Where Can You Ride an Electric Bike? An Ebike Classification Guide

Electric mountain bikes on national land. Find out where you can ride your ebike and learn about ebike classifications.

Where Can You Ride an Electric Bike? An Ebike Classification Guide

When ebikes first hit the scene, they brought along a fair amount of confusion on where and how they were legally allowed to be used. Should a bike with a motor be treated like a conventional bike, sharing bike paths and trails with conventional bikes and pedestrians? Or should they be treated like a motorcycle or moped, with all of the regulations shared by these two-wheel vehicles?

If you’ve been curious about where you can ride your electric bike, we’re breaking down Federal and CA state regulations for ebikes and the classification system used to categorize ebike usage.

Federal Law States Ebikes Subject to Same Regulations as Conventional Bikes

Electric bicycles have been defined and regulated at the Federal level since 2002. Under Federal law, electric bicycles are subject to the same regulations that govern traditional (human-powered) bicycles. They are not considered “motor vehicles.”

Under Federal law, an ebike is considered a “low-speed electric bicycle” and defined as “a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p.), whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 mph.”

Federal law does not supersede state traffic laws and vehicle codes. For our CA friends, an understanding of local CA ebike classifications can help you understand exactly where you can ride your ebike.

CA Ebike Classification System

The CA Department of Motor Vehicles breaks down ebikes into 3 categories.

Class I Ebikes
Class I ebikes are equipped with a pedal-assist motor that only provides assistance when a rider is pedaling. These bikes cease to provide assistance when the bike reaches 20 mph. Class I bikes are allowed on the same bike paths and lanes that conventional bikes are allowed.

  • Features: pedal-assist motor
  • Top speed: 20 mph
  • Allowed: conventional bike paths, lanes, and routes
  • Restrictions: none

Class II Ebikes
Class II eBikes are equipped with throttle-assisted motors that can exclusively propel the bicycle, but that cannot provide assistance when the bike reaches 20 mph. As with Class 1 ebikes, Class II bikes are generally allowed the same places as a conventional bike.

  • Features: throttle-assist (no pedaling required)
  • Top speed: 20 mph
  • Allowed: conventional bike paths, lanes, and routes
  • Restrictions: none

Class III Ebikes
A Class III ebike is equipped with a pedal-assist motor that reaches a top speed of 28 mph. Class III ebikes are also equipped with a speedometer. In some states, Class III ebikes may have a throttle (but not in CA). Riders must be 16-years or older and wear a helmet. These bikes are not allowed on Class I multi-use bike paths (these paths are shared with pedestrians) unless specifically authorized by a local ordinance.

  • Features: pedal-assist motor
  • Top speed: 28 mph
  • Allowed: on streets, roadways, and bicycle lanes (if authorized by local authority)
  • Restricted: not for use on most multi-use bike trails, hiking trails, horse trails, or recreational trails

Ebikes Allowed in National Parks

In 2019, the Department of the Interior (DOI) issued a Secretarial Order aimed to increase recreational opportunities for ebikes on public land. The National Park Service (NPS) issued a final rule in 2020 stating that ebikes may go where traditional bicycles are allowed. However, superintendents at each park must give explicit direction to limit or restrict ebike access where they deem appropriate.

Basically, ebike rules may vary from park to park. But generally, ebikes will be allowed on any off-highway vehicle area (roads or trails where motorized vehicles are permitted). And ebikes may be allowed on bike trails, but you should check a park website before you go to to find out which trails are accessible to ebikes. Some parks may also exclude certain classes of ebikes, such as Class III bikes, for example.

Most importantly, ebikes and conventional bikes are never allowed in the wilderness of a national park, so please respect the rules and stay on the trails, regardless of what you ride.

Find Pedal-Assist Ebikes at Roseville Cyclery

Roseville Cyclery is Northern California’s premier ebike sales and service shop, located in downtown Roseville, CA. We carry a wide selection of pedal-assist ebikes from your favorite bike manufacturers, such as Specialized, Santa Cruz, Norco, and more. Visit our shop to find the perfect ebike for your riding needs, or shop our selection of ebikes online.


Stop Guessing. Start Riding. Let our team of ebike specialists help you find the perfect bike.

5 Reasons to Give an E-Mountain Bike a Try

Mountain biker on a Specialized Turbo Levo. Find 5 reasons you should give an eMTB a try.

