Electric bikes have many benefits thanks to their motor assistance, but many people are concerned about the level of noise from the type of motor during use.
Luckily, although ebikes do make some noise, this is hardly any more than a regular bicycle, you might hear a slight humming from the motor during use and the sound of the tyres, but this is the same as a normal bike and considerably less noise than let's say a motorbike.
To understand where the noise comes from on your electric bike, how loud is too loud and some ways to make your e-bike quieter, we have put together an informative guide below which will give you everything you need to know.
Depending on the type of motor you have in your e-bike, there will be different causes to the noise you hear when riding. We have explained each cause in more detail below.
Geared hub motors are a type of motor which gives the most natural assistance from the electric motor and reduces drag when riding. Although these gear hub motor types have a small size they can produce a slightly higher noise level when accelerating on pedal assistance, this ebike motor noise would only be noticeable in a quiet environment, however.
This kind of electric bicycle motor spins its outer shell when the pedal assist is accelerated or when the throttle is twisted. Direct drive e-bike motor types are often quite heavy due to their very large size and can cause a lot of noise when placed on the front wheel as it can cause the whole bike to vibrate during use.
A mid-drive electric motor is centred in gravity and creates a balanced feel when riding, they are however noisier than a gear hub motor, especially as they age but less noisy than a direct-drive motor thanks to their integrated location inside of the bike frame.
When your tyres make traction with the road you are cycling on it is a natural riding experience to hear some noise as you move along, the noise level depends mostly on the type of tyres are using and the surface you are riding on, different tyres and tread patterns create different noises.
It can be hard to understand just how loud and the electric bike should be, you will often find higher quality models have the quietest ebike motor system while cheaper models and e-bike conversion kits have a noise design as they are lower quality.
As we mentioned above, the style of the motor determines the amount of noise that you will hear but it still shouldn't be much more than a regular bicycle. To make sure your e-bike isn't too noisy it's best to take it to a professional who can have a look at it and identify any issues which might be making it noisier than usual.
We also suggest trying out e-bike before you buy them if possible to get used to the level of noise you will be hearing according to different models.
If you feel like your e-bike is making more noise than usual then you might need to adjust and fix some components on your electric bike, we have listed out our best tips for quietening your e-bike down below.
Why is there a clicking noise coming from my ebike motor?
If you are experiencing a clicking sound from your bike motor it might be down to cogging, debris inside of the motor or the derailleur needs adjusting.
How often should I lube the chain of my electric bike?
You should aim to lube your bike chain at least once a month to reduce noise and rusting.
Does the choice of motor affect noise level?
Some electric motors are indeed noisier than others, the quietest of all is the geared hub motor but this can change according to how you maintain your electric bike.
Overall, electric bikes produce only a low level of noise which is not noticeable when riding and is caused by the humming of the motor while assisting and traction of tyres on surfaces when cycling. If your electric bike is producing a lot of noise try tightening everything and follow our tips above to troubleshoot the cause.
National parks make an exciting e-bike adventure allowing you to explore these protected areas with ease, but figuring out where your e-bike is and is not allowed is not always an easy task.
Luckily, in December 2020, the NPS (national park system) declared a new regulation that you can ride electric bikes on all trails in national parks without any restrictions, not only traditional bicycles, allowing people with all differing physical fitness levels to explore.
In our e-biking guide to national park rides below we will cover why e-bike was not allowed in a national park, to begin with, the benefits of being able to have e-bike access in a national park, which electric bike types are allowed and some tips for e-bike use in national park territory.
Let's get into it!
There was a time where electric bicycles were classed motorised vehicles due to the e-bike motor inside which allows it not to rely on human power. These fun e-bikes have been frowned upon by the national park service before as their top speeds mean they could lead to e-bike crashes with wildlife or people and trample plants just like road motor vehicle use.
Since 2020 however e-bike access has been approved of in many parks such as redwood national park and others but still there of some conditions of bicycle use which we will get on to next.
Although fun ebikes have now been approved for a collection of park trails, there still are some restrictions. Most national parks are only allowed to be used with class 1 e-bikes that do not have a motor power of over 750W, class 3 e-bike are often not allowed without e-bike approval as they have stronger motor power, the same goes for electric bikes with a throttle.
