Do You Need To Pedal An Electric Bike? Read This First!

By Rachel Lee
Update
This post contains affiliate links, and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links.

Electric-powered bikes are becoming ever so popular and more common on our trails, streets and bicycle paths. Still, some people may have misconceptions about what are sometimes called e-bikes. For instance, Do you need to pedal an Electric bike?

Yes, you do have to pedal with an electric bike. However, how often, or when, depends on factors such as national or local laws, and the type of e-bike ridden.

One must remember that electric bicycles are meant to help enjoy rides, not to avoid pedaling altogether. That’s what motorcycles, powered scooters and mopeds are for.

To legally qualify as an electric bike, its motor must assist with the pedaling (not replace it). Some have sensors built in that monitor pedaling production, and adjust the electric power accordingly. Taking a breather down a hill by not moving your legs? The bike might just cut back on the electricity — or cut it off entirely.

In the United States, the legal cap on speeds on e-bikes is 20 mph. Other nations or locales have other limitations, such as about 15.5 mph in Australia, the United Kingdom and European Union. In America, surpass 20 mph and the motor will stop helping. You’re free to ride faster, but under your own power.

Let’s take a look at electric bikes, pedaling vs. powering, and other details.

Insight into Electric Bikes

Looking deeper into electric bikes, first understand what is and what is not. If a bicycle’s power is controlled by the rider, such as with a twist grip on the handlebars, or a form of throttle, it won’t be classified as an e-bike. Electric bikes must have the power regulated internally by comparing pedaling power with the electricity being distributed.

This delineation could affect licensing, taxing and insurance requirements, as two-wheelers powered too much (or by gasoline) could be classified as mopeds. Other local restrictions may apply, such as whether or not helmets are required, or if you’ll be forced away from cycle paths in favor of rolling along roadways.

Electric bikes with motors too strong, such as those providing over 250 watts of electric power, may also be classified as something other than an e-bike and the same requirements (e.g. licensing) would apply.

As electric bikes become more popular and prevalent, and as manufacturers respond with new models and styles of e-bikes to meet riders’ desires, government rules are changing along with them. It’s a burgeoning new channel in bicycling, with the same growing pains seen in other new developments such as when mountain bikes became the craze many years ago.

Some new rules address electric bikes intended to carry cargo, such as in big cities where two-wheeled deliveries are common, allowing more-powerful motors. Still, to date it remains that riders have to pedal, at least at times, on electric bikes.

E-Bike Classes, Tech Abilities, and More

The 3 Classes of Electric Bikes

To clarify the “depends” statement above, note that there are 3 classes of e-bikes, and pedaling requirements differ:

  • Class 1: No throttle and max speed of 20 mph.
  • Class 2: Throttle-assisted, maximum 20-mph speed.
  • Class 3: Maximum assisted speed of 28 mph, no throttle.

Classes 1 and 3 will always require pedaling (of course, with no throttle). You’re not required to pedal electric bikes in Class 2, but could choose to do so, such as to conserve power.

Sometimes government agencies place certain restrictions on e-bikes in Classes 2 and 3. For instance, Class 2 bicycles have been barred from mountain bike trails due to throttle-powered speeds damaging trails. Class 3 bikes have been banned from more places, even shared pedestrian paths, because of their ability to reach faster speeds. They are nudged to roadside riding.

Note: All 3 classes limit each bicycle motor to 1 horsepower (750 watts) in the United States.

High-Tech Sensory on E-Bikes

While electric bike systems help regulate power and speed, it doesn’t mean riders don’t have the ability to make adjustments. To an extent.

The e-bike systems usually have “assistance levels,” selected by a button on the top tube, or handlebar. Basically, it allows riders to choose how much assistance they want from the motor — upward to the limits noted above. Savvy riders will conserve electricity while going downhill to conserve energy.

Of course, riders can shut off the electric motors entirely and pedal away. However, weights of the motor and its battery can make pedaling harder than on regular bicycles. Some advanced e-bike systems even have buttons to boost power, like a “Turbo” button, to provide a little added push temporarily during strenuous stretches.

