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All technical differences between bicycles (including E-bikes)and Motorized Cycles

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All technical differences between bicycles (including E-bikes)and Motorized Cycles

Old 02-04-19, 06:51 AM
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Aznman
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All technical differences between bicycles (including E-bikes)and Motorized Cycles

I asked on this general sub-forum because the topic deals with bicycles in general, not just e-bikes. Boundaries are often blurry at times, especially in a time period where people have more time and resources to kickstart new (or 'new') inventions. Being human powered vs engine powered can be argued to not be so fundamental since swapping can be done with ease. What would happen when motorcycles are produced with cycling pedals in massive quantities (for whatever silly reasons)? What are the major/fundamental differences between an e-bike and a moped?

I hope you guys can find this thread to be enjoyable and informative should you choose to contribute.
Here are two of my main thoughts on this topic.

1. Bicycles, with the usual frames and parts used by the main consumers, will always be lighter and more portable in the foreseeable future than any vehicle that uses non-biological engines as the primary method of power. Say that you are biking on a trail and came to a path that you would prefer to walk on rather than ride over on a vehicle. You can more quickly carry the frame on your shoulders (even with an e-bike) than you would with even a moped (220 to 500 lbs !). Also, given the sheer weight differences, bicycles will also remain more friendly to the integrity of trails than heavier vehicles when used.



2. Given the fundamental design of the frames, bicycles will likely remain more foldable and adaptively compact in storage than any motored vehicles in terms of usage by the average consumers. Even when you don't have folding frames, base-bicycle wheels are easier to remove, carry, and store than moped wheels.


Are there any other (truly) fundamental differences that you would like to add?

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Old 02-04-19, 07:35 AM
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No idea what you want from this thread.
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Old 02-04-19, 08:01 AM
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Hmm. I see a RadCity Step-Thru e-bike technology moped weights 65lbs, and a traditional petroleum fueled Velosolex weighs 61lbs.

And I believe you expressed interest in a folding motorbike? There's not a lot of call for these, but DiBlasi has found steady customers since 1974 with their model:

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Old 02-04-19, 09:12 AM
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Even the term e-bike references different kinds of hardware.

Pedal assist e-bikes require the operator to pedal and only assist with pedal effort.

Throttle operated e-bikes require no operator input whatsoever.

You can't compare "e-bikes" to anything else because there are different kinds of e-bikes.


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Old 02-04-19, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Aznman View Post
What would happen when motorcycles are produced with cycling pedals in massive quantities
Once upon a time, they were. Mopeds of old were basically small motorcycles that could be pedaled as a last resort; although I wouldn't have wanted to pedal one more than a couple of blocks to a gas station. It's only due to the corrupting effects of changing laws that some current pedal-less scooters can be called "mopeds."
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Old 02-04-19, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
Mopeds of old were basically small motorcycles that could be pedaled as a last resort; although I wouldn't have wanted to pedal one more than a couple of blocks to a gas station.
Peugeot, Indian, BMW, Ducati, Suzuki and Honda (among others) got into the motorcycle business by first building bicycle assist engines.

'Moped' is a portmanteau of motor+pedal.
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Old 02-04-19, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
Once upon a time, they were. Mopeds of old were basically small motorcycles that could be pedaled as a last resort; although I wouldn't have wanted to pedal one more than a couple of blocks to a gas station. It's only due to the corrupting effects of changing laws that some current pedal-less scooters can be called "mopeds."
As I recall, you also used the pedals to start the motor, so there was no need for a battery or starter.
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Old 02-06-19, 07:54 PM
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IIRC some mopeds were real motorcycles, pedals were there only for legal purposes - lower taxes.
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Old 02-06-19, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Reynolds View Post
IIRC some mopeds were real motorcycles, pedals were there only for legal purposes - lower taxes.
It's interesting that classes of small motorized vehicles have come to be defined by regulations that differ from one locale to another, making it hard to generalize about those terms. So a scooter could be defined by its tax free status, license free status, etc.

