A basic understanding of how an ebike works can help you decide what type of electrical components you’re looking for. An electric bike motor supplies power to either the front hub (pulling the rider along by the front wheel), the rear hub (pushing the rider from the rear wheel), or the drivetrain. Mid-drive motors that send power to the centrally-located drivetrain are very popular, offering a more natural feel to riders.
Like standard bicycles, electric bikes come in price points ranging from low to ultra-premium. The bicycle components themselves will factor into the price of an electric bike. Then the electrical components (motor, battery, drivetrain) will further contribute to the price of an electric bike.
Primarily for regulatory reasons, ebikes are also categorized into classes that denote their level of motor assistance.
Class 1 eBikes, or low-speed pedal-assisted electric bicycles, are legal on any paved surface that a regular bike is allowed to operate. Class 1 ebikes are equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and stops assisting when the bicycle reaches 20 mph.
Class 2 eBikes, or low-speed throttle-assisted electric bicycles, are legal on any paved surface that a regular bike is allowed to operate. Class 2 throttle assisted ebikes are equipped with motors that can exclusively propel the bicycle, but that cannot provide assistance when the ebike reaches 20 mph.
Class 3 eBikes, or speed pedal-assisted electric bicycles, are prohibited from Class I multi-use bike paths unless specifically authorized by a local ordinance. Class 3 ebikes are equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and stops providing assistance when the ebike reaches 28 mph.
Most new riders start out with a class 1 e-bike. Class 1 ebikes are the most affordable and, from a regulatory standpoint, the most universally accepted. You can ride one on city streets, bike paths, and even a growing number of mountain bike trails.
To keep up with ebike regulations in your state, check out People for Bikes’ state-by-state guide to e-bike regulations around the country, and check with local cities where you plan to ride.
If choosing an ebike still feels like an overwhelming task, let Roseville Cyclery help guide you. We’re Northern California’s premier ebike sales and service shop and our team members can help you find the right bike for your needs and budget. Call us today to schedule a demo and you can ride before you buy to ensure you’re getting the perfect ebike for you.