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These Are the Best Class 3 eBikes of 2021

Class 3 e-bike or speed pedelecs (short for “pedal electric cycle”) is the most powerful class of electric bicycles on the market. These bikes support riders with varying levels of pedal assistance up to 28mph (45km/h).

The best class 3 e-bikes have large battery capacities and range, extra accessories such as LCD screen and lights, lightweight components, powerful hydraulic disc brakes, and good weight distribution for optimal handling. Depending on the type of riding you do, you can look for a style bike that suits, whether it is for off-road adventuring or hunting, or urban riding and commuting.

All Class 3 e-bikes are speed pedelecs, meaning you must pedal to activate the motor, although, some versions do come with a throttle that can be used to engage the motor without pedaling. Once the speedometer senses you have reached 28mph, the motor then cuts out until you fall below that speed again.

In the USA, most Class 3 electric bikes are limited to 750W power (one horsepower). However, this is not the only factor that influences speed and acceleration. Torque, which is measured in “Nm”, is a factor that isn’t limited by regulations and is generally higher in premium “mid-drive” motors, compared to rear-drive, giving these bikes better acceleration off the mark.

Pedelec = Pedal Electric Cycle = Class 1 eBike

Speed Pedelec = Class 3 eBike

Two speed pedelec Trek electric bikes at the foot of the hill

Image source: Trekbikes.com


 

Table of Contents

E-Bike Classification

Class 3 E-Bikes

Class 3 E-Bikes with Throttle

Conclusion


 

E-Bike Classification

With the explosion in popularity of e-bikes in recent years, manufacturers and legislators have developed a classification system. This system helps legislators distinguish between the different power outputs (W), max speeds, and presence of a throttle, thus allowing different legislation to apply to each class.

In Europe, class 3 e-bikes have been assigned to the same motor vehicle class as mopeds/scooters, limiting these bikes to 500W. However, as of 2021, in the USA, none of the states have yet made this designation, although there are some variations in regulations by state, which we cover later.

  • Class 1 bikes are not fully electric, don’t have a throttle, and rely on pedaling in order to activate the motor. The motor stops assisting at 20mph, meaning these bikes have greater ranges than classes 2 and 3.
  • Class 2 models have a throttle, this means they can be used as fully electric bikes without pedaling. They also have a top speed of 20mph at which the motor stops assisting the rider.
  • Class 3 e-bikes may or may not have a throttle, have max speeds of 28mph, and have the most legal restrictions such as age limit and helmet requirements.
Class 1 Class 2 Class 3
Pedal Assist + + +
Throttle +
Max Speed 20 mph 20 mph 28 mph
Max Power Output for All Classes is 750W (1HP)
An example of stickers that eBike manufacturers have to apply on electric bicycle to show which class eBike it is.

Electric bike manufacturers have to apply a permanently affixed label. The label should contain the classification number, top assisted speed, and the wattage of the motor.


 

Best Class 3 eBikes

What is a Class 3 eBike?

To summarize what we briefly touched on above, Class 3 eBikes have the following characteristics:

  • The motor is activated through pedaling (although some have a throttle too)
  • Max speed: 28mph
  • Is equipped with a speedometer
  • The motor stops assisting when you reach the maximum speed
  • The motor also stops when you stop pedaling

All electric bikes use pedal assist sensors to control the amount of power that the motor gives while riding. These sensors can work off a number of things including pedal speed (cadence sensor), pedal pressure (power) or torque (torque sensor), and or just bicycle speed with a speedometer.


 

Specialized – Turbo Vado SL 4.0 EQ

Best urban and commuter Class 3 eBike

Premium quality Class 3 eletric bicycle Specialized Vado SL 4.0 EQ

Weight – 36.9 lbs | Battery – 48V 6.9Ah (331.2Wh) | Motor – 240W | Range – 35-75mi | Torque – 35Nm

MSRP $3,750 Mikes’ Bikes

The Specialized Turbo Vado electric bikes are consistently top of the market for quality and durability. The SL 4.0 EQ is their second to best e-bike but offers much better value coming in a $1000 less than the SL 5.0.

This lightweight electric bike was designed with supreme ride quality, range, and power at the forefront of thought. It integrates a custom lightweight motor and E5 aluminum frame, premium Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, and a 320Wh integrated downtube battery to deliver an unbeatable range of up to 75 miles.

