There are Two Origins of Electric Pedal Assist Bicycles (eBikes) in the United States right now.
Before we go deeper, be aware the only eBikes we currently represent are Federally and State approved under the Template 3-Class Law provided by People For Bikes (note: thanks to everyone for this national law effort).
Under these Approved Laws governing proper use of eBikes, NO eBike can have more the One (1) Horsepower or the equivalent of 750 Watts Peak. No more!
Any eBike with more than this can not be used in Any Public Setting and is Illegal. These have Power and Speed that is equivalent to Class 4 vehicles, Motorcycles basically, On or Off Road. Dangerous to general riders, only for seriously trained riders. Only to be used on Private Property. Read the Small Print, Buyer Beware!
So, back the Legal eBikes… Continuing, there are
Two (2) Types of systems that we sell at this time and make up nearly all eBikes on the Market:
- Mid Drive
- Rear Hub
We are not sure of any U.S. based manufacturers actually fully assembling an eBike in the States. Certainly no Bosch based eBikes that we are aware of at this time. So for discussion purposes we see:
eBikes’ Origin from Two Main Areas of the World.
- eBikes from European Countries
- eBikes from Asian Countries
This brings us to the Main Difference, which goes back to where they were derived and what they are replacing:
eBikes from European Countries were developed out of history of Bicycles being transportation, and recreation too. So it is the Bicycle Companies that pioneered the eBikes with companies like Bosch. There are no throttles on any European brands or models we sell currently.
The Bosch eBike System was designed to allow a Rider to fit within the dense flow of traditional bicycle traffic. Riders of both eBikes and traditional bicycles have to be able to co-exist on the sometimes narrow bike paths. ‘Feel the Flow’ from Bosch means that you can sense and incorporate the Bosch Pedal Assist System into a very familiar process of Pedaling and Adjusting Gearing. With Four (4) Levels of Increasing power assist, not 3 or 5, this gives the rider a wide range without getting confusing.
Telling the Assist Levels how to deliver the power is driven by Three (3) Sensors from Bosch: Speed, Cadence and Pedal Pressure. Telling the system over 1,000 times a second what all the sensors are saying. Then applying the power assistance based on Bosch’s secret algorithm, which is constantly improved.
This is a True Human-Electric Hybrid System, that’s why it does not need more power then 250 watts. It is combining the rider’s pedal power with the motor, to have an even higher combined output than a Legal Rear Hub System. The lower the power on the motor, guess what, the smaller the batteries you need. Larger Motors equal bigger batteries, which equals more weight.
Now, ahead of Bosch was Yamaha, they pioneered the Mid Drive Pedal Assist System in the 1990’s. Wow! Their System is Very, Very comparable to Bosch from a Performance, Durability and Service Perspective.
Ride a Bosch-based eBike like a Bicycle! Voila!
The feeling you have as you pull away is what we refer to as the “20-Foot Wow!”
Note: See our “What is an eBike?” Blog post for more info the Bosch eBike System 101.
eBikes from Asian Countries were developed primarily replacing a Gas Powered Moped or Scooter. That’s why the “Throttle Experience” is primary, and the “Pedal Assist” is secondary. In fact, the Pedal Assist system here does not even work the same way as the Bosch eBike System. Putting Pedals on an Electric Moped or Scooter allows for it to be familiar to traditional bicycle riders as well as making them Legal and Sellable as an eBike. Also, in Europe, where the Pedal Assist System was developed, Rear Hub eBikes with Throttles are restricted to the Street with a License Plate, just like a Moped. What does that tell you?
The Rear Hub Motor systems use One (1) Sensor, versus Bosch/Yamaha/Brose using three (3). So we refer to these Sensors as “MACRO” when the Bosch eBike System is “MICRO”. Again, to deliver the natural power assistance on the Bosch system, it needed more sensors for a Pedaling Experience. On a eBike that the primary goal is Throttle use and the Pedal Assistance is secondary, it does not need three sensors perfectly engineered into the pedaling. It just needs to satisfy the eBike definition of Pedal Assistance, of any kind.
Our experience is a single Torque Sensor brings on the power more gradually while the Cadence Sensors create a surge of power that is not comfortable to some riders.
As long as the Rear Hub Systems have Pedals, operate solely on Pedaling and stay below the 750 watt cap, then they are Legal eBikes in the U.S.. The addition is the Throttle, legally limited to 20 mph. The Pedal Assist system works at levels that allow the motor to help, at full power, up to a certain speed. This is a Speed Assist System technically,
Now, at eBike Central we are specialist of eBikes. Our Goal is to cover All Three (2) Classes of eBikes.
Three Class eBike Descriptions:
- Class 1 – Pedal Assist Mode only, limited to 20 mph when assistance stops.
- Class 2 – Pedal Assist Mode and Throttle Mode. Throttle up to 20 mph, PAS up to 28 mph. Note, throttles can be disconnected or removed in most cases.
- Class 3 – Pedal Assist Mode only, limited to 28 mph when assistance stops.
So we currently offer the following brands and which system they use, and Class Options the Brand offers.
- Bianchi – Bosch, Class 1 & 3
- BULLS– Bosch, Brose, Class 1 & 3
- CUBE– Bosch, Class 1 & 3
- Gazelle– Bosch, Class 1 & 3
- GoCycle – Gocycle motor, Class 1
- Magnum – Daskit Rear Hub, Class 2
- Riese & Muller – Bosch, Class 1 & 3
- TERN– Bosch, Bafang Mid Drive, Class 1
- Surface604 – Bafang Rear Hub, Class 2
- Urban Arrow– Bosch, Class 1
- Yamaha – Yamaha Mid Drive, Class 1 & 3
INTERESTED, contact us to learn more…
- CALL: 888 876 6473,
- Ext 1: Greensboro
- Ext 2: Charlotte
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