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Ebike Vs Moped: Pros and Cons

With so many options available when it comes to personal transportation, it can be hard to choose. There are electric bicycles, mopeds, electric scooters, and more. The best option for you depends on where you ride, how far you ride, the local laws where you live, and your personal preference. In this guide, we’ll discuss the differences between electric bikes and mopeds. We’ll also outline the pros and cons of riding an ebike vs moped. We’ll cover speed, cost, insurance, licensing, maintenance, range, and much more.

I’ve been riding an e-bike for the past 6 years. Before that, I rode a gas powered moped. I commute and run errands on my e-bike. In this guide, I’ll share my experience. Hopefully, this guide helps you choose the best electric transportation option for your riding style.

A modern moped
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for details.

Pros and Cons of Ebikes

Pros

  • Cheap to charge
  • Easier to maintain
  • Cheaper
  • No insurance required
  • A title and registration are not required
  • No driver’s license is required
  • Ebikes are quiet
  • Easier to store
  • Cleaner and more environmentally friendly
  • More versatile

Cons

  • Less range
  • Slower
  • It takes more effort to ride an e-bike
  • Requires an expensive battery

Pros and Cons of Mopeds

Pros

  • Better range
  • Faster
  • It takes less effort to ride a moped

Cons

  • More expensive to fuel up
  • Harder to maintain due to the gas motor
  • More expensive
  • Insurance is usually required
  • Noisier
  • You may need a title, license plate, and registration
  • You may need a driver’s license
  • Less environmentally friendly
  • Needs to be stored outdoors
  • Less versatile

An Overview of Electric Bikes

An electric bike, or e-bike, is a bicycle with a built-in electric motor that assists you by providing part of the pedaling power for you. The electric motor is powered by a large battery that is mounted to the frame.

The motor also allows you to maintain higher speeds than you could on a non-powered bike. The motor can also assist you while riding up hills, into headwinds, and on flat surfaces to make riding easier.

Most e-bike motors are limited to a max speed of 15.5, 20, or 28 mph. The maximum speed depends on the class of the e-bike and the local laws.

A standard electric bike with a mid-drive motor

A number of different electric bike designs exist. Most e-bikes offer a pedal assist feature that provides power only when you pedal. Some e-bikes have a throttle that allows you to ride without pedaling.

Some electric bikes have a hub motor in the front or rear wheel. The hub motor powers the wheel directly. Hub motors come in geared and direct drive options.

Some e-bikes have a mid-drive motor that is between the cranks. A mid drive motor provides power through the chain.

A range of e-bike motor sizes and battery capacities are available. Different sensor types are also used for pedal assist. These affect the performance and range of the bike.

What is a Moped?

A moped is a two-wheeled vehicle that combines the features of both bicycles and motorcycles. That’s where the name comes from. “Mo” stands for motor. “Ped” stands for pedals. Mopeds look similar to scooters but are a bit different.

A classic moped typically has a gas engine. The engine size is usually less than 50cc. Most models use pedals for additional propulsion. Mopeds usually have a maximum speed of around 30 mph.

Modern mopeds are a bit different. Many do not have pedals. Some have an electric motor instead of a gas motor. These appear kind of like small motorcycles.

A vintage moped with pedals
A classic moped with pedals

Mopeds are popular among those who want the convenience of a motorized vehicle without having to obtain a license or special insurance in order to ride. Licensing and registration requirements for mopeds are less strict than for motorcycles and scooters. In some jurisdictions, no license is required to ride.

What are the Differences Between an Electric Bike and a Moped?

Probably the biggest difference between electric bikes and mopeds is the type of motor used. Electric bikes use an electric motor. Mopeds usually use a gas motor. There are also electric mopeds available.

Another major difference between electric bikes and mopeds is where they are designed to be ridden. Electric bikes are designed to be ridden pretty much anywhere you can ride a regular bike including on bike lanes and bike paths. Mopeds are designed to be ridden on the street with cars.

Another difference is the pedals. E-bikes always have pedals. Modern mopeds usually do not have pedals. Some classic mopeds do have pedals.

Regulation is another major difference. In most jurisdictions, mopeds require some form of license, registration, and insurance. E-bikes usually don’t require any type of documentation.

Exercise is another major difference. Riding an electric bike provides exercise because you have to pedal. Riding a moped does not provide exercise because you don’t have to pedal.

There are also many similarities. Both electric bikes and mopeds are used for personal transportation. Both have similar top speeds.

Electric Bike Vs Moped

An electric bike

Range

Mopeds have a longer range than e-bikes. Most mopeds come with a small gas engine with a 1.3 gallon (5 liter) gas tank. The engines are extremely fuel efficient. If you get 100 mpg, you could ride up to 130 miles on a full tank of gas.

