Specialized Turbo Levo

Do Electric Bikes Work Without Pedaling?

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.


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

The 7 Biggest Myths About Ebikes, Busted

Ebike rider on a mountain trail. We’re dispelling the biggest myths about ebikes; check out our latest blog at Roseville Cyclery.

The 7 Biggest Myths About Ebikes, Busted

Any celebrity will tell you, fame brings with it a certain amount of rumors and myths. And now that ebikes are reaching the popularity level of some of the biggest names in movies and music, myths and misinformation have come with the territory. We’re here to clear up the worst of these rumors once and for all. Because ebikes don’t deserve a bad rap or a negative reputation. Here are the seven biggest myths about ebikes, busted.

Myth: Ebikes are Cheating

Like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster, this is the granddaddy of ebike myths. And, like those other mythical monsters, it continues to pop up, time and again. This myth has been dispelled a hundred times over. Because anyone who’s ridden an electric bike can undoubtedly attest that… Ebikes are Not Cheating All you need is a basic understanding of how an ebike works to know this claim is pure myth. In general, an ebike includes a pedal-assisted motor that only activates if you’re pedaling. It’s not a motorcycle in disguise; you won’t just kick back, relax, and let the motor propel you around. You’ve got to be putting in some (wo)man-power of your own to get the motorized assist to kick in. Like the Specialized Turbo Levo or the Santa Cruz Heckler, many electric bike models offer varying assist levels. This means riders can choose the amount of assist they use on their rides. And, of course, you can decide how much assistance to use. Want to climb to the top of that hill completely unassisted? Great! It’s your ride. But if you want a little boost so you can reach the top faster and go even further than you ever have before, an ebike gives you that ability. We’re tired of hearing this myth. It’s time to retire it for good.

Myth: Ebikes aren’t Good Exercise

Anyone who claims an ebike isn’t good exercise obviously hasn’t spent a day ripping up and down trails, heart pumping, sweat dripping, dirt flying, and face smiling. Ebikes are Great Exercise Sure, the pedal-assist motor kicks in whenever you want it. So you can go faster, further, or get a boost up that one hill that’s always been your nemesis. But that doesn’t mean you’re coasting around town on a moped, letting a motor do all the work. Ebikes provide all of the health benefits of cycling. And most people who buy an ebike do so for health and fitness reasons. Because ebikes are a great way to get some serious exercise.

Myth: Ebikes are for People Who Can’t Ride Conventional Bikes

Another big myth about ebikes is that they’re only for people who can’t or don’t ride a conventional bike. This myth may be founded in a small bit of truth: ebikes are a fantastic way for a less experienced cyclist to enjoy the sport and keep up with more advanced riders. But, in general, we’re marking this as FALSE. Experienced Riders Love Ebikes Our favorite quote about ebikes comes from Janelle, who coaches a local high school mountain bike team. “If you’re not having fun on an ebike, you probably don’t have the assist turned on!” Janelle’s not the only “serious” cyclist who’s a big fan of electric bikes. “The only thing that surprises me is that more people are NOT on eBikes,” says seven-time US championship retired professional cyclist Rahsaan Bahati.

Myth: Ebikes are too Expensive

Electric bikes add some additional components to a standard bike frame, including a motor, battery, and even apps that connect to your smartphone. And all of these extra components can add to the final cost of the bike. But too expensive? We’re saying no. Ebikes Come in a Wide Range of Price and Function Saying an ebike is too expensive is like saying a bicycle costs too much. There are just too many possible combinations of form, function, and price points to make that kind of blanket statement. Just like conventional bicycles, you can find an ebike for every type of rider. You can find ebikes built to help you commute to work, cruise around town, put some serious miles on the road or gravel, or climb every mountain. And you can find an electric bike in almost every price range, from hundreds to thousands of dollars. In most cases, if you’ve got the cash for a conventional bike, you can probably find an ebike priced similarly. Get Ebike Pricing: Shop Ebikes at Roseville Cyclery

Myth: Ebike Batteries Don’t Last Long

Worried that an ebike battery won’t keep up with your ride? Don’t be! You can leave this myth at home while you confidently conquer the streets and peaks. Ebike Batteries Are Long-lasting and Rechargeable For starters, think of an ebike battery like gas in your car. There are a number of factors that go into how long your ebike battery will last, just like there are different factors that determine how long your tank of gas will last. Rider size, terrain, and level of assist are just a few of the things that determine your battery life. And when your battery does need to be recharged, simply plug it into the wall for 3 to 5 hours and you’ll be good to go. Learn more ebike battery facts. Read: How Long do Ebike Batteries Last and Other Ebike Battery FAQs.