A relative of mine works at a university, and got a scooter because he can park it near his building without paying for a parking sticker. Meanwhile, the university near my house just changed their parking rules, so a scooter has to pay for a sticker and park in special scooter zones -- the number of scooters dropped drastically and the number of bicycles went up.
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Old 02-06-19, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Reynolds View Post
IIRC some mopeds were real motorcycles, pedals were there only for legal purposes - lower taxes.
Lower taxes, and an end-run around licensing requirements for the machine or its operator or both.
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Old 02-06-19, 09:50 PM
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Thread moved to e-bikes as most appropriate forum
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Old 02-06-19, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Aznman View Post
I asked on this general sub-forum because the topic deals with bicycles in general, not just e-bikes.
This kind of thread works perfectly well in this forum and is awkward in other forums. We will continue to move threads with ebike content into the ebike forum.

Then maybe this forum will not be so boring
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Old 02-07-19, 01:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
As I recall, you also used the pedals to start the motor, so there was no need for a battery or starter.
Originally Posted by Gresp15C
It's interesting that classes of small motorized vehicles have come to be defined by regulations that differ from one locale to another, making it hard to generalize about those terms. So a scooter could be defined by its tax free status, license free status, etc.

A relative of mine works at a university, and got a scooter because he can park it near his building without paying for a parking sticker. Meanwhile, the university near my house just changed their parking rules, so a scooter has to pay for a sticker and park in special scooter zones -- the number of scooters dropped drastically and the number of bicycles went up.
Those are the details that I have never even thought about! Thanks Gresp.

Originally Posted by unterhausen
This kind of thread works perfectly well in this forum and is awkward in other forums. We will continue to move threads with ebike content into the ebike forum.

Then maybe this forum will not be so boring
Yes, I guess things will have to be this way.

Last edited by Aznman; 02-07-19 at 01:28 AM.
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Old 02-07-19, 08:33 AM
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Looks to me like regulations for ebikes will be a lot better than the ones for scooters. I was around for the moped craze in the '70s in the U.S., it died pretty quickly, partially because the laws got stricter. Hopefully the people that are supercharging their ebikes and riding them at high speeds don't ruin that for the rest of us. It only takes a few.
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Old 02-07-19, 11:23 AM
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In CA during the 70's (AIR) mopeds were selling like the proverbial hotcakes until some group put together laws that regulated them; this resulted in the same death noted above. The industry never recovered. IMO if the government sees a way to derive money from e-bikes, they will. The numbers here are too small to be of interest now. Also, it's illegal to ride e-MTB's in almost all off road areas, but only one that I know of has any enforcement.
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Old 02-07-19, 12:05 PM
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safety laws get stricter because of crashes, usually. I think registration for ebikes is mostly a non-starter, although with enough fatal crashes you might see something like that, and possibly insurance requirements. Bike-pedestrian crashes can be very bad for a pedestrian, and if people are going 30 mph or faster on an ebike in a pedestrian area we will see deaths. Because pedestrians are incapable of seeing cyclists.
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Old 02-07-19, 07:08 PM
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Where I live (Illinois) both mopeds and ebikes have a legal definition, and there are plenty of restrictions on the latter..

Mopeds require a drivers licemse. If the engine size is under 49cc, an automotive license is required. For larger engines, a motorcycle license is needed. You need to register, insure, and license a moped. You need to have lights tor ride at night. They cannot be ridden on bike paths or in bike lanes..It costs $141 to register a moped here, and the plates will be $41 annually.

Meanwhile ebikes with motors under 1 HP (750watts) are allowed to be ridden like bicycles.


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Old 02-07-19, 09:07 PM
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To me, the difference is in how the propulsion is applied. If you have to pedal to get forward motion, and the attached motor is used as part of the pedaling, it's an e-bike.

If, however, you're controlling the motor action thru a mechanical throttle (twist grip or thumb lever seem to be the most popular), and pedaling is not necessary for forward motion, then it's a moped.

I work at a Honda/Yamaha/Can-Am dealership, and we see a number of the older style mopeds come thru the shop periodically. I've always been used to pedals on a moped being used for "light pedal assist" on hills. Aka, the small gasoline engine on the moped doesn't necessarily have the power sufficient to climb hills, thus the pedals. In Virginia, a moped is legally classified as a motor vehicle of 49cc or less, with a top speed of 35mph, must be titled, licensed, and the operator must wear a DOT-legal helmet and carry some form of picture ID on them while operating the vehicle. And the police will clock your speed. A slightly modified Honda Ruckus can easily outdo the 35mph limit on the flat - one of our salesmen got a speeding ticket for his a few years ago. Motor vehicle insurance is not required.

