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Beginner’s Guide: Understanding Electric Bike Classifications & Styles

August 29, 2019
Beginner’s Guide: Understanding Electric Bike Classifications & Styles
Beginner’s Guide: Understanding Electric Bike Classifications & Styles

Most people are familiar with the two main classes of bicycles: road bikes and mountain bikes. But did you know there are now electric bicycles that run on battery power? These bikes are rapidly rising in popularity because they make it easier to get out and ride, regardless of your fitness level. If you have been wondering “What is an ebike?” here is a beginner’s guide to help you understand the various classifications and styles of electric bikes for sale.

Ebike Classifications

There are three major electrically powered bicycle classifications. They are pedal assist (pedelec), throttle and speed pedelec. Here are how the three types differ from each other:

  • Pedal assist (pedelec): This type of bike allows the rider to pedal normally while receiving assistance from the motor. Many cyclists prefer this classification of electric bike because it requires less pedaling effort than a normal bicycle and makes it easy to cross over steep heels at higher speeds than would otherwise be possible. The pedal assist ebike can provide assistance up to approximately 20 mph in the United States.
  • Throttle: The second class of electric bike is throttle-operated, which means the bike is propelled without requiring the rider to pedal. Many countries have laws prohibiting throttle ebikes, but in the United States they are legal. The speed the rider obtains depends on how far he or she pushes the throttle.
  • Speed pedelec: The speed pedelec classification refers to an ebike that is similar to the pedal assist (pedelec) bicycle, but can reach higher speeds. Most speed pedelec bikes can reach a top speed of approximately 28 mph. Some areas require riders who operate speed pedelec bikes to be licensed.

If you’re interested in a bike that can reach decent speeds and allows you to decide how much electrical assistance you want, the pedal assist bike may be the best choice. In most areas, it does not require any additional licensing and can be ridden on paths where normal bicycles are permitted.

Ebike Styles

There are a wide variety of ebike styles, from trekking bikes to cargo bikes. If you’re looking for maximum comfort, though, you may want to go with an electric cruiser bike. This style of ebike offers an extra-wide saddle, bigger tires and a more comfortable, upright position than more competitive bikes. A cruiser ebike is a great e bike for beginners.

Ebike Motors

Electric bike motorsare either located next to one of the hubs or at the center of the frame. The bike will operate differently depending on the location of the drive unit. A front hub motor is the most limited in capacity (with a few exceptions), while rear hub motors offer both pedelec and throttle options but can create an uneven distribution of weight. Mid-drive motors can only be used on pedelec bikes and offer many benefits, including even weight distribution and greater torque than hub motors.

If you need help deciding what type of ebike is best for you, spend some time researching the various options available. Once you know more about them, you’ll have an easier time determining what type of electric bike will best suit your preferences.

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