Mopeds vs. E-Bikes: What's the Difference?

Mopeds vs. E-Bikes: What's the Difference?

As we’ve started expanding the e-bikes we carry, we are often asked a question by people who see our products:

“Aren’t these just mopeds?”

It’s understandable that people would think that e-bikes are similar to vehicles like mopeds, motorcycles, or electric scooters, but in reality, they have defining features that each have their own pros, cons, and special attributes.

Here, we’ll outline the main differences between e-bikes and mopeds so that you can make an informed decision when you buy!

Pedals & Power

A moped is a purely-motorized vehicle, whereas an e-bike has pedals. The biggest difference here is that with a moped, you don’t have the option at all to pedal. Pedal assist electric bikes have motors in them, but in most cases, you still need to pedal. The motor just amplifies the power that your pedaling produces.

Throttle electric bikes can be operated without pedaling, but usually only for a relatively short distance. An e bike with throttle also always has pedals to allow for a pedal assist or pedal-only option, so even though it can function similarly to a moped, it still also has the capacity to be used in the same way as pedal assist bikes. Finally, all e-bikes do not have pedals. Take, for instance, our Aero model, which does not have an option for throttle.

E-bikes are, by definition, powered by electricity. They have batteries which can be charged to help power the bike, and can also be powered purely by pedaling, if the rider wishes

Mopeds, on the other hand, can be either gas-powered or electric, but it still stands that without an external power source, they cannot be ridden.

Riding Locations

While e-bikes have some restrictions on where they can be ridden due to class and top speed, they are generally allowed on both trails and public roads, and can be sometimes ridden on dirt roads or gravel trails. Mopeds are, by and large, only allowed on public roads. They are not allowed to be ridden on trails, and are mostly made for city riding. The way mopeds are built and their tires also make it difficult to ride them anywhere but paved surfaces.

Mopeds are also generally allowed on the road with cars. On an e-bike, you’d likely want to stay in the bike lane, as the top speed of most e-bikes is under 30mph.

Our folding electric bike, the Nesta, is a perfect halfway point between the two. Featuring throttle to help you zip down roads, it also has fat tires that allow you to ride on trails and gravel.

Top Speed

As mentioned previously, e-bikes generally have a top speed of under 30mph. Depending on the class of a bike, it’ll have a different top speed. The highest class of e-bike, class 3, means that a bike tops out at 28mph with pedal assist.

Mopeds, however, top out at 40mph, and are thereby only allowed on city roads in most places.

Construction & Size

Finally, let’s look at the construction of mopeds vs. e-bikes.

E-bikes look much more like your standard bicycle. They are similar in shape and size, and most weigh under 70lbs.

A moped looks more like an electric scooter or a motorcycle, and only vaguely resembles a bike. They are wider and generally heavier as well, with an average weight of 180 lbs. They are far less transportable than an e-bike. They can usually only be stored in garages, on porches, or in driveways, needing a great amount of space to themselves. E-bikes, on the other hand, can be stored just about anywhere a regular bike can be stored. If you opt to buy a foldable ebike, you can even store it in a closet or a car trunk.

Now you know the difference between an ebike and a moped! If you’re in the market for an ebike now that you can tell the difference, you can check out some of our more popular models.

Our electric sports bike, the 21 Sport, is a bike designed after sportier biking frames. It’s perfect for trail riding as well as city riding!

Our foldable ebike, the 21 Nesta, is a bestseller for a good reason. It folds small enough to store in a closet, RV, or car trunk, and is perfect for those with limited living or storage space!

Reading next

A Beginner's Guide to Buying an Electric Bike

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