Just license it as a motorcycle?

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
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willo   10 W

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Just license it as a motorcycle?

Post by willo » Apr 26 2021 11:17am

I'm seriously thinking of just licensing my high power bike as a motorcycle. My main use for it is while traveling with my camper, and various states are kinda mental about ebikes.
I mean sure, if I have a 750w low power deal I can use it in general. My bike can easily hit 50mph.

Thoughts?

Examples:
Colorado is ebike friendly, no problem.
Georgia looks like a whole mess and hilton head seems to hate high power bikes.

I'm thinking that the best way to avoid major issues is to just go ahead and drop moto plates on it.

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neptronix   100 GW

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Re: Just license it as a motorcycle?

Post by neptronix » Apr 26 2021 11:38am

Your bicycle needs to have a VIN associated with it first... and also be designed up to par with DOT standards.
Good luck, lol.
"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive." - Dalai Lama

My first major build: 1.6kW 8T MAC motor on a Trek 4500 MTB.
Monster MTB: Leafmotor 1500w @ 4kW on a Turner O2 full suspension.
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speedmd   1 GW

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Re: Just license it as a motorcycle?

Post by speedmd » Apr 26 2021 11:40am

How does 750w ebike hit 50mph? Down a steep hill?

markz   100 GW

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Re: Just license it as a motorcycle?

Post by markz » Apr 26 2021 3:13pm

You need to blend in riding an ebike and not go 50mph.
If your in that much of a rush, just buy a motorcycle.

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Re: Just license it as a motorcycle?

Post by LewTwo » Apr 26 2021 5:00pm

speedmd wrote:
Apr 26 2021 11:40am
How does 750w ebike hit 50mph? Down a steep hill?
Bad steering ?
50mph.jpg
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markz   100 GW

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Re: Just license it as a motorcycle?

Post by markz » Apr 26 2021 5:21pm

speedmd wrote:
Apr 26 2021 11:40am
How does 750w ebike hit 50mph? Down a steep hill?
Big leg muscles pedalling with fast gearing on the bike behind a windbreak.
Look at that crank gear, its massively huge!
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Dauntless   100 GW

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Re: Just license it as a motorcycle?

Post by Dauntless » Apr 26 2021 6:26pm

750w helps him get to a speed where that high gearing can work for him. Hmmmmmm.
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MadRhino   100 GW

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Re: Just license it as a motorcycle?

Post by MadRhino » Apr 26 2021 7:27pm

I believe you’d have a hard time licencing a DIY ebike almost anywhere. It would make it easy if it was built on a moped frame that is licenced already. Anyway, what matters most is how you ride, not the power it has. The police are targeting those who behave illegally.
Make it fool-proof, and I will make a better fool.

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Eastwood   100 W

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Re: Just license it as a motorcycle?

Post by Eastwood » Apr 26 2021 7:58pm

Like mentioned above how do you expect to register something with the DMV if it doesn’t have a Vin number? If you’re trying to go that route sounds like you need to buy a moped or motorcycle and then convert to electric. This is common but it’s not allowed in all states and countries.

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neptronix   100 GW

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Re: Just license it as a motorcycle?

Post by neptronix » Apr 26 2021 8:42pm

MadRhino wrote:
Apr 26 2021 7:27pm
Anyway, what matters most is how you ride, not the power it has. The police are targeting those who behave illegally.
I so agree with this. I build my bikes to do 45-50mph minimum but only operate them at that speed whenever necessary ( no bike lane or alternate route and it would be dangerous to go slower than traffic ). Otherwise it's 30mph all day for range reasons, and also getting a little exercise.

That's probably why i've never had legal problems. :)
"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive." - Dalai Lama

My first major build: 1.6kW 8T MAC motor on a Trek 4500 MTB.
Monster MTB: Leafmotor 1500w @ 4kW on a Turner O2 full suspension.
The monster scooter: Heavy duty Cannondale semi recumbent - under construction.
Blue Dream: Maxaraya FS semi recumbent and high efficiency mid-drive - under construction.

willo   10 W

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Re: Just license it as a motorcycle?

