Have you’ve been shopping for electric bikes for some time now, yet, you still don’t fully understand the differences between the classes of electric bikes? If you are, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many people, including those who already own an electric bike, might also be lost on what electric bike class they’re using. If you’re one of these people, then make sure also to read on. In this blog, we’ll give you a better understanding of the different classes of electric bikes, but we’ll spotlight class 1 electric bikes. We’ll also give you the best class 1 electric bikes, so you can start shopping right away!
So, why are there three different classes of electric bikes? What’s the primary purpose or rationale behind it? Here’s the answer - these classes of electric bikes have something to do with State regulations to help ensure your safety and other people’s safety. Each class of e-bike is distinct as to where it can freely pass through and how you can use it, depending on State laws. This essentially means that you cannot just buy an electric bike and use it on any road. As of writing, 36 States in the U.S follow this three-class system for electric bikes. There may, however, be minimal deviations in some rules for some States, but overall, it should be more or less similar.
Knowing the difference among the three electric bike classes is essential so you can be sure that you’re only getting the electric bike that matches your needs while being compliant with State laws. Now, let’s go to the differences between the three classes of e-bikes.
What is a Class 1 Electric Bike?
An electric bike is classified under class 1 if it only offers pedal-assist, which means that pedaling is necessary for it to move. With this kind of electric bike, the maximum assisted speed is only at 20mph, after which you can only accelerate by pedaling, and of course, it has no throttle. What’s great about this kind of electric bike, though, is that they are not restricted in the sense that you can ride it anywhere, including bike lanes, bike paths, multi-use trails, and any road where a traditional bicycle can pass through.
If you’re a beginner, then getting a class 1 electric bike should be a pretty good choice since you can use it for your daily commuting through roads and highways.
Class 1 vs. Class 2 Electric Bikes
On the contrary, a class 2 electric bike comes with a throttle and has a top speed of 20 mph. If you don’t know it yet, a throttle is on the edge of the handlebars, which you grip and twist. Now, whenever you twist or hold it down, the electric bike takes off without the need for you to pedal. These throttle-based electric bikes are limited in speed, also for safety purposes. In terms of the form, Class 1 and Class 2 electric bikes do not have many differences, but both have a maximum allowable speed of 20mph. Pedal assistance still works in class 2 electric bikes, but it’s not necessary for this e-bike to move forward. Instead, it will only enable you to save power.
Generally, class 2 throttle-assist electric bikes can pass through places where a traditional bicycle can go. Take note, however, that some States impose additional restrictions like in New York City & Michigan. It’s also worthy to note that class 2 e-bikes are not suitable for single-track mountain bike trails as they pose more significant damage to trails because of their throttle-dependency. Instead, class 2 may even work better for multi-use off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails for more rugged tracks.
Class 1 vs. Class 3 Electric Bikes
Class 3 electric bikes stand out because their maximum assisted speed can go as fast as 28 mph. Class 3 e-bikes are generally powered by pedal assistance like class 1 e-bikes to help their rider go faster effortlessly. Take note, however, that most class 3 e-bikes also come with throttle assistance so you can reach your destination a lot faster without the necessary leg work, but not all class 3 e-bikes have a throttle-assist feature. Like class 1 e-bikes, class 3 e-bikes are allowed to pass through roads and on bike lanes but are not allowed to pass through multiuse trails and bike paths because it may be too fast for other trail users and might cause injuries or accidents.
Best Class 1 Electric Bikes
Best Value Class 1 Electric Bike
If you’re looking for a Class 1 electric mountain bike, then make sure to check out this Rattan Challenger Electric Mountain Bike. This class 1 electric mountain bike comes with a lightweight yet powerful 350-watt motor that’s enough to conquer city roads and challenging trails. What makes this electric mountain bike stand out is its energy-saving mode that gives you an outstanding range of 60 miles – that’s pretty much 83% more efficient than other electric bikes of its kind.
Aside from that, you can also expect cool features from this class 1 electric mountain bike, including a switch on cruise control, which locks on to the same speed whenever you cruise at the same speed for 5 seconds. And don’t be deceived by its affordable price point as this electric mountain bike is made of a solid aluminum alloy frame with double-walled rims to provide its users with outstanding durability and a faster ride with less drag. You’ll also have a hassle-free and comfortable ride because of its high-strength front suspension fork to lessen the impact of bumpy roads.
Best Utility Class 1 Electric Bike
Now, if you’re looking for an electric cargo bike under the class 1 category, then this is your perfect choice. This Carrier Bosch Cargo Electric Bike was carefully engineered to become a long-wheelbase freight bike with ample space in the front for cargo, making it a unique choice instead of other e-bikes in the market. Because of this e-bike’s large battery, the PFIFF Carrier Cargo Bike can go as far as 34 miles on a single charge. This will undoubtedly give you the reliability you need when attending to your business needs or simply when going to the office or school. It is technically one of the best electric cargo bikes you can get since you’re not sacrificing functionality for style.
The PFIFF Carrier Cargo Bike comes with a 250-watt motor that gives you the extra push needed when riding with added luggage. The main highlight of this class 1 electric cargo bike is that it comes with a weight carrying capacity of up to 353 lbs., so you can use it to carry important stuff or even your toddlers.
Best Class 1 Electric Commuter Bike
If comfort and functionality are your primary deciding factors, don’t miss out on this Hollandia Mimo Electric Commuter Bike. This class 1 electric commuter bike boasts an outstanding range of 50 miles and is powered by a 250-watt front hub motor that makes pedaling effortless. This electric commuter bike has a cruiser framing, which makes getting on and off a lot easy. You’ll also enjoy added comfort with its suspension fork, and multi-level pedal assist in making every ride flawless.
In terms of its carrying capability, this class 1 electric commuter bike can carry up to 308-lbs. So even fully-grown adults can rely on its performance. And like all other electric bikes, this Hollandia Mimo Electric Commuter Bike is fully equipped with straps, kickstand, front and rear lights, wheel lock, fenders, and bell.