Can You Pedal an Electric Bike?

Electric bikes are growing in popularity. For those who were ahead of the curve, they will give you an earful of all the benefits you’ve been missing while sleeping on the e-bike revolution. While trying to catch all the details, you may have missed some essential pieces of information. Learn what kind of e-bikes are available, and can you pedal an electric bike or if it motors along on its own?

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E-bikes Are Divided by Class

Unlike the rest of us, e-bikes are divided into classes based on their maximum speed. Depending on which top speed the bike is capable of with or without throttle determines whether or not it is in class one, two, or three. For almost every type of electric bike, the power wattage is around 750, equivalent to 1 horsepower.

Class One

  • No throttle
  • No motor assistance after a speed of 20 mph
  • The motor provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling
  • Known as pedelecs

Class Two

  • Throttle
  • Throttle propels bike up to 20 mph
  • Motor assistance up to 20 mph even when the rider is not pedaling

Class Three

  • No throttle, but often found with mods
  • Motor assistance only when the rider is pedaling
  • Will not assist past a speed of 28 mph
  • Equipped with speedometer
  • Known as speed pedal-assisted electric bikes

Traditional Bikes

Connecting the new with the old is good if you're overwhelmed with new information. The regular bicycle that you likely grew up riding also has a classification. Traditional bikes are still popular and come with no motor or throttle to assist the rider; they are pedal only with gears. Bicycle gears can range from single speed, like the fixed-speed bikes known as fixies, all the way up to 25 or 30 for those who bike competitively. Interestingly, the traditional bikes you will always have to pedal have adopted a new name: analog bikes.

can you pedal an electric bike

E-bikes Suit Different Needs

For many people, electric bikes are a brand new experience. It may have been a one-off on vacation with a beach cruiser or for a national park tour. You may have been able to borrow an e-bike to ride with a friend and enjoyed it so much that you sought your own. No matter the case, it is rare that people grow up riding e-bikes, which is why it can be challenging to choose the right one to match your needs.

Location and Laws  

In addition to your needs, the place you live or the location you’re considering visiting with your electric bike likely also has stringent rules and regulations about which bikes can go where. There has been many a heated debate over electric bikes and whether or not they are welcome in commute, parks, and trails. Before buying, check the e-bike laws and specific regulations for your area.

Purpose and Price

Generally, class one electric bikes are the most accepted class. While not universally accepted in every place, they have a broader audience in parks, trails, and city streets. Class one bikes are also great for beginners; they are affordable and most like a traditional bike. Class two bikes mirror the general accessibility and options of class one. However, some cities have different regulations for the class twos, so just be sure to check before you buy.

Class three bikes have different regulations but can hit higher speeds and get up and go without much assistance from the rider. Many cities have a problem with class three bikes in bike lanes and trails. However, class three is perfect for quick trips across the city in traffic. Be aware that the class three bike is larger and faster, but also more expensive.

E-bikes All Have Pedals

A common misconception for electric bikes is that class two bikes that require little to no rider assistance only have footpegs or footrests, not working pedals. Even class two bikes have working pedals useful for navigation and travel. Do you pedal an electric bike all the time in every type of bike?

do you have to pedal an electric bike

E-bikes and Pedaling Requirements

The type and class of electric bike you choose will determine how often you have to pedal.

Have To

Remember that with a class one, you have to pedal for the motor to assist at all. For class two bikes, you do not have to pedal for the cycle to continue to motor on without you, thanks to the throttle. Class three bikes can hit higher speeds, but they require pedal work from the rider to keep going.

Want To

You don’t have to use the motor or the throttle of your electric bike at all times. If you wish to ride your e-bike in the more traditional sense, like the analog bike you grew up with, you can opt not to use the power assist you have on the bike. However, bear in mind that while e-bikes can be used as traditional bikes, they are much heavier. Not only are you carting a bike with a rider, but additional mechanical parts are onboard too.

E-bikes and the Benefits

Electric bikes aren’t just for scooting around on vacation. While they can make beach-going an easier, breezier task on the sand, e-bikes can also make life better every day in the city. Some of the more common activities affected by the advantages of electric and pedal-assisted biking include:

  • Errands
  • Inclines
  • Commutes
  • Parking
  • Leisure

Choosing an e-bike can be a challenging task, but knowing your purpose and budget are great places to start the search. After you browse the online selection, the professionals on ZuGo Bike’s Happiness Team can also help with troubleshooting or answer any questions you have about choosing the bike that’s right for you. Contact ZuGo Bike today for more information about e-bikes.