The Chainlink

What Do You Think? "When Is an Electric Mountain Bike No Longer a Bicycle?"

"Electric bicycles can fill an important need. Low-power electric-assist mountain bikes, like the Specialized Turbo Levo FSR we tested last year, can make riding more accessible to more people, making up for gaps in fitness and training or helping people pedal through injuries. But electric bikes can also exist solely to exploit legal loopholes. This HPC Revolution can reach speeds in excess of 60 miles per hour on level ground, putting motorcycle performance in places where it doesn’t belong."

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Why is a car with an electric motor called an electric car but a motorcycle with an electric motor called a bicycle?

What does that look like to you? 

I don't have an e-bike but I've test-ridden several and I think they're very compelling. This Specialized Vado is just like riding a bike, but with the feeling like you always have a stiff tailwind. It's an assist, not a full drive.

I don't think e-bikes belong in bike lanes and definitely not on bike trails, but as a car replacement where maybe that wouldn't otherwise be practical, it's really interesting.

This is the one from the link in the OP, what does it look like to you?


I used to look down upon e-bikes but have changed my tune because of an old man I met who got an e-bike and it reignited his bicycle riding love with his increased range.  These bikes are no longer bicycles as soon as you have a throttle in addition to electric assist. 

Anything that can move by itself, without being pedaled, is not an electric bicycle.  

That and (I think) by law the electric assist has to stop assisting at 20mph. I have no problem sharing a bike lane with something that meets those criteria. 

Why do you have a problem with folks using a bell instead of "on your left"?

So a "push a button and go 30mph" scooter is no different to you than a pedal assist one that requires pedaling to go, and goes about 15mph?

"When is an electric MOUNTAIN BIKE no longer a bicycle?"

The E-Mountain Bike featured in this discussion is obviously an extreme example of an over-powered, $10,000+ 'E-Mountain Motorbike' that even the article says that will mostly be a toy of the wealthy on their private property and other locations. Especially when directions are included to illegally override the features intended to keep it classified as an E- mountain bike by the evil nature of the usual disfuctional excuses for human beings.

Yup, this discussion has once again brought out the usual reaction from cyclists that can't or won't comprehend the proper, appropriate, reasonable and useful type of E-Bike. Of course, with any type of mode of transport it depends on the actions of the operator and not the device.

I may soon be seeing you somewhere down the road on mine. Don't be (hatin') angry at me.
(My future E-Bike example)

There's definitely a place for eBikes. I was on the "hater" side until I saw the benefits - great for people that want to bike with their partner but have medical challenges, great for steep hills and/or long commutes, and if you mountain bike, that's one way to do a lot more riding (those climbs can be killer!). I have nothing but good thoughts for them. That said, it would be nice to classify based on speed because we don't want a moped on a bike trail. No?

I think the line is crossed when you don't need to pedal at all and when speeds exceed 20 mph.  The idea of an assist is very attractive to me at age 78.  I want the exercise as well as the ability to keep up with my younger bicycle riding friends with help on the hills and longer cruising range.

It would be interesting to see what the general cyclist's opinion would be if a law went into effect that no bicycle could be ridden faster than X mph. Let's say X is 15 mph.

I think the general reaction would be that one size does not fit all on cyclist speed.

So why would the same group of cyclists say "Ban all e-bikes, cuz they go fast!"

Most e-bikes generally don't go any faster than any regular cyclist can go. They're just able to do it for a longer period of time.

But then you have those hotrods in the article that are motorcycles with pedals, essentially. They go well beyond the power level of even the best human rider. There are laws that determine what is a "motor vehicle". Those hotrods are well into that category, and as such, have no place on regular trails.


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