Definition of an ebike (Legally and Ethically)

November 5, 2016


Do you have to pedal it for the motor to work? (this is called PAS), Or can it have a throttle?


In some jurisdictions  in Europe to be classified an ebike it must have no throttle and be pedal assist only.  Read this article which differentiates throttle and PAS)


Does it need pedals at all?  

(  thinks it does)



Does it need to look like an electric bike to be an electric bike? What if it’s obvious the pedals are just afterthought to be used as an obvious loophole to side-skirt the law?

 ( thinks not)


elecctric bike with pedals.jpg

Can you spot the pedals on the above “ebike”?


What is the maximum weight it can be? Is it still considered an ebike if it weighs 200 pounds and looks like a motorcycle with pedals?

  (To  …weight is more important than anything…if it weighs more than 100 pounds…forget about it, its not an ebike.)

liveforphysic death bike.jpg

Live for Physics on death bike. It has pedals and has proven to outrun Teslas, but weighs 400 pounds.


What about power levels? At what point does it cease being an ebike? 250 watts, 750 watts, 1000 watts or no watt limit?  

( thinks this is sensitive topic and wont comment)


How many wheels can it have and still be classified as an ebike?  (1, 3, 4, 5?)

outrider trike.jpg

Read our story on the Outrider 40mph trike here.


How fast does the ebike go? At what speed does it cease to become an ebike? 20-mph? 30-mph or way more?

 (the Hanebrink down below goes 80-mph but weighs over 100 pounds and has no pedals).

Read story on getting away with it.


Read about the 80mph Hanebrink Hustler here


What about a total utilitarian ebike that provides transportation to someone who normally would not have access or be able to afford a proper electric vehicle?  

pakistan ebike.jpg

See the story of this Pakistan Ebike Here.


Whose position  is it to Judge what an ebike is and what is not?

ebike police.jpg

Read more about electric bike law here. agrees with  Live for Physics quote:  “It’s an ebike if you can ride it past a cop and not get stopped.”

Grant’s Rant:


If you ask for my personal view.  My answer is this: I really don’t care. It’s a tenth the size of a car, and it’s electric. If everyone could afford top engineering, legal and lightweight ebikes would all look like the new Specialized Turbo…but the reality is, few can afford such a bike.

specialized turbo levo.jpg

More butts on bikes….That’s really all that matters to me. I hesitate to even acknowledge the whole “cheating” argument, as it is so ridiculously ignorant and elitist. A modestly powered ebike has been proven to cause virtually the same impact on terrain as a bike powered solely by human power. And where did we come up with the notion that one must suffer and strain to enjoy beautiful trails and vistas? That’s just nonsense. Some devotee’s personal sacrifice of sweat to the ‘Spirit of the Mountain’ is all fine & well, but I’m sorry, I don’t pray that way. I’m just here to enjoy the fresh air and scenery.

And if we’re talking about using an ebike in ANY situation in which a gasoline powered car is typically used, don’t even THINK about calling it cheating. Would you rather I be driving my 4,000lb car like YOU are!? Powering a bike with a few cents worth of electricity can actually be more environmentally friendly than pedaling (if that pedal power comes from you eating animal products and other energy intensive food).

Yes, rules need to be established and refined as to where certain types of electric powered cycles can be operated, but that is well within the ability of intelligent and rational human beings. And there are a LOT of people in this world who don’t need a car (or can’t afford one) for all of their daily activities and instead rely on bikes and ebikes for commuting, commerce, and recreation.      

Written by Grant Cornish



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