When you are using your e-bike on park roads it is mostly only recommended you stick to paved surfaces too.
Now e-bike owners can use their class one e-bikes happily in national parks it opens up a huge range of benefits for park visitors.
We have listed a few below.
Even though riding your electric bikes in national parks is relatively easy nowadays there are still some ebike rules to follow so as you can be safe and not break any e-bike rules set by the national park service system.
We have listed our top tips for taking e-bikes out in national parks below.
What are the different classes of electric bikes?
There are three different types of electric bikes, class one where the motor operates when pedalled and can go up to 20mph (these have 750W motors), class two which has a throttle-assisted motor and class three where the motor works when engaged but can go faster.
Are these bikes allowed in the wild animal areas?
No, you are not permitted to ride your e-bike or normal bike in wild animal areas.
How fast can I ride my e-bike in national parks?
As a class one e-bike you should only be riding at 20mph or to the stated speed limit on signage.
Can I use the throttle on my electric bike in national parks?
No, you are not allowed to use an e-bike with the throttle in national parks.
To conclude, class one e-bikes are allowed to be used in national parks with no issues as long as you stick to designated areas and speed limits. We suggest always riding with our tips above and make sure you have a big enough charged e-bike battery for the kind of distance you want to ride.
Torque arms allow you to attach different parts of the bike such as wheels, handlebars, etc. The problem is that they are expensive, and most of them require welding.
Torque arm specifics are very important for your safety. You need one with proper geometry so it will not cause any injuries when riding or falling off.
It should be made from high quality steel which can withstand all kinds of weather conditions.
The best way to find out if this product fits your needs is by reading reviews about other people who have used similar products before.
Here some simple steps to install torque arm:
Step 1. Remove old bolts and nuts.
Step 2. Cut new holes in frame where needed.
Step 3. Install new bolts and nuts.
The kit Ebike torque arm are attached in lightweight bike wheels. They provide stability and security while riding.
They also protect against falls and collisions. If you fall down, these kits help prevent injury because they absorb impact energy.
The torque arm thickness varies depending on how much force you want to apply. It's recommended to use thicker ones for heavier bikes.
The effectiveness of ebike torque arm depends on many factors including weight, size, type of wheel, terrain, speed, rider skill level, etc.
If you're looking for something more durable than standard bicycle torque arm, then check our list of top 10 best ebikes 2021.
There are many types of torque arms available online. Some of them are cheap but don’t last long. Others are durable but cost too much.
Torque arm also depends on the type of bike you are using. For example, there are two-wheeled bicycles and three-wheelers.
You may wonder why do we need torque arms at all? Well, without them, you would risk damaging your bike.
For instance, if you were driving a car, you wouldn't put your hands inside the steering wheel. Why? Because doing so could damage the mechanism.
Here some tips how to choose a proper torque arm:
When you start pedaling, the springs push the arm forward until it reaches maximum tension.
This ensures that the arm stays tight even after prolonged usage.
Make sure it comes with instructions. Many manufacturers include detailed installation guides. These make installing easier and faster.
A lot of people ask us “what is better – wheel torque arm or fork torque arm?”
Well, both work great! But each has advantages over another. Let’s see what makes them unique.
Bicycle dropouts are usually located near the bottom bracket area. The most common place for this is between the chain ring and rear sprocket.
These parts can get damaged when you hit bumps or potholes. That’s why you should always have a way to secure them from falling off.
In order to achieve this goal, you will need to add a set of torque arms. You can buy them separately or as part of a complete kit.
For standard pedal bicycle the bike frame and the wheel axles are connected by a pair of axle tubes. They provide stability and prevent the wheels from moving sideways.
However, in case of electric bicycles these connections aren’t necessary because the drivetrain doesn’t require any additional support.
That said, you still need to protect your drive train components from getting damaged. In other words, you need to keep them safe from impact forces.
To accomplish this task, you will need to attach a torque arm to the hub flange.
There are many stock updates torque arm for ebikes, including those made by Shimano, SRAM, Sunrace, etc. However, not all of them are compatible with different types of hubs.
If you want to use one particular brand of torque arm, then you will need to check which ones are available for your bike first.
The following table lists popular options for various brands. It includes information about compatibility with certain types of hubs.
