Unlock the Power of Electric Bikes to Hunt: Start by Understanding the Differences Between Class 1, 2, and 3 Models

By Shaggy Outdoor Team

April 29, 2023

What E-Bike Class Can I Use for Hunting? 3 Types Explained

Photo courtesy of eBike Generation. Check out the lineup of QUIETKAT electric bikes for hunters by clicking here

As hunters, we’re always looking for ways to get deeper into the woods and access the best hunting spots. That's why at Shaggy Outdoors we’ve been exploring the world of e-bikes as a means of transportation once we park the truck at the parking lot or trailhead.  

But as we began our research, we quickly realized that different classes of e-bikes needed to be understood before making a purchase. We didn't know there were three classes of electric bikes. Class 1, 2, and 3 e-bikes all have their unique features and regulations that impact how and where they can be used. What are the other factors hunters need to know about e-bikes for hunting? Check out the "What are the Top 17 Factors Hunters Need to Know and Consider Before Buying an e-Bike" blog where we give you all the information necessary to make an informed decision. 

Since we were confused about much of the information, regulations, and qualifications we felt our readers could benefit from a little more information on this topic.

Before we go into each of the three classes of electric bikes being made. You may need to know what you can ride legally in the state you plan on using your bike.

Here are a couple of resources that may help find e-bike regulations by state:

  • People for Bikes: This website offers an interactive map that provides a summary of e-bike regulations by state. You can click on a state to see a summary of the laws and regulations.
  • Electric Bike Regulations by State: e-Bike Generation has a page with the electric bicycle laws in the USA by state. Take a second and review this map for your state or the state you plan on traveling to for more in-depth information. 

While these resources are great for information, remember it’s your responsibility to make sure you read and know the rules and regulations. Not all Classes of E-bikes are allowed on every trail. And please, preserve the trails and follow the rules when using a standard peddle bike or e-bike in the backcountry. 

For example, in Arizona the Arizona State Parks and Trails it's important to remember that e-bike regulations can change and may vary depending on your location. Always check with local authorities to make sure you comply with the rules. Class 3 e-bikes are not allowed on Arizona trails. Know the rules before you go!

The USDA Forest Service has rules on e-bikes on their roads. The guidance for management can be found for the class 1, 2, and 3 bikes and can be read on their website. 

Make sure you analyze all the possible rules and classes before purchasing. If you plan on operating an e-bike both on the street and when hunting, there are options you may want to consider. The Mule eBike Bakcou is the #1 rated Hunting bike for four years running. It is built with a Smart motor that lets you switch between each of the three classes of eBikes to stay compliant where you're riding. 

Okay, with that out of the way let’s get into our overview of each class of e-bike so that you can make an informed decision about which one is right for your hunting needs.

Class 1, 2 or 3 electric bikes where are they allowed to be road for hunting, by Shaggy Outdoors.

Photo courtesy of eBike Generation. Check out the lineup of QUIETKAT electric bikes for hunters by clicking here

What is a Class 1 Electric Bike and Where Can I Ride It

Class 1 e-bikes are pedal-assisted bikes that have a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling. They have a maximum assisted speed of 20 mph, and the motor stops assisting once the bike reaches that speed. These bikes are often favored by commuters, recreational cyclists, and those who want to get some exercise but also want some extra help on hills or against headwinds. 

One of the advantages of Class 1 e-bikes is that they are legal to ride on most bike paths and multi-use trails. They are also generally more affordable than other classes of e-bikes, as they have a simpler design and fewer features.

Another advantage of Class 1 e-bikes is that they provide a low-impact form of exercise that can be easier on the joints than traditional cycling. Because the motor assists, riders can focus on their pedaling technique without worrying about overexerting themselves. This makes them a great option for older riders, or those with physical limitations that prevent them from riding traditional bikes.

Overall, Class 1 e-bikes are a great option for those who want to get some extra help with their cycling but still want to get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors.

For Hunters, this class is the least expensive to get into. But, know that the use of this bike is more for flat ground and mild terrain. The Class 1 Electric Bicycle will generally have the least power battery and the shortest charge usage time. It will get you to the woods, but not up and over the mountains. 

What is a Class 2 Electric Bike and Where Can I Ride It

Class 2 e-bikes, also known as throttle-assisted e-bikes, are similar to Class 1 e-bikes in that they have a motor that assists. However, they also have a throttle that can be used to engage the motor without pedaling. This means that riders can choose to pedal or not, and still receive assistance from the motor.

