How fast do electric bikes go, you ask? You may have heard that electric bikes, or e-bikes, can ride at incredible speeds, but this isn’t entirely true.
In reality, most electric bicycles don’t have to reach high speeds. Instead, they help people with commuting or to make biking more accessible for people who might not be able to do it independently.
So, How Fast Do Electric Bikes Go?
Generally speaking, an average e-bike may reach a maximum speed of 20 mph. However, some e-bikes can only reach speeds of up to 28 mph and can’t go much faster. Even the most powerful versions are limited to 28 mph of motor assistance.
Factors Affecting Speed of Electric Bikes
Additionally, the answer to how fast electric bikes go depends on a slew of other variables, such as regulation, weight, the kind of e-bike motor, e-bike range, and even the strength of your pump.
The e-Bike Motor
The motor is one of the variables influencing the speed of an e-bike. There are several types of engines, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Evaluate the following types of motors to find the right one for your needs:
Front hub: These engines are the most straightforward and cost-effective option. Unfortunately, they may also give the impression that they are dragging your bike ahead rather than allowing it to go forward due to its natural momentum.
Rear hub: A rear hub motor is often an alternative that requires almost little maintenance and is becoming an increasingly popular choice. Compared to a conventional bicycle, it calls for a separate set of cranksets, brackets, and chainrings. Pedaling may still not seem utterly natural in certain situations.
Mid-drive: A mid-drive motor with a torque sensor is the most intuitive choice for dynamic riding, making pedaling easier. You won’t have to worry about changing intricate components since this feature makes it effortlessly possible to switch out wheels. In most cases, the motor choice comes with the highest price tag.
It might take anything from two to six hours for an e-bike battery to completely charge.
E-bikes are equipped with batteries to store the energy needed to run the engine. Battery specifications might vary even more. While you can simply remove or replace certain parts, others come incorporated into the frame, and you cannot remove them. They may be located either on the rear rack or the frame, which has its pros and cons.
Non-removable batteries don’t take up rack space and make the cycle more streamlined. Battery-removable gadgets, on the other hand, make it simple for consumers to swap out or recharge their batteries at another location.
The battery size influences both the maximum speed and the maximum range. You can review voltage and watt-hour ratings to find which battery has greater power and can retain a charge for a longer time.
Some e-bikes work with lead-acid batteries, although the majority are lithium-ion. These batteries are lighter, more durable, and better able to withstand temperature fluctuations.
The rider’s weight and any additional load on the bike are also relevant considerations for the speed. Additionally, the more energy the engine needs from the battery supply, the shorter the journey might be if the rider’s weight is substantial—every pound matters when hauling things around on our electric bikes.
Speed and acceleration will be affected by the kind of vehicle you’re riding. For example, smooth, paved roads let you accelerate and go more quickly than rough, muddy trails. Similarly, an incline or descent will equally impact your e-bike. The gravity will operate against your e-bike while ascending a hill and in favor of it when descending.
Despite the lovely scenery, hilly terrain limits the total distance you can travel. When the engine is helping you climb hills, the change in altitude necessitates additional battery power. Because of the momentum provided by the bike’s speed over flat, uniform ground, the energy expenditure is substantially lower.
Maintaining proper tire pressure is one of the most overlooked aspects of e-biking. Because the engine needs to work more to keep up with the vehicle’s speed when the tires are low, the battery drains faster. Your tires will last longer, and you can avoid a slow ride if you maintain the correct tire pressure.
Classes of Electric Bikes
The National Park Service and 26 states have implemented a three-tier categorization system to control the usage of e-bikes. Knowing which models of e-bikes belong in which category is crucial since certain streets and locations are only open to particular types of bikes.
In specific locations, it may not be easy to lawfully ride an e-bike since some don’t conform to any class. Generally, these categories are standardized, but verifying each description with your state and local region is vital.
This kind of e-bike has a motor that can only activate when the rider pedals. Their “pedal-assist mode” is meant to give pedal assistance but not throttle assistance. The term for this feature is also known as “pedelec.”
Here are the features of a Class 1 e-bike:
- No throttling
- Has pedelec
- Has 750W maximum power rating
- Has 20 mph top speed
Even when fully charged, a Class 1 e-bike can’t help when throttling. To get your e-bike running and providing assistance, you need to start pedaling or put it in the pedal motion. Because it isn’t automated, this class is likely the most passive of all.
