Multi Class Mode ebikes....compliant or ????

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I've seen a few ebike companies releasing ebike models that have switchable Class Modes. In other words, it means a single model can ridden as a Class 1, 2, or 3 ebike. I'm just wondering what the general opinion is on this.

My interpretation is that the industry is saying we really don't like 3-class legislation and is just more proof the states should have just stayed with the federal definition of a "low speed electric bicycle" for use as a bicycle (clearly that was the intent of the HR727 which placed LSEBs under CPSC bike regulations).
 
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Ken M

Well-Known Member
I still wonder why is was so important to create classes given the federal definition was mainly about keeping the power limited above 20mph to keep "low speed electric bikes" in the realm of traditional bike speeds. But People for Bikes was very successful with their lobby campaign to convince people the classes were needed for effective state "use" laws even though bike "use" laws went back many decades and were working fine with the federal definition for "low speed electric bicycles" for over 10 years prior to any 3-class legislative effort.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
With the general public, you need rules or guidelines or the sky's the limit. For many, it still is even after guidance and laws were made. There is no such thing as a legal class 1 or class 3 that has a throttle. Yet some people think the governing body will believe them when they say they don't use the throttle on the trail, nor do they travel over 20mph, so they think the police will believe them when they say it's a class 1. There is a huge difference with what people want to do and what is legal. Always has been, always will be.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
With the general public, you need rules or guidelines or the sky's the limit. For many, it still is even after guidance and laws were made. There is no such thing as a legal class 1 or class 3 that has a throttle. Yet some people think the governing body will believe them when they say they don't use the throttle on the trail, nor do they travel over 20mph, so they think the police will believe them when they say it's a class 1. There is a huge difference with what people want to do and what is legal. Always has been, always will be.
Legal??? Is a multi-mode (ie one that literally allows a way to switch class modes) illegal in the 28 states that have adopted the 3-class legislation? They are legal per the federal definition.

The federal definition for a low speed electric bicycle was not a sky's the limit specification. The constraints limited the power that could be provided at 20mph and above to what would sustain 20mph with a 170lb rider on level surface. The CPSC clarified that 20mph was not a stated requirement for a cease of assist at 20mph but limiting the power certain results in top speed control (and I would argue far better than the cease of assists of the 3-class legislation which was likely a violation of interstate commerce laws but no one seems to have noticed that).

Why are states like Oregon (with the highest ebike adoption rate in the country) and Mississippi doing just fine with ebike use laws using the federal definition of a LSEB? No one that supports the 3-class legislation ever seems willing to answer this pretty simple question.
 
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Ken M

Well-Known Member
With the general public, you need rules or guidelines or the sky's the limit. For many, it still is even after guidance and laws were made. There is no such thing as a legal class 1 or class 3 that has a throttle. Yet some people think the governing body will believe them when they say they don't use the throttle on the trail, nor do they travel over 20mph, so they think the police will believe them when they say it's a class 1. There is a huge difference with what people want to do and what is legal. Always has been, always will be.
By the way, when I contacted People for Bikes and talked with their regulatory expert about my PIM Archer that was a throttle-assist that would provide some assist up to 26mph (this ebike was compliant to the CPSC definition here in Colorado prior to the adoption of the 3-class) and she told me I should just consider it a class 3 ebike. I emphasized it had a throttle. I do not believe PFBs knows that their policy has made some federal compliant ebikes non compliant for use on public infrastructure in the states that have adopted 3-class.
 
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K PierreR

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Is it legal to have an automobile that will exceed the maximum speed limit? Should it be? Should we have a total police state? Some people are just not satisfied until everything is regulated to attempt to eliminate stupidity. There is no shortage of stupidity.

I have six settings on my bike that are class 1 with a max power of 500 watts. I have a throttle but don't use it except for leg cramps and getting started. My throttle will not propel the bike to 20 mph. I have two more settings that will exceed 20 mph but will not exceed 750 watts and I only use them on the roads. I have one illegal setting that is reserved for off road, bears, dogs and thunderstorms that pop up out of nowhere. Power can exceed 750watts but speed tops out at 28 mph. I have a bicycle, not a motorcycle. I don't want a motorcycle and don't want to go motorcycle speeds. It's overbuilt for durability as I don't care to stress components.

I want to puke when I hear an idiot claim I have a motorcycle. The real problem with an e bike is that it is NOT a motorcycle, its a bicycle. They are still built with weak bicycle components meant for slow speeds. The minute you put electrical power on a bicycle, you pretty much overstress it and definitely decrease its useful carrying load capacity.

