The Speed Free-for-All

Can the Speed Issue and Ebikes/Motobikes Ever Be Resolved

  • I Guess

    Votes: 4 44.4%
  • Nope

    Votes: 5 55.6%

  • Total voters
    9

George S.

Well-Known Member
If you buy from a company like Prodeco, the speed is limited to 20 mph.

The original CPSC standard is 20 mph, without much regard for how that speed is reached. All motor seems to be fine.

If you buy a kit off Ebay, and pick some performance components (battery and controller) you can go 40 mph, probably faster.

If you buy what is now the ‘standard’ BBS 02 with a 48 v and 750 watt setup, it is really at least 1200 watts, and that is around 35mph real world speed.

Some manufacturers are selling 28 mph bikes, claiming there is an exception to the CPSC 20 mph limit, if there is a PAS system in place. No one says how hard the rider has to work. On a basic system with magnet, is it possible to just play pedal and go 28 mph, or maybe pedal backwards? Wouldn’t that be a circular foot throttle? Is it fair to Prodeco or any other adherent to 20 mph to say you have an exception that lets you go to 28? Do they really prove this ‘exception’?

The California standard, if passed, is 28 mph with pedal assist, and this critter is not an ebike. No one says how much pedal assist to go 28. How much should it be? The ‘industry’ seems to accept that above 20 mph, it’s not a bike. Does that matter?

Most states are, and will be for a long time, at 20 mph, whatever California does. The California law is scheduled to start in 2017. A lot can happen by 2017.

So you have manufactured bikes that respect most states and the CPSC limit, at 20 mph. You have a somewhat dubious category of ‘pedelec’ and these manufactured bikes go 28 mph. You have a large number of kit bikes that push well beyond the California and speed pedelec standard.

How does anyone make this work, or even make it a little bit fair?
 

Paul E.

Active Member
I don't understand how it's possible for cars to have different speed limits on different roads while almost every car is capable of speeds above any of those limits. Why are they not hardware limited to one set max speed? It's a total mystery.
 

Vern

Active Member
I don't believe that Prodeco is the model citizen that obeys the 20 mph limit exclusively. Don't they still make the Outlaw? How are they that much different than other manufactures who make some 20mph+ speed pedelecs other than them saying "off road only." Which is kind of a joke because that beast is imo much more dangerous to ride at 20+ off road as compared to other manufactures very stable speed pedelecs designed for the street and commuting. ( ST1, Dash, Easy Motion bikes.)
 

Paul E.

Active Member
I don't believe that Prodeco is the model citizen that obeys the 20 mph limit exclusively. Don't they still make the Outlaw?
Nothing to do with being model citizen or not: Prodeco bikes just happen to be throttle only, no pedal assist system built in and the speed limit on throttle only is 20 mph. The Outlaw is a different beast also because the motor is more powerful than allowed for a street legal ebike and Prodeco is open about it.
 

MLB

Well-Known Member
Stromer will go 28mph without a lot of effort at max power setting. But you'll bust a gut to go much over 31mph no matter how hard you peddle. At the lightest power setting it takes a lot more effort but stillmakes you feel strong.
The trikes also reaches 28mph (Falco offroad) fairly easy on high power settings, but will continue to go faster with peddling (taller gearing and much more aero)

No I don't think they'll resolve it. I expect 28mph to be "outlawed" to whatever degree at some point. It's nice commuting on roads but for anything else it's just too fast. And too many people are going to get hurt. Inevitable.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
People are complaining that the Prodeco line doesn't really compete on speed, their road bikes. They don't. I don't know if they will offer bikes that can play the speed pedelec game, especially if California passes the Chiu bill. This gets back to the throttle only thing.

Even if you sell a really well configured speed pedelec that can go 28 mph, right now, it's not legal in my state, and many other states. If California goes to the 28 mph class, it won't change any other state laws, by itself, and it won't take effect until 2017. So there are manufacturers who basically stay under 20 mph, and there are others who sell pedelecs, right now, at 28 mph. I think they want the Chiu bill to clarify this. And then there are all the kits that go 30 mph and up.

It's a free-for-all. That's all I said. Sure, Prodeco sells the Outlaw, says it is "Off Road". There are a lot of 20 mph bikes and manufacturers, I just happen to know that Prodeco bikes are generally restricted to 20 mph, with no obvious way around it.

Speed is constantly mentioned in many, many threads, and comments to reviews. I'm not sure people are real clear on some of the regs, and I'm not sure people really care that much. But a manufacturer has to steer a course around the laws, for sure. Kit manufacturers have more slack, especially if the builder can configure the kit. I don't know what California does if they try to certify watts and speeds for kits.
 

