Ever wondered how fast do electric bikes go? Especially, when starting off, you may have heard the buzz that electric bikes can travel at astonishing speeds, which is not exactly so true.
Look, just like riders, electric bikes also show up in all different forms; from varied wheel sizes to wide-ranging speeds and even comfort levels. You would even say any old-style second-hand e bike can end up going really fast at full tilt.
The truth is, most electric bicycles are not designed for high speeds; they’re meant for assistance in attaining and sustaining higher speeds for commuting or enhancing the freedom of ebiking for those who might not be able to realize it under their own power.
Besides, electric bikes are widely restricted in the maximum motor assist they can provide. In Europe, for instance, an electric bike can possess a maximum power of 250 watts, allowing for speeds up to 25 kilometers per hour.
In the US, the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) defines a “low-speed e bike” as a vehicle featuring fully usable pedals, a motor not exceeding 750W, and a top speed of 20 mph or 32 km/h.
So, How Fast can An Electric Bike Go?
Fundamentally speaking, an average electric bike can be as fast as 20 mph. That said, however, electric bikes can only go as fast as 28 mph, and do not go beyond this figure. Even the most powerful models will only limit their motor assist to 28 miles per hour.
In addition to that, how fast electric bikes go will depend on other many factors including legislation, weight, e bike motors (e bike class), and your pumping ability.
It’s also important to note that electric bikes are available in several major types. The first type is a pedal assist e bike, which tends to max out at about 20 mph. This one is considered great for short distances or as an extra boost when riding up hills.
The next type of electric bike comes with a throttle (either thumb throttle or twist throttle) which enables the rider to adjust the speed with just one hand. This type of electric bike can cruise at speeds upwards of 28 mph, making them ideal for extensive rides and commute trips.
However, if you are pedaling, you can cruise as fast as your pumping ability. Most e bikes stop providing motor assist while pedaling at 20 mph. But as mentioned before, you can achieve a max speed of 28 mph depending on your pedaling ability.
Simply put, you have the capability to achieve a speed that is suitable for your own riding style. You can push your own limits to travel faster than the stated max speed. Or, you can solely depend on the motor to keep you rolling at speeds within the utmost support level.
How much will the motor assist you
Well, despite this being one of the most common questions in the e-biking community, it’s still a legitimate query because we’re literally adding a motor to a mode of transportation that humans had the ingenuity to pedal and travel at great speeds under their own power.
Normally, when we come to specifications, we often find the watts, voltage, and all sorts of confusing information. But what do all these mean anyway? Some folks believe that the higher the wattage, the faster the e bike will be. But is that really true?
Well, to determine how much assistance the motor will provide, we need to evaluate your weight and the steepness of the hills on your riding ground. Nearly every e bike you see in the US is very much capable of surpassing the stated speed limits.
Obviously, the heavier the rider, the more assistance is needed to get along with the e bike. The same case applies to the hills you’re trying to climb. Steeper hills will demand higher wattage.
For example, consider a rider weighing 50 kilos and looking to ride on really insignificant hills. Both her weight and her rides don’t necessitate lots of power on such ground. In fact, the same exact rider would have all her needs sorted out with a 250W motor.
In another Scenario, consider someone who weighs 75 kilos, looking forward to riding on really steeper and long hills. While a rider pedaling at steep hills will necessitate more power, an electric bicycle with a 750 watts motor would do a great job supporting the additional weight.
Classifying Electric Bikes
People count on e bikes for different purposes, and that brings about the need to understand what kind of electric bike suits your needs the best.
Whether you want one for going to the grocery store, for daily commutes to work, or maybe a funny amusing day riding fast with friends- you need the best e bike for each of those purposes.
As previously mentioned, there are three classes of electric bicycles. These are Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3. They are categorized based on their speed and operation capabilities. Needless to say, this method of classifying e bikes has been embraced by several states and countries.
Now let’s get closer to every class system and find out the speed limits, their features, and all kind of details.
Electric bicycles classified under this category are designed with a motor that can only operate once you push the pedal. They are basically designed with the popular “pedal assist mode” meaning they will only provide pedal assist but not throttle.
This is what describes a Class 1 E bike
- No throttle
- Pedal assist only
- Maximum power of 750W
- Maximum assisted speed of 20 mph
Even with full electric power, a class 1 e bike cannot assist while throttling. You will need to start pedaling or rather put in the pedal action to get your e bike rolling and provide assistance. This class is arguably the most passive of them all since it’s not completely automatic.
In some states, class 1 e bikes are treated almost like regular bikes, allowing them to be used where traditional road bikes and mountain bikes are permitted.
