If you’re new to e-biking, you may have no idea what is meant by “e-bike classes.” Even many veteran e-bikers are not quite sure about the different classes. Let’s take a closer look.
What’s the point of having different classes?
In most of the US, various types of e-bikes fall into three “groups” or “classes.” US states have made these classifications official regulation or law. By dividing e-bikes according to class, it becomes much easier to designate which e-bikes are suitable or legal to ride in certain areas. For example, a particular mountain trail may be safe for low-powered no throttle e-bikes, but very risky for a high-powered and much faster e-bike.
In Europe, it’s very simple. Any e-bike with a motor of 250 watts or less and a top speed of 25 km/h (15.5 mph) is essentially unregulated and can be ridden as though it were a conventional bicycle. Of course, regulations can vary from country to country. Some locations in Europe now allow up to 500 watts without regulation. In the US, it is not nearly as simple. There are 4 classes of battery-powered bikes.
The key characteristic of Class 1 e-bikes is you cannot ride without pedaling. In other words, a throttle is not allowed in Class 1. This means pedal assist only, and additionally, the top speed is limited to 20 mph. The size of the motor on Class 1 e-bikes is limited to no more than 750 watts,.
For the most part, Class 1 e-bikes are subject to the same rules and regulations as ordinary unpowered bicycles. If you want a ride that can exceed 20 mph, then stepping up to Class 2 is necessary. The same is true if you want an e-bike with throttle capability.
For Class 2 e-bikes, a throttle is allowed. The same pedal assist feature found on Class 1 e-bikes is still allowed for Class 2, but not required. As with Class 1, the top allowed speed remains at 20 mph. To reach that top speed, you have the option of pedaling or not pedaling. In fact, the rider is free to use any combination of pedal assist, throttle, and pedaling.
Because this class includes the option of throttle-only riding, Class 2 e-bikes are available with 3 types of throttles…twist, trigger, or button. However, the motor power is still limited to 750 watts or less, just like Class 1. Thus, like Class 1, in most places the rules and regulations for Class 2 are the same as for conventional bicycles.
Due to various state regulations, Class 3 is somewhat more difficult to define. In general, however, most states have quite similar rules. The key characteristic for Class 3 is the liberty to have a higher top speed, 28 mph. At first glance, that may not seem so vastly different from the 20 mph Class 1 limit. When you are on the bike and traveling 8 mph faster, you quickly realize the difference is substantial.
As is the case with Class 1 and Class 2, motor power is limited to no more than 750 watts. The big difference is that those 750 watts are capable of easily exceeding 20 mph, and with a Class 3 e-bike, you can do so…up to 28 mph. In an effort to endure that riders remain aware of their speed, Class 3 requires the e-bike to be equipped with a speedometer. Many Class 1 and 2 e-bikes are also equipped with a speedometer, but it is not required.
Class 3 also allows the use of a throttle. The singular exception is California, where even a Class 3 e-bike cannot be equipped with a throttle. Also, a few other states allow throttle usage only up to 20 mph. For faster speeds, the rider must use only pedal assist. Most states do not have the limits on throttle use.
Be aware that for Class 3, some states also have a minimum age requirement. For some of these states, it is age 14, but others have a higher age required. Also, in some areas, the use of Class 3 e-bikes may be restricted on certain off-road paths or trails.
This class is for e-bikes that are similar to mopeds in power and speed, but are equipped with pedals. In most areas, Class 4 e-bikes are NOT PERMITTED on streets, roads, highways, etc. This means they are for off-road use only.
Class 4 e-bikes are freed from the power and speed restrictions that are found in classes 1-3. Thus, motor power is allowed to exceed 750 watts and go beyond 28 mph. The downside of this liberty is that they are more dangerous to ride and so more heavily regulated in most states. This usually includes licensing, registration, and carrying an insurance policy.
