Differences between electric bicycle and electric “assist” bicycle

Hello everyone! You often see electric assisted bicycle products in advertisements at home centers and bicycle shops, and on mail-order sites. On the other hand, you often see the word “electric bicycle”, right?

Isn’t the product itself the same just by omitting the word “assist”,right? I think most people think so, but strictly different.

Electric assisted bicycles and electric bicycles are different product. It’s only the product name has been omitted, so it’s a little confusing for Japanese who are too familiar with abbreviations, right?

Therefore, this time, I will explain the differences between electric bicycles (full assist electric bicycles) and electric assist bicycles, together with precautions.

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Not a bike but a moped bike? Features of electric bicycle

When you search on the Internet for the keyword electric bicycle, in most cases, the product of the electric assist bicycle is displayed as the search result.

In Japan, “electrically assisted bicycles” are the mainstream, so it seems that the information compared about electric (full-assist)bicycles is buried.

If you just leave the two products vague, it will be a big deal after you buy.

It is some cases , a “full assist electric bicycle” was purchased by mistake. Let’s start with the basics!

What is different from electric assist bicycle?

Electric bicycles (full assist electric bicycles), as the name implies, are bicycles that are driven by the operation of an electric motor. Then, what is different from an electric assist bicycle? . It differs greatly in terms of the assist function provided by the electric motor.

If it is electric assisted bicycle, the electric motor will not work and you will not be able to assist unless you pedal. In addition, the assist function changes depending on the speed at which you ride your bicycle.

Electric bicycles, on the other hand, do not have this “conditional assist.” In the case of a fully assisted electric bicycle, it is possible to drive with “full assist” only with the power of the motor.

To summarize the differences, there is a big difference between “conditional assist” and “full assist”.

Basic definition of electric bicycle

It understood that the electric bicycle is a convenient vehicle that provides full assist. But it’s similar to a moped scooter, right?

That’s right. Electric bicycles, unlike electric assist bicycles, are legally treated as “Moped bike” in Japan.

In other words, when driving on public roads with an electric bicycle, you must have a normal driving license or a moped license, apply for liability insurance, attach a license plate, wear a helmet, etc.

Sales of electric assisted bicycles and electric bicycles in Japan

Up to this point, we have described the features of electric bicycles. In the case of electric bicycles, unlike electric assist bicycles, you can not drive on public roads unless you meet various conditions, so you could not see it on domestic Internet shopping etc. until a nears ago, but it is an impression that it has increased recently.

Even if it is displayed as a product called an electric bicycle, if you look at the details page, it may be an electric assist bicycle or a full assist electric bicycle. It’s confusing for consumers.

Note that full-assisted electric bicycles are commonly sold on bicycle shopping sites both overseas and in Japan.

Be careful when purchasing an electric assisted bicycle on the bicycle shopping site!

Be careful, because Note that full-assisted electric bicycles are commonly sold on bicycle shopping sites both overseas and in Japan.

Especially on overseas bicycle shopping sites, there are designs and specifications that are not seen with electric assist bicycles sold in Japan, and prices are also reasonable, and just so attractive.

It’s easy to get out of hand with such a product, but you need to make sure that it’s an electric assisted bicycle or an electric bicycle.

Let’s check the “precautions” before purchasing

When ordering or purchasing an electric assist bicycle from a bicycle shopping site, etc., there are three main items that you want to check in advance.

  • Can the electric bicycle be run on “public roads”?
  • Check the product name and details again before purchasing
  • Check the value of the maximum assist running speed

Check if you can drive on public roads

In the case of a full assisted electric bicycle, the product’s precautionary statement states, “Driving on public roads is not allowed” and “Driving on public roads is prohibited by law.”

For example, if you look at the details page of an electric bicycle on a mail order site, you may find that the feature of the product and the banner image etc. indicate that “this bicycle cannot be used on public roads”.

Check before purchasing the product.

Check product name and details

Full-assisted electric bicycles may have the product name written as “Full-assisted electric bicycle.” However, this notation is very ambiguous depending on the mail order site, so check it with other precautions.

Check the maximum running speed

Those with a maximum speed of 30 km or 45 km, etc. on the product copy or performance section are full assist electric bicycles.

I have summarized the above three points. In addition to the above, there are other features of full assist electric bicycles, so if you are thinking of purchasing or are interested, please check out the bicycle shopping site by all means.

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Summary of this article

This concludes the explanation of electric bicycles (full-assist electric bicycles), from details to cautions. Bicycle looks and names are very similar, so it’s confusing for consumers.

When purchasing “Electric Assisted Bicycles” from major or bicycle shopping sites, it is necessary to carefully check the details of the products.

Also, if you want a full assisted electric bicycle, consider the purpose of use in advance and buy it.

Author of this article


I am a freelance advertising designer who has been working with local bike dealers for over 8 years.

In private life, I gave my long-time favorite mountain bike to a friend, and now I use a cross bicycle.

Recently I started muscle training, but soon become sore always.

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Language Switcher




Age. 38from. KYOTO

Freelance advertising designer. After graduating from university, I got a jpb at a design office and worked on the production of advertising materials. After working for about two years, I quit the company and are working as a freelance.