As for the maximum speed, class 1 electric bikes can go as fast as 20 mph and will cease the assistance when you hit the maximum supported level. The maximum motor wattage for class 1 e bikes is 750W, meaning you can cruise longer mileage and get to preserve battery power too.
Class 2 electric bikes, sometimes referred to as “low-speed assisted e bikes” are also meant to go as fast as 20 mph.
However, unlike class 1, these e bikes have the drive system activated by a throttle, whereby you can either push a button or grip twist the throttle, usually found on the handlebars. That means you’ll have both pedal power and electric assist throughout the ride.
This is what describes a Class 2 E bike:
- Throttle assistance
- Top speed of 20 mph
- Maximum motor power of 750W
Generally, class 2 offers probably the most dynamic setup of them all. In fact, most women’s electric bikes available today are found in this classification as they can adapt to most of the needs. So if you’re looking for full electric assistance, then be sure to consider a class 2 e bike.
Electric bicycles under this classification may not necessarily require throttles but are equipped with more powerful motors. They’re generally faster and a little bit more aerodynamic. Perhaps that’s why they’re also referred to as speed pedal-assisted electric bikes.
You can travel up to 28 mph full speed with an electric bicycle from class 3, as most of them have 750W motors. They provide assistance while you are pedaling, meaning they can be noticeably fast and wild for some riders. In fact, class 3 e bikes usually come with a speedometer.
This is what describes a class 3 E bike:
- No throttle
- Pedal assist only
- Maximum motor power of 750W
- Top speed of up to 28 mph
Class 3 electric bikes are also associated with specific rules and regulations. Due to the higher max speed support level, only ages 17 and above are allowed to use class 3 models.
They are very efficient at daily commutes but are often prohibited for use on various roads and paths where you’d normally go with a regular bike. Not to mention that you might need motor licensing and such requirements with most bikes this kind of classification.
Electric Bike Regulations
E bikes regulations are known to alter the fun or at least nullify the extreme part of it. But on the bright side, they’re essential for ensuring everyone’s integrity and safety.
In the US, a low-speed electric bicycle is defined as one that has fully operable pedals, max motor power 750W, and a top speed of 20 mph. This is according to the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA).
The maximum speed for electric bicycles in most governments has been limited to 28 mph. Subject to where you live, you can travel at either a top speed of 20-28 while assisted- but you can achieve a higher speed with your bike by pedaling, depending on your ability to do so.
Thus, electric bikes with a motor not exceeding 750W and with a max speed of 32 km/h are considered free and safe to ride anywhere you would possibly ride on a traditional bike.
In Europe, however, things are a bit different. Most countries in Europe have limited their e-bikes to a maximum of 25 kilometers per hour- although some countries like Denmark are beginning to support superbikes that travel at a maximum speed of 45 kilometers per hour.
Another thing worth mentioning about e bikes in Europe is that watts limitation is 250W, which is way lower compared to the 750W dictated by the United States act.
How to Make Your E Bike Go Faster
Although the speed of electric bikes is largely voltage-dependent, there still may be a small window to go faster than just doing 20. For example, some high-end super-charged e bikes equipped with 500W motors tend to incorporate an “off-road only” mode.
Such features enable the bike to achieve speeds of 25 mph and even more when you add pedal assistance. Another important aspect is that e bike batteries with a greater state of charge provide greater voltages. So, if you’re looking to endure longer, staying up to charge is the key.
Still, depending on the model, you could possibly get your bike augmented, puzzle out speed limitations, and take pleasure hurtling away at higher levels.
For instance, 48V electric bicycles- which are expected to travel at speeds around 20 mph full throttle- could be upgraded with a hub motor or in some cases mid drive motor to reach speeds upwards of 30 miles per hour.
Note that these hacks are only recommended for appropriate open places and unbounded terrains. While this may vary largely depending on the different areas and jurisdictions, we suggest that you consult the locals before hurtling away at speeds over 20 mph.
No doubt electric bikes have motors. In fact, they are an excellent solution for people who want to put less effort and level up when biking to endure longer distances.
But even with the electric driving system, electric bikes are still bicycles. Not scooters. Therefore, banking on them to travel at incredible speeds like those boundless motorbikes out there isn’t viable. Besides, various factors are dictating the answer to “how fast do electric bikes go”.
Electric bikes are generally meant to provide assist, meaning the motor is hardly the sole power source. Experienced riders can attain speeds of up to 32 mph, but for those who are new to e-riding, an electric bike with a top speed of 15 mph can be an easy recommendation.
Having said that, if your bike sticks to the stated speed requirements and regulations, you can comfortably use it on normal trails, roads, and even walkways in various jurisdictions, just like a regular bicycle. In any case, opting for the right e bike speed is equally important.