MAGiCYCLE Steps Up to Meet Demand
MAGiCYCLE provides high quality e-bikes with the advantages of exemplary customer service and an industry-leading 2 year warranty. Regardless of where you live, there’s a MAGiCYCLE perfect for you that will comply with your local Class 1, 2, or 3 restrictions. MAGiCYCLE currently does not offer any products in the Class 4 category, as most riders want the ability to ride on streets as well as off-road.
E-bike sales are growing by leaps and bounds worldwide, and in the US, more than 370,000 e-bikes were sold in 2021. You can safely bet that the number for 2022 will be even higher. Although the all-terrain fat tire cruiser from MAGiCYCLE remains hugely popular, fans have expressed an increasing interest in having a variety of choices. For 2022, MAGiCYCLE is rolling out 4 brand new e-bikes to satisfy the increased demand. Here’s a quick look at the new models:
Easy-Riding MAGiCYCLE Gold Commuter
MAGiCYCLE fans expressed interest in a very simple-to-ride commuter e-bike. The company has responded with a high-quality and low-maintenance commuter, choosing to step outside the fat tire genre for a moment. This gorgeous commuter maintains all the customer-satisfying qualities of its predecessors.
All-Terrain Fat Tire Cruiser Pro
This beautiful cruiser lives up to the power, reliabillity, and safet of the original MAGiCYCLE cruisers. It is equipped with the newly-improved hub motor and the amazing new long-range battery. That’s a very impressive combination giving Cruiser Pro riders 96 NM of torque. That torque is truly exceptional, about the same as the torque of an 800cc motorcycle. Cruiser Pro owners can look forward to faster starts in heavy traffic, improved hill-climbing capability, and a range of up to 70 miles. Of course, range varies with rider weight, terrain, wind speed, and the rider’s pedaling.
The Magicycle Cruiser Pro also offers extended motor life. The life-extending redesign of this motor includes exceptional resistance to heat.
Ocelot Pro Long-Range Cruiser
Many requests have been received for a Magicycle Cruiser that is more easily ridden by e-bikers as small as 4’10’ and yet also comfortable for riders up to 6’2”. The MAGiCYCLE Design Team has worked long and hard to perfectly meet the demand for such a bike. The introduction of the 20” tire Magicycle Ocelot Pro Cruiser is bringing fresh excitement to e-bike enthusiasts.
If you’ve dreamed of a smaller, stylish, quality cruiser that retains both power and comfort, this is it. The Ocelot has a laid-back beach cruiser styling…nimble, beautiful, comfortable. For riders uncomfortable with the big 26” tire cruisers, the Ocelot opens up a whole new world of cruising comfort.
Magicycle Jaguarundi Folding Step-Thru
Another superb addition to Magicyle line is the Jaguarundi Folding Step-Thru. This new e-bike, also scheduled for release this summer, is the ultimate in convenience. With it’s small form factor and folding capability, almost anyone has room for this Magicycle.
Indeed, the new Magicycle Jaguarundi Folding Step-Thru is the model that many riders will think of as the most user-friendly ride produced to date by Magicycle. It is a fun, powerful, and compact electric bike that can take you to work or the local park—and it can get you there on pavement or trail with comfort.
Fun + Convenience
Fat tire e-bikes are great fun to ride on all types of terrain, but their sheer size can make them difficult to transport on a bike rack. Folding fat tire bikes are less common than more traditional frames, but they conveniently open the door to new possibilities. For example, you might need to toss your fat tire e-bike into the trunk or rear seat of your car. Even within your home, you might choose to fold it into a compact rectangle that fits nicely in a corner of the room. Or perhaps just fold down the handlebars to let the Jaguarundi rest neatly against a wall.
For city riders who don’t need to transport their bikes in car, the ability to fold means it takes up less space in the home, perhaps fitting in a corner or under a desk.
Research Your Local Regulations
Before purchasing your e-bike, take time to check on the e-bike regulations for your state and your local area. Be certain that your choice of e-bikes is suitable for the type of riding you want to do, the terrain you will encounter regularly, and you local laws that affect e-bike use.