E-bikes in Virginia currently are treated as bicycles. No legal restrictions (although the rider is expected to follow traffic laws and local speed limits), no licensing, no helmets or ID necessary.
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Old 02-08-19, 01:57 AM
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Originally Posted by sykerocker View Post
To me, the difference is in how the propulsion is applied. If you have to pedal to get forward motion, and the attached motor is used as part of the pedaling, it's an e-bike.

If, however, you're controlling the motor action thru a mechanical throttle (twist grip or thumb lever seem to be the most popular), and pedaling is not necessary for forward motion, then it's a moped.

I work at a Honda/Yamaha/Can-Am dealership, and we see a number of the older style mopeds come thru the shop periodically. I've always been used to pedals on a moped being used for "light pedal assist" on hills. Aka, the small gasoline engine on the moped doesn't necessarily have the power sufficient to climb hills, thus the pedals. In Virginia, a moped is legally classified as a motor vehicle of 49cc or less, with a top speed of 35mph, must be titled, licensed, and the operator must wear a DOT-legal helmet and carry some form of picture ID on them while operating the vehicle. And the police will clock your speed. A slightly modified Honda Ruckus can easily outdo the 35mph limit on the flat - one of our salesmen got a speeding ticket for his a few years ago. Motor vehicle insurance is not required.

E-bikes in Virginia currently are treated as bicycles. No legal restrictions (although the rider is expected to follow traffic laws and local speed limits), no licensing, no helmets or ID necessary.
Hmmm, I guess the law is the main arbiter by far then.
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Old 02-08-19, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Aznman View Post
Hmmm, I guess the law is the main arbiter by far then.
Of course. Along with a certain willingness on the part of the public to go along. Mopeds, for the most part, are almost-motorcycles; so there isn't too much objection to have to go thru the same processes of motorcycles and automobiles. A few years ago when Virginia instituted the titling restriction, there was some grumping but it died out very quickly. Bicycles, on the other hand, will never undergo such restrictions, mainly because of the American attitude that, in general, they're children's toys. No matter how expensive, fast, etc.

E-bikes are going to be an interesting shakeout, because they're a middle ground. I, personally, am still going to bet on the "children's toys" attitude is going to keep them unlicensed and unrestricted. At least as long as their performance is kept within the realm of a pure pedal-powered bicycle. Stretch the performance envelope, however, and that could change.
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Old 02-08-19, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by sykerocker View Post
Of course. Along with a certain willingness on the part of the public to go along. Mopeds, for the most part, are almost-motorcycles; so there isn't too much objection to have to go thru the same processes of motorcycles and automobiles. A few years ago when Virginia instituted the titling restriction, there was some grumping but it died out very quickly. Bicycles, on the other hand, will never undergo such restrictions, mainly because of the American attitude that, in general, they're children's toys. No matter how expensive, fast, etc.

E-bikes are going to be an interesting shakeout, because they're a middle ground. I, personally, am still going to bet on the "children's toys" attitude is going to keep them unlicensed and unrestricted. At least as long as their performance is kept within the realm of a pure pedal-powered bicycle. Stretch the performance envelope, however, and that could change.
Nice theory, but not the case where I reside in CA and local government is permitted to create their laws. As a consequence e-bikes are prohibited from all county parks, some (maybe all) state parks and even some bike paths.
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Old 02-13-19, 10:43 AM
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Red face

Here's where we are (mostly) in Cali: eBike News
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Old 02-13-19, 03:04 PM
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This is why we should start calling them "E-Peds," like Mopeds. That's really what they are. They're not primarily bikes, at least the way I see most people ride them; many don't bother pedaling - just like a moped. Staying away from the bike moniker would make it easier to regulate them properly.
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Old 02-13-19, 05:19 PM
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Depends on how you build them... Mine has no throttle, PAS only via TQ sensor. So if you don't pedal, you don't go - at all
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Old 02-13-19, 06:01 PM
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My e-MTB(s) don't have throttles either, and in fact all of the e-bikes produced by the major manufacturers (Specialized, Trek etc) are pedal-assist only. Some have a 3-6 mph "walk mode" which is disabled by pedaling AFAIK. The e-haters like to consider this a throttle even though it's for walking up extremely steep terrain, stairs or whatever.

Last edited by 2old; 02-13-19 at 09:44 PM.
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