throttle-assisted e-bikes. The throttle-assisted mode allows you to ride the Class 2 bike without pedaling, with the speed limit of 20 mph being the same as for Class 1 electric bikes. You could go higher than that, but only by pedaling yourself.

Class 3 – Lastly, Class 3 electric bikes – or the speed pedal-assisted electric bicycles, as they’re commonly known – pack a bit more speed and aerodynamics. The motor of a Class 3 e-bike will only provide assistance when the rider is pedaling and can reach a top speed of 28 mph before disengaging. They’re usually fitted with a speedometer, too.

High-speed electric bikes – like the ones in our fastest e-bikes round-up – can go well beyond the specified speed limits. One of the fastest electric bikes to date, the Stealth B-52, has a top speed of 50 mph!

How fast can a 1000-watt electric bike go?

A street-legal electric bike will typically have a top speed of 20 mph – unless we’re talking about a Class 3 speed pedelec, that is.

So, while an electric bike with a 1000-watt motor will pack a lot more power than a 750-watt option, the benefits of high wattage are often overstated. As you can see in our round-up of best electric bikes, even a seemingly underpowered, 250-watt motor could reach that speed.

That’s because the motor’s design, gearing, and capability to deliver higher torque levels are often far more critical than the wattage itself.

With that said, a 1000-watt electric bike – that’s four times the wattage, mind you – will undoubtedly feel like a beast, clocking in at a speed of 32 mph. However, once you hit the 1000-watt mark, you’re going from street-legal city cruisers to off-road-only, high-powered electric bikes.

How fast will a 1500-watt e-bike go?

If a 1000-watt motor is enough to make your e-bike’s speed not-so-road-legal, a 1500-watt one – that’s a two horsepower motor, by the way – will feel flat-out insane.

We’ve already ventured into the Speed Pedelec category by now, with 1500-watt electric bikes raising the top speed levels to around 35 mph. Some may even be able to hit 40 mph, although only for shorter periods, as they’ll eventually overheat.

Note that, at speeds of 30 mph – and higher – wind resistance will likely become a pretty big factor in your e-bike’s performance and speed.

How fast can a 3000-watt e-bike go?

If you dive even deeper into the Speed Pedelec territory, you’ll come across electric bikes fitted with 3000-watt motors. That’s where all the record-breaking, boundary-pushing, headline-hitting – and, more often than not, budget-draining – starts.

Simply put, these e-bikes are built to impress.

They’re made to blow every adrenaline junkie’s mind.

Now, based on everything you’ve read this far, you know that it’s going to be crazy fast – but how fast are we talking?

Well, that’s a four horsepower motor we’re talking about here. So, the fact that these electric bikes can easily hit speeds of 50 mph – even higher, depending on the motor’s efficiency – shouldn’t come as a shock.

What may shock you, though, is the high power consumption that usually comes with it.

At this point, it doesn’t even matter how much effort you’re putting into pedaling. Even trained cyclists can generate only about 400 watts, so you won’t be contributing much to the overall range if you’re sitting on an electricity-guzzling, 3000-watt motor.

Last update on 2023-06-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Electric bikes and the law: everything you need to know about ebike regulations

Electric bikes are growing quickly in popularity, with riders enjoying the extra assistance provided by the motor for everything from city riding and commuting by bike, to weekend road rides and trail-centre trips.

However, electric bikes are subject to different laws and regulations than non-assisted bikes. So what legally constitutes an electric bike, how much assistance can an ebike provide and what are the laws around riding one?

We’re here to answer those questions, starting with the laws in the United Kingdom, which are the same as those in the European Union (at the time of writing), before covering the USA and Australia. You can also read our buyer’s guide to choosing the best electric bike and our explainer on how electric bikes work. If you already own an ebike, we’ve got advice on electric bike maintenance, to help you keep your machine in top working order.

Are ebikes legal?

Yes, and their use is actively encouraged as a way to get more people riding, help them get fit and reduce the number of short car journeys made; take a look at our article on 14 benefits of riding an electric bike. You can buy a bike equipped with an electric motor across all the main bicycle categories: electric road bikes, electric hybrid bikes with flat bars and electric mountain bikes. You can even buy electric folding bikes, electric gravel bikes and electric cargo bikes. Also check out our guide to the best electric bikes, which explains more about the different types of electric bike available. There are some regulations covering the speed limit at which they are allowed to provide assistance and their power output, as we’ll explain below. However, if an electric bike meets these it’s perfectly legal to ride an electric bike anywhere you’d ride a normal bike. You can also buy an electric bike conversion kit to convert a pedal-only bike into an electric bike. Again, if it complies with the power output and speed regulations, this is perfectly legal. Read our beginner’s guide to electric bikes for more details on how an electric bike works.

What is the legal definition of an electric bike?

