Claas 2 or Class 3?

Tom R

New Member
I have been researching various bikes and am sure that others have been experiencing the same problem. Just how fast will the bike go? Most bikes reviewed here are Class 2. As best i can determine, when you reach 20 mph and try to go faster by pedalling hard, the motor reduces its assist so you are stuck at 20. With class 3, you are able to break the 20mph barrier with pedalling. I asked folks at Pedego and evelo and both confirmed that their bikes (class 2 according to the reviews posted on this site) can be pedalled faster than 20. So what is correct? I think that Court should include in his reviews a "can it go faster than 20 test". Any thoughts on this. Would love to have each ebike owner do their own test and report it as a comment here.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
Evelo and Pedego may be changing their programming. The laws and regs are completely in flux. The industry sort of adopted 'Class 3" and Speed Pedelec, but it's not really in the regs. California is going down that road, but Class 2 in Cal refers to 20 mph limited bikes with throttles.

You might simply want to comply with the laws in your state. This is basically what the industry is aiming at:

http://www.bicycleretailer.com/nort...-pedego-withdraws-competing-bill#.VXBMjs9VhBc

AB-1096, sponsored by Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, would create three classifications of e-bikes: Class 1 for pedal-assist bikes, or pedelecs; Class 2 for bikes with throttles; and Class 3 for “speed” pedelecs. Class 1 and 2 e-bikes would be limited to an assisted speed of 20 miles an hour, while a Class 3 bike could reach an assisted speed of 28 miles an hour.

The bill also defines where each type of e-bike could be ridden.

Class 1 bikes could go wherever traditional bikes are allowed, while Class 2 bikes would be limited to paved surfaces. Class 3 bikes would be restricted to roads or bikeways that are adjacent to a road.
 

Bike_On

Well-Known Member
I have been researching various bikes and am sure that others have been experiencing the same problem. Just how fast will the bike go? Most bikes reviewed here are Class 2. As best i can determine, when you reach 20 mph and try to go faster by pedalling hard, the motor reduces its assist so you are stuck at 20. With class 3, you are able to break the 20mph barrier with pedalling. I asked folks at Pedego and evelo and both confirmed that their bikes (class 2 according to the reviews posted on this site) can be pedalled faster than 20. So what is correct? I think that Court should include in his reviews a "can it go faster than 20 test". Any thoughts on this. Would love to have each ebike owner do their own test and report it as a comment here.

Tom,
Your desire for a little more speed is not unique. Why do we pay $3k for bikes to only ride the same speed as other bikes.?

There are very FEW speed pedelecs on this site. There are several more bikes that got moved to Electric Ride Review, which covers enikes with throttles up to 28mph and a couple faster than that.

Dan
 

Tom R

New Member
I am aware of the different classes which are actually defined on this site. My problem is more specific in that the review of the Pedego bikes on this site classifies them as class 2. That means as best that I understand that when you hit 20, pedalling or not, that is tops. The motor cuts back and cancels any advantage you may have from hard pedalling. Folks at Pedego told me that their bikes CAN be pedalled faster than 20 and that the motor will not cut back. Are they really class 3? That is my conflict. Has the writer of the reviews missed something? If he has, could he revisit these bikes and perform a speed test to see what they will really do when they hit 20.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
When any ebike hits the top speed it is programmed to reach it will stay there as long as you have watts to burn. If you pedal 2mph faster you have zero help doing that, but the motor won't let you slip below the preprogrammed speed. Few of us is able to maintain a perfect speed on our own, so if you motor up to 20mph and you are able to add 2mph with your legs, it's likely you will fluctuate between 20 and 22mph with the motor cutting in and out until the bike and you are out of watts.
 

Tom R

New Member
When any ebike hits the top speed it is programmed to reach it will stay there as long as you have watts to burn. If you pedal 2mph faster you have zero help doing that, but the motor won't let you slip below the preprogrammed speed. Few of us is able to maintain a perfect speed on our own, so if you motor up to 20mph and you are able to add 2mph with your legs, it's likely you will fluctuate between 20 and 22mph with the motor cutting in and out until the bike and you are out of watts.

Lets modify this thought. On a perfectly flat road, lets say the ebike can only get up to 18mph on its own. So as I pedal away, the speed increases and I find myself at 20 mph. So I hit a slight downhill and I continue pedalling hard. Will the bike go faster than the programmed 20 or as my speed increases because of my pedalling will the motor scale back so it assists less causing the bike to reduce speed to no more than 20.
 

DWEBiker

Active Member
Lets modify this thought. On a perfectly flat road, lets say the ebike can only get up to 18mph on its own. So as I pedal away, the speed increases and I find myself at 20 mph. So I hit a slight downhill and I continue pedalling hard. Will the bike go faster than the programmed 20 or as my speed increases because of my pedalling will the motor scale back so it assists less causing the bike to reduce speed to no more than 20.
If you can pedal the bike to 30 mph , go for it. But you wont have any power assist from the motor , it cuts out at 20. Its not a speed controller like some kind of automatic braking system once you hit 20
 

pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
Lets modify this thought. On a perfectly flat road, lets say the ebike can only get up to 18mph on its own. So as I pedal away, the speed increases and I find myself at 20 mph. So I hit a slight downhill and I continue pedalling hard. Will the bike go faster than the programmed 20 or as my speed increases because of my pedalling will the motor scale back so it assists less causing the bike to reduce speed to no more than 20.