Read torque arm has the power level that can handle up to 200Nm of force. It provides excellent traction while riding downhill.
You can also use it if you plan to ride at high speeds.
Fork torque arm offers more flexibility than rear torque arm. They allow you to adjust the angle of the brake lever depending on how far away the brakes are from the centerline of the bike.
Stainless steel torque arms have standard axle bolts that you need to remove before attaching them to the hub. This allows you to easily replace them later on.
They come in two versions – threaded and unthreaded. Threaded version requires special tools to be installed. Unthreaded version does not require any extra equipment.
Threaded version is recommended if you don’t mind spending some time removing old bolts. Otherwise, go ahead and choose the unthreaded option.
Torque arm for Ebikes and regular bike share similar features. Both of them help to reduce damage caused by impacts.
However, they differ in terms of their design and functionality. For example, the former is designed specifically for bikes with derailleur gears whereas the latter works well with both fixed gear and freewheel setups.
Also, there are several differences regarding the type of bolt used to connect them to the hub. Some manufacturers prefer using stainless steel bolts while others opt for black oxide coated ones.
Frequent cycling creates multiple benefits including, stimulation and improvements to your lungs, heart, and circulation – burns fat and strengthens bones. Electric bikes allow cyclists to ride using less effort, however, the act of continuous pedalling still works for all major muscle groups.
As the popularity of electric bikes continues to rise, many may wonder, how effective is the pedal-assisted bike when it comes to building fitness? We decided to look into it.
Do Electric Bikes Keep You Fit? Or Are They Just Recreational? An electric bike can be used to keep fit and for recreation. You can control how much help you receive. More pedal assistance requires less effort; therefore, turning intense exercise into a more recreational experience.
Calories will still burn. On average, an e-cyclist burns approximately 20 – 25% fewer calories per hour compared to non-pedal assisted cyclists.
In short, an e-bike uses electric to assist in pedalling. It’s a pushbike with a sensor, an electric motor, sensor, battery, and display. Let’s look at how the components work together.
The motor provides a rotating force as you pedal. The more advanced the motor is, the more assistance and powerful the bike is.
The sensor is the fundamental part of the bike, typically there are two types used. A speed sensor that instantly kicks in the motor once you start to pedal. And the “torque” sensor is responsive and helps with your manoeuvres and speed, by matching your speed as you move.
The battery powers the motor which powers the drivetrain; perfect for tackling long rides and hills. It lives anywhere within the frame. Depending on the make and model, its average charging time is between two to eight hours.
The amount of assistance required can be operated from the display unit.
E-bikes offer a gentler and much more pleasurable approach to developing fitness. Regular low-intensity exercise is much better than occasional high-intensity exercise.
In addition to the energy you put into riding an e-bike, a typical motor may have assistance levels of 50%, 100%, 175%, and 250%. Let’s say you’d typically spend 100 watts of energy on an e-bike ride, on the lowest setting, the e-bike would add another 50 watts. 150 watts of power significantly increases your speed.
From a calories burned view, if you typically burn 300 calories hourly on a pushbike, you’d burn 200 riding at the same pace in eco mode.
Even though the e-bike allows your legs to work less. Your core strength development is the same since this happens as you balance the bike and that requirement is not assisted.
E-bike popularity continues to rise and evidence suggests that this trend will continue. Let’s consider some of their pros and cons.
The three basic classes/types of e-bikes are Pedal Assist, Throttle Only, and Pedal Assist (>28 MPH).
The motor on a “Pedelec” kicks in to assist in pedalling effort once you begin to pedal. Some brands may or may not include a throttle. These types can do up to 20mph, then stop assisting at that speed. There is no driver’s license requirement nor age limit.
The motor in this type is throttle-assisted and may be used solely to propel the bike. For power, you just need to activate the throttle. However, the less you pedal, the faster the battery will run out. The throttle only does a max speed of 20mph then also stops assistance once this speed is reached. There are no driver’s license requirements or age limits.
Fastest of the three, this legal e-bike does a maximum speed of 28mph then stops assisting at that point. Brands include a speedometer and may include a throttle. Again, the Spedelec does not require a driver’s license, but the rider must wear a helmet and be 17 or older.
