When you are looking for a cheap alternative method to travel near or around your home, there are no better options than a moped or an electric bike. Both mopeds and electric bicycles fulfill the same purpose and have the same cost range. With that said, what are the differences, and which one is right for me?
The differences between a moped and an electric bike are straightforward to explain.
- Mopeds are much larger and heavier than electric bicycles.
- This extra weight will make it more cumbersome when moving them around by hand.
- However, larger mopeds allow them to have much bigger batteries or even be gas-powered, making them more powerful and traveling much further.
- Electric bicycles have few age restrictions in the United States, while you must be at least 17 to operate a moped legally.
- Lastly, most electric bicycles require you to pedal the bicycle while you are riding. At the same time, mopeds operate by twisting one of the handles much like a motorcycle.
As you continue to read this article, we will go more in-depth about the differences in the shortlist provided above. Furthermore, we will discuss the benefits of both mopeds and electric bikes. Finally, we will summarize and give you examples to help you decide which is best for you.
What Are The Differences Between An Electric Bike And A Moped
When it comes to inexpensive ways to travel, look no further than an electric bicycle or a moped. Mopeds were first designed in the early 1900s in New York and have been prevalent on the roads since the 1930s.
If we take a quick look at electric bicycles, they were first invented in the 1880s in both France and the United States. France designed their schematics slightly earlier than the United States. However, Electric bicycles were rare and seldom seen until their rise in popularity in the early 2010s.
While both electric bicycles and mopeds serve the same purpose of providing a cheap vehicle for short-range travel, they have their differences.
- Weight and Portability
Mopeds are noticeably larger and heavier than any electric bicycle on the market. While electric bicycles can weigh up to 50 pounds, mopeds can weigh four times as much, up to 200 pounds.
The added size of the mopeds allows them to be much more powerful than any electric bicycle. However, the size of a moped will also make it much more cumbersome to maneuver around by hand. Not only that, but some electric bikes can be folded, which allows for easier storage.
- Power and Range
Mopeds have the edge in this category over electric bicycles. The size of a moped allows for more components that make them more powerful than an electric bicycle. Even electric mopeds have a bigger and stronger battery that allows them to travel around 20 miles more than any electric bicycle before needing a recharge.
However, electric bicycles can extend their range with multiple batteries. Most electric bicycles have an average range of 20 to 30 miles on a single battery. But electric bicycle batteries are lightweight, which means you can carry an extra battery or two in a backpack. At the same time, an electric moped will need to be plugged in to recharge its battery.
Also, most mopeds are gas-powered. A gas-powered moped will usually get around 70 to 80 miles per gallon of gas. But this can be tedious at times if you are planning on a long trip. However, the miles per gallon a moped has can get you to and from work multiple times before needing to fill up, which will only take a few dollars.
- Legal Restrictions
In order to legally operate a moped in any state in the United States, you need to be at least 17 years old. However, for electric bicycles, the laws are much more complicated.
Electric bicycles are classified into three separate categories, and each of these categories has different laws in different states. The electric bicycle categories are as follows:
- Class 1: An electric bicycle that only provides assistance to the rider while they pedal and stops assisting when the bicycle reaches 20 miles per hour.
- Class 2: An electric bicycle that is equipped with a throttle that allows the rider to drive without having to pedal. Class 2 electric bicycles also have pedal assistance that ceases once the bicycle reaches 20 miles per hour.
- Class 3: An electric bicycle equipped with a speedometer and pedal assistance to help propel the rider that ceases to assist once the bicycle reaches 28 miles per hour.
Each of the classifications mentioned above have different legal restrictions in different states. For instance, in California, class 1 electric bicycles are considered low-speed motorized bicycles and require you to be at least 14 years old, and you must be wearing a helmet at all times. Whereas class 1 electric bicycles in Arizona do not have an age limit, nor do they require you to wear a helmet by law.
With that said, if you are considering getting an electric bicycle, look up and study the laws of the state you live in.