Most electric bikes in the UK fall within the ‘electrically assisted pedal cycle’ (EAPC) category. Russell Burton / Immediate Media

We’ll be dealing first with the laws covering electric bikes in the UK, and that starts with defining what constitutes an ebike, or an electrically assisted pedal cycle (EAPC) to give it its technical name. Not all electrically powered two-wheeled vehicles are covered by this category – we’ll cover some other types later. Also, an ebike doesn’t have to have two wheels – the legislation also applies to EAPCs with more than two wheels.

What is an EAPC?

  • Have pedals that can be used to propel it
  • Show either the power output or the manufacturer of the motor
  • Show either the battery’s voltage or the maximum speed of the bike
  • Have an electric motor with a maximum power output of 250 watts
  • Not have a motor able to propel the bike when it’s travelling at more than 15.5mph

An EAPC must have a motor with a maximum power output of no more than 250 watts. It also requires pedals to propel it. Russell Burton / Immediate Media

Let’s cover each of those elements in a little more detail.

An EAPC’s motor can only provide assistance when the rider is pedalling.

It will have sensors built into the system that recognise when the rider is pushing on the pedals and provide power from the motor in proportion to this, so the bike doesn’t run away with you or power you along without pedalling.

Electric bike laws state that assistance from the motor must cut out at 15.5mph (25km/h). That’s the same across the UK, EU and Australia (but, as we’ll come on to, this limit rises to 20mph in the USA).

You can ride an ebike faster than this, but the motor will cut out and you’ll then be riding solely under your own steam. It’s perfectly possible to exceed 15.5mph when travelling downhill, while a fitter rider will be able to exceed this speed on the flat, particularly on a performance-oriented, drop-bar electric road bike.

The motor’s power output has to be limited to a continuous output of 250 watts, too, although peak power may exceed this, which is why you see ebikes, particularly eMTBs, with quoted outputs significantly higher.

Note that there’s a newer category of cargo-carrying ebikes that can be fitted with a more powerful motor, up to 1,000 watts. This L1e-A classification requires the rider to be licensed, and the bike needs to be registered and insured. Power output can be regulated by a throttle on L1e-A bikes.

However, the vast majority of electric bikes sold in the UK fall under the EAPC classification, so that’s what we’ll FOCUS on here.

What are the regulations when riding an ebike?

If an ebike falls within the EAPC definition, legally it is treated like a regular, non-assisted bike, although you do have to be at least 14 years old to be allowed to ride an electric bike.

You don’t need to register the bike and you don’t need to have insurance (although we’d recommend having insurance that covers theft, personal accident and third-party liability as a minimum). We’ve got a guide to choosing the best bicycle insurance for your needs and you can even buy specific electric bike insurance policies.

You are also not legally required to wear a helmet in the UK, although we’d advise always using one, particularly with the higher weight and average speed of an electric bike.

As with any bike, it’s advisable to keep your bike well maintained to make sure you’re safe when riding. Read our simple guide to electric bike maintenance.

In the UK, you are not legally required to wear a helmet when riding an electric bike. Bosch eBike Systems

You can ride an ebike anywhere you are permitted to ride a regular bike. That includes on roads, cycle lanes and bridle paths. As with a non-electric bicycle, you’re not allowed to ride on pavements, unless they’re designated for mixed cycle and pedestrian use. You have to obey the Highway Code too, including stop signs and traffic lights.

If you’re not confident that you know the rules when riding, it’s worthwhile enrolling in a cycle safety class and getting to grips with the Highway Code.

Are the laws different in Northern Ireland?

Until mid-2020, by a legislative quirk, electric bikes were treated differently in Northern Ireland than in the rest of the UK. You had to register your ebike, have a licence to use it, carry insurance and wear a motorcycle helmet, so it was treated like a moped.

Those rules were changed in May 2020, so the law in Northern Ireland is now in line with the rest of the UK and an ebike that complies with the EAPC regulations above is treated like a non-electric bicycle.

electric, bikes, need, know, ebike, regulations

Watts and torque

Electric bike motors designed for off-road riding typically offer more torque, and are better-suited to steep, loose climbs. Bosch eBike Systems

We’ve already mentioned that the motor must have a continuous peak output of 250 watts for a bike to be classified as an EAPC.

Some systems have a boost button on the handlebar that you can hold down to temporarily provide more power than this, which can be useful when accelerating. In all cases, the motor must cut out at 15.5mph, even if you’re holding down the boost button.

An ebike motor’s output isn’t measured only in watts – its torque output and assistance levels are also important factors in its performance.

Torque is the amount of turning power that the motor delivers to the wheels, determining how fast the ebike will accelerate and how steep a gradient it can tackle. An ebike’s torque output isn’t governed by legislation.

Most ebike systems will feature a display to show key data such as the motor’s power setting and battery life, though more advanced units may include GPS, too. Russell Burton / Immediate Media

Torque figures vary significantly between electric bike motors, depending on what the system is designed for.