5 Reasons to Give an E-Mountain Bike a Try

More and more e-mountain bikes are appearing on trails. You’ve probably seen them whiz past you with seemingly no effort as you climb. So what do these e-MTB riders know that you don’t? Here are five reasons why you’re seeing more and more riders take to the trails on electric mountain bikes.

To Get a Good Workout

Ok, we know. It looks like cheating. Especially if the eMTB riders are leaving you in the dust. But the reality is, eMTB riders are working just as hard as conventional riders.

A study by researchers at BYU compared the heart rates of experienced riders after 6-miles on an eMTB compared to a conventional bike and found that eMTB riders got just as much of a workout.

There was a very small difference in riders’ bpm: conventional mountain bikes resulted in an increase of 10 bpm. Even with that small difference, researchers found that both bikes got their heart rates into the upper part of the vigorous-intensity heart rate zone (70-85% MHR).

To Have More Fun While You Ride

The same study revealed that, even though the eMTB got riders’ heart rates up the same as a conventional MTB, it didn’t feel like they were working hard on the e-mountain bikes. eMTB riders had a lower perceived exertion. In other words, the eMTB just didn’t feel like as much work!

A vigorous-intensity workout that doesn’t feel like hard work — that alone should send you scouting for the perfect eMTB immediately.

For More Speed!

Riding an eMTB can help you cover more distance in less time. Sure, you can use that speed to smoke the other riders on the trail, if that’s your sort of thing. But we think this benefit can be used in other ways. Like knocking out a ride after work that you typically wouldn’t tackle until the weekend.

Get to Places You Previously Couldn’t

The same speed that allows you to shave time off your ride can also help you increase your distance. eMTB riders can go further and farther into the backcountry with the assistance of an eMTB motor. That mountain ridge or peak you always wanted to reach? It’s finally yours.

Self Shuttle

Taking a shuttle has its benefits. And its drawbacks. You’re either paying for a shuttle, juggling vehicles at the top and bottom or bringing a dedicated driver or making someone sit one out.

eMTBs can eliminate a lot of the shuttle hassles and ensure everyone gets a chance to ride. An eMTB can get you to the top nearly as quickly as a shuttle. Both a vehicle and an eMTB use a motor to help you climb to the top. Why not save the gas (and the planet) and choose a mountain bike that allows you to self-shuttle?

Mountain bike enthusiasts may not have been as quick to embrace electric bikes as other cycling communities. But there’s definitely room on the trails for both types of mountain bikes. And once you’ve experienced the trails on an eMTB, you’ll see for yourself the incredible reasons why you’re seeing more and more eMTBs on your favorite trails and bike parks.

Want to see what types of e-mountain bikes are available? Head on over to our Downtown Roseville Showroom and let our knowledgeable ebike staff at Roseville Cyclery help you find the perfect eMTB for you.


Stop Guessing. Start Riding. Let our team of ebike specialists help you find the perfect bike.

eMTB Riders Work as Hard as Regular MTB Riders, Study Says

Riders on e-mountain bikes on a trail. Researchers have found that eMTBs are just as good for exercise as conventional mountain bikes.

eMTB Riders Work as Hard as Regular MTB Riders, Study Says

E-mountain bike riders are working just as hard as standard mountain bike riders, says a study from BYU, busting open one of the most prevalent myths about ebikes.

If you’re still hanging on to the misguided belief that riding an ebike is “cheating” then keep reading — these findings just might change your mind for good.

Researchers Asked: Do eMTB Riders Get as Much Exercise?

Researchers at Brigham Young University (BYU) set out to explore the potential exercise response for eMTB riders, so they sent experienced mountain bike riders out on e-mountain bikes and conventional mountain bikes to compare the two.

The subjects were experienced mountain bike riders between the ages of 18 to 65 who had the capacity to participate in moderate-to-vigorous riding for 12-miles or longer.

The participants were fitted with a heart rate monitor and assigned to ride a six-mile loop over rolling terrain, including 700 feet of elevation gain — with one particularly demanding stretch that featured a five percent grade over a mile-long climb — on either an e-mountain bike or a conventional mountain bike.

Then, participants rode the loop a second time on whichever bike they did not ride the first time. In the end, all participants rode the 6-mile loop twice: once on a conventional bike and once on an electric bike.

eMTB Riders Got Just as Much Exercise as Conventional MTB Riders

The results of the study were clear: eMTB riders got just as much vigorous-intensity exercise as conventional mountain bike riders.