Class 1 electric bikes are allowed practically everywhere you might come across conventional road bikes and mountain bikes—thanks to the fact that many states regard them as almost the same as ordinary bikes.
Class 1 e-bikes can reach speeds of up to 20 miles per hour, at which point it will turn off the assistance since you have reached the highest level that it can support. Class 1 e-bikes may have a maximum motor wattage of 750W, which means you can maintain a higher average speed for greater distances while simultaneously conserving battery life.
Class 2 electric bicycles, which can reach speeds of up to 20 mph, are also referred to as “low-speed assisted e-bikes.”
In contrast to Class 1, these e-bikes include a throttle used to engage the drive system. To do so, you either hit a button or physically twist the throttle, which you’ll often find on the handlebars. That ensures you’ll always have access to pedal and electric support no matter how far you go.
Here are the features of a Class 2 e-bike:
- Has a throttle
- Has 20 mph maximum speed
- Has 750W maximum power rating
In general, the arrangement that Class 2 provides is arguably the most dynamic of all of them. In fact, most women’s electric bikes on the market now fall into this category because of their ability to accommodate the vast majority of riders’ requirements.
Therefore, if you’re interested in receiving complete electric assistance, you should carefully consider purchasing a Class 2 e-bike.
E-bikes that fall within this category may or may not come fitted with throttles, but they come with higher power motors. In general, they move more quickly and have somewhat improved aerodynamics. These benefits may explain why some people also call them pedal-assisted e-bikes.
Most Class 3 electric bicycles feature 750W motors, so you can go up to 28mph at maximum speed. They aid your pedaling, so they may appear visibly quick and aggressive. Class 3 e-bikes, on the other hand, often have a speedometer.
Here are the features of a Class 3 e-bike:
- No throttle
- Has pedelec
- Has 750W maximum power rating
- Has 28 mph top speed
Class 3 e-bikes have their own laws and regulations that must be adhered to. Class 3 models may only be used by those aged 17 or older due to the higher maximum speed support level.
They are incredibly efficient for everyday commuting. Most states allow Class 3 e-bikes along the shoulders of roads or on bike-only lanes. However, they often aren’t allowed on numerous roads and trails that might have pedestrians, although a standard bike would ordinarily travel in these areas.
What Is the Legal Speed of E-bike?
Some may consider 20 mph fast, but this speed isn’t a random number. The speed restriction of 20mph originated from the speed being equal to the speeds attained by typical riders on highways, trails, and bike paths. Because of the greater speed limit, Class 3 e-bikes often get confined to roadways and roadside bike routes.
It’s challenging to know the legal speed of riding an e-bike since rules vary from state to state. E-bike classification legislation has been adopted in 37 states as of 2021. This database prepared by People for Bikes shows those states, the associated statutes, and the constraints imposed by those measures.
When the legislation got implemented, People for Bikes collected these links to state laws on e-bikes and made handouts for their residents.
With the help of these websites, e-bike users may quickly learn about the legal restrictions on riding their e-bike on their state roads or even to another state if they’re planning to cross state borders or take their e-bike on vacation.
Which Class Should You Choose?
Most e-bikes with pedal-assist mode provide varying degrees of motor assistance. For the lowest level of help, most of the power comes from your legs. This option is appropriate for simple, flat terrains or if you like a more strenuous ride.
Higher assistance settings enable you to reach your destination more quickly and with less effort. If you’re approaching a steep climb or don’t want to exert yourself too much, select a greater assistance level for a more comfortable ride.
Remember, the more you receive help from the motor, the battery dies quicker. The amount of electricity it requires from the battery is also affected by weight and topography. But remember that even if the battery dies, you may cycle the remaining distance until you can charge it again.
So how fast do electric bikes go? The answer depends on engine power and the loading. How fast electric bikes move depends on the manufacturer-imposed technological constraints and human effort. Human input, the e-bike’s motor, loading, and terrain gradient affect the e-bike’s peak speed.
The purpose of e-bikes is often to give assistance, which means that the motor isn’t always necessarily the only power source. A rider with considerable experience may reach speeds of up to 32 mph, but for those who are just starting with e-riding, an e-bike with a maximum speed of 15 mph is a great option.
If you follow the speed rules and laws, you may still ride your bike on regular roads or sidewalks in many jurisdictions. Choosing the proper e-bike speed is equally crucial, regardless of the circumstances.