To compare, most e-bikes get 25-50 miles of range on a single charge. After your battery runs out, you have to charge it for a few hours.

It’s possible to extend the range of both e-bikes and mopeds. With an e-bike, you can buy a larger battery. Alternatively, you can carry a second battery. Most electric bicycles have a removable battery. Some e-bikes have dual battery capability. When one runs out, swap it out for the other. It’s possible to get up to 100 miles of range out of your electric bike this way.

A man riding an e-bike with two batteries
This long-range e-bike has two batteries. One on the downtube and one on the rear rack.

It’s also easy to extend the range on a moped. You can strap a gas can to your rack and simply refill your tank when you run out. If you carry an extra gallon or two of gas, you could ride well over 250 miles without having to stop at a gas station.

Winner: If you need to ride long distances without stopping, a moped is the better choice. You can ride further without having to stop and fuel up.

Fuel Cost

Electric bikes run on electricity. The cost to charge an e-bike depends on the cost of electricity where you live. On average, it costs $0.10-$0.25 to charge an electric bike. If you charge your bike most days, you’ll spend around $25-$50 per year to charge your e-bike. You can save some money if you charge your e-bike away from home with someone else’s electricity. For example, maybe you charge at work.

Mopeds usually run on gasoline. They are extremely fuel efficient. Most mopeds can get 100-150 miles per gallon. If you ride 2000 miles per year and you get 120 mpg and gas costs $3, you’ll only spend $50 on gasoline. Electric mopeds are also available. Electric mopeds cost around the same to run as a electric bikes.

The cost to charge an electric bike is comparable to the cost of gas to run a moped. On average, it is a bit cheaper to charge an e-bike than to fill up a gas moped. Over the course of a year, you might save $10-$20 by riding an electric bike. In some cases, it’s cheaper to ride a moped if you live in a place with a high cost of electricity. Exactly how much it will cost to ride really depends on the cost of electricity and gas where you live and how far you ride each year.

Winner: Charging an electric bicycle costs less than fueling up a gas powered moped.

Time to Charge or Refuel

It’s also important to consider the charge and refueling time and convenience. With an e-bike, all you need is an electrical outlet in order to charge it. This allows you to charge at home or at work, which is extremely convenient. You can also charge at some restaurants and stores. It’s easy to find a power outlet. With a moped, you simply drive to a gas station to fill up the tank. This is a little less convenient.

A gas station
You can quickly and easily fuel up your moped at a gas station.

One drawback to electric bikes is that they take a long time to charge. Depending on the quality of your battery, it could take anywhere from 3.5-6 hours to charge an electric bike from empty to full. With a moped, you can fuel up in just a few minutes and continue riding.

Winner: Fueling up a moped is faster.

Speed

Mopeds are faster than e-bikes. With a 50cc motor, most mopeds can reach a top speed of around 30 mph (48 kph).

Most electric bikes have their top speed electronically limited. Class 1 and class 2 e-bikes have a top speed of 20 mph (32 kph). After you reach 20 mph, the motor slowly tapers off until it stops providing assistance. Once your speed drops below 20 mph, the motor will re-engage. You can continue pedaling when the motor disengages. In some countries, the maximum speed limit for e-bikes is 15.5 mph (25 kph). This is the case in much of Europe.

The higher speed of mopeds allows you to better keep up with traffic. In a city, you rarely need to go faster than 30 mph. If you’re riding on a fast street, you can move over to allow people to pass.

Electric bikes usually aren’t fast enough to keep up with traffic. While riding an e-bike, you will be passed regularly. For this reason, you need to stay in the bike lane or on the shoulder while riding.

There are some exceptions. Class 3 e-bikes have a top speed of 28 mph (45 kph). These are legal in some regions but illegal in others. They have around the same top speed as most mopeds.

On some e-bikes it is also possible to reprogram the bike’s control unit to remove the speed limiter. This is called ‘chipping’ the e-bike. Some e-bikes don’t have a speed limiter. Some high-powered e-bikes can reach speeds of 40-60 mph (64-97 kph). These bikes are not legal in most places but enforcement is usually not very strict.

A woman riding an electric bike

There are mopeds with larger motors that have a higher top speed. It is also possible to make modifications to a moped to increase its top speed. For example, you can install a different air filter that allows for better airflow. You can install a higher-performance exhaust system. You can also install a big bore kit. These include a larger cylinder and piston to increase the displacement of your motor. You can make a 50cc moped into a 70cc moped this way. With these upgrades, you may be able to reach 40-50 mph or more.

Winner: Mopeds are usually faster than e-bikes.