Flat-bar electric hybrid bikes and drop-bar road ebikes typically have torque outputs of between 40Nm and 60Nm. For example, Bosch’s Active Line motor has a maximum torque of 40Nm and is designed for urban riding.

Electric mountain bikes are usually heavier and need to be able to tackle steep, loose off-road climbs. As a result, they will often have much greater torque outputs, starting at around 60Nm and, in the case of Bosch’s Performance Line CX motor, topping out at 85Nm.

What laws apply to non-compliant electric bikes?

There are a couple of types of electrically powered bikes that don’t fall within the legal definition of an EAPC.

Speed pedelecs

First up are electric bikes where you have to pedal but the motor’s output is more than 250 watts and assistance isn’t speed limited at 25km/h. They’re often called speed pedelecs.

An example is the range of electric bikes made by Swiss brand Stromer. Its ebike motors have power outputs of between 670 watts and 850 watts, which in turn can power its machines up to 45km/h.

Twist-and-go

The second category is for ‘twist-and-go’ electric bikes. These are models where motor input is controlled by a twist grip on the handlebar, so you don’t need to pedal to keep the bike moving.

It’s worth mentioning that these twist-and-go ‘accelerators’ are different from the controllers often found on the handlebars of compliant EAPCs, which let you choose between assistance levels.

In the case of both speed pedelecs and twist-and-go bikes, these machines are treated by UK law like petrol-powered mopeds.

That means they must be taxed and insured, you must have a licence and you need to wear a motorcycle-style helmet to ride them. Like mopeds, they can only be ridden on roads or unrestricted byways.

EU laws

The laws covering electric bikes in EU countries follow the same pattern as in the UK, as they were set out at EU level when the UK was still in the EU. So there’s exactly the same assistance limit of 25kph and the same rules on power output of 250 watts maximum continuous power. Speed pedelecs are treated similarly too.

What are the laws on electric bikes in the USA?

Electric bike laws differ from state to state in the USA, so check your local regulations. Russell Burton / Immediate Media

In the United States, federal law (the Consumer Product Safety Act, to be specific) defines a “low-speed electric bicycle” as a two- or three-wheeled vehicle, with a maximum motor output of 750 watts and assistance limited to 20mph.

An ebike that complies with these regulations is treated by federal law in the same way as a non-electric bicycle.

However, there are significant differences at state level as to how electric bikes are classified and, consequently, how they may be used. That may include regulations on requiring a licence, wearing a helmet and insurance.

There are also differences at state level in the minimum legal age to ride an ebike, maximum speed and maximum power output.

In short, check the legislation in the state where you plan to ride.

Many states also follow a tiered system, whereby electric bikes are defined by three classes. The 750-watt motor limit and 20mph assistance limit we’ve outlined above apply broadly to Class 1 ebikes, but Class 2 or 3 ebikes may provide assistance up to higher speeds or use a twist-and-go system.

Once again, different laws may apply from one state to another, so check your local legislation.

What are the laws on electric bikes in Australia?

In Australia, electric bikes are classified into two categories. Starting with the second category, the regulations are broadly similar to those in the UK and Europe, with a maximum speed of 25kph and a maximum power output of 250 watts.

These bikes can also have a throttle that cuts out at 6kph, acting as a walk mode to help move the ebike around when dismounted. Walk mode is a common feature in electric bike motors. Above 6kph, you need to pedal to keep the bike moving.

The other category is electric bikes that are throttle operated. These too must be assistance limited at 25kph, but their maximum continuous power output can only be 200 watts.

Regardless of the ebike category, you must wear a helmet when riding and you must have working front and rear lights.

How Fast Is An E-Bike?

Depending on the class of an e-bike, the top “allowed” speed varies. Before you get an e-bike for more sustainable commutes, you should learn about them.

Whether you’re looking for the fastest and most efficient way to get to work or are wondering whether that crazy neighbor is breaking speed limit laws, it’s important to understand what actually determines the maximum speed of an electric bike.

The Class 1 and 2 e-bikes have allowed top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h) and Class 3 e-bikes can go up to 28 mph (45 km/h) as per the laws in the US. Obviously, there are faster e-bikes that can go up to 70 mph (112 km/h) in the race track mode. But those are not allowed on roads.

You’ll also find variations between a typical e-bike and a scooter and a lot of that comes down to limitations in the motors and batteries.

What Factors Determine the E-Bike Speed?

There are four main factors that determine the speed of an e-bike. Some are down to the laws of physics, while others are down to laws on speed limits.

Class

Most electric bikes fall into three categories, and then there are high-powered electric motorbikes that can travel at very high speeds, but they also require a driver’s license.

Electric bikes that people use for commuting and fun are significantly more limited.

A class 1 electric bike is one that has pedal assist only. What that means is that the motor will help you only while you’re pedaling and only up to a speed of 20 mph. Pedal assist is a very basic technology, and people find it helpful if they regularly cycle somewhere with steep inclines.

