Guest Contribution By Bernita Fregoso
Many people are switching to electric bikes from traditional bikes, and that includes teenagers.
An electric bike is an excellent gift for your teens, as it is a convenient way for them to get around. But when it comes to choosing an electric bike for your teen, you may find it a bit difficult due to the myriad options available.
Choosing the best one for your teen is a matter of personal preferences, fitting body type, performance, safety, budget, and other factors. If you’re confused and want to know how to choose an electric bike for your teenager, read on!
Can a Teenager Ride an Electric Bike?
Image: Pixabay/ juergen-polle
Before deciding to buy an e-bike, make sure to read up on your state or country’s laws and age limits. The reason for this is, laws for electric bikes differ from state to state. Depending on your state or country, the minimum age to ride an electric bike can vary from 14 to 16.
For instance, in Florida, teenagers below 16 years old can ride e-bikes, but they must wear a helmet. Whereas, in Alaska, the minimum age limit to ride electric bikes is 14, and there is no need to wear a helmet (although we would definitely recommend wearing one).
How to Choose an Electric Bike for a Teenager
Gifting an electric bike for kids and teens is a great way to make them feel independent. But it is not a straightforward task. Find out all the considerations to get a proper idea about how to choose an electric bike for your teenager.
In some states of the US, such as California, electric bikes are classified into three different classes for legal reasons. These are-
- Class 1: This type of e-bike motor will start right after you start pedaling and can offer a 20mph speed. If your teen is a new rider, it would suit them well. These are generally affordable and sufficient for riding on city streets as well as bike paths.
- Class 2: Class 2 e-bikes come with pedal-assist mode with up to 20mph motor assistance and throttle-powered mode. It is similar to the Class 1 e-bike in terms of maximum speed (20mph), but with this type, you’ll get electrically assisted pedaling alongside the throttle.
- Class 3: These e-bikes are fully pedal-assist and supported by a 28-mph motor. With such bikes, you’ll get a speedometer, but these may not have a throttle. Class 3 e-bikes are much faster than classes 1 and 2 and are not suitable to ride on bike paths and multi-use trails, such as in public parks.
Our recommendation for teenagers is to stick to Class 1 or 2 e-bikes. In many cities and countries, you can use these on shared paths and trails together with traditional bicycles. Unfortunately, for Class 3, the same cannot be said. Class 3 e-bikes usually come with a lot of restrictions due to their higher motorized speed.
Besides, Class 1 and 2 e-bikes are slower than those of Class 3. So, these two types of e-bikes are much safer and easier to control, especially for a teen who lacks experience riding on roads.
What Features to Look for in E-Bikes for Teens
Besides the classes of e-bike motors, there are some other features that e-bikes for teens should include.
Most e-bikes come with a weight capacity of 220 pounds or more. This implies you have several options to choose from. If your teen carries a lot of cargo, then make sure the e-bike can meet the maximum load. Another thing that you should look out for is choosing an e-bike that fits your teen.
The larger the battery power, the longer your teen can ride. Besides, the better the battery quality, the longer its lifespan. Higher battery power will also add extra weight to your e-bike, so try to strike a balance. In general, lithium batteries have the best lifespan.
Motor Assistance and Speed
For your teen, an electric bike with a 240 – 500 watt motor and 20 mph speed will be suitable and easy to control.
The weight of eclectic bikes varies from 25 pounds to 70 pounds. So, go for the one which your teen can handle and easily carry while lugging it upstairs or onto a bus or train.
A foldable e-bike will be really convenient to store, carry, and handle.
If you’re looking for a durable and long-lasting e-bike, then look out for those with aluminum body frames. This material is reasonably light in weight and easy to handle.
Consider the comfort and longevity of the bike seats. In this case, adjustable seats will allow using the e-bike even as your teen undergoes a growth spurt. Also, try to choose a wider seat for more comfort. An alternative is to add a seat cushion.
It goes without saying that teens, as well as older people, love cycling. And it becomes even more fun when you’re cycling with an electric bike. But when you’re thinking about purchasing one for your teen, never purchase one just because you see a “junior” label attached to it.
This label doesn’t really imply that they are perfect for your teen. Hopefully, after reading our guide about all the factors to consider, you can select the most suitable electric bike for your teenager!
Bernita Fregoso is a Mom, Wife, and Fitness Instructor. For the past several years she has worked as a content writer. She is passionate about her work in the sports and outdoor fitness areas.