Maintenance

Electric bikes and mopeds are both easy to maintain. Both have wearable parts that need to be replaced periodically.

E-bikes are a bit easier to maintain than mopeds. You can maintain it by yourself if you have some basic tools and a bit of mechanical knowledge.

On an e-bike, you’ll have to replace wearable parts such as the chain, brake pads, rear cogs, cables, and tires as they wear out. Every 2-3 years, you’ll have to replace the battery. Every couple of years, you may have to grease or replace the bearings in the hubs, bottom bracket, and headset. If your electric bike has a geared motor, you will have to replace the internal gears at some point. You’ll also have to clean and lube the chain every couple of weeks. That’s about it.

You can perform all of this maintenance by yourself with some basic bike tools. Bicycles are easy to work on. You can also take your e-bike to your local bike shop to have the work done for you if you prefer.

On a moped, you’ll have to replace wearable parts including the tires, brake drum or pads, cables, and belts as they wear out. You’ll also have to replace the battery around once every 5 years.

On a gas powered moped, you’ll also have to perform regular oil changes. Most manufacturers recommend you change the oil every 500-1000 miles. Most moped riders change the oil once per year in the spring.

A Vespa scooter
Mopeds require regular maintenance, such as oil changes.

The internal combustion engine also requires additional maintenance. Every couple of thousand miles, you’ll have to check the valve clearance, change the air filter, replace the spark plug, check the drive belt for wear, and check the wheel and steering bearings. Gas engines are more complex than electric motors.

If you’re not very mechanical, you may need to take your moped into the dealership to have some of this maintenance done once in a while. It’s not quite as easy to maintain an internal combustion engine as it is to maintain an e-bike.

Winner: E-bikes are easier to maintain than mopeds.

Cost

E-bikes and mopeds are both available in a wide price range. Prices are pretty similar.

You can buy an entry-level electric bike for around $1000. Mid-range e-bikes cost around $2000-$3000. Premium e-bikes are available for $7500-$10,000.

Entry-level mopeds are available starting at around $800. Mid-range models cost around $2500-$4000. High-end mopeds can be bought for $6,000-$10,000.

Of course, you can save money by buying used. If you shop around, you can buy nice used mopeds and e-bikes for a fraction of the price of new models. Older mopeds are particularly cheap. These two-wheeled vehicles depreciate pretty quickly.

Winner: E-bikes are slightly cheaper than mopeds.

Maintenance Cost

It’s also important to consider the cost of maintenance. E-bikes and mopeds both have wearable parts that need to be regularly replaced.

On average, it costs $100-$150 per year in parts to maintain an e-bike. If you need to pay a professional to maintain your e-bike, you’ll also have to pay for labor. This will cost you an additional $150 per year, on average. All in, you’ll spend around $100-$300 per year to maintain your e-bike.

It’s also important to budget for an e-bike battery replacement every 2-4 years. This can cost $500-$900. Electric bike batteries are expensive.

An electric bike battery
E-bikes require expensive batteries. A new e-bike battery could cost $500-$900. You need to replace the battery every 2-4 years.

Mopeds are slightly more expensive to maintain because you have to maintain an internal combustion engine which is more complicated. On average, you’ll spend $300-$600 per year to maintain a moped, depending on how much you ride.

If you choose to ride a moped, you’ll also need to consider the cost of insurance and registration. This can add $100-$150 per year to the cost of ownership.

You might also want to consider the cost of fuel. You might spend $20-$40 per year on electricity to charge your e-bike. With a moped, you might spend $50-$60 per year on gas.

Winner: E-bikes are cheaper to maintain. Mopeds are a bit more expensive in the long run due to the cost of maintenance and insurance. You’ll probably spend a couple of hundred dollars more per year if you choose a moped over an e-bike.

Insurance

In most jurisdictions, you are not required to have insurance for an e-bike. E-bikes are treated just like regular bicycles in most places. There may be some exceptions to this. Be sure to check your local laws to be sure.

Whether or not you need insurance to ride a moped depends on where you ride. In some places, you need insurance to ride a moped on the roads legally. In other locations, insurance is not required if your moped is less than 50cc.

Before you buy a moped, it’s a good idea to check whether or not you need to insure it. Also, look into the cost of insurance where you live. Insurance adds to the cost of ownership. It may help make your decision easier if insurance is expensive where you live.

Insurance for a small 50cc moped is usually pretty cheap. A basic moped insurance policy might cost $50-$100 per year for the minimum legally required insurance. More comprehensive insurance policies are also available. For example, maybe you want roadside assistance. This adds to the cost.