Yes, an electric bike will function as a standard bike once the battery is out of juice, the motor is switched off, or the pedal assist function is set to zero. However, without electrical assistance, the extra weight of the motor and battery may slow you down.
With regular care and maintenance, an e-bike should last just as long as a pushbike – up to 10 years.
Some of the best e-bikes so for this year include:
|Manufacturer||Type of E-bike||Models[s]|
|Dawes||Commuter, Cruiser, Folding||Models include: Curve and Mojave-E|
|Falcon||Commuter, Cruiser, Folding, Mountain||Models include: Crest, Glide, and Serene|
|Raleigh||Commuter, Folding, Mountain||Models include: Felix, Stow and Centros|
|Gtech||City road||Models include: eBike City and eBike Sport|
When looking into buying an electric bike, you might be wondering the maximum speed one of these modern e-bikes can go and when it's legal to ride your full-assistance e-bike at higher speeds.
On average, an e-bikes speed is around 20mph, and in the UK, assisted speed limit is 15.5mph as they have an electric power motor limit of 250W, however, some e-bike range models for off-roading and electric bike types with throttles with a 750W can even go up to 30mph.
To find out just how fast different electric bike models can go and whether or not you can make your e-bike go faster, we have made a small information guide below to answer all your questions.
First off, let's start with high power e-bike motors of around 1000W. These e-bikes have lots of power and are not UK road legal, they can potentially reach speeds of up to 32mph when used on maximum power and are mostly seen on MTB e-bikes, they are not suitable for road use.
A 750W premium e-bike system can ride at around 25mph and are more common in the US, this assisted speed is easier to control than a 1000W motor power but still is not UK road legal.
These types of e-bikes are not so great for mountain biking as they will often lose speed easily when hill climbing weight for power.
For a 500 watt electric bike, this will give you a speed of around 20mph, this type of pedal power assist might be a better option for users who are heavier than a 250W max speed limitation. These are still however not UK road legal.
A 350W e-bike will go around 18mph, these bikes tend to be less common than a 250W electric bike or a 500W electric bike but are a great option for people who want a little more power than 250W but still want control.
Having a 250W electric bike is UK road legal and will give you maximum speeds of around 15.5mph, this is when it is used without throttle power which can give your bike more of a power boost when needed.
As most electric bikes come with a restricted maximum speed, you might be looking for ways to try and make your e-bike go faster without having to buy a whole new bike.
To help you out, we have listed our best tips below for speeding up your bike.
Overall, e-bikes can go very fast with pedal assist and will have different limits depending on the wattage of the motor you buy and the bike's battery, on average in the UK, this will be around 15.5mph but there are models on the market which can go up to 20mph too.
If you are looking for ways to try to increase the speed of your e-bike without buying a new one, check our tips above to see if you can implement any.
If you have been charged and caught driving your motor vehicle under the influence, then you might have had your form of license suspended and been charged with a DUI.
As it is very risky to drive your motor vehicle around with a license suspension, you might need to look into alternatives to get to work and home on time, and while regular bikes are great, they are not quick, so that's where an electric bike comes in.
The good news is, as you don't need a license to ride an electric bike, you can drive one out on the roads even if you have a DUI.
To find out more about what happens if you get caught under the influence with your electric bike and when you might need a form of licence for your electric bike along with some safety tips for riding one, we have composed a short guide below to help you out.
Technically, if you are riding your regular bicycle while drunk, it is very unlikely you will be fined or caught as it is not classed as a motor vehicle, however, if you get caught as an electric bike rider, this might be a different story.
If you ride your electric bike drunk, there is a high chance you can be pulled over and receive an offence or warning, as many consider an e-bike a form of a motor vehicle. Driving your bike intoxicated would also be seen as a public intoxication issue, so it is unlikely you would get off lightly.
Overall, any impaired driving, whether it is on a normal bike or e-bike will be disapproved by the police on the road, so you really shouldn't risk it, especially if it is power-assisted bicycles.
In terms of points on your driving license none will be taken, as you do not need a bicycle rider license, however, in total, you can be fined up to £2,500 as an offence for the dangerous riding of your bike, this would not be classed as dangerous driving as the bike is not a car.
In the UK, you do not need a license to ride your electric bike, however, you should only ride your electric bike if you are over the age of 14, under 14 is not permitted in the UK.
