Pretty senior woman riding her electric mountain bike in early springtime.

Do Electric Bikes Work Without Pedaling?

Ebike caught your eye?

It’s no wonder. Electric bikes are a great way to get more exercise, ride farther, and have more fun.

But you may have a few more questions lingering about the latest evolution of the bicycle.

Including this one:

Do Electric Bikes Work Without Pedaling?

The answer to this question depends on the type of ebike you have. Electric bikes, or motorized bikes, come in two modes: throttle and pedal-assist.

Let’s compare the two.

Pedal-Assist Electric Bikes

The motor of a pedal-assist electric bike works when you are pedaling. (Hence the name.)

If you’ve ridden a conventional bike before, you’ll find the pedal-assist to be very intuitive. The motor kicks in when you pedal, so you can get an extra boost uphill, extend your ride time further, or get your ride done in less time.

Pedal-assist ebikes also give you the option to not use the assist. You’re not obligated to use the motor; you can pick and choose the situations in which you want to use it. If you still want to sweat and push your way up the hills, it’s your ride!

Although, once you’ve experienced the extra speed and fun the ebike motor provides, you’re going to want to keep enjoying it.

Trust us on that one.

Many ebikes allow you to change the amount of help you get when pedaling, so you can decide whether you want to do most of the work yourself or let the bike do the hard stuff.

How much you use the pedal-assist affects not only how fast you’ll go but also how long the battery will last and how much of a workout you get.

Where can you ride it?
Pedal-assist ebikes that reach top speeds of 20 MPH are classified as Class I ebikes and are allowed pretty much anywhere standard bikes are, including Class I bike trails.

Check out the Specialized Turbo Levo or the Santa Cruz Heckler if you want a pedal-assist mountain bike that will help you conquer some major trails and reach peaks previously out of reach.

Electric Bicycles with Throttle

An electric bike equipped with a throttle allows you to pedal just like you would a conventional bike or to kick back and enjoy a free ride.

A throttle-equipped bike works basically like a motorcycle. Usually mounted on the handlebar and activated by twisting, the throttle can power the electric motor without any pedaling.

Some bikes come with just the throttle and no pedal-assist, while others come with the option to use both. And a few ebikes don’t even have pedals at all, just a throttle.

Where can you ride it?
Throttle-equipped ebikes can be classified as Class II ebikes if they top out at 20 MPH or Class III ebikes if their top speed is 28 MPH.

The difference in top speeds will dictate where they’re allowed to go. Class II ebikes are allowed in Class I bike trails in CA, while Class III ebikes are not.

On U.S. Federal lands, any use of a throttle where bikes are allowed is against the rules. Your bike is allowed to have one, but you can’t use it.

Shop for Pedal-Assist Ebikes at Roseville Cyclery

At Roseville Cyclery, we’re big fans of pedal-assist electric bikes from our favorite brands such as Specialized, Santa Cruz, and more.

Due to increasing demand, our inventory is constantly fluctuating, so call or visit our Northern California ebike store to see what’s in stock and to find the perfect, pedal-assisted ebike for you.

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