You can insure your electric bike if you choose, even if insurance is not required. If you ride an expensive electric bike it may be a good idea to insure it for theft or vandalization. E-bike insurance is available starting at around $100 per year.

Winner: E-bikes usually don’t require insurance. Mopeds may need insurance in some jurisdictions.

License and Registration Requirement

E-bikes have fewer license and registration requirements. In fact, most jurisdictions do not require e-bikes to be licensed or registered. An e-bike is treated like a normal bicycle. You can simply buy an e-bike and start riding it right away. It doesn’t need a license plate.

There are some exceptions to this. In some states, you do need to register your e-bike. Be sure to check your state’s laws before you buy to be sure.

Mopeds are a bit more heavily regulated. In most places, you have to register your moped and get a license plate for it. This is necessary because you will be riding your moped on the road with traffic.

The cost of moped registration varies by state and region. It could cost anywhere from $50-$150 per year to register your moped for use on public roads.

Before you buy a moped, it’s a good idea to check the registration requirement and cost. This will help you estimate the total cost of ownership. If registration is expensive where you live, you might be better off with an e-bike.

Winner: E-bikes usually don’t need to be licensed or registered. Mopeds usually require insurance, licensing, and registration.

Licensing and Minimum Age to Ride

In most places, you do not need a license to ride an e-bike. Anyone who is able to ride, can. There are a few states that do require a license to ride an e-bike. These states include Alabama, Alaska, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, Wisconsin, and North Dakota. In most cases, a driver’s license isn’t required but you may need an e-bike operator’s license.

Sometimes, there is a minimum age to ride an electric bike. In most countries, the minimum age ranges from 14-16 years old. Sometimes the minimum age depends on the class of the e-bike. For example, there may be no minimum age for class 1 and 2 e-bikes but there may be a minimum age of 16 for class 3 e-bikes.

If you’re under 16 years old, you should check the local laws to see whether or not it’s legal for you to ride an electric bike and which type of electric bike you can legally ride.

When it comes to mopeds, license requirements vary from location to location. In some places, you don’t need any kind of license to ride a moped. In other places, all you need is a standard driver’s license. Sometimes, you need a motorcycle license to ride a moped.

Licensing requirements can also depend on the size of your moped’s motor. In most places, the cutoff is 50cc. If your moped has a 50cc or smaller motor, you can usually ride with no licence or with just a driver’s license. If your moped has a motor that’s larger than 50cc, you often need a motorcycle permit. Of course, this varies by location. In some places, all riders need a license, regardless of the motor size.

Similar to an e-bike, the minimum age to ride a moped will depend on your jurisdiction and the type of moped. In many countries, the minimum age to ride a moped is 16. In other countries, you must be 17 to ride a moped. Some places only allow those who are 18 and older to ride a moped.

Before you decide to buy a moped, it’s important to check the local laws and make sure you meet the legal requirements for licensing and minimum age. This is particularly important if you’re a young rider. If you need a motorcycle license to ride a moped where you live and you don’t have one, you may be better off with an e-bike.

Winner: E-bikes usually don’t require a license to ride. The minimum age to ride is also lower in most cases. In most cases, you need a driver’s license to ride a moped.

Safety

A woman riding a folding electric bike

It isn’t really clear whether electric bikes or mopeds are safer. I haven’t been able to find any studies comparing the safety statistics of the two types of vehicles.

There are studies comparing electric scooters and electric bikes but e-scooters are pretty different from mopeds. You can read one of these studies here.

If I were to guess, I would say that electric bikes are safer than mopeds. There are a couple of reasons for this. First mopeds are faster than e-bikes. If you get into an accident at a higher speed, you are more likely to sustain major injuries.

Mopeds are also ridden on the street with traffic. You are more likely to get hit while you’re on the road than if you are on a bike lane, bike path, or trail. Getting hit by a car will cause serious injury.

However, safety really depends on how you ride and where you ride. If you are careful and stay off of busy roads, mopeds can be very safe. On the other hand, if you’re careless or irresponsible while riding an e-bike, it could lead to an accident.

The bottom line is that both electric bikes and mopeds can be safe if you take the necessary safety precautions. Wear a helmet, follow the rules of the road, and stay off of busy and fast roads whenever possible.

Before riding your e-bike or moped, it’s also a good idea to perform a quick safety inspection. Check the brakes, tires, lights, throttle, handlebars, cables, etc. to make sure everything is in good working condition. If something is damaged, don’t ride until you get it fixed.

For more in-depth info, check out my guide: Are Electric Bikes Safe?

Winner: E-bikes and mopeds can both be safe if you take the proper precautions and ride carefully.

Cargo Capacity

Electric bikes and mopeds are both capable of carrying cargo. There are luggage options available for both types of vehicles.

