"With Assist" vs. "E-bike"

Berry78

Active Member
Holy smokes, I have now been to 3 bike shops that sell or are thinking about selling ebikes.

The first two shops, when I go in and say, "Oh, you have E-bikes!". They say, "These are pedal assist bikes".

Didn't think much about it, until I went to shop #3. This shop is thinking about carrying these bikes, but doesn't quite yet.

Got into a pretty deep conversation, and learned that this shop person was told that bikes without throttle are pedal assist. Pedal assist is different from being an ebike, and would therefore be legal on trails that forbade ebikes.

:confused:o_O

I regaled him with details of our applicable state law, as it pertains to these types of bikes.

Where has this rumor gotten started, and how do we quell it?

These shops are hours away from each other, so the owners aren't chatting over coffee (probably).
 

vincent

Well-Known Member
maybe they are getting it from sales reps for the companies that are mainly based in europe where that actually might be true...???
 

Berry78

Active Member
That is an excellent point, but they were Specialized and Trek stores... isn't Trek a US brand? (I admit, don't know where all the brands come from).

Maybe this thread should be more about what shops say vs. don't say. After all, what do the shops in New York State tell their customers?
 

pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
The larger brands definitely want to paint a clear line between bikes with assist and bikes with a throttle. I can't say I blame them, rider contribution to power output probably should be a differentiating factor, imho anyway. I've had two bikes with a throttle and just don't really see the point....always felt a little lazy using it.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
The larger brands definitely want to paint a clear line between bikes with assist and bikes with a throttle. I can't say I blame them, rider contribution to power output probably should be a differentiating factor, imho anyway. I've had two bikes with a throttle and just don't really see the point....always felt a little lazy using it.
There's the monster, Accell, which is European. There is BH, which is Spanish. But the 'larger' brands (based) in the US are probably Sondors, Pedego, and Prodeco. They all use throttles on most of their bikes. It's already been pointed out that the Europeans are the ones looking for a bright line.

California tried to put the throttles in Class 2 with some restrictions. It did not fly, so they took out the restrictions, basically, but left a differentiation. It all seemed a little mean spirited to me.

I don't see the industry backing away from making California the model for the US. That means throttles are fine, A-OK, on 20 mph limited ebikes, and they are treated as bikes. The Cal law means 750 watts max and it allows 28 mph s-peds that aren't really bikes.

If you want to re-open the 'model' law, good luck. They need to get the 'model' law in a bunch of states. Going back and making little changes is not going to speed that along, and not having a national law is bad for any manufacturer. Right now the Speed-peds are only legal in maybe 3 states, the ones that have adopted the model law. Everyone else is in a really bad situation. Do they ship 28 mph bikes to states where they aren't legal, hoping the rules will change?

It seems like a fair number of people act like they won on the throttle/PAS thing in California. But they didn't. This is a nutso industry. I think everyone is stuck with the California model law, and the best you can hope for is uniformity if it ever shows up.

As for trail access on BLM or National Forest or National Parks land, that seems to be a 'motorized' vehicle issue, and the Feds seem adamant that the bikes are motorized if they have a 750 watt electric assist of any kind.

There are tortured rationales that DIY vendors use to high wattage ebikes. There are tortured rationales that giant corporations apparently use to make the California law something it isn't.

I've restricted the power on my 3 ebikes. My ebikes are legal in Utah, though the details of the recent law are not known, yet. My bikes have throttles. I'd like to see better throttles. A Chinese vendor could develop cruise controls that could replace the very expensive and inherently high maintenance torque sensing type PAS units. Just keep saying that cruise control coupled with a throttle isn't pedal assist. It's not the law. It's not a fact.

Maybe there is better technology than what Europe offers. We can't sustain dealers in rural areas. We need simple stuff. If Haibike is going to attack my approach, my tech, I'm going after Haibike and Accell. Really, if you favor PAS and torque sensing you are saying only big city folk can have ebikes, because those bikes are a 5 hour drive from my location, or whatever. You could develop reasonably priced PAS systems, TS systems. That would help.

Get real.
 

Nutella

Active Member
The "model" legislation is being pushed by Peopleforbikes, a non profit that is funded by the industry. The net effect of that legislation is that the people who sell ebikes and those who ride them mistakenly believe they are free to go anywhere in the country unless they are specifically told they can't. As well as pretty much anyone who want's to will sell anything with pedals and an electric motor as an ebike.

To clarify from Georges post, the feds consider anything with a motor 'motorized" and restricted to motorized roads and paths. As do many cities and towns across the US. It's a mess. I'd rather split legislation, one targeted towards eibkes used to commute and one for electric mountain bikes. A European level of restrictions for offroad would gain a lot more acceptance than what we have now.
 

Berry78

Active Member
I have to give a pat on the back to the PA GAP trail people. They heard the arguments for and against ebikes, and decided low powered ebikes were fine...for the disabled. But most people that would ride the acceptable 250w bikes probably ARE disabled. Teens that are wanting ebikes to zoom around on would scoff at 250w. I don't remember right off if throttles are allowed (they SHOULD be, considering the disabled are more likely to need it).

To me, this is a great start to the ebike on trail discussion. 250w is humanly attainable, so is really just a playing field leveler.