Need Advice - Class 1 or Class 3?

SpartySAM

New Member
Let me begin by saying that I am a newbie to ebikes. I had a Gazelle ebike when I was in Australia. There, your bike could not go over 28 kph. Here, I have an interesting opportunity. Since I am getting older, I decided to go after an ebike. Here is my question. I bought a Trek Super Commuter + 7 that was on sale. I now have an opportunity to exchange it for a Trek Super Commuter +8 S. The former is a Class 1; the latter a Class 3. There is about a $1000 price difference. Aside from speed, what advantages or pros and cons are there to moving a Class 3 bike? Is it worth the price difference? I will be using it to help in my exercise (for summer commuting, I will be using my BMW C650GT). Any insights or advice would be greatly appreciated.

SpartySAM
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
The main gain is the higher speed. Motors used in Class 3 e-bikes can provide more assist than their nominal power rating reads, and that happens for prolonged duration of the ride.

You have to be aware you are not guaranteed to hit the 28 mph and maintain it. 23 mph are easily doable.

Personally, I don't want a Class 1 e-bike anymore. It is a lot of fun to ride faster on the Class 3 ebike; and actually it is not the speed restriction that limits you but the air resistance.

P.S. Typically, Class 3 e-bikes are sturdier, have better brakes and their geometry is designed for safety at higher speeds. Often, a rigid fork is used for more stability on the ride.
P.S.2. Con: Fast riding shortens the range of the Class 3 e-bike, especially upwind.
 
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rich c

Well-Known Member
It's worth the extra money for me, I just prefer the flexibility. Some manufacturers start feathering out the assist on a class 1 between 19 and 20mph. I ride between 20-22mph a lot. With the Bosch system you always have a predicted range at your disposal. Need to go 40 miles, you just adjust the assist. Only need to go 10mph you have the advantage of speed. The only disadvantage is a municipality that has laws against class 3 on must-use trails and they enforce it.
 

christob

Well-Known Member
...Also ask yourself if you wish/need/want to routinely ride, assisted, in the mid-to-upper 20's mph on a regular basis? (ie, it may be one thing if you do most of your biking in traffic roadways, and so need the upper assisted speeds... quite another if your rides mostly consist of leisurely enjoying municipal or park trails with a 15mph speed limit.)
I bought (being new to ebikes, then) a Class 3, and as my riding style and stamina evolved over the first year, I found myself never needing, nor using, the more powerful levels of assist I'd paid for, and nowhere in my normal riding habits (96% paved shared trail, 5-mile office commutes before covid19, etc) would 20+mph be acceptable or practical; in spring with the walking crowds out on these trails, it would be foolhardy and dangerous.
In hindsight, I'd have likely been just fine with a Class I, but that's a hunch, since I've not ridden one. Now, I would use the upper reaches of my bike's assist if I had miles of empty surface to enjoy... but the upper assist chews through the battery so much faster, too, of course... Nowadays, I ride the bike very often in Assist Level zero (generally my main goal being to have each bike ride register as a heart-rate-increased workout) and I use Level 1, and rarely Level 2 (of 5) with downshifting for some inclines when I don't want to have to stand on the pedals, or am feeling tired from the ride. I pretty much only break 20mph on gravity-assisted downhill runs... But I admit, it is fun to dip into Level 3 in a big empty shopping center parking lot, for a few minutes, to feel "Superman invisibly pushing me along"!
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Christo, I consider myself lucky as I own e-bikes of both Classes. Each of the classes has its pros and cons. When leisurely touring, the Class 1 gives me more range. If I want to do a trip fast, Class 3 is great.

Sometimes I want to ride bike-only lanes for safety. On other trips I appreciate the fact I can use the road and reach my destination far quicker.

One size does not fit all but were I to own a single e-bike, that would be Class 3. It is more fun to ride it.
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
I think you need to think about where you ride and what you're trying to do.

If the routes you ride have lots of long, steep uphills the whole point is moot. You Ifwon't be riding at 45kph on a 20km gravel road that climbs 1200m.

If you are going for distance you are probably better off running a class I and accepting a lower speed. Efficiency in any e-bike plummets past about 25kph and unless you are hauling a trailer full of batteries you are probably better off living with lower speeds in exchange for greater range.