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This is the true meaning of each class of electric bike

Photo of someone riding a Serial electric bike on the off-road.

Grade 1, Grade 2 or Grade 3? Read to find out.
picture: serial

Slowly but surely, we have expand our coverage of electric bicycles here in Jalopnik. It was a quest I took on, as I really thought they might be the best way to get around town. You can exercise a little, feel the breeze in your hair and enjoy the view – what more could you want?

This quest to turn Bikelopnik into something slow but sure means I’ve reviewed a number of different e-bikes this year. And, at the end of some of those reviews, some commenters were happy to tell me that it really isn’t an e-bike for many of their reasons.

But here’s the thing: every model we’ve reviewed this year To be a perfectly legal e-bike, they all just differ in class.

Here in America, There are three different types of electric bicycles differ in speed and how they de-energize. So we think now is a good time to take a quick look at what each type of e-bike really means.

1 . electric bicycle

Photo of VanMoof S3 electric bike.

VanMoof it onto a device.
picture: Owen Bellwood

Type 1 is pretty simple: It’s an electric bike with a motor that only works when you’re pedaling. These specialized pedal-assist models can reach speeds of up to 20 mph before the engine stops.

If you ride a Class 1 e-bike, you don’t need to register and don’t need a license — just a good helmet and the necessary speed.

Class 1 electric bike included series 1 from Harley Davidson’s turn off the power and VanMoof S3 that we drove this early year.

2 electric bicycle

RadRunner 2 electric bike photo.

Looks rad.
picture: Owen Bellwood

Things accelerated with class 2. At this level, you have an engine that is still limited to 20 mph, but it can be activated by turning the pedal or by throttle. Basically, this means that on a class 2 bike, you can choose to pedal or sit and ride like an electric motorcycle.

Just like class 1, you also don’t need a class 2 e-bike license and no need to register your journey.

type 2 bike includes the RadRunner 2 we tested last month and bikes like Nomadic Magnum.

3 electric bicycle

Specialize Turbo Creo electric bike photo.

This is a dedicated piece of kit.
picture: Owen Bellwood

When you switch to layer 3 it will revert to pedal assist or nothing. At this level, your engine can power you up to a top speed of 28 mph, but it only works when you’re cycling.

Again, you don’t need to register a bike or have a driver’s license, but Some states require you to wear a helmet by law. But that’s just common sense – you should always wear a helmet.

Class 3 bikes are pretty awesome, and Includes dedicated Turbo Creo which we went this summer.


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