Those whom try to imitate a motorcycle with a bicycle are soon weeded out through failures and either quit or go back to a motorcycle like a Sur Ron. The problem does not grow because its self governing. An e bike is a bicycle, not a motorcycle and will not be made to imitate a motorcycle for long. Those whom wrote the regs were pretty clever to get the practical top end of the bicycle category just about right.

The more I operate my e bike the more I am finding that 500-600 watts is really adequate, even on a big fat bike.
Bottom line, you can legislate for or out engineer and out build a cleaver idiot.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Why are states like Oregon (with the highest ebike adoption rate in the country) and Mississippi doing just fine with ebike use laws using the federal definition of a LSEB? No one that supports the 3-class legislation ever seems willing to answer this pretty simple question.
Since the first state adopted the 3 class law in 2015 every year since more states have adopted the law. Every year! And more state legislatures are considering it this year, 2021. More states are 3 class than not.

If existing laws worked so well ("doing just fine"), why are so many states racing to adopt the 3 class law?

In 2002 there were thousands of ebikes in the U.S., you were lucky to get one up to 14 mph for 10 miles distance. Now millions. Times and bikes have changed. Few laws remain unchanged for 20 years. Given the swift adoption of the 3 class law, its obvious the old regs didn't work.

As for Oregon "doing just fine", why then are land managers (both local and federal) there using the classes to sort out where people can ride, even though Oregon hasn't adopted the 3 class law..... yet?


There's a long list of articles about the difficulties Oregon has and is having with the existing laws. So they are using the most popular standard to sort it out.

I contacted People for Bikes and talked with their regulatory expert
Need a name of this "expert". In my dealings with P4B in an attempt to get support locally, they were never less than precise and well informed.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Is it legal to have an automobile that will exceed the maximum speed limit? Should it be? Should we have a total police state? Some people are just not satisfied until everything is regulated to attempt to eliminate stupidity. There is no shortage of stupidity.

I have six settings on my bike that are class 1 with a max power of 500 watts. I have a throttle but don't use it except for leg cramps and getting started. My throttle will not propel the bike to 20 mph. I have two more settings that will exceed 20 mph but will not exceed 750 watts and I only use them on the roads. I have one illegal setting that is reserved for off road, bears, dogs and thunderstorms that pop up out of nowhere. Power can exceed 750watts but speed tops out at 28 mph. I have a bicycle, not a motorcycle. I don't want a motorcycle and don't want to go motorcycle speeds. It's overbuilt for durability as I don't care to stress components.

I want to puke when I hear an idiot claim I have a motorcycle. The real problem with an e bike is that it is NOT a motorcycle, its a bicycle. They are still built with weak bicycle components meant for slow speeds. The minute you put electrical power on a bicycle, you pretty much overstress it and definitely decrease its useful carrying load capacity.

Those whom try to imitate a motorcycle with a bicycle are soon weeded out through failures and either quit or go back to a motorcycle like a Sur Ron. The problem does not grow because its self governing. An e bike is a bicycle, not a motorcycle and will not be made to imitate a motorcycle for long. Those whom wrote the regs were pretty clever to get the practical top end of the bicycle category just about right.

The more I operate my e bike the more I am finding that 500-600 watts is really adequate, even on a big fat bike.
Bottom line, you can legislate for or out engineer and out build a cleaver idiot.
The old saying is that just when you think you have made a product idiot proof, along come better idiots. :)

If you look at historical distribution of bikes speeds you find that over 95% riders will hit speeds in the 28-32mph range on downhills when riding smooth roads so I really struggle with those claiming an ebike enabling average riders to achieve those speeds on flats is crazy fast. It's not. I do understand that on MUPs riders have to ride a rational speeds to address the delta in speeds with pedestrians but almost all bikers do that naturally as they are as likely to get hurt in a bike/pedestrian accident as the pedestrian.

The guy that edited the NHTSA ebike regulation that became the federal definition for a "low speed electric bicycle" in 2002 regulated by the CPSC via 1512 bike regulations was a PhD electrical engineer name Malcolm Currie (he passed away just a week or so back at 94). He was keenly aware of the potential future value of ebikes back in 2000 and understood that the NHTSA was very against allowing the transfer or jurisdiction to the CPSC of anything faster than 20mph. But his definition was very elegant in that it allowed 750W rated full power (allows higher peak power) below 20mph and then restricts power above 20mph to the dynamic power that would sustain a 170lb rider on that ebike on a level surface to sustain 20mph. Typically this allows 300-350W of dynmic power to continue to provide assist past 20mph. Interestingly, the aerodynamic resistance above 20mph negates that power quickly such that average rider capability will allow a sustained riding speed of 24-26mph and peaks short distance speeds in the range of 28-30mph.

