E-bikes – Are They Worth It? Some Say, Absolutely!
Gregory Maassen is a Dutchman who loves cycling. Having moved to Washington DC, he found that the hills there were just too steep for it to be a practical travel solution, which prompted him to get himself an e-bike.
Since then, he’s grown to love them. He founded an e-bike lovers’ club with a good 250 members and is one of the thousands who use the bikes as a fun and easy way to travel.
E-bikes are bicycles that have an integrated motor to assist the rider. Some come with a throttle and work similarly to a moped, but they all have peddles like a regular bike. This distinguishes them legally from fully electric motorbikes.
Types of E-bikes
In the US e-bike industry, there are three distinct categories of e-bikes:
- Class 1 – E-bikes with motors that only provide assistance when the rider is actually pedaling. They cut out when the bike reaches a speed of 20mph.
- Class 2 – E-bikes that have a throttle that can accelerate the bike to the same speed.
- Class 3 – These are the same as class 1 e-bikes, except that they can assist the rider up to a speed of 28mph.
According to Maassen, there is still confusion among e-bike owners as to the different classifications. Many local and international laws make it hard to know what you can and can’t do with these bikes.
In the US, they allow any class of e-bike to be used in public parks alongside everyday cyclists so long as their engines don’t provide over 750 watts of power.
However, in the EU and UK, e-bikes may not deliver power without the rider pedaling, and they are limited to 250 watts of power at once. Their power has to be cut out when the bike reaches 15.5mph, but the rider can go faster if unassisted.
E-bikes are an excellent solution for traveling with a more sustainable eco-footprint, but make sure you understand all your local rules and regulations before you invest!