With sensors, e-bike motors can adjust the power as needed, knowing when you begin to slowly ascend due to pedaling torque, or start naturally speeding up going down hill. New electric bike riders might soon learn to appreciate the sensation!

Differences vs. Regular Bikes

Mostly the differences between e-bikes and normal bicycles amounts to speed, both gaining it and maintaining it:

  • Riders appreciate the ability of e-bikes to quickly boost energy on inclines, or flat segments where a rider wants to really push it. Experts say electric bikes can add 2 or 3 mph in these instances compared with regular pedal-only bikes.
  • Electric bikes usually carry about 20 lbs. more in weight compared with regular bikes, due to the motor, battery pack and sometimes frame reinforcements. This might help gain speed downhill but could be a nuisance on inclines especially if the e-bike system does not provide enough juice.
  • Electric bikes cost more than non-powered bikes, sometimes very much so. Yet for those very interested in cycling and especially going faster without too much extra exertion, they are a solid investment.

Related Questions on Electric Bikes & Pedaling

Question: Where does the motor go on an electric bike?

Answer: More often nowadays, they are mounted near the crankset, called “mid-mounts.” Many to date have motors mounted on the hub of the rear wheel, but mid-mounts are proving more popular. Some say mid-mount bicycle motors may soon become standard.

Q.: What is a “hub”?

A.: The center part of a bicycle wheel. The hub of the rear wheel is usually a bit larger and/or more complicated than the front-wheel hub. A hub contains bearings, and a shell to which spokes are attached.

Q.: What is a “pedelec”?

A.: A “pedal electric bicycle,” just a nickname for e-bikes from certain regions.

See Also:
10 Best Mini Exercise Bike For Elderly
8 Best E-Bikes for Heavy Riders
8 Best Gel Seat Covers for Bikes