No, motors on ebikes do not act as you describe. The bike can go as fast as you can pedal, or as fast as it can down a hill, the motor will not impede it from going above 20mph, it will simply no longer provide assistance above that speed.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
It's not a very useful question. Many bikes these days are 48v and have 500 watt motors. They either go about 25 with no real programming stuff to hold them back, or people hack in and let that happen. Is that what you want? Or the opposite. You can buy a 350W bike that will stop at 20 or even 17 just because that's what you get with a smaller motor.

Do you want to buy a 500W/48V bike? Do you want to know it will go 28 mph, or what you have to hack?

The rules are changing, the market is changing. If you are spending $2500 I would get the specifics nailed down, preferably by riding the bike. But you can go to the specific forum for a bike and just ask. But, like you say, the settings may have changed. No reviewer can stay on top of this. A bike from last year may be different from the current model.

What do you want?
 

Cameron Newland

Well-Known Member
I have been researching various bikes and am sure that others have been experiencing the same problem. Just how fast will the bike go? Most bikes reviewed here are Class 2. As best i can determine, when you reach 20 mph and try to go faster by pedalling hard, the motor reduces its assist so you are stuck at 20. With class 3, you are able to break the 20mph barrier with pedalling. I asked folks at Pedego and evelo and both confirmed that their bikes (class 2 according to the reviews posted on this site) can be pedalled faster than 20. So what is correct? I think that Court should include in his reviews a "can it go faster than 20 test". Any thoughts on this. Would love to have each ebike owner do their own test and report it as a comment here.

I totally agree with you that it would be helpful to consumers to know the true top speeds of ebikes, however, with regulations being so strict and with changes coming on a state-by-state basis, ebike manufacturers and brands and being purposely quiet about the true top speeds of their ebikes in order to avoid getting attention from law enforcement and state/local regulators. It is in the manufacturers' best interest to stay quiet on the subject so they can avoid lawsuits, while selling bikes that either conform to the existing regulations or that skirt them but are still arguably legal to sell. The bike I ride, a 500W rear hub motor ebike that sells for $2,900, goes 34MPH with fast pedaling on flat pavement, though they say that it only goes 28mph. The assist does not cut out at 20mph or at 28mph on my bike. Apparently, the Stromer ST1 and ST2 are the same way and don't stop the motor assist at 28mph. When I go faster than 34mph on my ebike, the motor doesn't help me to do that, but rather the increase in speed comes from the downhill grade and from my pedaling effort/gearing combo.

I think that outside of setting up a website where people could post the real top speeds of ebikes in a sort of database, your best bet would be to test-drive as many of the models you're considering and see for yourself how fast they can go, because ebike shops and manufacturers are simply not going to be honest with you about the bike's top speed because they don't want to get sued for selling ebikes that don't comply with federal/state/local laws.
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
There is a big difference in a 20mph limited Direct Drive motor and a Geared one. The resistance of the Direct Drive motor once it cuts out via the controller as per the mandated legal 20mph limit will inhibit pedaling faster even if you have the gearing and are going downhill with a tailwind. A Geared hub motor that once again cuts out at 20mph has much less resistance and you can pedal with the proper gearing to a higher speed. But controllers can be manipulated to make both motors achieve higher overall speed up to the limit of its capability due to wattage, voltage etc..

Having PAS or a throttle on a 20mph bike makes absolutely no difference and shouldn't be classified differently.
 

stevenast

Well-Known Member
if you motor up to 20mph and you are able to add 2mph with your legs, it's likely you will fluctuate between 20 and 22mph with the motor cutting in and out until the bike and you are out of watts.

Well said!
 

DWEBiker

Active Member
Having PAS or a throttle on a 20mph bike makes absolutely no difference and shouldn't be classified differently.
Exactly what minnesota law does - and i agree 100% - if you want to go faster you can probably afford the license , insurance etc. If we want to develop a good ebike environment the speeds are going to have to be kept low and safe for everyone - have we not learned from the Dutch? Hell they dont even wear helmets.
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
Exactly what minnesota law does - and i agree 100% - if you want to go faster you can probably afford the license , insurance etc. If we want to develop a good ebike environment the speeds are going to have to be kept low and safe for everyone - have we not learned from the Dutch? Hell they dont even wear helmets.

Regarding throttles on under 20mph e bikes it is the way all the states laws read until Accel gets their way starting in CA and NY.

The Dutch are going a treat for Speed Pedelecs apparently even though they are required to wear helmets: http://www.bike-eu.com/sales-trends...sale-accelerating-in-the-netherlands-10124020

But on the other hand: Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 8.19.37 PM.png