I've noticed that assisted bikes tend to fall in a gap between bicycles and motorbikes. is there anything that says what is on topic for SE Bicycles and what is off topic?
Here's my thoughts, separated from the question.
- Scooters with motors and without pedals - they're motorbikes, OFFTOPIC
- Scooters with motors and functional pedals - probably off topic unless the question relates purely to the pedals and chain parts OFFTOPIC
- Scooters without any motor or pedals - kids toys, OFFTOPIC
- Bicycles with liquid fuel motor - Just the bicycle parts would be ON TOPIC but the motor and ancillaries would be OFFTOPIC
- Bicycles with electric motors where peddling is optional - UNSURE, probably ON TOPIC
- Bicycles with electric motors where peddling is required - ON TOPIC
My take is electric bikes are closer to normal bicycles than combustion-based motors, and we should assist electric cyclists while referring the combusion-engine bikers elsewhere.
This almost matches the legal definition in New Zealand but not in many other countries, where infernal combustion engines are allowed on bicycles. New Zealand also disallows electric mopeds, where the motor power is over 300W.
In my experience the problems with combustion engines are outside the experience of most bike mechanics and many bicycle riders, but then so are problems with electric motors. The counterargument is that small combustion engines are fairly generic and in fact the exact same engine may be found on bicycles and other devices, whereas the electric motors on bikes are generally specific to bicycles. As well, I'm not aware of any bicycles that come from the factory with combustion engines but many come with electric motors.
Personally I ignore or make snide comments on the infernal combustion engine questions, but feel quite happy with most electric questions.
I support making infernal combustion questions off-topic.