Vern

Active Member
A line needs to be drawn somewhere. That line for me is 20mph for throttle bikes and 28 mph for speed pedelecs. I am in favor of the CA law proposal that makes different classes of bikes that includes these speed pedelecs. I am reasonable fit and an ebike that is limited to 20 mph is almost pointless to me. I can easily pedal a road bike that fast or faster. I know some disagree, but I feel that a throttle only bike that exceeds 20+ is a motorcycle. However, I understand your point about where is the pedelec line drawn. Is contributing a certain percentage of force or is just looking like your pedaling enough. With kits and mods it would be very difficult to control this. In order to properly police it some sort of registration would be necessary. I hope that it doesn't come to that. I would personally most favor no regulation or some sort manufacturer self regulation. Like Paul stated in his above post that every car is capable of surpassing "speed limits." Manufactures should be able to produce bikes that are both safe and desired and it should be up to the end user to make sure that he or she is lawful when using them.
 

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
A throttle only setting at 20mph is reasonable; like others have mentioned its not too hard to pedal faster than that on a non-electric bike with some conditioning. Would like to ask why it is necessary to have a license to operate a speed pedelec at 28mph when the rider is providing part of the energy? I can ride that fast on some roads in Austin and must for short spurts in order to not get run over. For my serious commuters who don't always have access to bike lanes or in my case, the bridges that have no bike lanes, why should they have to deal with extra regulation to do what many riders can do without an ebike? If the pedal assist system has a true torque sensor, for example like the BionX kits have, then the power output is based on how hard the rider works. If you're a lightweight spinner like me rather than a pedal pounder, then you can adjust the sensitivity of the torque sensor but it doesn't let the motor go past the max speed, that's got to be totally the rider.

Once you start 'policing' one level of an ebike, where does it stop? I want to see more people on bikes not fearful that they have to have another license or fee to pay. Bikes have traditionally been a form of freedom and it appears that the potential CA law may be overly restrictive.
 

irenewg13

Active Member
A throttle only setting at 20mph is reasonable; like others have mentioned its not too hard to pedal faster than that on a non-electric bike with some conditioning. Would like to ask why it is necessary to have a license to operate a speed pedelec at 28mph when the rider is providing part of the energy? I can ride that fast on some roads in Austin and must for short spurts in order to not get run over. For my serious commuters who don't always have access to bike lanes or in my case, the bridges that have no bike lanes, why should they have to deal with extra regulation to do what many riders can do without an ebike? If the pedal assist system has a true torque sensor, for example like the BionX kits have, then the power output is based on how hard the rider works. If you're a lightweight spinner like me rather than a pedal pounder, then you can adjust the sensitivity of the torque sensor but it doesn't let the motor go past the max speed, that's got to be totally the rider.

Once you start 'policing' one level of an ebike, where does it stop? I want to see more people on bikes not fearful that they have to have another license or fee to pay. Bikes have traditionally been a form of freedom and it appears that the potential CA law may be overly restrictive.

We all have our own interests, when it comes to ebike regulations, and laws.

I'm not a commuter, although I will use my ebike in the city. My primary concerns, are about the regulations and laws restricting ebikes from our asphalt and dirt, urban, and rural, bike trails.

It appears to me, that there are ~4 types of ebike users: commuters, long and short distance road/recreational use, off road, and dirt or asphalt trails, which, are all the primary uses of a traditional bike. I think the primary issue which separates them, is throttle only, versus the amount of effort that one applies using pedals, even with pedal assist.

Here in WI, the law differentiates between an ebike that has useable pedals, and those that don't.

I was just reading the info from a very active bike group. They classify the rides/ability, from 8 to 16 mi/hr.. I think, that if we ebike riders who want to be classified in the bicycle category, can't expect to be "bicycle", if we enthusiastically persue speed.

I am still very new to this world of ebikes, but I think it may come down to classifications, which define and differentiate the intended use, and mechanical features of ebikes.

Irene
 

Bike_On

Well-Known Member
It is great to hear people thinking through the issue. Eventually, it is going to hit us all and impact our freedoms. I have posted numerous times on the classification ideas, so I will be brief.

I really dislike the CA law simply because it neglects/ignores/scapegoats the throttle ebikes, and does not give them a "home" within the ebike community. Sorry Vern, but a throttle ebike going 28mph is still an ebike, not a motorcycle. If you want to get picky, any bike with an electric motor is a motorcycle... and we don't want that to go there.

