Updated: Jun 17, 2022
Electric bicycles are categorized by classes. Learn about all the classes and which class is right for you. Ebikes must have pedals in order to not be considered a moped or a different type of motorized vehicle. Remember that each state, and even some municipalities, have their own regulations when it comes to ebikes. Be sure to check what is allowed in your area before riding your ebike.
Analog bikes are your traditional bikes without any type of assistance from a motor. May also be called traditional, nonassisted, or non-electric bicycles.
Class 1 ebikes must be pedaled by the rider to engage the motor. The motor is limited to assisting the rider at speeds of 20mph or less. For example, if the rider's speed exceeds 20mph going down a hill, the motor will disengage. These ebikes do not have a throttle and must be pedaled. Class 1 ebikes are unrestricted and can be ridden anywhere analog bikes can ride.
Class 2 ebikes feature a throttle that allows the rider to engage the motor without pedaling, in addition to assisting the rider when they are pedaling; this is great for buzzing up hills or accelerating from a stop. Just like class 1, the motor is limited to assisting a rider at speeds of 20mph or less and will disengage when the rider reaches speeds greater than 20mph. The throttle is typically in the form of a push-button activated with your thumb or a twist grip. Class 2 ebikes can be ridden anywhere an analog bike is allowed.
Class 3 ebikes are the fastest version of electric bikes and the motor will assist a rider past speeds of 20mph and up to speeds of 28mph. Once again, this does not limit a rider to going beyond 28mph, like going down a hill, but the motor will not assist beyond 28mph. Often, class 3 ebikes have a throttle just like class 2 ebikes, but the throttle cuts off at 20mph to obey laws and regulations, but some class 3 ebikes do not have a throttle. Class 3 ebikes can typically be ridden on most bike lanes, paths, trails, etc., but be sure to check with your local regulations before taking your high-speed ebike in an unfamiliar area.
Which class is best for me?
The type of ebikes class that is right for you is based on a number of different factors including age, ability, riding style, etc. The best way to know what type of ebike is best for you is to take a few for a test ride and talk with an ebike specialist. You can schedule a consultation with a Crazy Lenny's Ebike Specialist who can help you determine what model will check all your boxes.