Note: this allowance for assist to continue past 20mph when the rider is pedaling was not clarified by the CPSC for quite a few years (I think 10 years as they clarified in 2012 I believe that the definition did not require an assist cease at 20mph as so many still think it states to this day.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Since the first state adopted the 3 class law in 2015 every year since more states have adopted the law. Every year! And more state legislatures are considering it this year, 2021. More states are 3 class than not.

If existing laws worked so well ("doing just fine"), why are so many states racing to adopt the 3 class law?

In 2002 there were thousands of ebikes in the U.S., you were lucky to get one up to 14 mph for 10 miles distance. Now millions. Times and bikes have changed. Few laws remain unchanged for 20 years. Given the swift adoption of the 3 class law, its obvious the old regs didn't work.

As for Oregon "doing just fine", why then are land managers (both local and federal) there using the classes to sort out where people can ride, even though Oregon hasn't adopted the 3 class law..... yet?


There's a long list of articles about the difficulties Oregon has and is having with the existing laws. So they are using the most popular standard to sort it out.


Need a name of this "expert". In my dealings with P4B in an attempt to get support locally, they were never less than precise and well informed.

That entire article is filled with errors and subjectivity. These articles are generally written by supporters of 3-class as you will notice a complete absence of support for the claims they make about issues with the federal definition for a low speed electric bicycle to be "use" regulated as a bike. That federal definition essentially stood as what defined as a regulation compliant and state use allowed as a bike in most states for 10+ years. I understand that some land managers could not accept that these were not motorized vehicles so they claimed ebikes were not permitted on many trails but like sheep people believed it.

It says 3-class "demystifies what constitutes an ebike." Really? Is that a joke. One elegant definition to 3 non-nonsensical classes demystifies. That is one hugely biased article.

Here's an example of a lie in that article. It claims "The agency (DOI) will also grant local land managers power to decide what bikes are allowed on what trails." That is not actually true, but default all 3 classes are allowed access and only if the land managers can present compelling reasons to change from that and allow public debate can they restrict access to any class of ebike. Trail managers will not do that because they would require some data and they are not use to really justifying their opinions/decisions.

The race to 3-class was driven by lobby money not a legit state desire or need for that legislation. It did not provide improved clarity or safety as PFBs claimed. There was a poll some time back that asked 748 riders if they would prefer a single definition for a compliant ebike to be use regulated as a bike (what we had with the federal definition) or a multi-class system like 3-class policy and 84% preferred ONE definition/class.

It was Morgan (she has since left PFBs and I suspect she left after NY went with a class 3 throttle assist ebike to 25mph and their goal to get 16 more states over the last 2 years I think resulted in getting 4 to adopt 3 class ... not exacty racing to adopt in my opinion). She was insistent that my PIM Archer was class 3 even though it has a throttle. Oh by the way I have an email from here stating that the 3 class policy is consistent with the federal definition. Now you tell me if that is true. That is the precision and being well informed you mentioned.
 
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Ken M

Well-Known Member
The ebike industry spends far too much energy trying to appease trail managers. They will never consider that their opinions can impact the wide adoption of ebikes for urban mobility which is far far more important than a throttle-assist bike being perceived as causing a few more grains of sand to be moved from the trail than a pedal-assist bike would have.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I remember some of your earliest posts that seem to favor the federal definition. Maybe I'm wrong I think you changed your opinion some where along the line.

