Q: If I restrict my Class 3 to 20mph is it now a Class 1?

Ken M

Active Member
#41
You should consult an attorney, but my guess is yes. And I would cover the sticker with another one.

In my research I cannot find any restrictions on who can set the speed limitation. The classification seems to be whatever the current configuration is, whether configuration was done by factory, dealer or end user (as in the case of a diy bike).

Case in point - the bike I just purchased is Class 3. But the software allows me to make it "off-road" with no speed limit. Does that ability void the Class 3 designation (while off-road mode is disabled)? Presumably not. Adding to the complication is having a throttle available on a Class 3 when the wording I have seen defines Class 3 as pedal assist only. If I turn pedal assist off, and just use (20mph limited) throttle, is it a Class 2? Seems to be. What if I use both at the same time but stay under 20 mph, under 28 mph? I would put that outside the Classes
You points are why the current class system is doomed to fail long term. Does anyone want to sit in court and listen to lawyers go back and forth on whether have class switches is OK or NOT? Lawyers love litigation (they make money that way) and they love to hear themselves talk even when their argument is nonsense.

There are already a lot of ebikes that have been sold with switches that allow the assist power and speed to go from "compliant" to "off-road only" and no has a way to establish what mode the rider is in on any trail or path. I'm fine with the current path and hope more and more states go with the 3 class system because it renders enforcement of ebike assists and speeds impossible.
 
#42
You points are why the current class system is doomed to fail long term. Does anyone want to sit in court and listen to lawyers go back and forth on whether have class switches is OK or NOT? Lawyers love litigation (they make money that way) and they love to hear themselves talk even when their argument is nonsense.

There are already a lot of ebikes that have been sold with switches that allow the assist power and speed to go from "compliant" to "off-road only" and no has a way to establish what mode the rider is in on any trail or path. I'm fine with the current path and hope more and more states go with the 3 class system because it renders enforcement of ebike assists and speeds impossible.
To me the real question is....Has anyone ever been stopped while riding 'appropriately' aka not like a jerk, not speeding etc by Law Enforcement OR Does
anyone know someone first hand, not a friend of a friend of a friend, but a direct contact ,who was stopped by Law Enforcement. In either case was the Class
of the eBike challenged ? ..My guess is the answer will be between zero and a number you can count on one hand....

I have ridden over 4200 miles in the last 18 months on my eBikes and have never seen any Law Enforcement of any kind. My gut feeling is eBike Class Designation,
speed limits etc makes for good Forum debate, but in reality if we're out there riding properly and we all know what that is, we're not going to end in up in the slammer
because of a sticker or riding 21mph on a Rails to Trails.... Just my 2 cents.
 

Ken M

Active Member
#43
To me the real question is....Has anyone ever been stopped while riding 'appropriately' aka not like a jerk, not speeding etc by Law Enforcement OR Does
anyone know someone first hand, not a friend of a friend of a friend, but a direct contact ,who was stopped by Law Enforcement. In either case was the Class
of the eBike challenged ? ..My guess is the answer will be between zero and a number you can count on one hand....

I have ridden over 4200 miles in the last 18 months on my eBikes and have never seen any Law Enforcement of any kind. My gut feeling is eBike Class Designation,
speed limits etc makes for good Forum debate, but in reality if we're out there riding properly and we all know what that is, we're not going to end in up in the slammer
because of a sticker or riding 21mph on a Rails to Trails.... Just my 2 cents.
I agree. I did have one interesting experience...while riding in a bike lane a couple of police officers were using a radar to catch speeders and they jokingly yelled out my speed which was over 20mph (the Polaris ebike I was on assists to 25mph). There was nothing wrong, but the Polaris was not sold as a Class 3 ebike and it doesn't have a sticker on it saying what class it is. Even though I was going over 20mph how would anyone determine, even if I were on a class 1 ebike, if it was the assist allowing me to achieve a higher than 20mph speed or was it entirely the result of my energy exertion.

My guess is that 99.9% of all ebike riding is responsible riding even if sometimes higher than "legal" assist limits. Hot rod ebikes like the Stealth are used primarily for off-road riding because they are not great ebikes for urban / street riding.

I just hope more and more people realize the benefits of human scale ebike mobility.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
#44
You should consult an attorney, but my guess is yes. And I would cover the sticker with another one.

In my research I cannot find any restrictions on who can set the speed limitation. The classification seems to be whatever the current configuration is, whether configuration was done by factory, dealer or end user (as in the case of a diy bike).

Case in point - the bike I just purchased is Class 3. But the software allows me to make it "off-road" with no speed limit. Does that ability void the Class 3 designation (while off-road mode is disabled)? Presumably not. Adding to the complication is having a throttle available on a Class 3 when the wording I have seen defines Class 3 as pedal assist only. If I turn pedal assist off, and just use (20mph limited) throttle, is it a Class 2? Seems to be. What if I use both at the same time but stay under 20 mph, under 28 mph? I would put that outside the Classes
Is that how it works?

So if you have a 3000w ebike that can go 45+mph but as long as you have a "Class 1 Mode" button then it would be legal to ride on the road?
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
#45
Is that how it works?