Myth: Ebikes Can’t Go Where Mountain Bikes Go

“I don’t want an ebike. I can’t take it on my favorite trail.” Sound familiar? We’ve heard this song a time or two. But we’re interrupting the recording because this myth usually isn’t true. Ebikes Can Go Where Most Bikes Go Functionally speaking, ebikes can go where any conventional bike can go. In fact, an ebike may help you conquer terrain that’s previously been out of reach. Ebike fans love how they can get more distance out of their rides. There’s been confusion in the past and a fair share of controversy—over whether ebikes were allowed on trails in national parks. But a 2019 reclassification of ebikes as “non-motorized bicycles” allows all three classes of e-bikes to ride on cycling trails in national parks. Be sure to check on your state and local regulations for ebike use on trails, and remember that an ebike doesn’t give you license to hog the trail or otherwise act like a dirt clod. “In order to maintain a safe experience for everyone, cyclists—whether using an e-bike or a regular bike—must respect the experiences of pedestrians, other cyclists, and other trail users by using safe speeds and signaling when passing. In short, it is user behavior, not the technology of an e-bike, that determines the trail experience,” reminds railstotrails.org.

Myth: Ebikes are a Passing Trend

Transportation trends come and go. Remember when the Segway was supposed to reinvent personal transportation? But putting electric bikes in the same category as the Segway and other passing trends is untrue and unfair. Ebikes are Here to Stay Ebikes are here to stay. The global e-bike market size is projected to grow to USD 70.0 billion by 2027. COVID-19 boosted sales of bikes and ebikes as people looked for both outdoor recreational opportunities and creative ways to avoid crowded public transportation. Studies have shown that ebike riders ride more frequently and cover more miles per day compared to conventional bike owners. That’s a very appealing, eco-friendly alternative to car-based transportation, and governments are taking note. Government incentives are expected to boost the sales of cargo and commuter ebikes in the future, as well. Do you have more ebike myths that need to be dispelled? Or just general questions about electric bikes? Visit our downtown Roseville ebike showroom in Northern California and our team of ebike experts can answer your questions and help you find the right ebike for your needs.


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

I Tested a Specialized Turbo Ebike. Here’s What I Thought.​

I Tested a Specialized Turbo Ebike

I Tested a Specialized Turbo Ebike. Here's What I Thought.

My six-year-old loves to bike. He spends a considerable number of the daylight hours riding his bike around the neighborhood, on and off the beaten path. He spends all of his time “practicing his jumps” on a wooden ramp his grandfather made just for him. On the weekends, he expands his territory, heading out to trails and pump tracks. And he wants me to join him, which I love.

The problem is, I’m not much of a cyclist. I can keep up with him to a point, but my cycling level is novice, at best.

Especially when his escapades involve leaving the pavement for uneven terrain.


So when I got the chance to demo an ebike through Roseville Cyclery, I was half-excited and half-terrified. Ok, mostly terrified. Because I realized that we would be heading off the pavement on a route easily 4x longer than what I would typically ride with my son.

What, exactly, was I getting myself into?

Ebike Demo Day

Ebike demo day started early, with a little fuel (and a couple of butterflies) in my stomach. I met with my fellow demo-riders in Folsom, a short distance from the lake.  The Specialized van sat tall in the parking lot, a gleaming row of Specialized Turbo Levo ebikes lined up beside it.

As I was fit for my bike, I had my first lesson for the day:

I’ve been riding my bike with my seat way too low this entire time.

Getting into a proper seat position felt completely different on my knees. In fact, it felt great! I had a brief moment of embarrassment that I’ve been riding incorrectly up until this point.

Next came a demonstration of how the ebike motor actually worked.

I breathed a sigh of relief as I realized just how much control I actually had over the motor. There was no way I would go careening out-of-control on the bike. For starters, the motor only kicks in if I’m peddling. No peddling = no assist. Secondly, I could control how much pedal-assist I wanted. Which, as a novice cyclist, was a lot.

The Specialized Turbo Levo was heftier than my hybrid bike. Considerably. But once I was on it and peddling around the parking lot, I couldn’t really tell the difference in weight.

Feeling moderately comfortable on the bike, our group headed out towards Folsom Lake. First on a paved bike lane, and then off the pavement and on to the trail.

“Game Changer”

There are two words I would use to describe my experience riding an ebike:

Game changer.

Physically and mentally, the trail we took was just beyond my current skill set. If I had been on my non-electric bike, I wouldn’t have made it very far at all. But the ebike bridged the gap between my current skill set and athletic ability and what I needed to keep up with the experienced riders I was with.

I wasn’t intimidated by uphill climbs, because I was able to use the pedal-assist to help power me up the hills.

And the distance, which was easily 4x longer than what I’m used to, also felt manageable because of the assistance of the ebike motor.

What I was most surprised about, however, was how much fun I had.

Would I Get an Ebike?

Right now, I’m still riding my standard bike. I’ve been empowered a bit by my ebike experience: now that I know I am capable of getting off the paved paths, I’m feeling more confident and bold about taking to the trails and pump tracks.

But every time I hop on my standard bike now, I remember what it felt like to have that pedal-assist to give me the extra push to make it up the hill. How much further and longer I was able to ride with the help of the motor. And how easy it was to keep up with more experienced riders, allowing me to meet new people that I otherwise would never have met.

My six-year-old easily outrides me, but the ebike makes me feel like I could keep up with him on his adventures. As a mom, its important to me to be make fun family memories together and encourage activities (like cycling) that promote an appreciation for exercise, movement, and an appreciation for the outdoors.

Would I get an ebike after taking one for a test ride?

The answer is a definitive “yes.”


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