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Best San Diego Electric Bikes

We're San Diego's most experienced electric bike shop

Electric bikes, also called e-bikes or electric assist bicycles, are human-powered bicycles with integrated electric motors to provide a cyclist with additional power and speed. E-bikes are also referred to as pedal-assist bicycles.

The latest generation of e-bikes feature lightweight, removable, rechargeable batteries, making them easy, practical, and fun to ride in a variety of settings. This style of bicycle is wildly popular in Europe and is one of the fastest growing segments of bicycles in the US because they make cycling more approachable and are really fun to ride.

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Who rides electric bikes in San Diego?

EVERYONE can enjoy an ebike! Whether you want to get to your destination faster, arrive at work fresher, or ride longer, you can benefit from an electric bike. Learn more about just a few of the types of cyclists who enjoy riding an ebike.

Specialized electric commuter bike

The Daily Commuter

You ride to work - day in and day out, rain or shine. You love the time that you spend on your bike, but you’d also love to arrive at work a little faster and a little less sweaty. You would like a little extra help carrying life’s necessities to and from work.

Specialized electric hybrid bike

The Recreational Rider

You enjoy being outdoors and spending quality time with your friends and family. You’d enjoy your rides even more with a little assistance on those bigger hills or when the wind kicks up. You’d hop on your bike a lot more if it was just a little easier.

Pivot Shuttle SL electric mountain bike

The Trail Rider

Let nothing hold you back with an electric mountain bike. Look forward to seeing the top of every climb. Every trail becomes a new experience and every vista becomes a new memory. eMTBs help you ride more trails in less time so you can tackle bigger loops and higher climbs.

Pivot E-Vault Electric Road bike

The Road Cyclist

You love riding fast and covering big distances, but you also might want a little help on the climbs. Maybe you want to keep the pace with your local riding group, or maybe you just want do more than you ever could before. You'll love the possibilities that these electric road bikes will give you.

Where can you ride electric bikes in San Diego?

There are a ton of bike trails and routes in San Diego where riding an electric bike is not only the most fun option, but also where they excel at letting you extend your adventures while exerting less effort. Here are some of the best places to ride an e-bike in San Diego:

Want to explore more places to ride around San Diego? Check out our Local Rides page

Bayshore Bikeway: best electric city bike ride in San Diego

The Bayshore Bikeway is a great way to see lots of great city sights around Downtown, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, and Coronado. At 22 miles one way you can do it as a great half day adventure or put those pedals to work and do it as a big roundtrip adventure.

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Los Peñasquitos Canyon: best electric mountain bike rides in San Diego

Los Peñasquitos Canyon offers a ton of great off road trails that open to electric mountain bikes. While there are a few more technical trails, most are well maintained and flowy and make for the perfect off road ebiking adventure.

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E-bike laws in San Diego

Riding electric bikes is the perfect way to explore San Diego and to do it safely, it’s best to know the rules and regulations the State of California has for e-cycling. The road safety laws for e-bikes typically differ by the type and class of electric bike you are riding and that is no different in San Diego.

Basic bicycle safety measures like a helmet and proper usage of roads and bike lanes should be abided by. Here are some of the basic laws to abide by when riding each class of e-bike:

Laws For Class 1 Electric Bikes

Class 1 e-bikes are equipped with a motor that provides assistance when the rider is pedaling and up to 20 mph. The laws for this class of e-bike in San Diego are similar to those of a regular bicycle — no minimum age, can travel on any type of path, and only requires a helmet for those 17 and under, although helmets are always recommended.

Laws For Class 2 Electric Bikes

Class 2 electric bicycles are typically outfitted with a throttle-propelled motor that may be used exclusively to power the bike and works up to 20 mph. This class has the same laws in San Diego as class 1 e-bikes, the only difference being the manner in which the motor on them is powered. Black Mountain Bicycles does not sell Class 2 e-bikes.

Laws For Class 3 Electric Bikes

Class 3 is where the laws begin to differ as these electric bikes are typically more powerful and can assist you up to higher speeds (typically up to 28 mph). In California, Class 3 e-bikes require riders to be over the age of 16, helmets for riders of any age, and are restricted from riding on class 1 bike paths.