For some other countries, a license may be required, and you also have to ensure that your bike is classed as a standard electric bike in the electric bike industry, if your electric bike goes faster than 15.5mph and exceeds the power of 250W it will not be classed as an e-bike and is not legal to run on the roads.
If you are not sure about whether or not you need to register or have a moped license for your electric bike it is always best to check with the local road laws or council just in case.
Electric bikes are fairly simple and easy to operate out the road, we don't recommend ever driving one under the influence, however, as the electric power of these bikes can cause you to lose control.
So as you can feel comfortable riding your electric bike and get the most out of it, we have listed our essential safety tips for taking your e-bike out on the road below.
Overall, you can ride an electric bike with a DUI offence as you do not need a driving license to ride with one, however, we would not recommend driving your bike under the influence ever as this could cause harm to other vehicles on the road or even pedestrians around.
Even without the risk of a licence suspension, you could still receive a hefty fine if you get caught riding your electric bike drunk. If you are not sure whether or not your bike is classed as an e-bike, you should check with your local authorities if it is legal to ride and follow the safety tips above to ensure you can be comfortable riding out on the road.
As electric bike models are proving to be more and more popular as an alternative commuting transport, one might wonder what happens if you get caught in the rain with your electric bike or if you can take your e-bike through puddles safely.
Well, the good news is, if you get caught in wet conditions while having an e-bike riding experience, your electric bike will likely still be fine, the same way a smartphone would be with drops of water, however, it should be noted e-bikes have water resistance and are not waterproof, so excessive rain could cause damage.
To find out more about whether or not you can take your electric bike on rainy rides and how to ride one with safety in the rain due to the additional power, we have composed a guide below which will give you all the important information you need to know.
At the moment, e-bike riders will be disappointed to learn that there are still no fully waterproof e-bikes on the market, only weather-resistant.
You can still take your electric bike out in wet conditions, but it isn't ideally recommended to do it for long periods or to even submerge your whole bike into water. This is because, unlike a traditional bike, e-bikes are made up of electrical components which offer assistance when riding.
Most at risk if your get your e-bike too wet is the e-bikes batteries which can completely fail or have a reduced lifespan due to the excess water, a few drops of water is fine on your home commute, but don't let the bike get drenched.
Like most other electronic devices on the market, an e-bike is water-resistant, but you wouldn't drop your phone in water, so it is a good idea to treat your electric bike, in the same manner, to be on the safe side.
Since we keep saying an e-bike is water-resistant and not waterproof, you might be wondering what the clear difference is.
Well, water-resistant means that your commercially made e-bike has parts that make it hard for water to get inside of the parts, so a few raindrops on the way from work to home will likely not be able to reach inside of your battery.
Waterproof on the other hand would mean that the whole e-bike is entirely sealed off and no water will be able to make itself in or out of the bike.
A great way to determine just how water-resistant your bike is for electric bike riders is to check the rating on your model before purchasing, this will be an indicator as to how far you can push your bike in rain before needing to take cover.
If you get caught in the wet weather by accident on your e-bike, it's a good idea to familiarise yourself with the dangers that can happen while using your electric bike out on the road.
We have listed a few of the most important ones below.
Now you know the main dangers of taking your e-bike out in the rain, we have put together our best list of safety tips and advice for riding in the rain to help you out.
Overall, riding your e-bike in the rain is possible if you get caught in a few drops or a light shower, however, as an electric bike is only water-resistant and not waterproof, we would not recommend letting your bike get wet often and you should avoid heavy rains or submerging your e-bike in puddles.
Choosing an electric bicycle for the first time, or even making an electric bike yourself from a regular one can be a confusing process and trying to figure out all the motor power and battery power rating you need can be difficult.
The wattage power of an electric bicycle comes down to the amps of the controller and voltage of the battery that comes with your model, but how much power you need is determined by the weight and terrain you are riding on.
To find out how the power of your electric bike is calculated as well as how weight and terrain affect how much power your e-bike needs, we have gone into some more detail in our best guide below.
Figuring out how much power your e-bike needs or how much power it comes with can be a little confusing if you are a newbie to understanding how motor power in an e-bike works.