You can mount racks and panniers to most electric bikes. Many e-bikes even feature a built-in rear rack. On some e-bikes, you can also install front racks and panniers to expand your carrying capacity. Alternatively, you can use bikepacking bags such as a frame bag, handlebar bag, or rear bag. You could also mount a basket if you prefer. It is possible to go bicycle touring with an electric bike.

An e-bike with panniers
Most e-bikes can accept racks and panniers.

If you need to carry more stuff, you can tow a cargo trailer behind your electric bike. All e-bikes can tow a trailer. Most bike trailers are designed to handle 50-100 pounds (23-45 kg) of cargo. Some can handle even more.

If you need to carry a particularly heavy load, you could ride an electric cargo bike. Most electric cargo bikes are capable of hauling 220-330 pounds (100-150 kg). Some models can handle as much as 400 pounds. You could haul furniture or lumber with an electric cargo bike. Mopeds can’t carry nearly that much weight.

It’s even possible to carry a passenger with an e-bike. Some e-bikes allow you to install a passenger seat on the rear rack. If you have children you could tow them in a child trailer. You could even tow your dog in a trailer if you wanted to.

It’s important to note that your range will decrease substantially when you carry cargo on an electric bike due to the extra weight. If you plan to carry a heavy load, you’ll need a large battery. Take this into consideration when planning your journey so you don’t run out of power.

Mopeds can also carry a surprising amount of cargo. You can buy panniers for your moped. You can also install a rear rack on your moped where you can mount a rigid box or duffel bag. Some mopeds can also take a front rack or basket.

It is also possible to tow a trailer behind your moped. A number of companies make trailers that are compatible with scooters.

It is also possible to carry passengers on a moped. Some seats are capable of carrying three people, the rider plus two passengers.

If you’ve spent time in the developing world, you’ve most likely seen people carrying massive amounts of cargo on mopeds and small motorcycles. It’s amazing what these vehicles are capable of carrying. In Vietnam, I’ve seen people carrying whole pigs on their mopeds. In Uganda, I’ve seen small 150cc motorcycles loaded up with massive bags of grains. Mopeds and small scooters are popular transportation options for families in some countries. I’ve seen a family of 4 on a small moped.

It’s possible to carry a surprisingly large load of cargo with an e-bike or a moped if you’re creative. Just remember to load your vehicle in a balanced way to avoid tipping over. Make sure your cargo is securely attached so it doesn’t fall off when you ride over a bump or make a quick stop.

Winner: E-bikes and mopeds can both be used for hauling cargo and people. If you need to carry a particularly heavy load, an electric cargo bike is the best option.

Storage

An electric bike is easier to store than a moped. If you live in a small apartment, an electric bike might be the better option because it takes up less space. You can store it in your apartment in the hallway or in a bedroom. Many apartment complexes also have bike racks outside where you can lock your bike up.

If you need to save more space, you can choose an electric folding bike. These bikes collapse down so they take up less room. You could store your folding e-bike in a closet or even under your bed.

If you lock your electric bike up outside, you’ll want to buy a secure lock so it doesn’t get stolen. U locks and chain locks work well.

Mopeds have to be stored outside or in a garage due to the gas motor. You can’t store it inside. You won’t want your home to smell like gasoline.

If you don’t have a garage or shed, you’ll need to find a way to lock your moped up outside. You don’t need a whole parking space but you do need to find a place where you can park legally and securely. You don’t want your moped to get towed or stolen.

Overall, electric bikes are slightly easier to store than mopeds because they can be stored indoors and some models are even foldable. However, if you have ample outdoor space then storage won’t be an issue.

Winner: Electric bikes are easier to store than mopeds.

Safety Gear

While riding an e-bike or a moped, it’s important to wear the proper safety gear to protect you in case you crash or get involved in an accident.

At the very least, you need to wear a helmet. In most places, you are legally required to wear a helmet while riding an e-bike or moped. Even if you’re not required to, it’s best to always wear a helmet.

A cyclist on a road bike wearing a helmet
It’s important to always wear a helmet and the proper safety gear while riding an electric bike or moped

While riding a moped, you should wear a motorcycle helmet with DOT and Snell safety ratings. Ideally, you should wear a full-face helmet. This will provide the most protection.

Most e-bike riders wear a standard bicycle helmet. If you ride a fast class 3 e-bike, consider wearing a motorcycle helmet instead for extra protection. Motorcycle helmets are designed for higher speeds than bicycle helmets.

Helmet laws usually aren’t very strictly enforced for e-bikes but they are strictly enforced for mopeds. Regardless of the law, you should always wear a helmet while riding either of these vehicles.