Electric Bike Safety

Riding an electric bike around San Diego is a lot of fun, but don't forget to make sure you and your fellow riders are staying safe out on the roads or trails. The San Diego Bike Coalition put together this great video about proper e-bike safety precautions, so if you're interested, check out it out below!

What Are The Best E-Bike Brands?

At Black Mountain Bicycles, we carry the best bike brands in the industry, so it shouldn't be a surprise that we stock some of the best electric bikes from top brands. Here are some of our favorite brands that produce incredible e-bikes.

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What Are The Best Budget-Friendly E-Bike Brands?

Because you don't need to spend a fortune to find a reliable ebike that works great and helps you ride farther and faster than ever.

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How Do Electric Bikes Work? (Motor + Battery Info)

Specialized electric mountain bike riding single track

E-Bike = Bike + Motor + Battery

Electric bikes are able to provide riders a helpful boost thanks to a pedal-assist motor that uses power from an on-bike battery.

The pedal-assist motor only provides a boost if you’re pedaling the bike. When you start pushing on the pedals, the motor draws power from the battery and engages, giving you an extra level of assistance.

two riders on trek electric commuter bikes

Riding An E-bike Is Easy

When riding an e-bike, riders can select how much assistance they want to get from the motor by toggling through the different modes. Usually, riders change between assist levels by pressing a button that’s connected to the handlebars, similar to a regular gear shifter.

Other than selecting and enjoying the boost from the motor, e-bikes are often almost identical to non-motorized bikes. They use the same hand brakes and gear shifters, and they handle just like a normal bike. The only difference is you can ride faster, farther, and easier with a little assistance.

rider on trek domane plus electric road bike

Benefits of E-Bike Technology

Riders of all ages and abilities will love how much more they can do with e-bike technology. 

If you’re a mountain biker, you’ll be able to ride more trails in a day than ever before. 

If you’re a commuter, you’ll appreciate how much faster and easier your day to day transportation becomes. 

If you’re a road cyclist, you’ll start taking on bigger climbs and riding longer routes. 

And if you just want to have fun riding around, there’s no better way to do it than on an electric bike.

E-Bike Motors

There are several different brands that produce electric-assist systems for e-bikes, like Bosch and Shimano. Some bike companies like Specialized even produce their own systems.

So how do e-bike motors make your rides better, and how do you tell the difference between models? Let’s take a look:

Balanced, Integrated Drive Systems

Most drive systems we sell are called Mid Drive motors because they are located in the bottom bracket in the middle of the bike. By placing the motor in the bottom bracket, e-bikes are able to maintain great balance and a natural feel. These motors are incredibly versatile because they offer different levels of assistance to suit every situation, whether you want a lot of help or a little.

Lots of Watts For Lots of Power

E-bike motors produce plenty of power so riders can enjoy quicker acceleration, faster speeds, and an overall easier and more enjoyable riding experience. In the US, most e-bike motors from top brands are somewhere in between 250w and 350w, and that’s plenty for both easy neighborhood rides and rough mountain bike trails.

Plenty of Torque To Tackle Any Hill

Torque is measured in Newton meters (Nm) and tells you how much rotational power the motor has. Torque is especially important for e-bikes that are designed to ride up hills. Torque on e-bike motors usually range from 40 Nm to around 80 Nm, which is plenty for any hill or trail in your way.

Fast And Fun Assisted Speeds

When you can ride this fast, it'll be hard to go back! Most e-bikes provide assisted speeds up to 20mph before they stop giving you a boost. E-bikes built for fast road riding and serious commuting (Class 3) can reach assisted speeds of 28mph. Being this quick has never been so easy.

E-Bike Batteries

E-bike batteries provide the electric power that the motor needs to create the mechanical energy that helps propel you forward. These batteries are designed to work with a motor of the same brand.

Usually you’ll find the battery on or inside the bike’s down tube, behind the seat tube, or sometimes on a rear rack. Many batteries are detachable for easy charging, so you can take it into the house or office and recharge conveniently.

So how do these batteries improve your ride quality, and what are the typical specs to pay attention to?

Big Range For Big Rides

E-bike have a surprisingly large range that is more than most riders will need. Range is highly subjective and depends on lots of factors like how much boost you’re using, how challenging the terrain, and how many watt-hours your battery has. 