Class 2 e-bikes have a maximum assisted speed of 20 mph, which is the same as Class 1 e-bikes. However, because they have a throttle, they are not legal to ride on all bike paths and multi-use trails. Some jurisdictions require Class 2 e-bikes to be registered and licensed like a motorcycle and prohibit them from being ridden on bike paths or other areas designated for non-motorized use.

One advantage of Class 2 e-bikes is that they provide more flexibility in terms of how the rider can use them. Riders can choose to pedal, use the throttle, or a combination of both, depending on their preferences and physical abilities. This makes them a great option for riders who may have physical limitations or want a more relaxed riding experience.

Another advantage of Class 2 e-bikes is that they are often equipped with larger batteries and motors than Class 1 e-bikes. This means that they can travel further on a single charge and can tackle steeper hills and more challenging terrain.

Overall, Class 2 e-bikes are a good option for hunters looking to ride into the woods or mountain terrain. This is a great option for those looking to cover ground without sound as you would get from a truck or side-by-side. If you need a little assistance getting to your deer stand or trailhead, Class 2 is a great option.

However, it's important to check local laws and regulations to ensure that Class 2 e-bikes are legal to ride in your area and to understand any requirements for registration or licensing.

What is a Class 3 Electric Bike and Where Can I Ride It

Class 3 electric bikes, also known as speed pedelecs are pedal-assisted e-bikes that have a maximum assisted speed of 28 mph. This makes them the fastest and most powerful type of e-bike that is legally allowed on roads and bike paths.

Quick-term definition: “Pedelecs” is a type of electric bicycle that is also known as a “pedal-assist” bike. The word “pedelec” is short for “pedal electric cycle”.

Like Class 1 e-bikes, Class 3 e-bikes require the rider to pedal to engage the motor. However, the motor on a Class 3 e-bike is more powerful than on a Class 1 e-bike and is capable of aiding up to 28 mph.

Because of their high speed, Class 3 e-bikes are often used by commuters who want to travel long distances in a shorter amount of time. They can also be used for recreational purposes, allowing riders to cover more ground and explore areas that might be difficult or too far to reach on a traditional bike.

It's important to note that Class 3 e-bikes are subject to different regulations and restrictions than Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes. In some jurisdictions, they may be required to have additional safety features, such as a horn or rearview mirror, and may not be allowed on certain bike paths or trails. Additionally, riders of Class 3 e-bikes may be required to wear a helmet and have a valid driver's license.

Overall, Class 3 e-bikes are a great option for hunters that need to travel long distances quickly and efficiently. If you glassed up a world-class bull elk in Arizona but needed to cover some ground to get there, the Class 3 e-bike can handle the challenge.

However, it's important to be aware of the regulations and restrictions that apply to them and to ensure that you have the necessary safety equipment and licenses before riding one. Again, in states like Arizona, the Class 3 E-bike is not allowed on non-motorized trails. So, make sure you know the regulations where you are biking.

Update: many riders are finding that the Class 3 e-bike has different road restrictions in the states they are hunting or traveling. Make sure you know the rules for each state you plan on riding your Class 3 e-bike. Don’t find yourself thinking you know the rules when each state and trail is different.

is it a ebike or not. a quick reference to ebike classifications by Rectrix

graph provided by Rectrix

Final Thoughts on E-Bikes for Hunters

Rounding out this conversation on e-bikes, no matter if you're a hunter or just looking for a convenient and eco-friendly way to get around, e-bikes offer a great option for transportation. Understanding the different classes of e-bikes is crucial in order to choose the one that best fits your needs and comply with local regulations.

Are you a hunter or outdoorsman in the market for a hunting e-bike? We have given our recommendation for the Top 8 Best Offroad eBikes for Hunters in 2023. Check out the articles and see what we suggest. 

Class 1 e-bikes are great for casual riders and commuters, while Class 2 e-bikes offer more flexibility in terms of how you can use them. Class 3 e-bikes are the fastest and most powerful, but also subject to more regulations.

When deciding on the e-bike you plan on adding to your camping or hunting toolbox, be sure to consider factors such as battery range, motor power, and durability.

We’ve been in contact with a few different companies that have great options for hunters. Check out the electric bike options at eBike Generation and Sportsman’s Warehouse.

Check out these articles for more information on e-Bikes for Hunters:

Happy hunting and happy riding!

Best e-bike for the money. Top 8 Best offroad ebikes for hunters in 2023 reviewed