Riding both the conventional mountain bike and the eMTB placed participants’ in the upper half of the vigorous-intensity zone: 70-85% maximum heart rate (MHR). Mean heart-rate data indicated the eMTB study loop resulted in an approximate 10 bpm (beat per minute) difference when compared with the conventional mountain bike, however, all participants reached at least moderate levels of intensity and most reached vigorous levels while riding the eMTB.

Faster Ride Times for eMTB Riders

Researchers noted that the eMTB Riders completed the course an average of 12 min and 40 seconds faster when riding the eMTB as opposed to the conventional mountain bike. The average speed of travel on the eMTB was 4.1 mph (6.6 km/h) faster than on the conventional mountain bike.

eMTB Riders Didn’t Feel Like They Were Working Hard

Interestingly, eMTB riders may have been working just as hard on their e-mountain bikes as the conventional mountain bikes, but it didn’t feel that way.

Study participants did not perceive riding an eMTB to be a workout or taxing on their cardiovascular system. Most riders reached vigorous levels of intensity while riding the eMTB, however, participants perceived exertion while riding the eMTB was low.

The results suggest e-bikes may be a way to get more people on bikes who are otherwise less inclined to engage in exercise because riding one offers excellent exercise while not feeling like as much work in the process.

“Many of us have these perceived barriers about exercise, that it is hard and painful and all we can remember are bad memories from our 8th-grade gym class,” said Cougar Hall, lead author of the study. “This study could be a critical catalyst for populations who struggle to exercise. The participants got cardiovascular results, but didn’t really feel like they were working out.”

The mountain biking community has seen some resistance when it comes to adopting e-bikes. Concerns have ranged from increased trail damage to decreased trail access to e-MTB not representing the true sport of mountain biking. However, after riding an e-MTB, many riders are changing their perceptions of electric bikes. The majority of study participants were more accepting of e-bikes after riding one, and agreed that e-MTBs allowed them greater and deeper access to backcountry dirt trails.

If you want to learn more about e-mountain bikes, visit Roseville Cyclery’s showroom in Downtown Roseville, or shop our selection of ebikes online.


Stop Guessing. Start Riding. Let our team of ebike specialists help you find the perfect bike.

5 Amazing NorCal Places to Ride on International Ride MTB Day

The Roseville Cyclery staff on a ride to Downieville, CA, one of our 5 amazing NorCal places to ride on International Ride MTB Day.

5 Amazing NorCal Places to Ride on International Ride MTB Day

It’s International Ride MTB Day!

Since 2018, International Ride MTB Day has taken place on July 20, with the goal to get more people out and enjoying themselves on trails. Want to celebrate this hallowed holiday?

Get Out and Ride for International MTB Day

This one’s a no-brainer! The best way to participate is to get out and ride. Whether it’s a solo mission or getting together with a group of friends, all that matters is that you hit a trail.

Be sure to tag your trail pics with #ridemtbday

Here in Northern California, we’re extremely blessed to have some of the best mountain biking trails and parks right at our fingertips. In case you needed some inspiration, here are a few of our favorite places to #rideMTBday!


Downieville has earned its status as a “Mountain Biking Mecca.” This tiny town is home to the Downieville Classic, one of the biggest downhill races in the country.

Sure, you can hit up the Downieville Downhill, the town’s premier trail featuring 4,000 vertical feet of single-track with steep downhills, river crossings, and varied terrain. But you can also hit up the SBTS Mountain Epic Route — also known as the Second Divide Trail — that’s much more difficult, with trickier rocky sections, tighter curves, and cliff-edge sections not for the faint of heart. Or try Chimney Rock Trail, 28-miles of trail with 5,000 feet of elevation gain and great views.

Downieville is located in the Northern Sierras, Northeast of Sacramento and North of Auburn. Take I-80 to Auburn then North on Hwy 49 for 70 beautiful scenic miles along the Yuba River.

Lake Tahoe

The Lake Tahoe area offers a total of 836 total MTB trails winding through the Sierra Nevadas. With a wide variety of easy, intermediate, and difficult trails, you’re sure to find one to fit your skill level. And the views just can’t be beat.

