What is a class 1 e-bike?

Last Edited
November 6, 2021

What is a class 1 e-bike?

Christian Angelo 10-17-21

The main characteristics of a class 1 electric bicycle are the pedal-assist feature, top assisted speed of 20 miles per hour, and the usual maximum motor wattage of 750W. In a class 1 e-bike, the pedal-assist can only be activated when you are pedaling, which is also known as “pedelec”. The electric motor does not engage if there is no pedaling action. Class 1 e-bikes do not have a throttle. 

The top-assisted speed refers to the maximum speed at which the motor can be engaged. Technically, the motor disengages when the class 1 e-bike reaches a speed of 20 miles per hour. The electric assist can not be used then.

Usually, class 1 electric bicycles have 4 to 5 levels of assistance. Bosch electrical assistance offers 5 levels - OFF, ECO, TOUR, SPORT, and TURBO. Shimano electrical system offers 4 levels - OFF, ECO, NORMAL, and HIGH. 

You can choose between these levels depending on how you want to ride your e-bike. Just remember that the higher the level, the higher the assistance provided. For example, ECO mode can boost your power for up to 40%, SPORT level can go up to additional 150%, while TURBO can boost you to a surprising 225%!


Generally, class 1 electric bicycles are treated like regular bicycles. They can be ridden where traditional bicycles are permitted. These include bike lanes, roads, multi-use trails, shared-use paths, and bike-only paths. However, it is important to check your local laws because ebike access and operation are usually regulated by the local authority.

Advantages, disadvantages, comparison

Class 1 electric bicycles are the easiest to use. It works just like a regular bike but with additional assistance to help you ride faster, conquer the hills, and travel longer. The e-bike’s assistance also means that the effort you exert would not be the same compared to a regular bike ride. 

If you like the pedelec mode, which does not include the use of a throttle, then a class 1 e-bike is the perfect match for you. You can maximize your riding experience by tweaking the way you ride. You can choose to easily glide your way home after a long day, or engage in a power workout while having that backup assistance when you get exhausted. 

A class 1 e-bike does not offer the fastest speed among the available classes out there. The fastest top assisted speed belongs to a class 3. If you want to ride faster, then you may want to check what a class 3 e-bike is. Additionally, if you want to experience throttle mode, then you may want to check a class 2 e-bike.

Class 1 vs Class 2 Ebikes

Both e-bike classes have the same top assisted speed of 20 miles per hour. The main difference between the two is that a class 2 e-bike uses a throttle, unlike a class 1 which uses pedelec. The throttle allows the electrical assistance to be activated without having to pedal. This makes it easier for the rider to utilize the boost from the electric motor.

Class 1 vs Class 3 Ebikes

The top assisted speed differentiates a class 1 from a class 3 electric bike. A class 3 e-bike has a top assisted speed of 28 miles per hour, compared to a class 1’s 20 miles per hour. Class 3 e-bikes are much faster, thus, they have additional regulations like wearing of helmets, requiring minimum age, and equipping the bike with a speedometer. 

Awesome class 1 electric bikes

Now that you know what a class 1 e-bike is, it’s time to look at some models and check their specifications and prices. Here’s a list of some class 1 e-bikes that are worth your time:


The main characteristics of a class 1 e-bike are its 20 miles per hour top assisted speed, pedal assist feature, and the usual 750W or less motor wattage. Depending on the brand of the electrical system, a class 1 e-bike may have 4 to 5 levels of assistance. Generally, class 1 e-bikes are treated like regular bicycles in terms of regulation, and access to different roads. 

Class 1 e-bikes are the easiest to use because they work similarly to a traditional bike. Look at some class 2 e-bikes if you want to use throttle mode, and check out some class 3 e-bikes if you want a faster one. There are great class 1 e-bike selections listed here. Whatever electric bicycle you choose, always remember to be a responsible cyclist. 

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