Forgetting about your primary concern about trail access what is wrong about the federal definition of a LSEB as a bike for use in all states?
 

theemartymac

Well-Known Member
The ebike industry spends far too much energy trying to appease trail managers. They will never consider that their opinions can impact the wide adoption of ebikes for urban mobility which is far far more important than a throttle-assist bike being perceived as causing a few more grains of sand to be moved from the trail than a pedal-assist bike would have.
Not to mention that the speed is hardly the problem it's made out to be most of the time anyway. I have a big 1000w Ultra that I do ride "fast" when I'm commuting to work, but I'm still passed by the fittest roadies on a relatively regular basis, or at the very least we are within +/- 5km/h of each other on the road. The only place I have a dramatic advantage over them is on the hills where I can pass with relative ease. If it's not a hazard to ride a road or gravel bike at 35km/h on a mixed-use trail, why is the ebike suddenly a menace to society? I think a top speed regulation is fine, and probably a few other considerations like weight and width, but the rest of it is splitting hairs for the sake of it.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Not to mention that the speed is hardly the problem it's made out to be most of the time anyway. I have a big 1000w Ultra that I do ride "fast" when I'm commuting to work, but I'm still passed by the fittest roadies on a relatively regular basis, or at the very least we are within +/- 5km/h of each other on the road. The only place I have a dramatic advantage over them is on the hills where I can pass with relative ease. If it's not a hazard to ride a road or gravel bike at 35km/h on a mixed-use trail, why is the ebike suddenly a menace to society? I think a top speed regulation is fine, and probably a few other considerations like weight and width, but the rest of it is splitting hairs for the sake of it.
That is the irrational reality that happens these days. Most of the "speed concerns" have happened due to what are 4000-10,000W electric off-road ebikes with pedals that some will occasionally ride illegally on the streets or a trail. The haters use that to justify trying to ban all ebikes or to make sure no electric motor assists past 20mph even if governed to keep speeds in the historic norm for bikes. It's frustrating because 99% of ebikers are happy with riding a compliant Low Speed Electric Bicycle but I would much prefer the old federal definition define a one class that is legal to ride as a bike in all states. That is what 84% of the surveyed bikers would prefer but the 16% is very vocal about their love for 3-class legislation because they truly believe it's opened up more trails and even drove the dynamic growth of ebike sales in the US.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I remember some of your earliest posts that seem to favor the federal definition. Maybe I'm wrong I think you changed your opinion some where along the line.

Forgetting about your primary concern about trail access what is wrong about the federal definition of a LSEB as a bike for use in all states?
You talk about inaccuracies and misinformation, but never recognize it in yourself. My primary concern is not about trails and you very well know it. And I've shared many times about how I feel about the laws and regulations. You misrepresented my statements, and not for the first time. You start all these threads and people here inform you of the facts. You don't like the information presented and you just start a new thread posting the same distorted set of talking points you start all these threads with.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
You talk about inaccuracies and misinformation, but never recognize it in yourself. My primary concern is not about trails and you very well know it. And I've shared many times about how I feel about the laws and regulations. You misrepresented my statements, and not for the first time. You start all these threads and people here inform you of the facts. You don't like the information presented and you just start a new thread posting the same distorted set of talking points you start all these threads with.
I did know starting a forum string on the new multi-mode ebikes is diving into the same regulatory topic I've been posting on. These should make all of us scratch our heads on the merit of the 3-class legislation.

This is something you posted back in 2016: I haven't looked into laws for Illinois, it would be helpful if the state has specific ebike laws, stating ebikes within certain specifications are classified as bicycles. Where I live, to be a bicycle it must be under 1 horsepower (~750 watts). The local governments have fallen in line with that since our ebike law took affect in 2014. Since ebikes are classified as bicycles, the signs reading "No Motorized Vehicles", do not apply. Hopefully that's the case for you as well. Good luck!

Essentially that bolded sentence is EXACTLY what I've been pushing / advocating pretty much in every response. The fed definition does declare a compliant low speed electric bicycle is a bike and I'm sure we all know there are use laws for bikes going back decades. If they are bikes then they were always legal to ride on any trail any other bike was legal to ride on .... I've been saying that even though many declare that until People for Bikes came riding in on their white Trojan horse filled with lobby money the trails were not open to ebikes (that is exaclty what they wanted everyone to think but it's simply not true and that has been clarified with the DOI order.

So why have you changed your position from that 2016 response? I'm in 100% agreement with you if you stay consistent with what you wrote in 2016 (please don't parse on "use" again because we all know bike use laws existed long before the adoption of ebikes started).

Do you believe that anything about 3-class adoption by the states (the cease of assist programming, the stickers, the speedometer and ebrake requirements) represent an interstate commerce violation vs the goal of having a unified definition for a "low speed electric bicycle" that is regulated by the CPSC. Even if only one of those resonates with you then you should consider the preemption request very very valid because the states are not allowed that given the enumerated rights granted the federal government. I'm wanting the federal definition to preempt 3-class, because it's better (LSEB is a bike) and it has the true legal standing.