The SL 4.0 EQ comes perfectly suited to urban travel and commuting, featuring a mounted pannier rack, DRYYTECH fenders, reflective graphics, and battery-powered extra-bright head and taillights. Additionally, the Nimbus II tires come with BlackBelt puncture protection so that you’re never late.

All this and more make the Turbo Vado SL 4.0 EQ the ideal bike for any road riding, urban or rural.

  • Frame Material: E5 Aluminum
  • Tektro HD-R290 hydraulic disc brakes
  • 700x38mm Nimbus II Sport Reflect tires
  • 1×10 Shimano Deore

Standard / Step-Through

Mikesbikes.com


 

Cannondale – Tesoro Neo X 2

Best Class 3 touring eBike

Excellent bike touring ebike Cannondale Tesoro Neo X 2 (Neo electric bike)

Weight – 55 lbs | Battery – 500Wh | Motor – 250W | Range – 52mi | Torque – 65Nm

MSRP $4,100 REI

Cannondale’s Tesoro Neo X 2 is top of the bunch when it comes to all-around electric touring bicycle performance. It offers unbeatable ride quality for long hard miles off-road, with a fully loaded bike.

This Cannondale class 3 e-bike features mountain bike geometry and front fork suspension, along with large 29″ wheel and 2.25″ tires, making it ride smoothly on or off-road. Additionally, it comes with premium Shimano hydraulic disc brakes that provide the best stopping power available.

To make long touring trips convenient, this bike comes fitted with rattle-free fenders, integrated head and taillights, a handy kickstand, and an integrated wheel sensor to keep track of all of your trips through the Cannondale app.

Finally, the Tesoro Neo electric uses a huge 500Wh down tube integrated battery, with wiring capacity for an additional battery. This powers a 250W premium mid-drive motor that provides 85Nm of torque to deliver excellent power and acceleration for up to 52 miles of pedal assistance.

  • Frame Material – C1 Aluminum
  • Dual battery ready
  • Weight – 55lbs
  • SR Suntour XCM 34 Boost coil fork
  • 1×11 Shimano Deore 5100
  • Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes

Availability

REI.com


 

Stromer – ST Series

Premium range of urban electric bikes with unbeatable connectivity

Stromer ST3 comfort on the left and Stromer ST1 Sport: Omni C on the right

Stromer ST3 comfort on the left and Stromer ST1 Sport: Omni C on the right

MSRP from $4,590 Mikes’ Bikes

ST1 SPORT: OMNI C ST1 COMFORT: OMNI C ST2 SPORT ST3 COMFORT ST3 SPORT
Weight 62 lbs 62 lbs 58.5 lbs ca 70 lbs ca 70 lbs
Motor 550W 550W 570W 600W 600W
Torque 35Nm 35Nm 40Nm 44Nm 44Nm
Battery 48V 10.4Ah (500Wh) 48V 10.4Ah (500Wh) 48V 12.9Ah (618Wh) 48V 17Ah (814Wh) 48V 17Ah (814Wh)
Range up to 55mi up to 55mi up to 75mi up to 90mi up to 90mi
MSRP $4,590 $4,590 $5,700 $7,500 $7,500

Swiss eBike manufacturer Stromer is the leading manufacturer specializing in speed pedelecs. The whole Stromer range showcases the best of Swiss engineering that is evident in the ride quality and durability of their urban e-bikes.

Their bikes come in three levels ST1 to ST3, with two distinct styles to choose from, Sport or Comfort. Each one of these bikes is considered class 3, offering ride assistance up to 28mph with motor power between 550W and 600W.

The main distinction between their range comes in the battery size and range, the motor power, total bike weight, and drivetrain. The higher range models have arguably better components, however, the ST2 Sport is the only one to incorporate a belt drive system, offering distinct advantages in durability.

Stromer optimizes all of their bikes for connectivity, allowing partial or full connectivity with features such as GPS localization, Smartlock, over-the-air updates, customizable motor settings, statistics, and more.

Finally, buyers can opt to customize their ride position before purchase, making changes to the handlebars, the top tube, and even adding suspension to the bike if wanted.

Stromer has clearly put a huge amount of thought and design into their premium range of e-bikes, covering absolutely everything to make their bikes the perfect companion for urban travel.

