Understanding the Three Classes of Electric Bikes - Our Guide

woman with black ebike

An electric bike, also called an e-bike, feels like a traditional bike supercharged with new powers. This is because the e-bike will add power when you pedal, allowing you to accelerate and maintain speed with little effort. This makes a lot of biking-related activities much easier, such as hauling cargo or simply biking up a hill.

That said, if you are new to the world of e-bikes, it is important to understand that there are three classes to choose from. While they are all e-bikes, they work a little differently from one another. In this article, we will talk about the three classes of e-bikes to understand which one fits your needs the most.

Class 1 E-Bikes

Class 1 e-bikes can be summarized as bikes with motors that only activate when you pedal and stop when going faster than 15.5 mph (the road legal limit). If you are new to the e-biking world, class 1 e-bikes are what you will want. That is because they are affordable and can be used on most, if not all, bike paths. Many mountain paths will also allow e-bikes, although you may need to check to know for sure.

Class 2 E-Bikes

Class 2 e-bikes are similar to class-1 e-bikes, where a motor will kick in when you pedal and stop when going past 15.5 mph. However, there is a throttle-powered mode, meaning that if you do not want to pedal for any reason, you can use the throttle like a standard regular bike. They are also similar to class 1 e-bikes, as they are permitted on all biking paths. However, you will again need to do some research to determine their viability for certain mountain paths. These are not currently legal on UK roads and must be used off-road.

Class 3 E-Bikes 

Finally, class 3 e-bikes are much faster and more powerful than class 1 and class 2 e-bikes. These bikes are more suitable for those who often commute and work using their bikes. If your job requires frequent use of your bike, this is an investment you can consider making.

For example, if you carry around heavy loads on the bike, the added speed and performance means you will not find yourself struggling in traffic. The tradeoff you are making here is that you will not be able to use it on bike paths because it is treated similarly to a motorbike. Also, these bikes cost quite a lot more than the previous types, but they might be a worthy investment, depending on your needs. These are currently not legal on UK roads and must be used off-road..


E-bikes, even within each class, have differences in terms of range, loads, and so on. As such, whichever class of e-bikes you are interested in purchasing, make sure to research what each option has to offer. 

Additionally, do not forget to research access rules in your area. That is because there are laws and rules that you will need to consider when operating an e-bike. These rules will have a huge influence on what bike would be best for you. For example, some places may allow e-bikes to go up to 15.5mph, meaning the e-bikes you get there may offer pedal assistance up to 15.5mph. Regardless, do your research, and you will find yourself the perfect e-bike!

Electric Rider offers the best in the e-biking world, boasting top brands curated to fit any need and requirement. If you are interested in purchasing an e-bike in the UK, check out what we have for you.

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