So if you have a 3000w ebike that can go 45+mph but as long as you have a "Class 1 Mode" button then it would be legal to ride on the road?
The PfB/BPSA 3-Class model ebike legislation says the power/speed settings can be changed and a new Class decal be placed on Class 1-3 ebikes, but an ebike capable of 45mph doesn't fall into the power/speed limits required for those categories so would be treated as a motorcycle regardless of whether you were using a dongle or toggle switch. I'm not a lawyer but I'm unaware of state legislation wording for Class 1-3 ebikes that specifically mentions if power/speed must be set in the controller or the display, or who can make those changes and replace the decal, even if the controller over-rides the display the ability to reprogram the controller via USB cable, Bluetooth/Phone, Cycle Analyst Aux Input switch, or whatever, is afaik yet to be tested in court to establish case law for street-legal Class 1-3 ebikes.
 
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christob

Well-Known Member
#46
It does seem the 3-Class system can’t be manageable in the long term… the ‘logical argument’ part of my brain wants to tell me that no after-market overrides would be defensible in court (ie, going down a Class would be the more common “defensive move” taken by a rider, to make their more potent bike appear as a lower Class device) – if pressed, it is too easy to imagine “The bike was listed by the manufacturer as Class 3 at time of your purchase; therefore you own a Class 3 and are thus confined by the Class laws; neither your downgrade feature applied at the controller nor an applied decal saying otherwise, makes it into a Class 2.”

But the ‘reasonable argument’ part of my brain says a Class 3 with an applied/activated restriction to limit to 20mph, dutifully/honestly deployed by the rider every time the trail required, should be enough to drop the case… but really, how likely is that to happen (and how likely are you to eliminate any doubt as to whether the limiter was dutifully deployed?) in the event of actual litigation against you.

The opposite approach seems to pose similar pesky problems – you dutifully buy a Class 1 or 2, but then there are ways to remove the artificial speed limiter – now you can exceed the Assisted Max Speeds of your purchased Class… while under my “logic brain” above, it would seem you could be safe in court – having dutifully bought a Class 1 or 2, you’d argue your position as solid – But it is also too easy to imagine the lawyers arguing, successfully, “Yes, but then you willfully modified it to achieve higher assist speeds than your purchased Class allows, so you now have a fraudulent ebike deemed in violation.”)

But beyond that, the 3-Class system seems to me flawed by being based on Assisted Max Speed at all. Many analog bikers can exceed the Class 3 speed limit of 28mph, especially under favorable trail conditions… and many more-serious analog bikers can break that limit under a broader range of less favorable trail conditions. On downhills alone, everyone could exceed 28 on an analog bike; I'll hit 33mph (if I don’t feather my brakes) just via gravity alone (no pedaling, having no throttle) when I roll down a specific moderate slope on one of my local trails. It has always felt to me the 3-Class system looks like a sort of knee-jerk reaction by folks who didn't really understand the cyclists already on trails before ebikes arrived, and so thought about assisted speeds with perhaps, automobiles as their point of reference. They seem to have imagined/feared all ebikes will always execute every ride at a constant, steady 28mph (or whatever top limit the Class has) as if it were a car set on cruise control riding down the trail!

With analogs capable of exceeding Class speed limits already, it seems a misguided way to define ebike restrictions. In my 'snarky brain', it reads like “Well, when the analog biker crashes into a pedestrian at 30mph, at least we envision they were using their muscles primarily -- so athletic, so powerfully graceful in form! -- and that is better and more fitting as a result; no need to limit those riders in any way! But we need to ensure these new ebikers can only hit pedestrians at let's say, 20 or maybe 28mph, cuz, you know, they’re relying far less on muscles and so… you know… let’s restrict that, for some reason. And let’s be sure we don't ask ourselves about the ebiker who IS using all their muscles and gets the bike past the 28 limit we wrongly think the bike automatically obeys…" :p
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
#47
The PfB/BPSA 3-Class model ebike legislation says the power/speed settings can be changed and a new Class decal be placed on Class 1-3 ebikes, but an ebike capable of 45mph doesn't fall into the power/speed limits required for those categories so would be treated as a motorcycle regardless of whether you were using a dongle or toggle switch. I'm not a lawyer but I'm unaware of state legislation wording for Class 1-3 ebikes that specifically mentions if power/speed must be set in the controller or the display, or who can make those changes and replace the decal, even if the controller over-rides the display the ability to reprogram the controller via USB cable, Bluetooth/Phone, Cycle Analyst Aux Input switch, or whatever, is afaik yet to be tested in court to establish case law for street-legal Class 1-3 ebikes.
The 45mph was just an example, but my point of was anything that could go over 28mph.

This topic has been discussed on Juiced Forum, since Juiced CrossCurrent X can exceed 28mph, (I think it goes close to 35mph on "Sport" mode) but still classified as Class 3.
So the point was, as long as you don't go "Sport" mode, it's still considered as a Class 3? Which didn't make sense to me, but someone on this forum who is a lawyer said that he looked into it and there's nothing illegal about CCX.

Also the Vintage Electric has something similar "off road" only button.
Watch around 3:15 in this video. The Vintage electric bike is limited to 20mph (Class 2) which is street legal, however it has "off road race use only" button.
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
#48
Frick, Frack and Frank all go to the bicycle shop to buy e bikes. Frick buys a Class 1, Frack buys a Class 2 and Frank buys a Class 3. They ride away from the shop on a multi use path that has a posted 15 mph speed limit. Frick and Frack go merrily down the path at 20 mph while Frank goes 15mph. A member of law enforcement sees Frank's Class 3 sticker and cites him for riding a Class 3 eBike on a multi use path.

Regulate the rider, not the ride.