The Flume Trail is a frequently-photographed Tahoe classic with breathtaking views over Lake Tahoe’s Eastern Shore. Named for the wooden flume which transported water and logs to Virginia City, Nevada, the 22-mile Flume Trail has been labeled one of Western America’s Top 10 routes. The trail begins at Spooner Lake, ascends five miles to Marlette Lake, where the actual Flume Trail begins. A 4-1/2 mile long narrow single-track departs from the west end of the lake, following the ridge to the north nearly 2,000 feet above Lake Tahoe.

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride/Saxon Creek is another Tahoe classic. This 10-mile trail gives advanced riders a satisfyingly long, plunging descent through a towering forest with rocky, challenging terrain on the upper sections giving way to smooth, fast, banked turns on the lower sections. Named for its exciting descent on the Saxon Creek Trail, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride plunges downhill at a drop of nearly 1,500 feet in less than six miles.

NorthStar Mountain Bike Park

Northstar Resort, just down the road from Truckee, is home to Northern California’s largest mountain bike park. This four-time top 5 winner in the MTBparks.com Riders’ Choice Awards offers lift-served cross-country and downhill mountain biking trails. The Northstar Mountain Bike Park is fun for riders of all abilities.

Mammoth Mountain Bike Park

In the summer months, this ski resort is all about some of the most radical mountain biking terrain in the country. Filled with jumps, bumps, and drops to feast on, the area contains over 80-miles of singletrack to explore. How good is it? Mammoth Mountain Bike Park is considered by many to be the biggest, baddest, and best bike park in the U.S.

Stay Local; Ride the Auburn Bike Park

No time to take off to the Sierra but still want to celebrate MTB Day? Then head up I-80 to the Auburn Bike Park, just over 16-miles NE from our Downtown Roseville showroom. The Auburn Bike Park has quickly become a local favorite. The 9-acre bike park overlooks the scenic American River Canyon and offers fun for riders of all ages and abilities.

Be sure to tag us in your #rideMTBday pictures so we can see which amazing Northern California trail you decided to visit on July 20!


Stop Guessing. Start Riding. Let our team of ebike specialists help you find the perfect bike.

The Top 5 Reasons Why People Love Ebikes

A man rides a Specialized Turbo ebike next to the water. Learn the top 5 reasons to get an ebike.

The Top 5 Reasons Why People Love Ebikes

Thanks to the host of benefits of owning an ebike, they’re more popular than ever. In fact, by 2023 there will be 300 million ebikes in circulation, a 50% increase from 2019.

What makes them so popular? There are many benefits of owning an electric bike — they’re convenient, fun, and environmentally friendly. If you haven’t invested in one yet, discover the 5 biggest reasons why an ebike might be a great fit for your lifestyle.

The 5 Top Reasons People Choose to Get an Ebike

1. To Make Commuting Easier

65% of participants in a North American Study stated that their primary reason for buying an ebike was to replace car trips.

Commuting by ebike eliminates the cost of public transit or fuel for a car, which can be a major cost saving in the long term. Taking your ebike to work can also help you avoid the headache and hassle of traffic, and the added power of the motor helps you avoid arriving sweaty and out of breath.

2. To Stay Fit

Ebikes are also a great choice for anyone looking to get more active and invest in their health.

Ebikes help people get and stay fit by:

  • Encouraging them to ride more: Studies find that ebike riders tend to ride their bikes more frequently than other cyclists. Almost half of ebike owners ride every day!
  • Providing a great cardio workout: Cycling is cardio, an aerobic exercise that supports your heart health and can lead to weight loss, among other benefits.

3. To Ride Faster

Thanks to increasingly powerful motors and batteries, ebikes can get you from point A to point B quicker than a regular bike can.

One study found that completing a journey on an electric bicycle was 21% faster than on a traditional bike. The Turbo CREO and Turbo Vado from Specialized are capable of hitting speeds of 28 miles per hour. Plus, features like pedal assist let you adjust your ebike’s speed so you can enjoy your ride at whatever pace you choose.

4. To Ride Safer

Safety concerns keep many people from riding a bike more. Past research has shown that concern for safety is one of the biggest barriers to cycling, particularly for women.

Ebikes are an excellent solution for those looking for improved safety. 60% of participants in a North American study felt safer riding an electric bike compared to a traditional bike. A further 42% said that the e-bike had helped them avoid collisions.

