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Class 3 e-Bikes: electric bikes with pedal-assist (max 28 mph)

A Class 3 e-bike provides pedal assistance up to 28 mph, often including a speedometer.

 

Class 3 e-Bikes: Electric Bikes With Top Speeds of 28 MPH

If you're searching for high-speed electric bikes, check out the best Class 3 electric bikes. These fun machines have a maximum speed of 28 mph with pedal assist, so they're fast and fun!

Class 3 e-Bikes come in all shapes and sizes, from commuter style to cargo, road, and hybrid bicycles. Since they have the highest electric bike speed capabilities, Class 3 e-Bikes are ideal for city commutes or other max speed scenarios. Class 3 e-Bikes aren’t always allowed on bike trails, especially mountain bike trails, but if you plan to stick to bike lanes and city streets, you can’t beat a Class 3 e-Bike.

Understanding Class III e-Bikes: An Introduction to High-Speed e-Biking

Class 3 e-Bikes are electric-assisted bicycles that provide pedal assistance up to 28 miles per hour. These are the fastest legal e-Bikes you can buy, and they can have the look and feel of electric motorcycles as much as traditional bikes.

Since their motors require a lot of battery power to reach nearly 30 miles per hour, most Class 3 e-Bikes have high-capacity batteries. These batteries can get heavy, and the bikes are often hard to lift. This is especially true compared to traditional bikes.

Class 3 e-Bikes have either a rear hub motor or mid-drive motor and usually a maximum motor wattage of 750 watts. A rear hub motor boosts you as you ride by turning the rear wheel, while a mid-drive motor assists in turning the bike's cranks. 

Some class 3 e-Bikes come with a throttle or the option to add a throttle. e-Bike laws vary from state to state, and some states prohibit Class 3 e-Bikes with a throttle. In other jurisdictions, you can have a Class 3 e-Bike with a throttle, but that throttle cuts off at 20 mph and can only engage when you're actively pedaling.

These throttle regulations are the main Class 3 vs Class 2 e-Bike differences. All Class 2 e-Bikes have a throttle but are limited to 20 miles per hour. Class 3 e-Bikes are faster, but fitting them with a throttle could lead to license plate, motorcycle license, and registration requirements.

But before we dive further into e-Bike laws, let's look closer at e-Bike classification generally and the difference between e-Bike classes.

Class 1 e-Bikes, Class 2 e-Bikes, and Class 3 Electric-Assisted Bicycles

To understand Class 3 e-Bikes, we need to understand the differences between classes of e-Bikes.

Class 1 e-Bikes are electric-assisted bicycles that only assist when the rider is pedaling. The motor power stops assisting the rider at 20 miles per hour.

Class 2 e-Bikes are bikes equipped with an electric motor and a throttle to propel the bicycle without pedaling. They also stop assisting at 20 miles per hour.

Class 3 e-Bikes are bicycles equipped with a motor that assists when the rider is pedaling. They stop assisting at 28 miles per hour and usually have a speedometer.

History of US e-Bike Law and the e-Bike Class System

The U.S. government regulates “low speed electric bicycles” under Public Law 107-319, defined as “two- or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor” with a maximum power output of 750 watts (1 h.p.) and a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour.

At the federal level, low-speed electric bicycles are regulated as traditional bikes by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, 16 C.F.R. Part 1512. Beyond this, federal regulation of e-Bikes is sparse. And, Class 3 e-Bikes don't even fit into the US government's definition of low-speed electric bicycles outlined above.

To fill the gap in federal e-Bike regulation, People For Bikes advocated for the 3-class e-Bike system outlined above. Separating them into three e-Bike classes was first made law in California when Assembly Bill 1096 was passed in 2015.

The law states that Class 1 e-Bikes and Class 2 e-Bikes can be ridden wherever traditional bikes are allowed, such as bike paths and multi-use paths. On the other hand, Class 3 e-Bikes must stay on roads or bike paths near roads. Many states have since adopted similar laws to California AB 1096. 

Navigating the Legal Landscape: Class III e-Bike Laws and Regulations

Class 3 electric bikes are the most strictly regulated e-Bike class. Compared to Class 1 e-Bikes, which can go anywhere that you can take a traditional bicycle, Class 3 e-Bikes are much more restricted.

Many local e-Bike laws don't allow Class 3 e-Bikes on bicycle paths, sidewalks, or mountain bike trails. Since they're faster, these bikes also often have age restrictions and helmet requirements.

You should check the local e-Bike laws in your area before starting your ride. If you don't know, it's best to think of your Class 3 e-Bike as a road vehicle and stay on public roads, wherever motor vehicles are allowed.

Class 3 e-Bike Safety: Safety Gear for High-Speed e-Bikes

Always wear a helmet while riding your Class 3 e-Bike. Before your first ride, bring it to your local bike shop. They'll inspect your e-Bike's frame and ensure it’s ready for max speed.

When riding high-speed e-Bikes, follow all traffic laws. You're moving at the same speed as motor vehicles, so follow speed limits, signal when you turn, and obey all traffic signs.

Always use your best judgment when your bike is at max speed. This is no traditional bike that goes 12-15 miles per hour!

Where to Ride: Exploring Multi-use Trails and Urban Paths

The best routes and locations for Class 3 E-biking are bike lanes, bike-only paths, road trails, and anywhere else where motorized vehicles go that’s within the impressive range of your e-Bike.

If you need clarification on whether your Class 3 e-Bike is allowed on a traditional bike or multi-use trail, check with your local transportation department.

There's nothing like exploring your city on a high-speed electric bike. So, grab your helmet and get riding!