Bike that have functioning pedals, geared accordingly, can still add leg assist into the 30-35mph range, with PAS or not.

I can compromise with the CA classes, if they make a 4th class, PAS and/or throttle up to 35mph and separate them from scooters and motorcycles. The hit would be a moped status, but a small price to pay for market/industry growth. Just keep them under electric bikes.

Alternatively,
For ROAD ebikes, a simple annex of the existing law would suffice:
1. 20mph<, 750W (1hp), PAS or throttle (current law)
2. 20mph>, 1875W (2.5hp), PAS or throttle

Why 2.5hp? That is the nominal power of a 50cc scooter, and they are typically specified to go 35mph max. . So I contend that e-power, up to that mark.

For the low power, off road ebikes, they seem to need the class 1 option in order to get trail access. It's a fight there with Mtn bikers.

Bike_on :)
 

Allan47.7339

Active Member
I think there is a significant difference between a speed pedelec and a high power throttle throttle only. I am not convinced we need more than 750 watts. The 28 mph assist limit on my Turbo S with a 250 watt motor allows me to keep up with traffic in nominal 25 mph zones. It's also easy to ride at slower pace in congested pedestrian area. I find the throttle only bikers I encounter either to be unpredictable riders. Maybe they need an e-moped classification? As an aside I find I am an even more compliant motor vehicle driver as my bicycle mileage goes up.
 

Bike_On

Well-Known Member
I think there is a significant difference between a speed pedelec and a high power throttle throttle only. I am not convinced we need more than 750 watts. The 28 mph assist limit on my Turbo S with a 250 watt motor allows me to keep up with traffic in nominal 25 mph zones. It's also easy to ride at slower pace in congested pedestrian area. I find the throttle only bikers I encounter either to be unpredictable riders. Maybe they need an e-moped classification? As an aside I find I am an even more compliant motor vehicle driver as my bicycle mileage goes up.
That is anecdotal. 750w is the same weather throttle is actuated by a thumb or by pedals. Maybe you are seeing 1000w or higher bikes?

Class 4 is suppose to be mopped class.

A gas moped has 49cc and 2.5 hp. Doesn't seem fair to equate a 1 hp electric to the same class.
 
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George S.

Well-Known Member
I think there is a significant difference between a speed pedelec and a high power throttle throttle only. I am not convinced we need more than 750 watts. The 28 mph assist limit on my Turbo S with a 250 watt motor allows me to keep up with traffic in nominal 25 mph zones. It's also easy to ride at slower pace in congested pedestrian area. I find the throttle only bikers I encounter either to be unpredictable riders. Maybe they need an e-moped classification? As an aside I find I am an even more compliant motor vehicle driver as my bicycle mileage goes up.
If you pedal and go 21 mph (unassisted), then add 250 watts, you might make it to 28mph. If you have a motor that puts out 750 watts, you can have 'play pedals' because 750 watts will probably be enough to get to 28mph on the flat.

About 750 watts is where you end up for a 28 mph ebike. But then you don't need much effort from the cyclist, so how does that work?

(I'm confused how you know who has a throttle?)
 

Allan47.7339

Active Member
My perspective is from a twenty mile commute with some hills and trying to keep a 30% reserve. I usually run in eco mode to extend my battery and save the full boost for a couple of hills. My average speed is only about 3 mph faster but physically it feels like I've just done 10 flat miles and about half the calories burned. (There may be a little extra mass as well.). So for shorter distances I see your view. I guess I am in the more battery but modest power group. I don't want more power.

(You can tell they are just using a throttle when they buzz along at a fast clip with the pedals horizontal.)
 

Bike_On

Well-Known Member
A line needs to be drawn somewhere. That line for me is 20mph for throttle bikes and 28 mph for speed pedelecs. I am in favor of the CA law proposal that makes different classes of bikes that includes these speed pedelecs. I am reasonable fit and an ebike that is limited to 20 mph is almost pointless to me. I can easily pedal a road bike that fast or faster. I know some disagree, but I feel that a throttle only bike that exceeds 20+ is a motorcycle. However, I understand your point about where is the pedelec line drawn. Is contributing a certain percentage of force or is just looking like your pedaling enough. With kits and mods it would be very difficult to control this. In order to properly police it some sort of registration would be necessary. I hope that it doesn't come to that. I would personally most favor no regulation or some sort manufacturer self regulation. Like Paul stated in his above post that every car is capable of surpassing "speed limits." Manufactures should be able to produce bikes that are both safe and desired and it should be up to the end user to make sure that he or she is lawful when using them.
Vern,

What do you think about a bike that can do 28mph as PAS OR with throttle override? Should that be class 3 too?