The wattage of an e-bike is typically what determines how much power level your bike comes with, so the higher the wattage stated, then the more high-powered motor you will have.
However, the motor power rating is not always that accurate, so a better way to see what power your bike comes with or needs is by multiplying the battery voltage by the amps of the controller in the e-bike power, for example, a high power ebike that comes with a battery voltage of 36V and a controller of 15A will have around 540 watts of power in total.
Most of the time people might assume that having more watts of power with your electric bike is better, but this is not always the case, as some are actually too illegal to operate on the roads of the UK if they are over 250W, and sometimes you just don't need to spend all that money on extreme power when you don't need it!
Now we know that the wattage of the motor that comes with your electric bike determines how much power it has and how to calculate it, there are two main factors that you need to consider when deciding on how much power your e-bike needs.
We have gone into further detail about the two factors below.
Let's start with weight then move on to terrain, both factors are linked, but we will cover each one separately to make it simpler.
If you weigh around the 125lb range, then the lower electric power you will need from your bike as it will be carrying a light load, you would only need the lowest power class of around 250W units for power on your bike.
However, the heavier you are, then the higher the wattage power setup you might need, for example, a heavier rider who weighs around 150 pounds might be more suited to a 350-watt motor or an e-bike wattage of 500 watts.
Now, if light riders also want to take their ebike up a decent hill or even major hills then they would need to have a higher watt ebike of around 350W to even a 500-watt ebike if they are looking for optimal power and support up steep hills.
Once again, the same goes for a heavier rider, if they start with a minimum power of 350W for road use, then they would need extra power for steep hills and off-road use, this could mean a motor power of around 750W would be the better choice.
Deciding on the right motor power for your electric bike that you make or choose on the market comes down to your weight and the style of riding you will be using it for.
If you are a light rider who is planning to mainly use their bike for flat city commutes, then a 250W electric bike would be the best option, however, if you are planning to take that bike up the occasional hill, then a 350W motor would be better, however for extreme off-roading, you might even need extra power up to 500W.
However for heavier riders, you would need to start at a 350W level for road use then work your way up depending on where you will ride, also consider if you will be attaching any cargo to the bike often as this will need more power from the bike to help move it uphill.
For someone who is still unsure about what power electric bike they need watt electric rise, then it might be best to go and test a few different powered e-bikes and see what suits you best weight and activity-wise so as you can be sure you are choosing the right model for you.
To conclude, how much power your electric bike needs all comes down to the wattage, amps and voltage your model comes with and what you are going to be using the e-bike for, whether as a typical rider for commutes, or for adventures which would require a high powered motor.
One of the most important features to consider when looking for a new electric bike is its recharging time and the mileage the battery of your bike will give you.
Typically, the larger the batter capacity, then the longer a single charge will take for electric power, on average for a standard lithium-ion single battery charge, this will take between 2-6 hours to reach a full charge depending on the battery capacity.
To find out more about charging your e-bike battery and how to increase its power delivery when charging, we have put together a short guide below full of tips and tricks to help you out.
As we mentioned above, charging an e-bike battery depending on its original capacity will take between 2-6 hours in total for a full charge, a partial charge might be less, but this will also give you a lower battery range.
To charge your electric assist battery is simple, all you need to do is remove the battery from the bike, ensure that the battery for electric assist is switched off then place it in the charger and connect.
Typically this will take between 2-6 hours to reach a full charge, but most electric power batteries on e-bikes have LED indicators that will turn green once it has fully charged too.
On average, an electric bike battery will have around 500 charge cycles before the electric power capacity of the electric bike battery reaches 80%. For people who ride their e-bike on a PAS (pedal assist level) power delivery option, this would mean nearly up to 30,000 miles.
You should expect to either have to replace your battery or see faster power consumption in around five years to three years for your batteries lifespan.
Many different factors can affect how long your e-bike's battery will last you according to the user and bike itself, we have noted a few below.
If you have plugged your e-bike battery on to charge and waited for the 100-percent, full charge, only to find out that your battery is having charging issues, don't worry, there are a few reasons this might be happening and we have listed them down below.
When looking at electric bikes batteries, you might have come across fast chargers for your bike, while these can charge your battery faster, they are not good for balancing the cells in your model and ensuring that each cell has the right amount of voltage.
