A LSEB is truly defined as a bicycle / 3-class ebikes not same & voluntary

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I know this is going to be contentious with some but I'm just starting my efforts to get this information out to as many as possible.

Just recently had a conference call with the CPSC on a petition I filed that requested a preemption of the 3-class state regulations. They clarified why they viewed that there was no conflict so preemption was not necessary (ie no interstate commerce or product definition conflicts - LSEB vs 3-class). This is going to surprise a lot of people, the ebike industry, and even state regulators but the CPSC counsel stated that an LSEB as defined in HR727 and regulated by 1512 is viewed as the product equivalent of a traditional bicycle. Thus an LSEB can be ridden as a bicycle in all 50 states but this also allows "classified" ebikes to regulated differently. I explained to the CPSC that this "opinion" would eventually lead to legal conflicts but they essentially feel that is the way a final regulatory standard needs to be established.

I thought this was a possible outcome of my petition but thought it was remote possibility. They simply view no conflicts and are not going their power to regulate interstate commerce to address what they view as two mutually exclusive products - an LSEB is a bicycle and the 3-class ebikes not same (state created to control via a voluntary compliance system that is not in conflict with HR727)>

Note: If you consider that all LSEB compliant ebikes sold in the US prior to the state 3-class legislation were not classified but were LSEB compliant it makes sense. The states were allowed to ignore the necessary grandfather of existing legal products for use by creating a standard that is actually voluntary by the industry to follow as all 3-classes are indeed compliant to the federal LSEB definition. If the industry is paying attention they will soon realize that a better product would be to ignore the classes and ship only LSEB compliant class ebikes to all 50 states - they must be regulated as a bike because federally defined as such.

Last edited:
Just to help clarify....Class 3 ebikes are compliant to the LSEB definition in reality. Here's why:

The power ability of the rider determines the speed capability of the traditional bike (ie no cut-off of human ability - a human rode an bike at 33mph for 1 hour so anyone saying 20mph cease of assist makes sense are not really applying critical thinking). That is exactly what Dr. Currie intended when he wrote the definition in HR727. The constraints of 170lb on a level surface set a power limit at and above 20mph. While this might seem confusing to most it would make perfect sense to a PhD electrical engineer. Why would you limit an ebike's speed by a cut-off of assist when power is what had limited traditional bike speed for 100+ years. While some will argue this point they can only argue from a subjective twist. The fact is the CPSC has clarified that there is not an assist limit defined so the constraints only make sense as a power limit at and above 20mph. The 750W rating was a way to allow more power below 20mph to allow utility and cargo bikes (another benefit of having a PhD engineer writing the definition instead of a few employees at People for Bikes doing it while the auto industry is dangling lobby money in front of them).

Each ebike will have a slightly different power needed to sustain 20mph with a 170lb rider on a level surface (efficiency of the drive system, aerodynamics, tire pressure, etc. all impact this a bit) but for the most part takes about 300W to sustain 20mph with a 170lb rider on a level surface. That makes a perfect way to control top ebikes in the traditional bike speed range as going down a 2% slope will produce 22mph without pedaling and a 6% slope will produce over 30mph without pedaling. As defined an LSEB is nothing but a bike that will just be much easier to ride uphills so mainly only average speeds are increased. Few are considering all the factors when they read and interpret HR727 - certainly PFBs and the states didn't when they jumped on the 3-class bandwagon that was more about harmonizing with EU than having an effective policy.
I do not mean this in an insulting way - What exactly is the problem? Why do we care they have a 3 system rating for the bikes? Around where I live it is not a real big deal so I was just wondering?
I do not mean this in an insulting way - What exactly is the problem? Why do we care they have a 3 system rating for the bikes? Around where I live it is not a real big deal so I was just wondering?
Please.... you need to review what I have written. I do not like or support the 3-class legislation because it was about harmonization with Europe which lead to S-pedelecs having insurance and registration requirements. It had nothing to do with improved safety or clarification as claimed by People for Bikes (they were provided $millions by the auto industry to do this regulatory capture effort which should be enough for anyone that likes bike to no like 3-class). I was the guy that wrote an extensive petition to the CPSC to preempt the state 3-class legislation. They decided to not make a decision either way as they view no conflict because the definition of an LSEB as a bike is still in place regardless of the 3-class definitions. The CPSC regulates what is legal for 1st sale in all 50 states and if an LSEB is defined to be the same as a bike (the what) then it goes to reason the state "use" regulations (there where, when, who and constraints like registration and insurance) must accept them as just a bike.

Some riders have drank the koolaid that they'll loose trail access of their class 1 ebikes if an LSEB is considered/defined as a bike which is really just hyperbole. We all need to keep in mind that the federal definition was adopted by all 50 states for over 12 years before 3-class came along and many states have not adopted or just recently adopted 3-class because People for Bikes is still using lobby money to win a battle I'm fighting with zero money....just common sense to prevent horrible regulatory capture of a product that is the most efficient way ever created to get a human from A-to-B.
Last edited:
The fact that Oregon is the highest ebike adoption rate state and still utilizes a slightly less stringent definition than HR727 for a legal ebike is proof that the 3-class system provide no safety benefit and going from one class to 3 does not make regulation more clear as PFBs claims (it was always for harmonization with Europe where the auto industry was successful of neutering ebikes such that they are really limited to how many they will get out of cars - I would argue that 15mph is a joke given that over 3 million of the speed hack dongles were sold before EU cracked down on them). Regulatory capture is so common these days it is almost overlooked as the reason why products like ebikes are attached by big industry the day they become a viable threat.

I challenge anyone that questions that the 170 lb rider weight (was the male / female average weight in 2001) and level surface as a power limit to consider any other way those constraints can be interpreted. I've had people tell me that the PhD Engineer that drafted that definition must have just made a mistake. Sure ... as if he would not understand that power is what has always limited bike speed. He was under direct restriction from the NHTSA that they would not release ebikes as a motorize vehicle if they provided motor alone speeds over 20mph so this definition allows a governed assist past 20mph that on any ebike will return it to 20mph if the rider stops providing additional power. There is NO WAY this interpretation can be logically debated to be incorrect - those constraints have meaning. PFBs can not debate this and trust me I tried many times to discuss this with them (they even got the original clarification from the CPSC that rider + motor could combine for speeds over 20mph which allowed them to adopt the exact definition of a S-pedelec in EU as a Class 3 ebike here).

I don't know if there is a federal eScooter definition under the CPSC but in reality there should be. When one does not exist the states are allowed to establish whatever definition they want which creates all kinds of challenges for producers having to deal with a myriad of legal performance limits.

When a definition does exist such as HR727 (by the way this bill pass a federal law 1 vote short of full house and senate consensus so in reality the states spoke long before PFB used lobby money to get them to adopt a EU harmonizing 3-class system that has done nothing but muddy the regulatory waters and I have done my very best to kill it. The reality is that on a recent call to review my petition the CPSC stated that an LSEB as defined in HR727 is a "bike." That matters and will prevail long term.