A class 2 electric bike will provide a combination of pedal assist and throttle with a top speed of about 20 mph. Similar to a class 1 bike, you’ll get some assistance when you’re pedaling. But you can also pull on the handlebar throttle to get an extra boost.

And then there’s the class 3 electric bike that offers pedal assist only but at speeds up to 28 mph. The motor power kicks in a bit more powerful as soon as you start pedaling and you’ll get up to max speed quite quickly compared to muscle power alone.

We have put together some of the best electric bikes that you might want to consider before buying a random one.

Laws

Every state has its own speed limit laws, and those apply slightly differently to electric bikes. While a general speed limit applies to all motor vehicles on public roads, there are additional rules for electric bikes.

In most cases, that speed limit is between 20 and 30 mph, but you will need to check your local state and municipal laws.

That basically means you can’t set your e-bike to some crazy race track mode and travel at the same speed as the cars around you.

Battery Type

I won’t get into the detailed physics of how battery performance and power are measured. But it’s important to know that the battery will also have an impact on the maximum power of an electric motor.

Electric cars and motorbikes have high-powered batteries to support them going at high speeds, but the batteries you find in electric bikes and scooters will limit the speed to about 30 mph.

Electric Motor Power

Just like with an internal combustion engine, an electric motor will have limited torque and horsepower. And considering that the motors, even on a fast electric bike, will be quite small, there is a significant limit on the speed.

You’d have to go for a motorbike with a large electric engine and a race track mode to get some great speeds and accelerations, and that’s not something you’ll find on e-bikes and scooters.

You can also buy an electric bike conversion kit that is a simple battery and motor assembly that you attach to your existing bike. But these will also have the same speed limit as regular e-bikes.

Why Are E-Bikes Limited To 28 mph?

The top speed of most electric bikes is between 20 and 30 mph, and this is generally set at the state level. And there are very important reasons why this maximum speed has been set.

Safety First

In 2002, the Consumer Product Safety Act passed regulations to ensure that an electric bike in pedal assist mode doesn’t go beyond 20 mph. Anything above that would make the electric bicycle a motor vehicle.

And going beyond that speed would pose a danger to the rider and other participants in road traffic.

Tackle Misuse

Illegal racing started to become a problem from day one of the electric bikes hitting the market. And to tackle this problem, maximum speeds were needed through regulations.

These speeds are high enough for people to get around fast and efficiently. But at the same time, they are low enough to discourage racing.

Reduce Speed Differences

Electric bike users are effectively on the same playing field as cyclists, and they also have to contend with other motorists. By bringing down their speed, it puts them on a level playing field with cyclists and prevents speeding in heavy traffic that can lead to accidents.

Create A Standard

By having the three different classifications for technology and speed, regulations have established an electric bike standard that makes it easier for consumers to compare. It also makes it easier for companies to compete in a fair way, as each company has to stick within the confines of certain rules.

Reduce Energy Consumption

Just like with internal combustion engines, the faster an electric bike goes, the more energy it will use. You won’t get too far traveling at high speed, and that will also mean that you use up significantly more energy.

For a typical commuter in a city getting around on an electric bicycle, it should all be about being more energy efficient than traveling at maximum speeds.

How Fast Is The Fastest E-Bike?

While there are regulations and laws about the speeds e-bikes can travel, there are some that can go faster. However, these are typically used for competitive sports events that don’t take place on public roads.

First of all, these electric bikes go up to 20 mph in standard mode. But they have the option to turn on a race mode that is only allowed outside of public traffic. This mode allows some of these bikes to go over 70 mph, and that could be seriously dangerous when dealing with pedestrians and other motorists.

Example Top Speed E-Bikes

One of the fastest electric bikes I have seen is the Hi Power Cycles Revolution XX. It’s listed at a speed of over 70 mph in race mode, and you can also pedal along with it.

The second fastest electric bike seems to be the 12000W Enduro e-Bike which tops out at 62 mph. It actually looks a lot more like a dirt bike and has a very strong and durable bike frame.

The Delfast Top 3.0i also looks more like an electric motorbike and is shipped with a limit of 20 mph. But there is an off-road mode that will allow you to travel at up to 50 mph.

However, let me say that I wouldn’t recommend buying any of these unless you’re planning to compete in organized races. For everyday use, stick with the more basic electric bikes.

How Fast Do Electric Scooters Go?

Electric scooters tend not to go as fast as e-bikes and often have a top speed of about 15 mph. One of the most popular ones I have used is the TurboAnt X7 Pro which has a maximum speed of 15.5 mph.

This is mainly due to the fact the frames are smaller, and therefore there’s not as much space as on an electric bike to attach a larger motor and more batteries.

But similar to an electric bike, there are scooters where you can select a higher speed limit for driving on race tracks. I’ve seen some that go up to 60 mph, but I don’t think you want to be standing on a scooter at those kinds of speeds.