Some batteries may have a range of 20 miles, which is perfect for shorter trips. Other more efficient batteries can reach ranges of up to 60 miles or more, which is likely way more than you'll ever need!

Long-Lasting Power

Most e-bike riders will never run out of juice on a typical ride, but watt-hours can give you an idea how long your battery will last compared to other models. 

Battery life and range are dependent on several factors, but watt-hours directly measure how many watts (ie how much power) a battery can deliver to the motor in an hour. Most e-bike batteries put out between 300 to 500+ watt-hours, but both can be great options depending on your riding goals.

Fast Charge Times

This is always a big question for riders. Charge time depends on the battery model, but with most batteries you can reach a 50% charge after just 2 hours, and a full charge may take 4-6 hours.

Because you'll be able to quickly top off your battery at home or at the office, you'll always have plenty of power for your next ride.

Common Electric Bike FAQs

Are there different kinds of e-bikes? 
Yes, electric bikes are broken down into 3 classes. Class 1 and 3 are pedal-assist, and Class 2 uses a throttle. Almost all bike shops in the country only carry Class 1 and 3 e-bikes, and the only difference between the two is top speed. Class 1 e-bikes provide assisted speeds up to 20mph and Class 3 e-bikes go up to 28mph.

Are electric bikes safe? 
Absolutely. Don’t let the word “motor” scare you. E-bikes put the rider in control, and you can always choose how much assist (if any) you want from the motor. Electric bikes feel almost identical to riding a regular bike, so there are no issues with balance and turning. If you can ride a normal non-motorized bike, you’ll have a blast on an e-bike.

Are electric bikes allowed on trails and paths? 
Whether you can ride your e-bike on trails and paths is largely decided by individual city, state, and land management laws. Here in California, e-bikes are allowed everywhere that non-motorized bikes are with one exception. Class 3 e-bikes are not allowed on Class 1 bike paths.

For E-MTBs, it’s best you check with the local land manager if you are unsure if e-bikes are allowed. Most trails that are open to motorized and non-motorized vehicles are safe to ride on, but many trails designated for non-motorized traffic like hiking trails don’t allow e-bikes.

How far can e-bikes go? 
Riders can pedal their e-bikes without the help of the motor, so you can ride an e-bike as far as you’d like. You’ll lose the assist from the motor if you run out of battery, but for most riders that’s never an issue. Most e-bike batteries have a range that is long enough for you to pedal for hours without running out of juice. Range varies based on the type of motor and battery, as well as how much assist you’re using when you ride. Most e-bike have a range of at least 20 miles and many can ride for 50 miles or more.

How fast can e-bikes go? 
Class 1 e-bikes provide assisted speeds of up to 20mph, and Class 3 e-bikes go up to 28mph before the motor kicks off. You can still pedal and try to go even faster, but you won’t get assistance from the motor, and frankly, you probably won’t ever feel the need to go faster.

Can electric bikes get wet? 
Of course! All the e-bikes we sell are weather sealed and designed to be ridden like real bikes. You’ll definitely want to store your e-bike indoors when you aren’t using it, but riding in the rain is no problem at all.

Can electric bikes go up hills? 
Taking on hills is one of the greatest benefits of riding an e-bike. These models have plenty of torque to power you up and over hills so you can spend less time grinding up climbs and more time enjoying the ride.

How often do I need to charge the battery? 
Again, battery life depends on how often you ride and how much assist you use. If you set your assist level to the lowest option you’ll get a lot more range out of your battery than if you keep it on the highest level. Lots of riders charge up after each ride, but if you’re riding small distances, you’ll probably only need to recharge the battery after a few rides.

How long does the battery take to charge? 
Every model is different, but lots of e-bike batteries will be able to reach a 50% charge in about 2 hours. A full charge may take anywhere from 4-6 hours depending on the battery.

Can you still get exercise riding e-bikes?
Riding an e-bike is still riding! Since you’re in charge of how much assistance you use, you can get in a great workout when you choose to and take advantage of the boost from the motor when you want it. You’ll still get your heart rate up no matter what.

Take An E-Bike For A Spin test

Ready to see for yourself why so many people are falling in love with electric bikes? Visit us today for more information and to take one of our e-bikes out for a ride.