When you've spent as much time around E-bikes as we have, you answer all kinds of questions, from basic stuff to some real head-scratchers. We've gathered the greatest hits, including a bit of a down-the-rabbit-hole deep dive on Lithium Ion cells, including battery care and some common misconceptions.
How are eBikes regulated?
The eBikes that we sell are categorized by Colorado state law into three classes. This categorization is the most common standard adopted by US States.
- Class 1 eBikes, which are pedal-assist only (no throttle), and the electric assist stops at 20 miles per hour.
- Class 2 eBikes, which have a throttle (provides electrical power when the rider is pedaling or not), and are also governed at 20 mph.
- Class 3 ebikes, which provide power up to 28 mph. (Whether they have a throttle or not doesn’t matter).
- Motors that provide assistance beyond 28 mph are not considered Electric Bicycles under Colorado law, and are treated as motor vehicles.
Where are eBikes legal to ride?
- Class 1 and 2 eBikes can be ridden anywhere conventional bikes are legal, unless prohibited locally. Cities, counties, and other land owners have the last word. Always follow posted rules, but it’s also your responsibility to research and observe local ordinances, even if they’re not posted.
- Class 3 eBikes are limited to roads and bike lanes (referred to in the law as a ‘bike path within a street or highway’) or paths where permitted by local law.
- Just because eBikes are legal does not mean it’s OK to break laws that apply to everyone. The speed limit on Denver’s off-street multi-use paths is 15 mph. Always stay in control, and yield to other trail users (pedestrians and horses).
What kind of range do eBikes have?
Short answer: It varies, but anywhere from 20 to more than 60 miles on a full battery charge is common for batteries in the common 400 Wh size.
Medium answer: The biggest factor is how much electric assist you’re using, and some systems (like STePS, Yamaha syncDrive, and Bosch) will change the estimated range that’s displayed when you switch between assist levels. The next-biggest factor is you--both the wattage you’re putting into the pedals and the terrain through which you ride the bike will significantly impact the amount of work the motor has to do. A number of smaller factors can also impact range, such as rider and cargo weight, operating temperature, headwinds, tire pressure, road surface, RPM (gear shifting), starts/stops, and battery condition.
How do I take care of my eBike’s battery?
Our most blunt advice is to get the most out of your eBike, whatever that means for you. You may have even purchased your bike specifically because of its range, so ride it and don’t sweat it. A quality lithium ion battery will prove reliable even if you regularly push its limits. That said, there are habits that, over hundreds and hundreds of charges, can extend or reduce your battery’s life. For more on this, please visit our Battery FAQs, which we gave their own page so that we could get a little geeky.