  • Class 3 eBikes (up to 28mph)
  • Flat handlebars
  • Aluminum frame and fork
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • Large-volume 27.5” tires
  • Integrated Headlight & Taillight

image collage of the Stromer ST1 series

Availability

Mikesbikes.com


 

Niner – RLT E9 RDO

Best electric gravel bike

Niner bikes RLT E9 RDO electric road bike

Weight – ca 39 lbs | Battery – 500Wh | Motor – 250W | Range – ca 32mi | Torque – 85Nm

MSRP $5,695 Aventuron

The RLT E9 RDO electric gravel bike by Niner is uniquely gorgeous in its design, while also being exceptionally versatile and durable.

This premium gravel e-bike is ready for absolutely anything. It comes with a full carbon fiber frame, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, and a powerful Bosch performance line motor, assisting riders to 28mph in seconds for an average distance of 32 miles, using a 500Wh battery.

The RLT E9 RDO is highly customizable. It’s ready to take either 700c or 650b tires, is fork suspension ready and can take MTB handlebars and a dropper seat post.  Niner also provides custom integrated racks and fenders for those with bike touring aspirations.

Finally, this lightweight e-bike uses premium Shimano GRX 2×11 gearing to provide precise shifting across a perfect range of gears.

  • Frame – Niner RDO carbon
  • Weight – 40lbs
  • Tires – Schwalbe G-ONE Speed Performance
  • Brakes – Shimano GRX 400 hydraulic
  • Drivetrain – SHIMANO GRX 2×11

Availability

Aventuron.com


 

Ride1Up – Prodigy

Best high-quality budget-friendly class 3 e-bike

3 versions of Ride1UP Prodigy - cross-country, step-through, cross-over

Weight – 48 lbs | Battery – 36V 14Ah (504Wh) | Motor – 250W | Range – 30-50mi | Torque – 90Nm

MSRP from $2,195 Ride1UP

Ride1UP is a direct-to-consumer manufacturer of premium quality electric bikes at budget-level prices. The Prodigy is their best e-bike and comes in three models with two distinct styles urban (XR and ST) and off-road (XC).

The XC electric trail bike is designed to excel in off-road environments where the terrain is rough or soft, and maneuverability and control are of utmost importance. This model differs cuts back on the nice-to-have components such as rack and fenders and adds off-road Maxis tires, MTB handlebars for more control and comfort off-road.

Both of the urban models are comfortable, using upright geometry, soft grips, comfy Selle Royal saddles, and puncture-resistant Schwalbe G-ONE 2″ wide tires. However, the ST is optimized like a cruiser bike with back-facing handlebars and a step-through top tube.

While the XC is the lightest due to fewer accessories, each model is very powerful. The Prodigy e-bike comes with a large 14Ah (504Wh) battery lasting between 30 and 50 miles, delivering power of up to 250W with excellent torque of 90Nm allowing riders to tackle any hills with ease.

  • Brose control system
  • Lightweight alloy frame
  • Hydroformed 6061 aluminum fork
  • 1×9 Shimano Alivio drivetrain
  • Tektro Orion hydraulic disc brakes

Availability

Ride1UP.com


 

Diamondback – Response e-Bike

Class 3 electric mountain bike

Diamondback Response e-Bike - one of the few class 3 e mtb

Weight – N/A | Battery – 36V 13.4Ah ( 500Wh) | Motor – 350W | Range – 35-65mi | Torque – 85Nm

MSRP $4,100 Backcountry

The Response electric mountain bike by Diamondback is the perfect choice for mountain bikers looking for the benefits of huge range and power to assist them on the trails.

This Class 3 e-bike comes with a durable T6 aluminum frame, premium lightweight fork suspension by RockShox, 2.8″ Schwalbe Supermoto-X tires, and powerful hydraulic disc brakes. This combination makes the Response one of the most effective electric mountain bikes on the market.

You can rely on the supreme Bosch Performance Line Speed motor to power it, delivering 85Nm of torque and 350W. Paired with an integrated 500W Bosch battery, riders can achieve speeds up to 28mph with pedal assistance for up to 65 miles of range.

Additionally, riding is easy when you have a precision Shimano Deore M6000 drivetrain to rely on with plenty of gearing options using a 10-speed cassette.