Because mopeds are faster, it’s a good idea to wear some additional safety gear. Consider wearing a motorcycle jacket, pants, boots, and gloves while riding your moped. This safety gear can save you from road rash if you come off the moped at high speeds.

Most e-bike riders don’t wear any additional safety gear other than a helmet. It is a good idea to wear a jacket, thick pants, gloves, and sturdy shoes while riding an e-bike. You don’t need motorcycle gear but wearing thick and sturdy clothing can help reduce injury if you fall off. If you ride at speeds over 25-30 mph, consider wearing motorcycle gear.

Winner: There is no winner here. You need to wear safety gear regardless of which type of vehicle you ride.

Environmental Friendliness

Electric bikes are far more environmentally friendly than mopeds. That is because they are powered by electricity. They don’t use fossil fuels. They also emit no CO2 or other harmful emissions. The electric motor on an e-bike is powered by a battery, which can be recharged many times. This makes e-bikes much more sustainable. They don’t contribute to air pollution.

Mopeds are gas powered. The burning of fossil fuels emits carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the air. This increases the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Not all mopeds are gas powered. There are electric mopeds available as well. Electric mopeds are just as environmentally friendly as electric bikes.

Electric bikes also make very little noise pollution. They are almost as quiet as normal bicycles. Mopeds, on the other hand, make a lot of noise that can disturb wildlife and local residents. The sound of a small gas motor can be pretty annoying.

Electric bikes offer many advantages over standard vehicles and certainly over gas powered mopeds in terms of their environmental impact. By choosing an electric bike instead of a moped, you can help reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a cleaner future for the next generation.

It’s important to note that electric bikes and mopeds can cause environmental damage when ridden off-road. Both vehicles can damage plant life and tear up the land if ridden recklessly. You can kill plants, create ruts, change water flow, and damage animal habitats. This can harm the local ecosystem.

If you plan on using either vehicle off-road, it’s important to do so responsibly and with respect for the environment. Only ride in areas where these vehicles are legally allowed to go. Stay on the trail. Avoid riding off-trail or on hiking trails where vehicles are not allowed.

Winner: E-bikes are more environmentally friendly than mopeds because they are powered by electricity rather than gasoline.

A blue electric bike with a step through frame and a mid-drive motor

Cleanliness

E-bikes are cleaner than mopeds. This is because they use an electric motor. . Electric bicycle motors don’t use any messy automotive fluids. There is no oil, coolant, or gasoline to deal with. The only dirty job you have to deal with when you ride an electric bicycle is cleaning and lubricating the chain.

Mopeds, on the other hand, are much more dirty because they have gas motors. You have to breathe gasoline fumes when filling up. Your hands might smell like gas after refueling. You also have to deal with changing the oil once in a while. This can be a dirty job. Some mopeds use brake fluid and coolant. You have to check the fluids once in a while. Gas motors have lots of messy automotive fluids to deal with. Your hands will get dirty.

Winner: Electric bicycles are much cleaner than mopeds because they have electric motors.

Physical Effort and Exercise

If you’re riding for exercise, an electric bike is the better choice. This is because most e-bikes require that you pedal. Pedaling is the only way to activate the pedal assist system.

People often assume that riding an electric bike isn’t actually exercise because the motor does the work for you. This study from the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that riding an electric bike with a pedal assist system raised the heart rate enough to be considered moderate physical activity. Riding an e-bike isn’t as intense of exercise as riding a normal bike but it is still considered exercise.

Interestingly, the study also found that people who rode an e-bike burned more calories than those who rode a normal bike. This is because electric bike riders rode more frequently than those who rode standard bikes.

Riding an electric bike is a surprisingly good workout. If you’re looking to lose some weight or get fit, an electric bike is the better choice.

Mopeds require little physical effort to ride. You can sit back and relax while you ride. The gas motor does all of the work for you. If you’re looking for an easy way to get from point A to point B then a moped might be the better choice.

This can make mopeds the better choice for commuting. You won’t arrive at work sweaty and tired.

Winner: Electric bicycles provide more exercise than mopeds because they require you to pedal.

Versatility

Electric bikes are more versatile than mopeds. The reason is that you can ride an electric bike more places. E-bikes can be ridden on bike lanes and on the road. They can be ridden on bike paths and boardwalks. Some models can also be ridden off-road. Electric bikes can be used for transportation, running errands, carrying cargo, touring, and recreation.

An electric bike with a single pannier
You can mount a pannier on your electric bike and use it for grocery shopping

Electric bikes also offer different ride styles. Many e-bikes offer both pedal assist and throttle control systems. If you want to pedal, you can use the pedal assist system. You can adjust the level of assistance using the handlebar-mounted display. If you don’t feel like pedaling at all, you can use the throttle and ride the electric bike like a moped. Not all e-bikes have a throttle but many do.

