Tag Archives: e-bike laws

Now that the market for E-bikes has become mature, there are many options to choose from. Read on for some tips on choosing the right E-bike for you.

E-bikes, what are the differences and what’s best for your riding style

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

The idea of strapping a motor to a bicycle is nothing new. In fact, the first internal combustion engine bicycle was launched in 1885. As the bicycle industry moved forward into the next century, bikes with motors became motorcycles. But, the call for some sort of bicycle, powered by a motor, has never faded away. In recent years bicycles called E-bikes or electric-assist bikes have emerged to fill that void. Now as battery technology matures there are many options you can choose from when looking to buy an electric bike. Read on for some tips on choosing the right E-bike for you.

Motor options for E-bikes

At the heart of any E-bike is its motor. Motors usually break down into two types; Hub motors and Center motors.

Hub motor systems

These options replace either the front or rear hub with an electric motor. The front motor systems are usually an aftermarket system designed to change a standard bicycle into an electric bike. While these systems aren’t used commonly on stock E-bikes, they are another option if you have a bike you love and want to add some battery power. Rear motor systems replace the rear hub with a motor. Additionally, some rear hub systems incorporate the motor and battery into the rear wheel. Some of the benefits of a hub motor system are that they don’t put any additional strain on the chain or gears of a bicycle. The cost might also be a factor.

E-bike

The GeoOrbital (bottom left) and Copenhagen (top left) wheels are aftermarket hub motor options, while the DHM (right) bicycle comes complete with a rear motor wheel.

The Center motor systems

This has become the most popular option for a completed E-bikes in today’s market. A center motor bicycle is purposely built to accept a motor in the center of the frame where a normal bikes pedal crank would go. With two major E-motor manufacturers, either Bosch or Shimano, most bicycle brands build their bikes around one of these two systems. Center motors are usually about 50% more efficient than hub motors and produce more torque. This allows the center motor to have a better range and ride quality. Also, when removing a wheel for transport or fixing a flat, a center motor system is far easier than a hub motor.

E-bike

Here this center motor Raleigh E-MTB is perfect for the off-road trail.

The battery for an E-Bike

E-bikes usually use a battery located in one of two places, over the rear wheel or on/in the frame’s downtube. The batteries use a series of Lithium-ion cells to maximize motor power while keeping the system light. When comparing batteries, the power is measured in Watt Hours, with larger batteries having more Watt-Hours, equaling a longer mileage range.

E-bike

Rear Battery (left) and a downtube mounted battery (center and right)

How the E-bikes works

Most E-bikes come equipped with pedal assist for added power when pedaling. However, there are few models that also offer a thumb or twist throttle for an added boost when you need it.  With only the pedal-assist made most E-bikes only offer power when you need it. Therefore, if you are riding along a flat path or downhill, the E-bike will not offer much in the way of assistance. However, if you are riding against a headwind, along rolling terrain, or uphill, the E-bike’s motor will kick in and assist you when the going gets tough. Additionally, most systems are adjustable, allowing you to customize the level of assistance you may need.

Bosch or Shimano are the two main motor manufactures for E-Bikes.

Bosch and Shimano are the two E-bikes motor manufactures.

Range between charges

Determining the range of an E-bike is difficult due to the fact that the motor only engages when needed. As an example, someone riding a bike on a 45-mile trip that is half downhill and the other half on flat ground might finish their ride with plenty of battery left. On the other hand, a route selected that is 15 miles long but full of steep hills could burn through a fully charged battery sooner. So the published information for any E-bikes range is a bit of a guess. On the bright side, these guesses are consistent across most brands, so the range is still a good way to compare brands.

Buying an E-bike

The best place to start your E-bike buying education is at your favorite bike shop. Usually, I recommend doing some research about various brands before starting a search, but with E-bikes, the ride is more important than the stats. For E-bikes more than any other bike, the sum is greater than the parts, so ride the bikes! In fact, ride as many of the bikes as you can. They will all have drastically different ride qualities. Beyond the different ride qualities, there are also many different types of E-bikes. Those types can include Mountain bikes, Fat bikes, Road bikes, Trekking bikes, as well as trikes and recumbents.

Accessibility for E-bikes

Now that the market for E-bikes has become mature, there are many options to choose from. Read on for some tips on choosing the right E-bike for you.