  • 【Unisex urine bag for emergency】Our disposable urinal bags are suit for female and male(adult/child/elderly) to relieve emergency urination, strong sealing don’t worry it will leak, great for patient people and pregnant female during traffic jams or travel.
  • 【Strong sealing and Large-capacity】800ml large capacity urine bag, one size fit for all people, which is sufficient for adult in emergency situations. The bags for urine are well sealed, each packaging bag is equipped with a sealing strip, leak-proof. Pls remember to seal it after using.
  • 【Easy to use and Eco friendly】Open the urination bag, make sure there is white absorbent pad in it, (WHEN USE, NO NEED TO OPEN, NO NEED TO EMPTY IT) which can absorb the liquid into gel within 45 seconds. After using, pls seal it and throw it in the trash can.
  • 【Compact and foldable】Each disposable travel urine bag is individually packaged, very light and portable, folded size is 6 x 3 inches, each weighs 0.7 oz, you can take it in your pocket or your bag whenever you go, small just like a mobile phone, very convenient to carry and store.
  • 【Multi occasions emergency urine bag】 When you are in a wild during hiking, fishing, camping, traveling, biking and other outdoor activities, the pee bag can be used as a small toilet to relieve yourself, it also can be used as a vomiting bag during long-distance bus trip. If you have any questions pls contact us, we will help timely.
  • TWICE THE INFLATION SPEED: Experience lightning-fast inflation, now 2x faster than the previous model. Pump up a basketball in just one minute
  • EXTENDED BATTERY LIFE: With an enhanced battery capacity of 1500mAh, enioy prolonged usage without worries about recharging
  • PRECISION PRESSURE CONTROL: Elevate your game with the ability to reach up to 15psi, calibrated to an accuracy of 0.5psi. Perfect for all types of balls
  • PRESSURE REGULATlON: Not just inflation, our pump also offers pressure release capabilities. Maintain your ball's optimal pressure with ease
  • VERSATILE INELATION HEADS: Fquipped with three types of inflation heads. 2 Pin and 1 Spout, our pump handles various balls as well as balloons. Designed to be portable at just 6.29 x 1.61 x 1.59 inches, and weighing a mere 0.55 pounds, it's your on-the-go companion that doubles as a flashlight
  • 5 YEAR STORAGE: The first and only product accepted and proven safe for 5-year water storage!
  • 12 YEARS OF TESTING: Proven effective in over 12 years of testing and use!
  • PROPRIETARY FORMULA Long term water supply, earthquake kit water, water stabilizer, water earthquake
  • GMP FACILITY: Safe Long term water storage, water storage barrels, not like water purifying tablets
  • MADE IN THE USA: Better then water tablets survival, water treatment tablets, purification kit
  • 【Stay Safe, Stay Visible with High Visibility】: This LED reflective vest uses top-tier LED lights and reflective strips, 360° lighting at night to ensure your safety, even in the harsh environment of 1000 feet away. And keeping you seen and safe during low-light outdoor activities with the reflective running vest.
  • 【5 Light Colors & 3 Light Modes】: Our LED reflective vest features 5 vibrant light colors, including White, Green, Blue, Pink and Red. Additionally, you can choose between 3 dynamic light modes - Steady On, one color flashing or 5 colors flasching cycle, to meet personalized visibility and individual preferences. (Tip: press the button to turn off after displaying the 3 lighting modes)
  • 【USB Rechargeable Reflective Running Gear】: Enjoy the convenience of USB charging with dual Type-C ports for fast charging in just 50 minutes. Revel in an impressive usage time of 7-20 hours, depending on your selected light colors and modes.
  • 【Comfortable and Adjustable】: Designed to fit all body types, this reflective vest with adjustable shoulder lengths 16" to 24" (40.6-61cm) and waist sizes 26" to 49" (66-124.4cm), ensuring a comfortable and secure fit. The light up running vest is stretchy, breathable, and weighs only 0.35lb(160g) for wearer's comfort. (Attention: Suitable for men , women, and kids aged 8 and up)
  • 【Protecting You at Night】: Zacro LED reflective vest is suitable for morning or night running, cycling, walking, jogging, night working and other nighttime outdoor activities. Even in rainy and foggy weather, the reflective gear will always ensure your safety.
  • PROTECTS FROM BRUISES & BURNS: Protection for volleyball players that dive for the ball. These black volleyball elbow pads provide protection from floor burns and bruises for any volleyball player
  • PERFORMANCE WITHOUT PAIN: Keeps players protected without excess bulk affecting their performance
  • USED BY THE PROS: These elbow volleyball pads are used by Olympic, college, high school, club and recreational athletes
  • MACHINE WASHABLE: Wash elbow pad in machine and lay flat to dry
  • QUALITY SPORTS GEAR SINCE 1989: Tandem Sport has been manufacturing and distributing quality volleyball, sports medicine, equipment and training devices to the sporting goods market since 1989
  • 3 TIMES WIDER GRIP ZONE on ETENWOLF's ball pump needles, enough space to hold tight and screw in air pump easily
  • 50% THICKER NEEDLE TUBE and 304 stainless steel make our ball needles resistant to bending and deformation
  • RESIST BREKAGE the pull force test data shows ETENWOLF‘s air pump needles for balls break only when the pull force > 150 pounds, that means it's very difficult to break it with human force
  • LASER CUTTING AIR HOLE and fine polish on our inflation needles, no burrs, no deformation, no scratch on ball bladder and no need to lubricate, ETENWOLF is pursuing the ultimate of every detail
  • ETENWOLF'S ball inflation needles fit all standard pumps and can inflate almost all inflatable sports ball, including footballs, soccer balls, basketballs, volleyballs, fitness balls, and others
  • ▲Durable Material: the soccer cones are made of soft polyethylene vinyl, lightweight and practical.
  • ▲Ergonomic Design: if training cones get trampled on or squeezed, they retract into their original shapes.
  • ▲Travel-friendly Size Skating Cones: 7.0" height x 5.31" diameter, 0.10 lb weight, set of 12, easy to take with.
  • ▲Multi Purpose: 7" traffic cones are perfect for sports training, outdoor games or construction themed birthday party decorations.
  • ▲Customer Service: give our sports cones a try, if you don't satisfied with them, you can return them and get the full refund here.
  • An updated version of the original and best selling Park Master Link pliers
  • Many non-Shimano derailleur chains use a master link that allows the chain to be installed and removed by hand
  • While this type of master link doesn't require a traditional chain tool, over time, dirt and corrosion can make it very difficult to separate by hand
  • Model number: QKMLP12