Everything You Need to Know About Denver’s Electric Bike Rebate Program
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Cycling purists – whether mountain, gravel, road or racing – generally agree on one thing: no motors. Recently, however, that mindset has started to change. In recent years, e-bikes, known as e-bikes, have become increasingly popular on dirt trails and paved roads across the Centennial State, thanks to their ease of use and because they are relatively painless to maintain. There is, of course, another reason e-bikes are growing in popularity locally: the Mile High City is making owning a bike much cheaper.
In an effort to promote sustainability and improve downtown traffic congestion, Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resilience (CASR) launched its e-bike rebate program in April . The three-year, tax-funded period discount program had been budgeted for $3 million in its first year, and is one of many climate action rebates offered by the city, including home energy upgrade discounts.
However, the discount was even more popular than expected, and the city suspended the program three weeks later, after distributing more than 3,000 vouchers to Denver residents to use at participating bike shops in the city. CASR has since restructured the application process to be fairer and to avoid reaching capacity limits too quickly again. The city is rolling out the program again starting July 11 on a first-come, first-served monthly basis, with 2,000 new coupons — typically for $400, but income-eligible residents can get $1,200 — available this this month, half of which will be reserved for income-eligible residents.
“The city’s rebate program has definitely boosted business,” says Sam Bagnall, general manager of RiNo’s Bike Source, which exclusively sells e-bikes. “We’ve had a ton of people with the first wave of vouchers, and we already have people knocking on doors asking about which one is coming in this week.”
Because questions seem to abound, we’ve put together this handy guide for e-bike curious Denverites who want to get in on the trend and the discounts.
2022 Coupon Release Dates
- Monday July 11
- monday august 1st
- tuesday september 6
- monday october 3
- monday november 7
- Monday, December 5
What are the different types of e-bikes and what qualifies for the discount?
To qualify for the city’s e-bike rebate voucher, a bike’s battery must be 750 watts or less. The bike cannot be gas powered and you cannot use the full suspension e-MTB discount.
Beyond that, Denver residents can use the discount for one of three main e-bike classifications: Class I, II, and III. Each variation has a battery and a motor.
- Class I: e-bikes with pedal-assist motors that have a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour
- Class II: e-bikes with throttle assist motors up to 20 mph; the throttle is usually a twist throttle, like on a motorcycle, or it can be a button on the handlebars
- Class III: e-bikes that can go up to 28 miles per hour using either a pedal assist motor, a throttle, or both.
The main difference between the courses, says Zach Gordon, salesman at eBike USA, an e-bike shop in Cherry Creek, comes down to the help you need while riding. “Some of our bikes make you feel like you’re being pushed,” Gorden says, “while some of them just make you feel like you have stronger legs.”
Class I and Class II e-bikes are street legal and can be ridden anywhere around Denver, while Class III bikes have more restrictions due to their faster top speeds. For example, Class III e-bikes are not allowed on city bike paths, where the speed limit is 15 miles per hour. Fair warning: A speeding ticket on a bike path starts at $100.
Depending on battery size, e-bikes take around four to six hours to charge. A commuter-style e-bike, which has a more comfortable seating position, has a range of 40 to 60 miles before needing to be recharged. Road e-bikes can go even further on a single charge. Discounts can also be applied to e-cargo bikes, a larger style designed to carry extra passengers or extra things, like, say, groceries.
So what is the damage done to my wallet?
Prices can vary widely, but on average, the entry point for a standard e-bike is around $1,500. Prices for e-cargo bikes and more premium rides go up from there, with some high-end two-wheelers costing $3,000 or more.
The city’s program offers instant rebates of $400 to any Denver resident lucky enough to land a voucher; income-eligible residents who catch one will receive a $1,200 rebate. An additional $500 is available to eligible residents if they purchase a more expensive e-cargo bike.
What should I do if I am interested in buying an e-bike?
First, it helps to think about what you want to use an e-bike for. Are you going to use it for shopping and shopping? Are you going to go to work? Interested in trail running? “It’s important to specify the riding style you’re going to do,” Bagnall says. “It’s going to be very useful for stores to help you fine-tune models.”