By the way, you should watch and listen to People for Bike's (Alex) present the 3-class, at the CPSC EV Webinar where he presents it as industry "voluntary." It's almost like they are backing away from being front and center to get the states to adopt it as law Clearly it's not voluntary when a state adopts it.
 
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antboy

Well-Known Member
If existing laws worked so well ("doing just fine"), why are so many states racing to adopt the 3 class law?

In 2002 there were thousands of ebikes in the U.S., you were lucky to get one up to 14 mph for 10 miles distance. Now millions. Times and bikes have changed. Few laws remain unchanged for 20 years. Given the swift adoption of the 3 class law, its obvious the old regs didn't work.
The question answers itself...

PfB is the only real game in town, when it comes reach in bike advocacy.

PfB Foundation (the core non-profit business) had over $6.2 million in revenue, while the PfB Coalition (aligned regional groups) another $3.7 million plus, and in their Town Hall talked about securing $2 BILLON in gov't funding for bike infrastructure/safety, not to mention industry data (and when it comes to e-bikes, their industry support comes from pretty much throttleless e-bike makers :) ).

THAT'S why are so many states racing to adopt the 3 class system.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
The question answers itself...

PfB is the only real game in town, when it comes reach in bike advocacy.

PfB Foundation (the core non-profit business) had over $6.2 million in revenue, while the PfB Coalition (aligned regional groups) another $3.7 million plus, and in their Town Hall talked about securing $2 BILLON in gov't funding for bike infrastructure/safety, not to mention industry data (and when it comes to e-bikes, their industry support comes from pretty much throttleless e-bike makers :) ).

THAT'S why are so many states racing to adopt the 3 class system.
I fully agree. My concern is that it sure seems like they received money to promote legislation that was a step backwards from a single definition of a LSEB that was intended to be just adopted by the states as a bike for existing use / bike traffic laws. The vast majority of the time states just adopt the definition of a federally regulated product. I believe that a minimum of 30 states had done that prior to any 3-class lobbying efforts by People for Bikes and here we are going on 6 years of that effort and the adopting states stand at 28. I'm betting that if they would have used that lobby money to get the last 20 states to adopt the LSEB federal definition as a bike for use anywhere a bike is allowed all of us ebike riders would be enjoying a country with all 50 states just use regulating compliant ebikes as just bikes.

The sad part is that even on EBR there are many that think that would be a bad thing because maybe a few trails would have been lost to all bikers but that would not have happened without major public push back.
 

antboy

Well-Known Member
I fully agree. My concern is that it sure seems like they received money to promote legislation that was a step backwards from a single definition of a LSEB that was intended to be just adopted by the states as a bike for existing use / bike traffic laws. The vast majority of the time states just adopt the definition of a federally regulated product.

The sad part is that even on EBR there are many that think that would be a bad thing because maybe a few trails would have been lost to all bikers but that would not have happened without major public push back.
That's why although I'm not even American (Canuck here), I agree with you.

Here in Canada we have a habit of riding the fence between US and EU laws on a lot of things, and each province has its own e-bike rules on top of our federal guidelines (mostly mimicking the wrongheaded 3-class system, IMHO).

I'm in Ontario the FIRST safety requirement on the Ministry of Transportation website is, and I'm not kidding...
  • E-bikes must not weigh more than 120 kg (includes the weight of bike and battery).

That's 265 lbs! That's why those motorcycle looking e-mopeds can get away with being in the same "class" as a Specialized Como.

But hey, the gov't MUST know what they're doing because legislators are NEVER wrong. ;)
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
That's why although I'm not even American (Canuck here), I agree with you.

Here in Canada we have a habit of riding the fence between US and EU laws on a lot of things, and each province has its own e-bike rules on top of our federal guidelines (mostly mimicking the wrongheaded 3-class system, IMHO).

I'm in Ontario the FIRST safety requirement on the Ministry of Transportation website is, and I'm not kidding...
  • E-bikes must not weigh more than 120 kg (includes the weight of bike and battery).

That's 265 lbs! That's why those motorcycle looking e-mopeds can get away with being in the same "class" as a Specialized Como.

But hey, the gov't MUST know what they're doing because legislators are NEVER wrong. ;)
Legislators typically have big egos so they will never bring in people that are more technical or more knowledgeable on any subject when considering legislation. They don't want anyone making them look like they are now know-it-alls. I have no idea why that 120kg weight limit exists on ebikes in Canada.