Now that the market for E-bikes has become mature, there are many options to choose from.

The last thing to consider when buying an E-bike is your state’s laws on the subject. Will they legally allow you on non-motorized trails or road, or treat you as a motor scooter, requiring a license? Considering E-bikes are a relatively new development, the department of transportation in individual states haven’t all agreed on how to treat them. Additionally, your local trails could be off-limits to your new E-bike, so check the laws first. As the E-bike legislation matures, I think there will be more and more options for E-bike riding all states.

Here in today's bike pic, we see more and more people around the world looking at and taking an e-bike for a test ride. For those who may need a little, electric assistance on their #NextBikeAdventure

Bike Pic Feb 13, it may be time to test ride an e-bike

Here in today’s bike pic, we see more and more people around the world looking at and taking an e-bike for a test ride. For those who may need a little, electric assistance on their #NextBikeAdventure it may be time to visit your favorite bike shop and test ride an e-bike to continue your commute to work or for that next bike tour.

After you find the right bicycle, view all the great ideas and bike destinations in the new  National Bike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of the HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for viewing our ‘test ride an e-bike’ Pic of the Day  

Now rolling into our 11th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun. While highlighting all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more destinations you can have fun at we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy!

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: editor@HaveFunBiking.com. Include a brief caption (for each), of who is in the photo (if you know?) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger, to be considered. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continues to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure – Also, check out the latest  Bike Guide, mobile friendly as we enter into our 9th year of producing print and digital guides.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. Please share all our pic’s with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the next corner with a HFB camera ready to document your next move while you are riding and having fun. Capturing you in one of our next ‘Pic of the Day’ posts.

Have a great week!

California E-bike law signed

Recently, California Governor Jerry Brown signed A.B. 1096, legislation that clarifies the regulation of electric bicycles (e-bikes) in California. This new law is the result of a coordinated campaign between the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association (BPSA), PeopleForBikes, and the California Bicycle Coalition (CalBike) to refine how and where cyclists can ride electric bicycles.

Assembly member David Chiu (D-San Francisco) introduced the legislation, and played an instrumental role in the bill’s success. A.B. 1096 passed the Legislature with unanimous support in both chambers and takes effect on January 1, 2016.

The legislation updates California law to reflect the progression in technology around electric bicycles. The bill designates three classes of e-bikes and distinguishes lower speed electric bicycles that reach motor-assisted speeds of up to 20 miles per hour, from higher “speed pedelecs” which have motors that provide assistance up to 28 miles per hour. This class system allows the use of lower-speed e-bikes on bicycle paths, and also provides local authorities with the flexibility to regulate different types of e-bikes based on their needs.

In addition to modernizing e-bike law, with A.B. 1096, e-bikes are no longer regulated like mopeds, and the same rules of the road will apply to both e-bikes and human-powered bicycles. E-bikes are also no longer subject to the registration, licensing, or insurance requirements that apply to motor vehicles.

“The U.S. bicycle industry is very pleased that Governor Brown signed AB 1096 into law,” said Larry Pizzi, Chair of the BPSA’s Electric Bicycle Committee. “We believe that these new regulations will serve as a model for many other states to follow and provide safe and appropriate access to bicycling infrastructure for the wide variety of low-speed electric bicycles that are being marketed today. From the onset of our involvement in drafting the concept for the bill, safety has been our primary concern. With a multi-class structure established, states, municipalities and land management agencies can regulate effectively and clear a path for the proliferation of electric bicycles, which we believe will provide access to bicycling for many more Americans.”

The BPSA and PeopleForBikes are grateful to Assembly member David Chiu for sponsoring this legislation and his staff for successfully shepherding it through the legislature, as well as all of the stakeholders who came together in support of this bill. They would also like to thank the Executive Director of CalBike, Dave Snyder, and the entire CalBike staff for their significant contributions to this effort to get more people riding bicycles.

About PeopleForBikes

PeopleForBikes is making riding better for everyone by uniting millions of individuals, thousands of businesses and hundreds of communities. Join us at PeopleForBikes.org.

About the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association

The Bicycle Product Suppliers Association is an association of suppliers of bicycles, parts, accessories and services that leads industry initiatives in legal and governmental affairs and safety issues, is the leading resource for bicycle statistical data, and provides regular networking and educational forums for members.