The next step, naturally, is to go to a local e-bike shop and give it a try. In fact, the city is encouraging any Denver residents interested in an e-bike discount to give it a try at local stores before claiming one of the limited vouchers. Because while any additional research you can do yourself helps, Bagnall and Gordon both note that what looks good on paper may not feel good in the saddle. “Once you get in and get on the bike, that’s the best way to tell if it’s a good fit,” Gordon says. “Everyone is going to ride a little differently, it’s kind of person by person.”
Where can I buy an e-bike with a discount voucher?
The city has compiled a list of participating stores (see below) in the metro area where residents can redeem the discounts for purchasing an e-bike. Local stores have experienced occasional delays in receiving certain types of e-bikes due to supply chain issues, Gordon says. But overall, most stores are stocked with bikes and ready to sell them. “For all of our bikes, if you test them, you can ride them the same day. They are all ready to go,” he said. “In our showroom, what you see is what you get.”
- source of bike, 2628 Walnut St, Denver
- University cycles, 2102 S. Washington St., Denver
- Crowley Cycles, 2134 Curtis Street, Unit 302, Denver
- Eazy E Bikez, 9373 W. Colfax Ave., Lakewood
- Electric Bikes United States, 201 University Blvd, Suite 123, Denver
- Denver Epic Cycles, 5665 N. Beeler Street, Suite 100, Denver
- Elevation cycles, 821 Ash Street, Denver; 1500 Wynkoop St., Suite 102, Denver
- fat bikes, 2596 W. Barberry Place, Denver
- Frame cycles, 3655 Navajo Street, Denver
- Good turn cycles, 1401 Zuni St., Unit 101, Denver; 7301 S. Santa Fe Drive, Suite 342, Littleton
- Hardt Family Cyclery, 10255 E. 25th Ave., Unit A1, Aurora
- Denver HUB Bikes, 3605 W. Colfax Ave, Denver
- Pedego Denver, 575 Lincoln Street, Unit C, Denver
- Pedego South Denver, 6888 S. University Blvd., Centennial
- Rad Electric Bikes, 6262 West 55th Ave, Arvada
- REI, 1416 Platte St., Denver
- SloHi Bikes, 3217 E. Colfax Avenue, Denver; 4434 W. 29th Avenue, Denver
How do I know if I am eligible for the discount?
Any Denver resident age 16 or older can apply for the rebate program; discounts are limited to one e-bike per person. All you need is proof of address in Denver i.e. bank statements, utility bills, mortgage or rental agreements, insurance policy documents, etc. dated the previous year to attach to your application.
To qualify for a low-income discount, applicants must earn less than 60% of the Colorado median income or less than 80% of the Denver-area median income, which is currently less than $62,600 for a household. one person, or $71,550 for a two-person household. Or residents can provide proof of current enrollment in government assistance, such as benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, or the Colorado Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP).
For more information on accepted documents and other application requirements, visit the city’s electric bike discount site.
How can I claim the discount?
The city one online portal for applications opens at 8 a.m. on the morning of each monthly release date, beginning July 11. Interested Denver residents are encouraged to register for the city newsletter for reminders and updates on monthly discounts.
Applicants will be notified if they are eligible to receive a discount, and the voucher, which will be sent by email, expires after two months.
What e-bike etiquette and other tips should I know?
With great bikes comes great responsibility. Before investing in an e-bike, Bagnall says it’s important to know the basics of general bike maintenance. Improve your knowledge of fixing flats and make sure you have good lubrication for your chain. But one of the advantages of e-bikes is that they are mostly similar to the maintenance of regular bicycles.
Make sure you know the bicycle laws and laws specific to e-bikes. “Watch out for speed limit signs,” says Gordon. “Make sure you don’t pass other riders too fast. Remember that some e-bikes are allowed on certain trails and some e-bikes are not.
Bagnall agrees and insists on not riding carelessly or getting carried away with speed just because you can. Beyond that, he says, have fun and enjoy the ride.
(Read more: What you need to know before hitting the trail with an electric bike)