At least on an electric bike, you are securely seated, and you have much larger wheels to deal with uneven and bumpy surfaces. An electric bike will also be able to slow down a lot faster due to larger brakes.

U.S. Electric Bike Regulations

What makes a bike street legal? Do I need a license for an electric bike? Access QuietKat’s helpful guide to Class 3 Electric Bike Laws and the latest US Electric Regulations to get answers to all your questions.

Whether you’re a seasoned eBiker or a newbie, every rider should be aware of the local and U.S electric bike regulations in their state.

Anyone who is considering purchasing an electric bicycle should understand their legal riding limits. Even veteran eBikers may benefit from a refresher on eBike regulations, as several states have changed their classifications as recently as 2020.

If you’re new to eBiking, you’re not alone; eBikes have become increasingly popular across the U.S. in the last decade. E-Bike popularity has outpaced U.S electric bike regulations and left many states playing catch-up.

E-Bikes have grown in popularity as a fun way to explore outside and an eco-friendly alternative to car-based trips. Electric bikes are popular for recreation, fitness, and commuting. Bikes like those from QuietKat can even go off-road as high-performance electric mountain bikes. E-Bikes are increasingly replacing ATVs as the vehicle of choice for hunting, angling, or Overlanding.

The eBike market grew over 23%-over-year in 2020, with the market projected to grow even more in the next ten years. People across the country continue to discover the benefits of electric bikes to enhance their everyday activities or as an opportunity to explore new terrain. Public Lands organizations also acknowledge the benefits of eBikes and are expanding access to riders across national parks, forests and wilderness areas.

Several U.S. states are still adapting to this Rapid growth in popularity and are navigating the implementation of eBike regulations and classifications. Some states have strict laws for electric bikes. while in other states, eBikes lack a specific vehicle classification, and it’s not clear how they are regulated.

Before you hop on your QuietKat eBike, be sure you understand the current regulations in your state and for anywhere else you plan to ride. QuietKat bikes are great for all-terrain riding, and in most states, they can go almost anywhere off-road vehicles can go. However, if you want to commute on your eBike or ride in the city, you may face a different set of regulations.

Overview of U.S. electric bike regulations

Which states define an electric bicycle?

E-Bike definitions and classification is becoming increasingly common across the U.S. 48 states currently have definitions for eBikes. State legislation usually focuses on whether eBikes classify as traditional bikes, mopeds, or scooters, but definitions still vary across other states.

Adoption of a board tired classification is growing across the country. These 39 states now define eBikes within three standard classes : Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, North Dakota, Missouri, New Mexico, Minnesota, Idaho, Nebraska, Kansas, Alabama, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Eighteen states classify eBikes using unique definitions; these states are Hawaii, Oregon, Montana, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington DC, and Rhode Island.

Eleven states or territories currently have no definitions for eBikes.

Alaska, Puerto Rico, U.S Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

What are the different eBike classifications?

Twenty-six states have adopted a three-tiered classification that designates eBikes as either Class 1, 2, or 3. E-bikes span a wide gap between analog bikes and dirt bikes, and the tiered system of eBike regulations recognizes this. It differentiates between eBike models with varying speed and power capabilities.

Class 1 and 2 bikes are the most common class of eBikes for recreational riders who enjoy mountain biking, hunting, or exploring outdoors. Class 3 eBikes are typically designed to replace a moped or motorcycle and are best suited to urban road use.

States which use the three-tiered classification have near-identical definitions for eBikes, as well as eBike safety and operation requirements.

Three-Tiered Classification:

An eBike is considered Class 1 when it has a top speed of 20 miles per hour and an electric motor that works only with pedaling (pedal assist).

An eBike will fall into Class 2 if equipped with a throttle-actuated motor. That motor must cease to assist when the eBike reaches 20 miles per hour.

A Class 3 eBike is a bicycle with a motor that provides assistance only if the rider is pedaling and should cease to assist when the eBike reaches 28 miles per hour. Class 3 eBikes are also known as pedelec bikes. Class 3 is the most restricted classification, and some states impose additional safety restrictions for riders on Class 3 cycles.

Is there a speed limit on eBikes in the United States?

Are you feeling a need for speed? The federal speed limit for eBikes is 20 miles per hour or less under motor power alone.

The tiered classification system, adopted by many states, also specifies this speed limit. That classification sets 20 miles per hour as the legal limit for Class 1 2 bikes. Class 3 bikes are limited to speeds up to 28 miles per hour.

The federal law acknowledges and allows for eBikes to travel faster when the rider uses a combination of human pedal and motor power. Local speed restrictions may also apply in specific areas.

Although some states have a specific speed limit for electric bikes, riders should also observe the local speed limits when on roads. Although many bikes can reach 30 miles per hour, you should follow the local limits if they are lower in areas such as school zones.

How old do you have to be to ride an eBike?