Post by willo » Apr 27 2021 10:11pm

neptronix wrote:
Apr 26 2021 11:38am
Your bicycle needs to have a VIN associated with it first... and also be designed up to par with DOT standards.
Good luck, lol.
There are plenty of home built motorcycles out there. I can easily build up a frame from a motorcycle that's legal and easy to title.

willo   10 W

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Re: Just license it as a motorcycle?

Post by willo » Apr 27 2021 10:12pm

MadRhino wrote:
Apr 26 2021 7:27pm
I believe you’d have a hard time licencing a DIY ebike almost anywhere. It would make it easy if it was built on a moped frame that is licenced already. Anyway, what matters most is how you ride, not the power it has. The police are targeting those who behave illegally.
Again, this isn't hard. I can easily build a motorcycle based ebike. My real question is what's the best way to be covered legally, especially in states where they hate on ebikes. (South Carolina seems to be crappy about it, for example)

willo   10 W

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Re: Just license it as a motorcycle?

Post by willo » Apr 27 2021 10:13pm

neptronix wrote:
Apr 26 2021 8:42pm
MadRhino wrote:
Apr 26 2021 7:27pm
Anyway, what matters most is how you ride, not the power it has. The police are targeting those who behave illegally.
I so agree with this. I build my bikes to do 45-50mph minimum but only operate them at that speed whenever necessary ( no bike lane or alternate route and it would be dangerous to go slower than traffic ). Otherwise it's 30mph all day for range reasons, and also getting a little exercise.

That's probably why i've never had legal problems. :)
This just feels... judgy and doesn't contribute to my actual question.

willo   10 W

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Re: Just license it as a motorcycle?

Post by willo » Apr 27 2021 10:14pm

speedmd wrote:
Apr 26 2021 11:40am
How does 750w ebike hit 50mph? Down a steep hill?
Read it again. My bike is more like 8-12kw. If I had a 750w bike this entire line is a non-issue.

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Dauntless   100 GW

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Re: Just license it as a motorcycle?

Post by Dauntless » Apr 27 2021 11:33pm

I do know in California you can build without a proper VIN and get it registered. Back when 'Popular Mechanix' had all those Build This Car articles people did build and register them, I'm sure most states have a process.

In California you register a motorcycle yearly and insure it. You register a moped ONCE for $15 last time I did it and no insurance. That probably is similar to most states. If I felt the way you do I know what I'd try.
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Re: Just license it as a motorcycle?

Post by amberwolf » Apr 28 2021 12:02am

willo wrote:
Apr 27 2021 10:12pm
. My real question is what's the best way to be covered legally, especially in states where they hate on ebikes.
If you truly want to be covered legally, you'd have to build a minimum of two separate bikes.

One would be an "actual" motorcycle, with all the requirements of that in every state (each one may be different, so you have to check each one).

Then the other(s) would be an ebike, meeting the requirements of each state, many of which are different, and some of which have much more stringent requirements than others do. It may not be possible to have a single ebike that meets every state's definitions (for those that allow them; for those that don't, you're stuck with the motorcycle). But I don't know offhand of any state left that doesn't have some sort of power limit, or some weight limit that will end up restricting power because a bike that will have the kind of power you want will weigh more than the limit. Arizona used to only limit speed, but now they have a similar 3-class system to california, but with a lower power limit.

Legally, for at least most, probably all, states, a motorcycle is not an ebike, and an ebike is not a motorcycle, and it is very likely that what meets one set of rules will not meet the other set of rules, certainly not in every state.


So, unless you are really set on riding the "same" bike in every state, it's going to be a lot simpler to pick the state you're going to live in, and build a bike (MC or ebike) suited to that state's legal definitions and requirements.


To find out the specifics of what's allowed and/or required, you'll need to check with each specific state; many have their laws online so researching those will be fairly easy. Others you may have to send for physical copies of the current laws, etc. Don't rely on what *others* have published about particular states (they tend to "interpret" the law, and that can leave you in the lurch when it turns out they're wrong or they left stuff out)--go to the actual government websites for the actual laws.

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