Mopeds also offer plenty of versatility. You can use a moped for commuting, running errands, or just recreational riding around town. There are mopeds that can be taken off-road. Some classic mopeds even have pedals. Gas and electric mopeds are available.

Winner: E-bikes are more versatile than mopeds.

Noise

Electric bikes are far quieter than mopeds. The electric motor makes very little noise. You might hear a humming sound if you ride an electric bike with a geared hub motor or a mid-drive motor. For most riders, the noise is not very noticeable. While riding an e-bike, you won’t bother your neighbors.

Mopeds are much louder due to the gas motor. The engine can be heard from far away. This noise may annoy people in your neighborhood if you ride late at night or early in the morning.

Listening to a gas motor can also be annoying for the rider. If you ride a loud moped, consider wearing earplugs under your helmet.

Some mopeds are noisier than others. A stock moped is reasonably quiet. If you upgrade your moped’s exhaust system, it can get pretty loud.

Noise is only an issue with gas mopeds. if you ride an electric moped, the sound is similar to an electric bike. Electric mopeds are quiet.

Winner: E-bikes are quieter than mopeds because they have electric motors instead of gas.

Frame Design

Mopeds usually feature a step-through frame. This makes them easy to mount and dismount. This design is great for people with limited mobility.

An e-bike with a step-through frame
An electric bike with a step-through frame

Most e-bikes have a traditional diamond frame. You have to throw your leg over the top bar to mount the bike. This makes it a bit more difficult to get on and off. There are step-through e-bikes available if you prefer that design.

Winner: Mopeds have a step-through frame. E-bikes are available in both traditional diamond frames and step-throughs.

Off-Road Performance

Electric bikes and mopeds can both be used for off-road riding. Electric mountain bikes are available that are capable of handling extremely rugged terrain. These are designed with suspension systems and larger tires for maximum traction.

Mopeds can also be used off-road but some models may be limited by their small wheels and lack of suspension. There are now moped models that have been adapted for off-roading. These usually come with extra ground clearance and knobby tires.

Not all e-bikes and mopeds are capable of off-road riding. If you plan to use your electric bike or moped off-road, make sure to choose a model that is designed for off-road use.

It’s also important to note that e-bikes aren’t waterproof. They are water resistant. You shouldn’t use your electric bike for water crossings.

Winner: Both e-bikes and mopeds can be ridden off-road.

An electric mountain bike with a mid-drive motor

Who Should Ride an Ebike?

Those who prefer riding an electric vehicle over a gas vehicle are better off going with an e-bike. When you ride an e-bike, you never have to go to the gas station. You can charge in the comfort of your own home. You also never have to deal with a dirty gas motor or smell the fumes of gasoline.

E-bikes are also the better choice for those on a tight budget. They usually have a lower initial purchase price than mopeds. You can buy a decent electric bike starting at $1000. Maintenance is also cheaper.

Those who don’t want to deal with licensing, registration, and insurance are also better off going with an e-bike. When you ride an e-bike, you don’t have to worry about any additional paperwork or fees associated with licensing or registration like you would if you owned a moped. This saves you a major headache as well as some money.

Those who want to ride for exercise are also better off going with an e-bike. E-bikes provide users with the ability to switch between pedal power and electric power at any time during their ride. When using pedal assist, you are forced to pedal. This makes e-bikes ideal for those who want to get a workout while riding.

E-bikes are also a better choice for those who are trying to reduce their carbon footprint. These vehicles emit no harmful pollutants into the air while running. Plus, e-bikes can be charged using renewable energy sources like solar energy.

Those who live in a small space are also better off with an e-bike. You can store your electric bike inside your home. You don’t need a dedicated parking space.

Those who enjoy peace and quiet are also better off riding an e-bike. Electric motors are much quieter than gas motors.

Who Should Ride a Moped?

Mopeds are ideal for those who need a lot of range from their vehicle. With their impressive fuel efficiency, mopeds can provide much more range than electric bikes. A moped can achieve anywhere from 70 mpg to an insane 150 mpg. A full tank of gas can take you over 100 miles on most mopeds. It’s easy to carry a spare gas canister for more range.

For those who prefer riding a gas powered vehicle, mopeds offer a great alternative to electric bikes. A traditional gasoline motor gives you a familiar sound and ride feel. Some people prefer the rumble of a gas motor.

Mopeds are also better for those who don’t want to pedal when they ride. Mopeds do not require any pedaling whatsoever. Just twist the throttle and go. You won’t arrive at your destination sweaty and tired when you ride a moped.

