What Different Classes of Electric Bikes Mean

What Different Classes of Electric Bikes Mean

Electric bikes help you conquer huge hills, get to work sweat-free, and open up possibilities for people who never thought they’d be able to ride again.


They’re also incredibly diverse. Sure, Rad Power Bikes has a full lineup of ebikes built for every lifestyle, but if you dive a little deeper, you may notice that different countries have their own way of classifying different styles of bikes.


In the U.S., the bicycle industry places electric bikes into three separate categories: Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3. 


But this isn't like airline seating, where first class suggests you can expect a better set of perks. Here's what different classes of ebikes actually mean.


Quick Guide


 Ebike Class Maximum Motor Speed  Throttle Comes Standard
Class 1 20 Mph No
Class 2 20 Mph Yes
Class 3 28 Mph No


What's the difference?


  • Class 1: A bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 mph.


  • Class 2: A bicycle equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 mph.


  • Class 3: A bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 28 mph, and is equipped with a speedometer.



What about Rad Power Bikes?


All of our models in the U.S. are rated as a Class 2 ebikes. This means the motor on each of our bikes will help you reach a top speed of 20 mph. 





Why Class 2?


When it comes to our bikes, we strive to maximize fun and accessibility. 


Unlike other electric bikes, Class 2 ebikes have a throttle in addition to pedal assist. That means you always have the choice to either rely on your own two legs or ride the bike without pedaling.


It's a feature that can be really appealing, especially if you're racing against the clock to get home in time or if something happens on the trail that stops you from pedaling back. It can also help you get up to speed after you stop at a traffic light and make carrying heavy cargo up steep hills an easier, more stable experience.


Plus, sometimes it's just nice to know you can take a little break, especially on those long, rigorous rides. It may even give you the confidence to push yourself a little further. 



Can I ride a Class 2 Ebike where I live? 


Generally, you won't need a license or special insurance to ride a Class 2 ebike. (Honestly, we think being able to avoid the DMV is a pretty good reason to get one ... )


Electric bike laws across the country vary. In California, for instance, state regulations place a cap on electric bikes at 750W or over. We've fine-tuned our models to come just under that threshold and we sell thousands of bikes to the Golden State without any issues.  


If you're concerned, we recommend inquiring with local transportation authorities for the most up-to-date information.


And you can always check out our in-depth guide to ebike laws around the world.



Ready to buy an electric bike? Check out our full lineup. Curious about how you can pick the right ebike for you? We've got you coveredStill on the fence? Check out these 5 reasons to start riding an ebike. 




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