Age restrictions for eBikes vary from state to state and are often only applicable to Class 2 or Class 3 electric bikes.

It is best to check the laws specific to your state to see age restrictions. Some states require riders to be over a certain age, while other states only have age requirements for certain classes of eBikes, and some states have no age restrictions.

What states enforce eBike registration?

Most states that define eBikes as vehicles or on the same basis as mopeds will require riders to meet the state’s specific registration requirements. States currently requiring eBike registration are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Mexico, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.

Which states have helmet requirements?

Within the U.S.A, 25 states and Washington D.C. currently have helmet requirements for eBike riders and passengers. Five states, Connecticut, Maryland, West Virginia, Massachusetts, and Louisiana, require helmets for all ages and across all eBike classes and bicycles.

Electric bicycle helmet laws across other states can be confusing as they are often specific to particular eBike classes or age groups. However, 25 states have no helmet requirements for any class of eBike or riders of any age.

Typically, states which follow the tiered classification system require helmets at minimum for anyone riding a Class 3 eBike. But helmets are often required for younger riders on other bike classes as well.

Most states which require helmets will accept bicycle helmets. However, Alabama requires a motorcycle helmet because it defines every eBike as a motor-driven cycle. While helmets aren’t legally required in all states, QuietKat does recommend helmets for all eBike riders in the interest of eBike safety.

Helmet laws by age

Around half the states in the U.S currently require children to wear helmets on eBikes at least until they reach a certain age. Helmet regulations most commonly apply only when the rider is under 21, but usually specifically for riders under 14 or 16. Around half of the states in the U.S. require children and teenagers to wear helmets, although we recommend that all children wear helmets even if not legally required.

Delaware, Florida, Maine, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Maryland, and Montana require any eBike Rider or their passenger under 16 years of age to wear a helmet.

Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, and New Mexico require anyone under 18 to wear a helmet when on an electric bicycle.

Other states differ on the age up to which they require helmets. Oklahoma has a helmet law for anyone under the age of 19. In New Jersey, all bike riders under 17 must wear a helmet. In West Virginia, bike riders under 15 must wear a helmet and, in New York, bicycle riders under 14 are required to wear a helmet. In Louisiana and Pennsylvania, riders under the age of 12 must wear a helmet.

What states require a license to ride an eBike?

In States where eBikes are classified as mopeds or scooters, they usually require licensing and registration. Alabama, Alaska, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, Wisconsin, and North Dakota currently require a license to operate an eBike. States using the three-tiered classification system usually exempt electric bikes from registration, licensure, or insurance requirements.

Do I need insurance to ride an eBike?

States which consider eBikes as distinct from motor vehicles do not require the insurance requirements that standard motor vehicles are subject to.

Several states see eBikes as motor vehicles akin to mopeds and require the same license and registration requirements. However, most of those states do not require eBike insurance. Although driver’s insurance is rarely needed, you may wish to add your electric bike to your home and contents insurance to protect against theft or damage.

Where can I use my electric bike?

Each state has different rules about eBike access, and federal land rules also vary.

Roads, sidewalks, and bike paths

Delaware, Iowa and Nebraska, and Vermont all define electric bicycles as on-par with bicycles. Therefore eBikes can operate on any trails and paths where bicycles are allowed. Hawaii’s law does not have any specific restrictions on where e-bikes can be used.

Of the 43 states and D.C. that define eBikes. some state laws, such as in Arizona, Minnesota, Utah, and Washington, specifically allow for eBikes to operate on sidewalks and bicycle paths. However, local governments in these states have the power to impose additional restrictions. Class 3 bikes are more commonly restricted on bike paths and sidewalks as these bikes are allowed to go faster, making them better suited to road use and popular with eBike commuters.

In the following states, eBikes may be operated on roads but can not be used on sidewalks or bike paths: Alabama, Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin. Some cities or local authorities may have exceptions to these regulations.

In Florida, eBikes are allowed on sidewalks but are not permitted on bike paths when using human power alone.

Where can electric mountain bikes and electric hunting bikes ride?

Off-road areas are different from pavements. So, where can electric mountain bikes ride? Generally, any natural surface trail designated for motorized and non-motorized use is open to electric mountain bikes (eMBTs). Natural surface trails can include motorized singletrack, doubletrack, and primitive roads.

However, riders shouldn’t assume that eclectic mountain bikes are allowed everywhere traditional mountain bikes are. Access on singletrack is usually regulated differently from access to paved and soft surface bike lanes or bike paths. People For Bikes have compiled a handy eMBT ride finder with over 42,000 miles of fun routes and trails cataloged to help riders find tracks.

eBike usage amongst hunters is steadily increasing as enthusiasts discover the benefits of eBiking for off-road excursions. Electric bikes allow hunters or anglers to stealthily access more remote areas which would otherwise be out of limits.