I agree with your point about being fit and a 20mph limit is an issue if you are trying to cover some ground.

Big picture: Most uninformed people think ebikes are about all the same. The difference between a 28mph PAS vs throttle or PAS+throttle is in the weeds. Personally, I would like ALL ebikes to simply have an upper power/speed limit and leave it at that.
Practically, the laws seems to want to allow two classes: ebike-bicycle class and ebike-moped class. Nobody wants that eMoped class to start at 20mph, but there are arguments for that.
 

Vern

Active Member
I'm personally not in favor of a throttle. I feel an ebike should be mostly a bike. Just like they roll in Europe. There is a site called Electricridereview which is more geared towards the electric "moped" that many seem to favor. Perhaps Court should set up a community on that site as well. I understand that pedalling in combination with a throttle is no different than a pedal assist bike, however, the temptation to just sit and throttle is there and too easy an option. In my opinion if you don't have to pedal, it is not a bike. It kind of sucks that people attack each other for a different onions. I completely understand other's views, I just disagree. My reasoning for not supporting a strong 20mph cap is that it is fairly easy to surpass 20mph on a regular road bike, but difficult on an ebike due to its weight. I personally use and support EBIKES as transportation. Bikes in general are great transportation. The ebike makes it better because it helps with hills which greatly discourage many from biking. I do also support a throttle up to 20. I also don't feel that anyone should come and confiscate your ebike. If you ride responsibly you should be fine. Ideally, I see you the law as a guideline for complete bike manufactures to follow, kit folks will always find ways around restrictions. My biggest concern is becoming like New York, with an all out ban seemingly caused by a negative perception of EBIKES due to rider irresponsibility.
 
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Bike_On

Well-Known Member
I'm personally not in favor of a throttle. I feel an ebike should be mostly a bike. Just like they roll in Europe. There is a site called Electricridereview which is more geared towards the electric "moped" that many seem to favor. Perhaps Court should set up a community on that site as well. I understand that pedalling in combination with a throttle is no different than a pedal assist bike, however, the temptation to just sit and throttle is there and too easy an option. In my opinion if you don't have to pedal, it is not a bike. It kind of sucks that people attack each other for a different onions. I completely understand other's views, I just disagree. My reasoning for not supporting a strong 20mph cap is that it is fairly easy to surpass 20mph on a regular road bike, but difficult on an ebike due to its weight. I personally use and support EBIKES as transportation. Bikes in general are great transportation. The ebike makes it better because it helps with hills which greatly discourage many from biking. I do also support a throttle up to 20. I also don't feel that anyone should come and confiscate your ebike. If you ride responsibly you should be fine. Ideally, I see you the law as a guideline for complete bike manufactures to follow, kit folks will always find ways around restrictions. My biggest concern is becoming like New York, with an all out ban seemingly caused by a negative perception of EBIKES due to rider irresponsibility.
Yes, we all have different views and opinions about the limits, and we just have to agree to disagree.

To segregate the ebike community into separate forums is counterproductive. We are ALL riding ebikes. Ebike classification if for legal and market delineations. In the end, these bikes are not that much different compared to a real ICE motorcycle or other ICE vehicle. I disagree to split off and segregate just because some folks don't feel a throttle ebike isn't "bike like" enough. Many of these claims worry about the "potential use" of a throttle and a person not pedaling. ebike PC at its best. If you listen to Court's reviews of bikes with both PAS and throttle, he will often comment about the advantage to have the throttle options during different circumstances to help ride safer and allow better concentration on the road, and YES, ride a little faster overall. I suspect you would like it and favor it if you road with traffic as well. These are bicycles with legit cracks, two wheels, and roll nicely with assist.

Your concern about getting banned is real and a common reaction to try to limit ebikes and sneak by the jurisdiction's notice. This is shortsighted. We need solidarity to make our case that ALL ebikes, up to motorcycle class (like a Zero or Bramo), can be pedaled, are green, are legit transportation, recreational, etc. Let's not leave any classes behind. Succumbing to Europe's standard will set back ebike commuting for YEARS. Bicycle gearing can fully support 25-30mph operation of the pedals. These are the typical top speeds needed to support active commuting. We need a legal market to support such growth if we want ebikes to replace cars. So I advocate a PAS+throttle system for 1hp, 750W nominal power as a legal, non moped standard. I support ebike power up to 2.5hp as a moped class. The sub 20 mph classes are great for more casual riding, but they will remain more recreational and not make a cultural impact.