For those who like to ride at higher speeds, mopeds are the better choice. Most models can reach speeds of up to 30 mph and can easily keep up with traffic around town. This allows you to ride on the road with traffic. Mopeds are easy to maneuver and make great commuters or errand runners. Mopeds are perfect for urban roadways.

A family of 5 on a moped in Bali

FAQ About Mopeds and E-Bikes

Is a Moped or Electric Bike Better?

Neither is really better than the other. When it comes to choosing the right transportation option for you, there are many considerations. Whether you’re looking for speed, efficiency, range, convenience, or cost-effectiveness, both mopeds and electric bikes can be great options.

Mopeds are generally faster than e-bikes. Electric and gas powered models are available. Gas powered mopeds offer great range. Electric bikes, on the other hand, are lightweight, clean, affordable, and easy to maintain.

Ultimately, which option is best for you really depends on your needs and preferences as each one has its own pros and cons.

Why Ride an Ebike or Moped Instead of a Motorcycle?

There are a number of reasons why e-bikes and mopeds are better choices than motorcycles. First, they are far cheaper. On average, a basic motorcycle costs $5,000-$10,000. Mopeds and e-bikes can cost less than half that.

E-bikes and mopeds are also safer than motorcycles. This is mostly because they are slower. E-bikes have a max speed of 20 mph. Mopeds usually have a max speed of 30 mph. Most motorcycles can reach speeds of over 100mph. You’re far less likely to get injured while riding at lower speeds.

E-bikes and mopeds are also more environmentally friendly than motorcycles. E-bikes are powered by electricity and mopeds get better gas mileage.

Maintenance is also lower. It’s easier to maintain an electric motor or a 50cc gas motor than a large motorcycle motor.

There are also fewer regulations surrounding e-bikes and mopeds than motorcycles. Oftentimes, you don’t need a license, insurance, or even registration. To ride a motorcycle, you need a special motorcycle permit, insurance, and registration. There is a higher barrier to entry for getting into motorcycling.

e-bike handlebars

My Choice

Personally, I prefer electric bikes. Modern electric bikes offer great range. For me, 30-50 miles of range is plenty. I mostly use my electric bike for recreational riding. Occasionally, I use it for running errands and buying groceries. I rarely have to ride more than 20 miles in a day.

To me, one of the biggest benefits of e-bikes is their quiet operation. I love not having to listen to a noisy gas motor while riding. My neighbors probably love it too.

I also enjoy being able to charge the bike at home. When I return home, I can simply plug my electric bike in for a few hours and it will be ready to ride the next day. I never have to go to gas stations and deal with smelly and dirty gasoline.

The environmental friendliness of e-bikes is also a big draw. When I ride, I like knowing that I’m not adding pollution to the atmosphere.

In the past, I would have said that a moped was the better choice. The main reason is range. Early e-bikes used older battery technologies. The range on these batteries was too small. Current electric bike batteries offer excellent range.

Of course, mopeds still have their place. If I had to commute on the road, a moped would probably be the better option. E-bikes can’t really keep up with traffic in most cases.

Electric mopeds are also an interesting choice. These offer many of the benefits of both gas-powered mopeds and electric bicycles.

Another Option: E-Scooters (Electric Kick Scooters)

Electric scooters

If, after reading this guide, you’re not sold on e-bikes or mopeds, another option to consider is the electric scooter or e-scooter.

These are stand-up scooters that are powered by a small electric motor in the hub. Most electric scooters can reach speeds of up to 25km/h (15mph).

Electric scooters are cheaper than e-bikes and mopeds. Entry-level models start at around $300. E-scooters can be a great choice for those who need to take short trips in dense cities. They also work well for multi-modal transportation. Electric scooters are also known as electric kick scooters.

For more info, check out my guide to e-bikes vs e-scooters.

Final Thoughts About Riding a Moped Vs E-Bike

Whether you’re looking for an alternative to your car or public transport or just a fun way to get around town, it’s important to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of e-bikes and mopeds.

While e-bikes offer the benefits of increased efficiency, easy maintenance, and cost savings, they also have drawbacks like limited battery life and low speed.

On the other hand, mopeds provide good range and speed, but often require a license, insurance, and registration fees. Maintenance on a gas motor is more complicated as well.

Ultimately, the choice between an electric bike and a moped comes down to where you plan to ride, how far, and your personal preference. Consider your lifestyle needs, your budget, and local regulations when deciding which one is right for you.

Whichever vehicle you choose, I hope this guide has helped you in making your decision.

Do you ride an e-bike or a moped? Share your experience in the comments below!

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