eBike vs. Speed Pedelec: What Are the Differences?

eBike vs. Speed Pedelec: What Are the Differences?

According to a recent article by the New York Times, electronic bikes are growing in popularity and are here to stay. Electronic bicycles provide a more energy-efficient way to travel and flexibility for those who still want the benefits of cycling but also desire a bit more speed. 

If you're considering purchasing an electronic bike, you're probably wondering what the difference is between an e-bike and a speed pedelec. These are different types of electronically-powered bikes but they are often mistaken for one another or their names used interchangeably. 

We are here to set the record straight and explain the differences between bikes and pedelec bikes. Keep reading to learn more.


E-bikes are driven without pedal support. Instead, the power is supplied through the handle. This is also known as power on demand or throttle-based power. So, with an e-bike, pedaling is not necessary.

There are two types of throttles for e-bikes. Both are located on the handlebar. Some E-bikes have a twist-grip, where twisting the throttle supplies power to the motor and increases speed. Others have a thumb press, where you push the throttle with your thumb to power the bike.

In the U.S., e-bikes are only allowed to go up to a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour. In addition, e-bikes must abide by regulations set for class 2 bikes (bikes that are powered by a throttle). These will vary by state but generally, you can ride e-bikes in bike lanes and do not need a helmet, license, or registration. In addition, most states allow e-bikes to be ridden on trails and bike paths in state parks.

Pedelecs And Speed Pedelec

Pedelec bikes are electric bikes that must be pedaled. The power comes from an automatic pedal assist. Actually, the name pedelec stands for pedal electric cycle. 

There is not a throttle like that found on e-bikes. The motor will only start after pedaling has reached 3.7 mph. It will stop as soon as you stop pedaling or use the brakes.

The speed of pedelecs depends on whether you simply purchase a regular pedelec bike or a speed pedelec. Regular pedelecs have a 250-watt motor and can reach speeds of up to 25 kph or 15.5 mph. They are operated as regular bikes and should follow normal bicycle rules. For example, regular pedelecs can be driven in bike lanes and do not require a license plate, helmet, or driver's license. 

On the other hand, speed pedelecs are faster and have different regulations (those set for class 3 bicycles). Speed pedelecs can reach speeds up to 45 kph or 28 miles per hour with their 500- to 750-watt motor. Because they can go so fast, some states make riders follow regulations similar to those of mopeds. 

For example, some states will not allow speed pedelecs in bike lanes. Instead, drivers should ride in the normal vehicle lanes as they would with a car or motorcycle. In addition, some states and countries require speed pedelecs to have a license plate, riders to wear a helmet, and/or have minimum age restrictions. Be sure to check your local state regulations on electric bicycles. 

Find The Perfect E-bike or Pedelec Today

No matter which type of electronic bike you chose, you are sure to love the benefits. At Let's E-bike, we have a huge variety of electronic bicyles to choose from, and the perfect one is waiting for you. Click here to see all of our ebike options, and contact our experts for any questions or recommendations. We're standing by to help you get on the road and start enjoying your new bike.

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