  • 6061 T6 aluminum frame with a lifetime warranty
  • RockShox Judy Gold fork
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • 27.5″ x 2.8″ Schwalbe Super Moto-X tires

Availability

Backcountry.com


 

Specialized – Turbo Creo SL Expert

The best electric road bike on the market

electric road bicycle Specialized Turbo Creo SL Expert

Weight – 28.8 lbs | Battery – 48V 6.9Ah (331.2Wh) | Motor – 240W | Range – 35-75mi | Torque – 35Nm

MSRP $9,500 Mikes’ Bikes

The Turbo Creo SL Expert is the pinnacle of electric road bikes. Specialized pull out all of the stops with this exceptional piece of engineering, delivering one of the most enjoyable ride experiences a cyclist could ask for.

This bike features a FACT 11r carbon frame, the best on the market, helping to make it the lightest class 3 e-bike around. The frame also has Future Shock 2.0 which helps dampen any road vibrations, helping you stay fresh for longer.

The Turbo Creo has a 1×11 Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain, allowing riders to achieve professional-level shifting and pedal efficiency. This bike’s motor provides pedal assistance for up to an incredible 80 miles using a fully integrated 320W battery.

Finally, Specialized use their best pro tires, body geometry saddle, and endurance geometry to make this bike unbeatable in almost every way.

  • Carbon frame
  • Shimano 105 hydraulic disc brakes
  • 1×11 Shimano Deore
  • 700×30 Specialized Turbo Pro tires
  • Body Geometry Power Expert saddle

Availability

Mikesbikes.com


 

Trek – Allant+ 7S

High-performance Trek Class 3 eBike

High performance, class 3 electric commuter bike Trek Allant+ 7S

Weight – 54 lbs | Battery – 500Wh | Motor – 250W | Range – 30-120mi | Torque – 75Nm

MSRP $3,900 Trek Bikes (in-store only)

The Allant+ 7S is one of the best Trek class 3 e-bikes you can buy. It is a performance-style electric bicycle that flourishes in urban environments.

This Trek e-bike features a large 500Wh down tube integrated battery, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, front fork suspension, and premium Schwalbe G-One tires. All of these components combine to make the Allant powerful, smooth, and easy to handle.

It is clear that Trek made this bike perfectly adapted for the commuter or city rider. The Allant+ 7S conveniently comes with a kickstand, a rear rack and fenders, integrated front and backlights, and an easily removable battery with a handle to carry to make your life as easy as possible.

  • High-performance hydroformed alloy frame
  • SR Suntour Mobie25 coil-spring fork
  • 650Bx57c Schwalbe G-One tires
  • 1×9 Shimano Alivio M4000
  • Bontrager Commuter Comp saddle
  • Shimano 4-piston hydraulic disc brakes

Availability

Trekbikes.com


 

Best Class 3 eBikes with Throttle

A class 3 e-bike may or may not come with a throttle. This throttle is similar to what you can find on a moped or scooter and activates the motor independently of pedaling making it fully electric.

Throttle speed is limited to 20mph on class 2 bikes and this also applies to class 3 models that incorporate a throttle.

Class 3 eBike combined with Class 2 = 28mph pedal assist and 20mph throttle


 

Ride1UP – 500 Series

Best value Class 3 electric bike with a throttle

ride1up 500 series - cheap electric bike but good specs

Weight – 55 lbs | Battery – 48V 13Ah (624 Wh) | Motor – 750W | Range – 25-45mi | Torque – 60Nm

MSRP $1,295 Ride1UP

Affordable electric bikes don’t get much better than the Ride1UP 500 Series. This bargain e-bike performs way above its price, delivering a ride quality that is comfortable and powerful on varied terrains.

The 500 Series has an excellent set of components. Most notably is the front fork suspension, powerful mechanical disc brakes, Kenda Kwick Seven.5 puncture-resistant tires, and a powerful 750W/60Nm motor on a lightweight and maneuverable frame that weighs just 53lbs.

Riders can choose from two models, the XR is more performance-focused using a mountain bike style geometry. Whereas, the ST version uses cruiser-style geometry and handlebars with a step-through top tube to maximize comfort. Additionally, both models come with all of the essentials for convenient city riding including rear racks, fenders, and lights.