If you enjoy using an electric hunting bike, you may wonder what rules apply and how they differ from an ATV or a quad bike. Most states allow bikes in class 1 and class 2 for hunting areas. However, in Pennsylvania, only class 1 bikes are allowed. QuietKat hunting bikes are ideal for use when hunting or Overlanding and are built to go almost anywhere an ATV can go.

In national parks, electric bicycles are usually allowed wherever traditional bicycles are also allowed. However, the access allowed for cyclists varies from one park to another. Usage rules by the state are complex and varied, so it’s worth checking your local guidelines. Don’t ride your eMTB in wilderness areas where the local regulations are unclear. Ride legally and safely only on authorized trails.

What are the rules for electric bikes in National Forest, BLM land, and National Parks?

Until recently, most non-motorized routes within federal lands prohibited bikes with electric motors.

However, in 2019 several agencies expanded access to eBikes on public lands ; these included The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Park Service (NPS), Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Reclamation. From August 29th, 2019, all eBikes up to 750 watts (class 1 class 2) can now access Federal Lands and national parks.

E-bikes advance the NPS’s Healthy Parks Healthy People goals and have been acknowledged as a positive way to expand access to national parks. They are also viewed as being a beneficial way to reduce congestion and vehicle emissions in national parks.

Generally, electric bikes in national parks and public lands are now allowed access wherever traditional bicycles are permitted. Under Federal statute, both conventional bicycles and electric bikes remain prohibited in wilderness areas within national parks.

Bicycles are also allowed on administrative roads, which may be closed to public motor vehicles but open to motor vehicle use by the NPS. Access to these roads is determined on a per park basis, where local superintendents have decided eclectic bikes will not disturb wildlife or park resources. Some parks also allow additional access to eBikes on paths where mobility devices like wheelchairs are permitted.

Despite expanded recreational opportunities and accessibility rules for electric bikes on public lands, they still vary for specific trails and classes of eBike.

Riders should follow local jurisdictions’ rules and look up the rules for specific national parks and forests when planning their trips.

In which states are 1000W Ebikes legal?

Six states specifically allow eBikes to have a max power of 1000W; these are Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Virginia. Only two states, Florida Mississippi, currently have no max power limit for electric bikes.

High-powered eBike motors are available, ranging from 1000W-6000W. However, most states cap power at either 750W or 1000W. Once an electric bicycle reaches 1000w. it is more likely to be classified as a moped or scooter. Therefore, many states cap eBike outputs at less than 1000W.

Sixteen states cap eBikes at a max power of 750W; these are; Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. Maryland has one of the strictest limits, at 500W.

Other safety considerations

It’s worth adopting the three-tiered system for general electric bike safety if you are in a state with no current electric bike regulations. Helmets are also highly recommended for riders of all ages, even if your state does not legally require them.

Riders of both electric and traditional bikes should make themselves highly visible, especially if you plan to use busy roads. Remember that electric bikes are still relatively new, so other motorists may not be used to sharing the road with eBikes and may struggle to gauge how fast you are traveling.

We highly recommend wearing a reflective vest and using flashing headlights and tail lights when riding at night. Bright clothing can also help make you more visible to other motorists during the daytime.

Whenever you use an electric bike on the road, you should observe local road rules, such as stopping entirely at stop signs, keeping a safe distance from other vehicles, and using your hand signals when turning.

With rules and regulations changing rapidly, the eclectic bike community as a whole must show consideration for other cyclists, pedestrians, trail, and road users. Take care of slower-moving vehicles or pedestrians, and be sure to share trails and paths. A good reputation will help electric bike riders advocate for greater access to public spaces.

Ready to ride?

eBike regulations are complex, but once you’ve done your research, you can hit the trails or road with confidence, knowing that you’re not breaking any rules.

QuietKat bikes are best suited to off-road terrain, where riders have more freedom from regulations. Although our bikes are certainly street-worthy, they’re equipped for Overlanding adventures. Our bikes vary from class 1 to class 3, with modifications available on some models. Our range offers our riders the greatest flexibility in choosing a bike that is both trail and street legal in their state. Explore the full range now.

E-Bike definitions classifications by state:

An overview of the definitions per state is provided below, but further information on state-by-state safety and eBike regulations is found elsewhere in this article.

Alaska : Alaska considers electric bicycles as a motor-driven cycle and requires a license and registration.

Alabama: Alabama uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bicycles are regulated like traditional bicycles.

Arkansas: Arkansas uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bicycles are regulated in the same manner as traditional bikes.

Arizona: Arizona adheres to the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bicycles are regulated like traditional bicycles.

California: California adheres to the three-tiered classification of eBikes. E-Bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bicycles.

Colorado: Colorado uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bicycles are regulated in the same way as traditional bicycles.

Connecticut: Connecticut uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bicycles are regulated in the same manner as traditional bikes.

Delaware: Delaware uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bicycles are regulated in the same manner as traditional bikes.

Florida: Florida uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bicycles are regulated in the same manner as traditional bikes.