There are as many reasons to choose an ebike as there are riders, simply because their convenient nature and efficient design make them the perfect fit for many different lifestyles. Whether you’re exercising or commuting to work, there’s an electric bike for you.

5. To Have More Fun!

Recreation is the top reason ebike consumers gave for making their purchase, according to a survey of electric bike owners in the U.S.

The ability to push the limits of your speed, distance, and experience new terrain on an electric bike makes ebikes more fun for both experienced cyclists and occasional weekend riders, as well.

An ebike can also even the playing field when you’re riding with other people, especially for less experienced or slower riders. Rather than turning down invitations to ride with more experienced cyclists, an electric bike can help the slower party keep up and explore trails and routes previously inaccessible.

No matter what your reason for wanting an electric bike, you’re sure to ride more often, get more exercise, and have more fun once you get one. Start your ebike journey with Roseville Cyclery. Shop online or visit our Northern California showroom in Downtown Roseville, CA.


Stop Guessing. Start Riding. Let our team of ebike specialists help you find the perfect bike.

5 Hydration Tips for Safe Summer Cycling

A woman on a Specialized bike with a water bottle attached. Discover 6 cycling hydration tips.

5 Hydration Tips for Safe Summer Cycling

Dehydration has been shown to have a negative impact on cycling performance. Even more concerning, dehydration and a hotter-than-normal environment can make heat exhaustion more likely.

As the Northern CA temperatures soar, staying hydrated is key to cycling safely in the summer.

5 Cycling Hydration Tips to Keep You Going This Summer

#1: Create a Hydration Plan

Being proactive about your health and hydration while cycling this summer starts with creating a good hydration plan. This is especially important during the summer when the weather is hot and dehydration can lead to heat-related illness.

A simple way to determine how much fluid you need is to calculate how much you weigh before and after you ride. Weight loss during a ride can indicate that you need to increase your fluids. You’ll also want to factor in the temperature outside as well as the distance and intensity of your ride. These will all impact your hydration needs and should be part of your hydration plan.

#2: Know How to Tell if You’re Drinking Enough Water

The easiest way to tell if you’re dehydrated is by your urine color. A darker color suggests dehydration, whereas lighter-colored urine is a sign of appropriate hydration.

Rehydrating takes time, so keeping track of your hydration is the best way to make sure you’re always ready for a bike ride.

#3: Good Fluid Intake Starts Before Your Ride

Maintaining good day-to-day hydration, even on days when you’re not going cycling, will help you be prepared for a ride.

It’s important to set yourself up for success by beginning exercise when you’re well-hydrated. The Collegiate and Professional Sports Dieticians Association recommends drinking 16 to 20 ounces of water at least four hours before you exercise.

#4: Drink Regularly During Your Ride

Make sure you bring enough fluids with you on your ride to stay hydrated while you exercise.

The amount of liquid you’ll need will depend on the length and intensity of your ride. Plan to rehydrate every 15 minutes or so while you ride.

The length of your ride will also impact the type of liquid you choose. For rides under an hour or so water is a good choice, whereas for longer rides of more than an hour you’ll want electrolytes as well as water.

If a water bottle alone won’t hydrate you adequately for longer rides, a CamelBak pack is an easy way to stay hydrated while you ride.



#5: Rehydrate When You’re Done

Once you’re done with your bike ride, you’ll need to take time to rehydrate and replenish key nutrients that you lost while exercising. Make sure you’re getting electrolytes, too.

Speaking of electrolytes, consider moving beyond the neon-colored sports drinks from the gas station or grocery stores for optimal performance. We love Skratch Labs Sports Hydration Drink Mix. Unlike sports drinks that can be sickeningly sweet, Skratch Labs drink mix minimal sugar and a ratio of glucose + fructose that is optimized for faster absorption and offers an electrolyte profile that actually matches what is lost in sweat. Stop into our Roseville showroom to stock up on these superior alternatives to sports drinks.

Make sure you’ve got the right gear to help you stay hydrated. Shop our hydration products online, or stop into our Roseville Cyclery showroom for water bottles, CamelBaks, Skratch Labs Drink Mixes, and other hydration products so you can cycle safely all summer long.

The above tips are intended for educational purposes only and are not medical advice. Dehydration can quickly become a serious health issue, so please call your doctor with any concerns you have.


Stop Guessing. Start Riding. Let our team of ebike specialists help you find the perfect bike.