The most significant difference between an electric bicycle and a moped is that electric bikes all have a pedal-assist mode. In this mode, you are required to pedal the bicycle so that the electric motor is able to assist you in going faster. Whenever you stop pedaling on an electric bicycle that is either class 1 or class 3, the motor will stop assisting.
The pedal assist has some benefits and drawbacks. The pedal assist provides a light workout when traveling on your electric bicycle, which can either be a benefit or a drawback depending on the person.
Speed is another significant difference between electric bicycles and mopeds. Most electric bicycles have a max speed between 20 and 28 miles per hour. The max speed can be anywhere between 35 to 50 miles per hour for mopeds, depending on power.
When it comes to purchasing either an electric bicycle or a moped, you are going to be spending a good amount of money. Electric bicycles are much cheaper than just about any moped that is worth its weight. Some weaker electric bicycles will only cost you about $150. These electric bikes are slower and have a shorter range than the more expensive variations. The average cost of an electric bicycle would be around $300 to $400. It can even go up into the thousands for certain name brands, making them just as or more expensive than mopeds.
When you are shopping for mopeds from retailers, you can expect to pay at least $1,000. While there are some cheaper mopeds on the market, $1,000 is an average. Of course, you can spend much less money by buying an electric bicycle or a moped second-hand from someone.
Pros Of Owning A Moped
- Great Gas Mileage: Mopeds, like motorcycles, have amazing gas mileage. Most mopeds can travel 80+ miles before needing to refill their tank, and their tank is very small, only able to hold a gallon and a half at most. This means you can travel far for only a few dollars.
- Mopeds Can Be Inexpensive: While there are newer moped models on the market that can cost you up to $5,000. You can usually expect to pay around $1,000 for a very good mid-range moped. You can even get a few models for cheaper too.
- Insurance: Like cars and motorcycles, you will need insurance by law. However, moped insurance is very cheap when compared to the others. You can expect to pay around $120 a year for moped insurance.
Cons Of Owning A Moped
- Laws Differ State By State: In some states like New Jersey, mopeds are treated as motorcycles by law. This requires you to have a certain license and pay for certain fees before your moped is street legal.
- Speed Can Be An Issue: Mopeds are vastly slower than a car or a motorcycle. So if you are considering purchasing a moped and traveling on the highway to get to work, you should consider a different form of transportation. The most powerful mopeds have a max speed of 50 miles per hour, making them unsafe for highway travel.
Pros Of Owning An Electric Bicycle
- Electric Bicycles Are Eco-Friendly: Unlike most mopeds, electric bicycles run off of, well, electricity. Using electricity to travel around reduces the carbon emissions from cars or other forms of gas-powered vehicles.
- Electric Bicycles Are Easy To Use: You can ride an electric bicycle if you know how to ride a bicycle. They operate the same exact way. The only difference is that you will go a bit faster on an electric bike. Most electric bicycles can also be used without any assistance at all from the electric motor.
Cons Of Owning An Electric Bicycle
- Electric Bicycles Are Heavier Than Traditional Bicycle: A traditional pedal bicycle can weigh about 15 pounds, whereas an electric bicycle can weigh up to 50 pounds. This weight change can throw off some riders when moving their bicycle by hand or mounting their bike.
- Electric Bicycles Can Be Expensive: The average cost of an electric bicycle is around $300 to $400. While there are weaker models that can cost around $150 to $200, some can cost thousands of dollars. Electric bicycle batteries are also expensive. If you want to have an extra battery, just in case, you can expect to pay $50 to $100 depending on the brand and size of the battery.
- Electric Bicycle Laws Can Be Confusing: Electric bicycle law requires that each e-bike is classified under one of three classifications. Each of these classifications requires your electric bicycle to have different functions associated with its class. Not only that, but each of the three classifications have different laws in every state.
Mopeds and electric bicycles serve the same purpose. They are a cheaper option for travel than a car. Both mopeds and electric bicycles are also meant for coles range travel.
With that said, if you are looking for a cheaper alternative than a car to travel to work that is a little far away, a moped is your best option. If you live close to work or want to get in a small amount of exercise while traveling from place to place, look for an electric bicycle.