November 12, 2020 4 min read

There are many types of Electric Bikes (also known as E-Bikes, Electric Cycles, or Pedelecs) now available on the market. This can cause you to feel overwhelmed when deciding on which type to purchase. This article will provide simplified information on the main types of eBikes available on the market now.

What is an Electric Bike?

An electric bike is a bicycle that utilizes an integrated Electric Hub Motor powered by a rechargeable battery, to help propel you forward and gives you extra power. The motor is typically mounted on the front, center, or at the rear of the bike, depending on the E-Bike’s brand.

Electric bikes come in the same styles as traditional bicycles to suit the rider’s needs e.g. Mountain Bikes, Fat Tire Bikes, Commuter Bikes, Beach Cruiser Bikes, Cargo Bikes, and Folding Bikes.

Why Buy an Electric Bike?

E-Bikes are gaining popularity across the USA as a primary means of transportation. Many people are discovering that E-Bikes can be an ideal replacement for motorcycles or cars for their daily commute to work. These electric bikes save you time when commuting in traffic, while at the same time keeping the environment green since they help reduce traffic congestion on the roadways with fewer cars on the road. Finding parking for your E-Bike will be much more convenient in busy cities where car parking lots tend to be full. E-Bikes will end up saving you time, gas and insurance money, parking tickets, and much more!

More people are choosing E-Bikes to travel longer distances because they enable you to easily switch on the motor if you get tired of pedaling. The Electric Bike will enhance your outdoor riding experience since you can now take your E-Bike on more challenging rides such as riding up hills or sandy beaches. The motorized assistance will also help lighten the load when riding home with a bike loaded with groceries. Older people or anyone looking for a little assistance but still wanting to get some of the cycling benefits will thoroughly enjoy riding an E-Bike.

What are the Three Classes of Electric Bikes?

The E-Bike market is rapidly growing, therefore, many States are choosing to adopt a 3-Class standard system for regulatory reasons. The rules and regulations vary depending on where you live. You can refer to this Wikipedia link to view the different State Regulations on E-Bikes. Figuring out the Class of E-Bike you need is a key decision point when purchasing an Electric Bike.

Class 1 E-Bike: Pedal assisted, NO throttle

This class of E-Bike is a low-speed, pedal-assisted electric bicycle and have a maximum assisted power speed of 20mph. The motor provides propulsion assistance to the rider only when they are pedaling. This motor assistance stops when the bike reaches a speed of 20 miles per hour. The rider can control the amount of assistance the motor provides, with convenient controls on the handlebars to change between low, medium, or high-assist. The high setting gives you more motor assistance than the lower settings.

Class 1 E-Bikes are less restricted and are typically allowed on bike lanes, bike paths, and on the road. This is the most common type of electric bike because pedal-assist bikes are treated as non-powered bikes and are becoming legal in more and more places. This is recommended for E-Bike beginners because simple pedaling activates the motor and there are no new controls to learn such as the hand throttle. Pedal-assist also means riders can now get to work without being covered in sweat!

Class 2 E-Bike: Pedal assisted, WITH a throttle

This class of E-Bike is throttle-assisted and has a motor that can be used exclusively to propel the bicycle. The throttle is a feature on the E-Bike that is designed as a grip-twist or a button which, when you hold down, the bike takes off without you pedaling. This motor assistance stops when the bike reaches a speed of 20 miles per hour for safety and regulation reasons.

Class 2 electric bikes are often allowed where traditional bicycles can be ridden but some states are restricting their use in areas where the throttle actuation may pose physical damage to trails, e.g. mountain-bike trails. 

Class 3 E-Bike: Pedal assisted only

This class of E-Bike is pedal-assist only, with no throttle and a maximum assisted speed of 28 mph. Class 3 E-Bikes is the fastest class of US E-Bikes the don’t fall on the motorcycle category. 

Since they have more power and speed, they are typically considered too fast for most bike paths and trails shared with other cyclists. Therefore, the use of the Class 3 E-Bikes is typically restricted on bike trails and multi-use paths and allowed on roads and on-road bike lanes.

For even more comprehensive information on commonly asked electric bike questions, please visit the Bicycle Review Guru post here.

 To learn more about policies and laws and regulations about E-Bikes, you can visit or watch the short video below.