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Which Electric Bike Is Right For You?


Electric bikes come in all shapes, sizes, and specialties. They are also categorized in distinct classes that differentiate between the levels of pedal-assistance, throttle, and speed. There are specific rules for each class that prescribe what and where you can ride. 

Riding an electric bike expands your possibilities on two-wheels and determining which class of e-bike you need is a key decision point. Classes 1 and 3 are pedal assist only, meaning you do have to pedal in order to move. Class 2 e-bikes can be powered solely by a throttle, as well as by pedal. Whether you choose Class 1, 2 or 3, all e-bikes are really fun to ride.

Learn more about the three classes and start your e-bike journey today with Phat Tire Bike Shop!

Class 1

Class 1 bikes are great for almost every rider, as the most affordable option and the most universally accepted from a regulatory standpoint. Class 1 models are pedal-assist electric bikes that go up to 20 mph (or faster speeds with the addition of human power). The motor kicks in only when you pedal and stops helping at 20 mph. These models are great for bike paths, many public trails, and street riding.

Class 2

Class 2 models are very similar to Class 1, with one important distinction. Class 2 electric bikes have a throttle-assisted feature, so riders can go up to 20 mph without pedaling, similar to a motorized scooter or motorcycle. With changing laws and the potential for restrictions, we do not carry Class 2 electric bikes at this time. 

Class 3

Class 3 electric bikes are the fastest option that fits within common regulatory frameworks. They are pedal-assist bikes that go up to 28 mph (or faster speeds with the addition of human power). While these electric bikes do not require a driver’s license or license plate, they are fast! They’re the perfect vehicle for commuting or taking care of errands around town. We recommend sticking to paved roads on Class 3s.

Any electric mobility product not clearly labeled with one of these classes, or that allows for speeds greater than 28 mph are not classified as bicycles. We highly recommend that you purchase your next electric bike from a qualified and reputable bike shop like ours to help you be safe and legal.

Keep In Mind

It’s important to research access rules in your area or where you’ll be riding before making a final decision of electric bike class. Check with local cities and land managers at places you plan to ride. The rules are continuously changing in regards to laws, licensing, registration, age limits and land management. For a state-by-state guide, visit resources at People For Bikes.

Shop Electric Bikes 

Phat Tire Bike Shop has all sorts of electric bikes. We have cruisers, hybrids, road, mountain (hard tails & full suspensions), cargo haulers, and even one with a throttle.  We have lots of options and our team is ready to provide guidance and support as you start your journey towards e-bike ownership.  

It's a new year! Let's try something new. Let's try an Ebike.