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?

  • One day it would be nice to know why Blam spends so much time downvoting.
    – Móż
    Commented Oct 21, 2015 at 3:53
  • @blam Are you able to make any comments as to what's wrong with my question?
    – Criggie Mod
    Commented Oct 21, 2015 at 4:00
  • I think this question would be better if the answer portion were separated out from the question. I haven't voted because it's a good question to ask, but I'm not sure I agree with all of your conclusions.
    – jimchristie Mod
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 10:56
  • Two things - voting on Meta is different to voting on the base site. Here it's meant to show agreement or otherwise (despite what the mouseover says). And blam changed his screen name l-o-n-g ago.
    – andy256
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 1:10
  • Ah, just checked the Meta Help. The agree / disagree voting is supposed to be for feature requests. In practice it tends to be extended as I described for proposals though.
    – andy256
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 1:19

2 Answers 2


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.

  • -1 "infernal combustion"
    – BSO rider
    Commented Nov 28, 2015 at 14:55

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.

Your thoughts?

  • 1
    I agree. I commuted by bike for many years until leg injuries had me turn to e-bikes with pedal assist. I never use the throttle, though obviously I'm doing less work than with a regular bike. The way I use my e-bike has much more in common with bikes than mopeds. There are even some ebikes these days that look like an ordinary bike at a quick glance, such as the e-mazing brand.
    – Joe Golton
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 23:22
  • You never use the throttle? Or your system is PAS and adds some oomph for you when it detects you peddling? I found that not using the throttle made the bike a 35 kilo deadweight horror, back when I had SLA batteries.
    – Criggie Mod
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 23:41
  • 1
    Yes my system is PAS and adds oomph when I'm peddling. Tops out at about 18-19 MPH so when I'm going slightly down hill I get no assist. The hand throttle actually broke a few years ago but I never got it repaired because I never use it. Yes some bikes are really heavy and unwieldly including mine but check out the emazing bike line. About 17 kilos and I've test rode a couple - no need for pedal assist on flat terrain, just steep uphills. When my battery gives out about a year from now, I'll be ditching my overweight 6 year-old-model for an emazing Artemis.
    – Joe Golton
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 0:05

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