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What Is the Difference Between a Moped and an E-Bike?

Whether you want to upgrade your manual bicycle or transition to a greener option than cars, mopeds and electric bikes (e-bikes) may look like attractive options–they are! E-bikes are a fantastic way to get around town while still being active, and mopeds are a greener alternative to cars. Experts have even combined the best of both worlds by developing moped-style electric bikes.

If you’re wondering if you should get an electric bike or scooter or moped, there are key differences to consider. While e-bikes and mopeds share similar characteristics and benefits, one may be a better fit for you over the other. Let’s start by defining each.

What Is a Moped?

A moped is a light vehicle that can be powered by either electricity or gas. They have an engine and a foot platform where riders can rest their feet, which makes them similar to a scooter. Many confuse mopeds with scooters, simply because they are similar in appearance. However, scooters have a more powerful motor than a moped.

What Is an E-Bike?

E-bikes are similar to mopeds in that they are a lightweight open vehicle with a motor. The electric motor kicks into gear once the rider starts pedaling, this feature is called pedal assist. Unlike mopeds, e-bikes can be used for a wide range of activities. E-bikes can be used for mountain biking, city commuting, and some are perfect for relaxed trail rides.

Factors to Consider When Choosing

The brief definitions above probably don’t give you enough insights as to which vehicle is ideal for you. While both mopeds and e-bikes are open, motorized vehicles, they are very different. These differences can determine whether an e-bike or a moped is the right fit for you.

Motor Capabilities

The power of the motor and how the motor activates is a key difference between e-bikes and mopeds. All e-bikes come with pedal-assist capabilities, which means the motor kicks in as the rider begins pedaling. Once a rider reaches a certain speed, the motor stops assisting. This speed allows riders to generally reach a maximum speed of twenty-eight miles per hour (MPH), but this number can vary depending on the class of your e-bike.

Mopeds, however, do not operate as a pedal-assist vehicle. Mopeds have a “twist and go” activation, meaning all you need to do is start the ignition and twist the throttle to go. They can reach speeds as high as thirty miles per hour or more, making them faster than e-bikes.

Which Is Faster?

Because the maximum speed of mopeds and e-bikes are slightly different, you would assume there isn’t a major difference in how much faster your commute is. You could be wrong!

Mopeds are generally not allowed in bike lanes or on trails, meaning riders must compete with car traffic. E-bikes, however, are allowed in bicycle lanes, which allows them to bypass car traffic. In this case, e-bikes are faster for short commutes.

License and Insurance Requirements

The license requirements for mopeds vary state by state. Generally speaking, many places require you to have a license to ride your moped. It is unlawful to ride a moped without insurance, though.

E-bikes, however, do not require a license or insurance due to their speed and motor limitations.


Mopeds are considered a lightweight vehicle, but they are still considerably heavier than e-bikes. A moped weighs between 150 and 200 pounds, meaning you won’t be able to store it in an apartment or inside your home with ease. They can, however, fit easily into a trailer, truck bed, and can be parked in garages or with street parking.

E-bikes are much lighter, weighing between thirty and ninety pounds, depending on the weight of the frame. You can easily store them inside your home the same way you would a manual bike.


Both e-bikes and mopeds are not suitable for highway use. Mopeds are only suitable for riding on roads suitable for the average car, whereas e-bikes can be ridden alongside cars, in bike lanes, on most trails, and usually in parks, depending on the class of e-bike.

E-Bikes and You

If you are looking for a motorized vehicle that can give you the exercise you need, can be parked or stored conveniently, and can be used in a variety of settings, an e-bike may be the investment you need. For more information on e-bikes and finding the right one for you, connect with Ride1Up to schedule a consultation and bike fitting!

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