We recommend using the original charges meant for your bikes battery and avoiding fast charge devices.
Believe it or not, plugging the battery of your electric bike on a single charge and leaving it is not the best way to keep your battery in the best shape possible. There are some tips and tricks you can do to take care of the battery cells in your model and improve the e-bike power measurement.
To conclude, it will take anywhere between 2-6 hours to charge the battery of your electric bike fully depending on its total capacity and the model that you buy, you should ensure you are taking care of the battery with our tips above and storing it in the right way to get the best lifespan from it.
There is no denying that electric bicycles are becoming popular. I'm a huge fan of them so I totally get the appeal.
Though there is some grey area around whether or not you need a license or in fact, whether or not e-bikes are legal..so are e-bike legal?
The short answer is that some electric bikes are legal. However, to meet the definition of an electric bike, it must fit some requirements, including the need for human power. There are laws surrounding the maximum speed the motor will output, currently set at 250w.
As e-bike riders, it's worth having a good understanding of the laws and what that means for you so let's get to it!
Let's start by understanding what an e-bike is before we delve into the laws of electric bikes!
In many ways, electric bicycles look a lot like traditional bikes. They have gears, a saddle, handlebars, etc.
The giveaway is the motor, which is usually found around the pedal area (otherwise known as the bottom bracket).
There are some e-bikes where the motor is built into the rear hub but this is becoming less common due to the weight of the motor making the bike less stable overall.
This motor is fantastic! It will get you up hills more easily and generally increase your average speed.
For a more in-depth guide, check out this post!
Depending on which type of electric bicycle you go for, it can either be powered using a pedal-assist or a throttle. I will say now that the law is different for these two types of bikes so you'll want to keep reading!
The law came into force in 2015 and it clearly outlined the rules surrounding e-bikes, what you can and can't do etc.
Some electric bikes can be powered using a twist and shift throttle - do they meet the legal requirements?
Sadly, they do not, not in the UK anyway.
In the UK if you control your electric motor using this type of throttle system then it will not be considered to be an electric bike.
This rule applies to electric bikes with a twist throttle since 2015. They are not allowed to go more than 3.7mph.
3.7mph is not quick. It's also incredibly difficult to keep your balance on a bike traveling at that speed.
The requirements state that electric bicycles' power output must be regulated by your pedals...and of course you pedalling!
If you are getting your bicycles power from elsewhere (i.e a throttle), then it is considered that you're riding a moped and as far as the law is concerned, you have to have a license, insurance, and pay road tax so it is definitely worth making sure you know the rules for e-bike riders!
When you're riding a motor vehicle, you will have to wear a helmet too and you aren't allowed to join the traditional bikes along the bicycle path either so it's fair to say that there are some restrictions.
So now maybe you've ruled out getting a throttle-powered e-bike?
For most people, that's a wise move.
However, there are some restrictions as to the type of e-bike you can have.
An e-bike that has a motor output greater than 250w is liable to the same guidelines as a throttle-powered bike. This is even the case if you're using pedal power to some degree.
In the UK an e-bike rider must be over the age of 14.
In a lot of ways, they are similar. The one big (and key) difference is that a pedelec is usually capable of achieving greater speeds.
Now given UK laws, this means you don't see many Pedelec's over here.
A pedelec is often considered to be a bike that can achieve speeds greater than 25kmph using a motor.
Due to the increase in speed, they a regulated more strictly (and rightly so in my opinion!).
Before you consider trading in your moped for a pedelec...
They are (or at least should) be restricted to a maximum speed of 45kmph.
So whilst they can't replace your moped, they do face the same restrictions.
If you have done any research on electric bicycles, you have most likely stumbled on people referring to different classes of electric bicycles.
Before you go out and buy one, you ought to know the differences as this too can affect where you stand legally.
Class one is the most popular. They are pedal assist and totally legal in the UK.
Class 1 e-bikes should be limited to a speed of 15.5 miles per hour and the power output shouldn't be greater than 250w.
This type of e-bike use is straightforward and whilst I wouldn't exactly say that they're low-speed e-bikes as they certainly give you enough speed for most situations - the motor will cut out when you are traveling above 15.5mph so if you do want to go more quickly...you're going to need to use your legs! 🙂
The level of assistance this bike provides will depend on the setting. This can usually be changed easily as there should be a button either on the handlebars or top tube to change it.
