Another factor to consider when selecting an e-bike is where you'll be riding. Do you plan to mostly cruise country roads, zoom down urban lanes or go off-roading in the mountains?
In this chapter, we'll explore the differences between e-bikes for on and off the road. We'll also look at e-bike regulations to help you prepare for a safe ride. If you're not sure which bike suits you, contact us at Juiced Bikes and we'll help you find the best e-bike for your terrain.
E-Bikes for Roads vs. Mountains
One of the main differences between e-bikes is how they are designed to handle varying surfaces. Road, commuter and cargo e-bikes are all meant for on-road biking. As mentioned in Chapter 2, Road e-bikes are lightweight and efficient, usually fit in Class 1 or 3, and are designed to ride on pavement.
Like road e-bikes, commuter e-bikes are made for efficiency and speed and often feature flat handlebars to keep riders upright and able to see well in an urban setting. Cargo e-bikes, also designed for city riding, feature racks or bins for hauling.
Mountain e-bikes are usually Class 1 and are made to handle narrow, dirt roads and steep trails. Mountain bikes are durable and feature wide, flat handlebars and wide tires with knobby treads. Although you can ride a mountain bike on pavement, keep in mind that knobby tires and a heavier frame usually means slower performance on pavement compared to road bikes.
Are you looking for the best of both worlds or can't decide? Our CampScrambler e-bike is perfect for on or off the road with a pedal assist speed of up to 28 mph.
Electric Bike Regulations
E-bikes are regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission for the sake of product safety. This means that the federal government only regulates the condition of an e-bike for sale, and not how it's used. Federal law defines an e-bike as a low-speed electric bicycle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of fewer than 750 watts, and which does not go faster than 20 mph when powered only by a motor. Federal law does not specify the max speed for traveling using a combination of human and motor power.
To know e-bike laws that apply to you, you have to check with your state. State traffic laws vary and determine how e-bikes can be used within the state. The majority of states define electric bikes in their traffic laws, but some states do not. Also, some states have specific laws that apply only to e-bikes. For example, some states require a license to operate an e-bike. Other states apply the same laws to e-bikes as traditional bikes. A good place to learn about the e-bike laws in your state is to click on your state at Peopleforbikes.org.
Can You Ride an Electric Bike on the Sidewalk?
Like e-bike laws in general, bike sidewalk laws also vary by state and local governments. For example, New York does not have a statewide law prohibiting sidewalk bike riding, but a person cannot ride a bike on a sidewalk in New York City unless permitted by a sign. To look up your state laws regarding sidewalk riding, check out your state on Bikeleague.org.
What Age Can You Ride an Electric Bike?
Age restrictions also vary by state. For example, in California and Utah, an individual under the age of 16 may not operate a Class 3 electric bike. Arizona, Idaho and Wyoming have no age restrictions to ride any class of e-bike.
What Is the Best Electric Bike for Hunting?
Hunters might not think of e-bikes as a way to get around, but they make an excellent choice for venturing off-road and entering hunting areas.
With a rack in the front or back, you can toss hunting gear on the bike instead of hauling gear on your back. Also, e-bikes are much quieter than all-terrain vehicles and don't give off fumes like gas engines, so you're less likely to scare off animals. You'll want to choose a quality e-bike that is built to handle some weight, features a quiet motor and can traverse rugged terrain. Our RipCurrent S, for example, comes equipped with high-traction fat tires and can reach speeds up to 28 mph. With such unbelievable power and speed, you'll take your hunting excursions to new levels, and you'll likely never look at e-bikes the same way again.
What's the Point of a Fat Tire Bike?
Fat bikes feature 3.8-inch wide or wider tires to allow riding on snow, sand and mud. Fat bikes are ideal for outdoor adventurers who want to stay in shape, no matter the weather or time of year. If you want to be able to plow through the elements and not let anything stand in your way, we have fat tires to handle any season. For example, our fun and practical RipCurrent e-bike features knobby 4-inch wide tires, while our extreme machine HyperFat 1100 features 4-inch wide racing slicks.