Score: 4.9 / 5 out of 452 ratings

  • Lightweight 6061 alloy frame
  • Left side thumb throttle (up to 20mph)
  • Tektro Aries mechanical disc brakes
  • 650b Kenda Kwick Seven.5 tires
  • 1×8 Shimano

 

Availability

Ride1UP.com


 

Ride1UP – Core-5

Most affordable Class 3 e-bike with a throttle

One of the most affordable ebike class 3 with throttle - Ride1UP Core5

Weight – 49 lbs | Battery – 48V 10.4Ah (500W) | Motor – 500W | Range – 20-40mi | Torque – 60Nm

MSRP $1,195 Ride1UP

The Core-5 by Ride1UP is the company’s most affordable electric bicycle. It still packs a surprising punch due to its light base weight and quality components.

This cheap electric bike has an entry-level price without sacrificing ride quality. It uses a comfortable geometry along with ergonomic grips and a plush Selle Royal saddle, road-smoothing Kenda Kwick Seven.5 tires to deliver a great ride feel on urban and rural roads and paths.

The Core-5 has a powerful 500W motor that can reach speeds of 28mph and offers pedal assistance for up to 40 miles using a 10.4Ah battery. This battery is quite small but sufficient for short to medium rides and can be upgraded to a 14Ah version with an extra purchase.

Look no further than the Core-5 if you want a sleek budget-friendly e-bike that lasts!

  • Smooth welded 6061 alloy fork
  • Tektro mechanical disc brakes
  • Ergonomic rubber grips
  • Shimano 7-speed shifter
  • Standard rack mounting points

Availability

Ride1UP.com


 

Juiced Bikes – CrossCurrent S2

Class 3 electric bike with throttle

Black power assisted bike CrossCurrent S2

Weight – 59 lbs | Battery – 52V 13Ah (676Wh) | Motor – 750W | Range – 65mi | Torque – 80Nm

MSRP $1,999 Juiced Bikes

Juiced Bikes CrossCurrent S2 is a great urban and commuter e-bike that has premium components comparable to its more expensive competitors.

This electric bike uses an industry-leading 52-volt battery delivering high speeds at ranges up to 65 miles. Using the throttle riders can reach 28mph in seconds with the 750W/85Nm motor. While pedaling, take advantage of Shimano 9-speed gearing and advanced torque and cadence pedal assistance to make riding up hills or against the wind a relaxed experience.

Additionally, the S2 has premium hydraulic disc brakes and a high-power 1000+ lumen headlight, giving you control and visibility in any conditions.

  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • Thumb throttle
  • 9-speed transmission
  • 700c tires
  • LCD display

Availability

Juicedbikes.com


 

Are Class 3 eBikes Legal?

Police standing on road, cyclist on the background

Yes, Class 3 e-bikes are legal in the USA. However, the regulations on this type of bike vary by state and area. Electric bikes are not currently subject to any licensing, registration, or insurance requirements in the USA, although they are in Europe.

In general, Class 3 electric bicycles can be ridden on streets and roads where traditional bicycles are permitted, including bike lanes. However, there are possible restrictions in areas such as multi-use paths. Additionally, Class 3 electric bicycles also have additional requirements including a minimum age for users and helmet requirement.

For more information, see PeopleForBikes.org


 

Conclusion – Is Class 3 eBike Worth to Buy?

The decision of whether or not to buy a Class 3 e-bike versus Class 1 or 2 bikes is mostly down to what you need it for and your preferences as a cyclist.

This type of bike, especially models with a throttle, is perfectly suited to those who want power and speed. Because they are so powerful, many people can seriously consider swapping their car for a Class 3 electric bike, potentially saving you a lot of time and money, and arriving to work dry.

The speed of 28mph is also considerable. Any cyclist who enjoys a fast ride without having to be super fit to do so will enjoy this type of bike too. Finally, you can load up a Class 3 e-bike with groceries or other cargo without even stressing the motor.

In the end, these bikes are usually a considerable investment, but we believe they provide a unique function by making exploring and commuting on two wheels accessible to almost any person at any age (above 17 of course).

So if you’re considering a Class 3 e-bike as your next bike, we’re sure you won’t be disappointed with any of the excellent options we’ve described above.


 

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