Do keep in mind that if you use more powerful settings, your range will decrease and you wouldn't want to get left 30 miles away from home without any charge left in the battery!
Overall, these types of pedal-assisted e-bikes provide electric bicycle riders with the most realistic feeling of riding a regular bicycle.
[Ever wondered what it's like to ride one? Find out here!]
Speaking as someone who flips between a traditional bike and an electric bike, I can confirm that it does give the most realistic feeling out of all the classes!
This type of electric bike will have a throttle to power the motor and isn't like a pedal-assisted electric bicycle as it doesn't require human power to make it move.
Due to the policy in the UK, class 2 e-bikes are not often seen as they are treated as motorized vehicles are.
Pedelec's fall into this category, meaning there are insurance requirements, helmet requirements and you won't be able to take these bikes onto a bicycle path due to the speed capability.
The electric bike is not allowed to exceed 20mph. Once you reach that speed the motor will shut off.
Otherwise, an e-bike faces the same laws as a traditional bike.
This varies state by state so let’s break it down:
New South Wales E-Bike Rules -
NSW has two classes of e-bikes.
By law you are allowed to ride your electric bike on every public road and designated bike area if your bikes meet either of these classifications:
This one is nice and simple. Victoria’s laws surrounding e-bikes are the same as NSW.
Queensland E-Bike Rules -
Queensland legally allowed two types of e-bikes, these are:
All bikes must use pedals as their main source of power. This means that any motor on the bike can only operate when the user is pedaling.
However, there is one exception and that is from a standing start, where you are allowed the initial take-off to be self-powered, though this is restricted to a 6km/h limit.
South Australia E-Bike Rules -
Very similar to the laws in NSW. You are legally allowed to ride an e-bike if it meets one of the following requirements:
Western Australia E-Bike Rules -
The law is simple in Western Australia. It doesn’t matter whether you’re riding a pedal-assisted bike or a human-propelled bike, the power output should not exceed 250w.
North Territory E-Bike Rules -
There are no dedicated e-bike laws, there are only laws for cyclists.
Tasmania E-bike Rules -
The laws in Tasmania are the same as SA and NSW.
Like the UK, Colorado defines electric bikes by giving them 3 classifications and they are the same as the UK.
Class 1 and 2 e-bikes can be ridden on the sidewalk - unless your county doesn’t allow that. Class 3 bikes cannot.
Since 2020, Electric bikes have been under the same EU standard. This means that they are legal, providing they do not exceed 15.5mph and are pedal-assisted, not throttle-powered.
If it’s the latter, then they are to be treated as mopeds are.
Currently, e-bikes in Massachusetts are considered to be “motorized bicycles” and this means that users must be over the age of 16.
They also must hold a driver’s license and e-bikes aren’t allowed on bike paths or sidewalks.
As you may have realised, this is very different from a lot of states and countries so there are a lot of people campaigning to change this.
In 2020, the State of NY changed the laws surrounding e-bikes, and whilst there are 3 classes of electric bikes, all three face the same restrictions.
You are allowed to ride to a speed limit of 25mph within the city limits.
Yes, e-bikes are legal in Singapore but the bike does need to be registered and approved by the Land Transport Authority (LTA). This involves having a number that has an orange seal.
If you’re looking at buying a new electric bicycle, then you won’t need to worry about the bike being approved as retailers are only allowed to sell LTA-approved and registered e-bikes. You will need to accept the transfer of ownership to remain legal though.
I'd love to be able to give you a straightforward answer on this but it does depend on the model of your bike.
Some allow you to remove the electric motor and this obviously brings lots of benefits. Being able to charge the battery away from the bike means you can take the battery into the office if you commute so you do get a better degree of flexibility.
It also means that you can buy a spare battery and swap it out when one goes flat so you don't need to wait for the battery to recharge.
To summarise, electric bicycles do face some e-bike laws. For me, I'd aim to purchase a bike that falls into the class one category.
It's going to give most people the power assistance they need and falls under standard e-bike use requirements, not moped use!
What bike do you have? Traditional bicycle or electric bicycles?