Georgia: Georgia uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Hawaii: Hawaii classifies electric bikes as low-speed electric bicycles when used with a max speed of 20 mph.

Iowa: Iowa uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Idaho : Idaho uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. E-Bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Illinois: Illinois adheres to the three-tiered classification of eBikes.Electric bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Indiana: Indiana uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. E-Bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Kansas: The state of Kansas uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. E-Bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Kentucky: In Kentucky, an electric bicycle is considered a bicycle as long it has operable pedals.

Louisiana: Louisiana uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. E-Bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Massachusetts: The state of Massachusetts defines an eBike as a motorized bicycle as long as the bike does not exceed a maximum speed of 25 mph. Riders must carry a license and may be subject to registration requirements.

Maryland: Maryland uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Maine: Maine adheres to the three-tiered classification of eBikes. E-Bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Michigan: Michigan regulates eBikes like traditional bicycles, and the three-tiered classification is used for electric bikes.

Minnesota: Minnesota uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Missouri: Missouri uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Mississippi: Mississippi uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Montana: Montana defines an electric bicycle as an electric-assisted bicycle. A bike can be placed in this category if it has a maximum speed of 20 mph. The same rules of the road apply to both electric bicycles and human-powered bicycles.

North Carolina: North Carolina defines e-bikes as “electric-assisted bicycles,” so long as the electric bicycle’s motor is under 750w, has a maximum speed of 20mph, and has operable pedals. The same rules of the road apply to both electric bicycles and human-powered bicycles.

North Dakota: The state of North Dakota uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Nebraska: Nebraska defines eBikes as an electric-assisted bicycle. Bikes in this category must have a motor under 750w, and a maximum speed of 20 mph, with pedals operated by human power. The same rules of the road apply to both electric bicycles and human-powered bicycles.

New Hampshire: New Hampshire follows the three-tiered classification of electric bikes. E-Bikes are regulated like traditional bicycles.

New Jersey: The NJ definition includes only the first two tiers of classifications used by other states. The legislature also defines motorized bicycles as a device that operates over 20 mph with a maximum motor-assisted speed of 28 miles per hour. This definition closely aligns with the Class 3 definition used in other states.

New Mexico: New Mexico uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Nevada: The state of Nevada uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

New York: New York State uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. The first two classes follow the industry standard and the third class is defined as s olely within a city having a population of one million or more, a bicycle with electric assist having an electric motor that may be used exclusively to propel such bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when such bicycle reaches a speed of twenty-five miles per hour. Electric bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Ohio: In Ohio, the three-tiered classification is used for electric bicycles, with eBikes regulated like traditional bicycles.

Oklahoma: Oklahoma follows the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bicycles are regulated in the same way as traditional bicycles.

Oregon: Oregon defines an eBike as an electric-assisted bicycle if the motor is under 1000w and the bike has a max speed of 20miles per hour.

Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania defines an electric bicycle as a pedalcycle with electric assist. An eBikes falls in this category if the motor is under 750w. It must have operable pedals but a maximum speed of 20 mph when powered solely by the engine. Additionally, the bike must weigh no more than 100 pounds and follow the road’s same rules as a traditional bicycle. E-Bikes that are 750w and below are allowed on any public trail a traditional bicycle is on DCNR lands.

Rhode Island: Rhode Island defines e-bikes as electric motorized bicycles. E-bikes must have fully operable pedals, a max power output of 1491w, and a top speed of 25 mph.

South Carolina: South Carolina currently has no specific classification for electric bikes. However, since eBikes are vehicles, they should follow standard vehicle road rules.

South Dakota: In South Dakota, the three-tiered classification is used for electric bicycles, with E-Bikes regulated like traditional bicycles.

Tennessee: Tennessee uses the three-tiered classifications for electric bicycles. E-Bikes are regulated like traditional bicycles.

Texas: The state of Texas uses the three-tiered classification for electric bicycles, with E-Bikes regulated like traditional bicycles.

Utah: In Utah, E-Bikes are regulated like traditional bicycles, and the three-tiered classification for electric bikes applies.

Virginia: Virginia uses the three-tiered classification for electric bicycles, with E-Bikes regulated like traditional bicycles.

Vermont: Vermont uses the three-tiered classification for electric bicycles, with E-Bikes regulated like traditional bicycles.

Washington: Washington state regulates eBikes like traditional bicycles, and the three-tiered classification is used for electric bikes.

Wisconsin: Wisconsin uses the three-tiered classification for electric bicycles, with E-Bikes regulated like traditional bicycles.

West Virginia: West Virginia uses the three-tiered classification for electric bicycles, with E-Bikes regulated like traditional bicycles.

Wyoming: Wyoming uses the three-tiered classification for electric bicycles, with E-Bikes regulated like traditional bicycles.

State electric bike rules and regulations change regularly. We recommend you check your local laws periodically so you can legally enjoy the benefits of riding your electric bicycle.

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