December 22, 2020 4 min read

We’ve previously covered how ebikes work but there is still some confusion on the difference between an electric bicycle and a motorized bike. Both are two-wheeled vehicles with similar sounding names but are very different on legal requirements, benefits, and riding style.

Electric Bike vs Motorized Bike

It’s quite easy to differentiate the two with a simple assessment of how it looks and functions. An electric bike looks very similar to any regular bike -- like the ones you learned to ride from as a kid. If you take a look at our Boogie Bike cruiser, it looks almost like it’s non-electric cousins. An ebike has the same general components that make up a bicycle: pedals, handlebar, gears, shifters, chain drive, and a bike frame. What makes it different from a regular bike is the electric part of the setup, namely a motor, the control system for the motor and a battery to power it all. Typically, electric bike batteries are between 250 and 750 watts, meaning they put out about 20 to 50 volts and 10 to 12 amps. Boogie Bikes uses lithium batteries, which lasts longer and charges faster than lead-acid batteries. The battery powers the bike’s motor, giving you an extra boost which may feel as being pushed. Some ebike models have the motor setup in the rear part, or what may be known as “rear hub” setup. Other ebikes have what is called a “mid-drive” motor which sits in the middle of the bike and engages the drivetrain. The big difference is important because it means the motor interacts with the ebike’s gears the same way you would. Avid bikers switching to ebikes tend to gravitate towards the mid-drive, recreational users and those with minor disabilities tend to favor the rear hub as the control system is typically not dependent on operator input.

With ebikes, you can either choose to pedal the ebike by yourself or let its motor assist you with the required force to move. The pedal assist also comes in “levels'' which allows you to control how much assistance you get from the motor.

A motorized bike, on the other hand, is almost like a light motorcycle, scooter, or moped. While some are electric, others are still gasoline or internal combustion powered. It allows you to drive without any physical efforts at all. Motorized bikes are on the heavier side and can weigh about hundreds of pounds, which would make it impossible to power with your feet. Depending on the state, a motorized bicycle can be classified as a moped or motorcycle based on the speed and power of the engine. Some states require insurance, license, and registration to operate a motorized bicycle.

The Differences Between an Ebike, Moped, and Scooter

  1. Electric bikes have pedals and provide a form of exercise with a “pedal assist” mode. Most motorized bikes or mopeds do not have pedals and therefore do not provide a lot of physical exertion.
  2. Depending on the state, motorized bikes and mopeds often require an insurance, driver’s license, and registration.
  3. An electric bike is considered a bicycle and is allowed to travel on bike lanes and paths, as well as park in bicycle areas. The transportation department limited this to bikes under 750 watts which should be considered when selecting an ebike. While mopeds can sometimes travel on bike lanes, they are not allowed on sidewalks nor bicycle parking.
  4. Electric bikes are generally limited to a speed of 20MPH (for a Class 2) without pedaling, while mopeds are generally allowed to have a top speed of 30MPH.

Advantages of Electric Bikes

  • Electric bikes improve your fitness. With the ability to choose how much physical effort you want to put in your ride, an ebike improves your health as it provides you a form of exercise. It also encourages taking longer rides, which in turn gets you more exercise than most traditional cyclists. In any event, it’s a lot more exercise than sitting on the couch.
  • It’s more economical. It costs a lot less than buying a motorcycle or a car and is a great alternative to traditional forms of transportation.
  • It’s more environmentally-friendly. Ebikes emit lower pollution per mile than motorcycles and cars. The energy it uses has an average rate of 100 to 150 watts compared to a car which can range from 15,000 or more.
  • You do not need an insurance, license, and registration to operate one.

Comparison

  Electric Bicycle Motorized “Bicycle”
Weight 50-70 pounds 100 pounds or more
Pedalability Very easy Very difficult
Power source Electric Gasoline or Electric
Legality No license required License varies by state
Comfort High Low

 

Electric bikes are considered a great alternative to transportation and we even made a list of reasons why you should be stoked about them. If you have any questions or would like to know more about our Boogie Bike Cruiser, give us a call today at 833-266-4432.

Dean DuMez
Dean DuMez


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