How Fast Do Electric Bikes Go?

how-fast-do-electric-bikes-go

In this post, we’ll explain how fast ebikes can go!

I am sure they have caught your eye when you are near a bike trail. A bike moves past you at speeds that rival a motorcycle, and you think to yourself that there is no way that guy or girl is pedaling that fast! You are probably right, they are not pedaling that fast! In case you haven’t heard, electric bikes aka “ebikes” are the latest trend! You may be wondering, how fast do ebikes go?

What Is An Ebike?

Simply put, an ebike is a bicycle with an electric motor that will help you travel greater distances at higher speeds while still getting a great workout.

When it comes to conventional bikes (bikes without motors), the combination of how hard you pedal and how much you weigh will greatly determine how fast your bike will go. Your pedaling power will mostly impact how fast or how slow you go. 

However, things are drastically different with electric bikes (e-bikes).

An electric bike houses a motor that can be adjusted to maximize your riding speed.

So, what’s the top speed of an e-bike? And, what are the factors that affect an e-bike’s speed?

Keep reading to find out!

Classes Of Ebikes

Ebikes in the United States are divided into three classes:

  • Class 1 – Class 1 ebikes have a pedal-activated motor. These ebikes will have a pedal-assist function. In other words, if you don’t pedal, the ebike won’t function in an intended way. Under this class, the ebike can accelerate up to 20 mph, and the motor can have up to 750W of power depending on which make and model you choose. The main benefit of Class 1 ebikes is to allow cyclists to travel further distances and reach greater speeds with the help of a pedal-assisted motor.
  • Class 2 – The Class 2 motor mechanism is activated by a throttle, which is the main distinction between it and a Class 1 ebike. Class 2 ebikes usually come with both pedal assist and throttle features. The throttle or button is typically placed on the handlebars. You can turn, push or grip it, depending on the model.  You can achieve an average speed of around 20 mph when the batteries are charged to their maximum capacity. The maximum speed is about 15mph when you choose to use the throttle exclusively without pedaling.  If you pedal and use the throttle together, you can reach about or 24 mph.
  • Class 3 – Class 3 ebikes are the fastest and most sophisticated class of ebikes.  These ebikes have upgraded motors and batteries. Some models won’t have a throttle system at all. In this category, you’ll find ebikes with at least 750w power. E-bikes in this category can typically go up to 28mph without pedal power! Keep in mind that these ebikes are considered electric motorcycles.  They are also subject to their own set of laws and regulations. For Class 3 ebikes, only people at the age of 17 and up are permitted to operate it. This is primarily because of the maximum speeds these ebikes are capable of. Depending on your local laws and regulation, you may need to have a driver’s license before you can legally use it on public roads.

Factors That Impact Top Speed

  • Wattage – Power, measured in watts, is one of many factors that affect the speed of your ebike. When you are shopping for an ebike, remember that the wattage (W) of the motor on an ebike is an important consideration. A higher power rating in Watts (W) indicates that the ebike has a stronger, more powerful “engine” which may make it easier for you to travel faster, handle more weight, overcome larger hills and travel for longer distances between battery charges. For example, an ebike with a 750 Watt (W) battery accelerates from 0 – 20 mph faster and easier than a 250 Watt motor transporting a rider of the same weight over the same terrain.
  • Weight – the second factor that will impact your top speed is weight. Imagine a sled. The more weight the sled has, the more power you need to get it moving. This means both the weight of the cyclist and the ebike will significantly affect the speed. Again using the 250 Watt motor as an example, it is quicker for the motor to accelerate from 0 – 20 mph and reach its top speed when it is pushing 100lbs instead of 200lbs.
  • Terrain – naturally, the surface you travel on will impact your acceleration and speed. In comparison to a trail made of loose gravel, a paved road will allow you to accelerate more quickly and reach higher speeds.
  • Gravity – Gravity will also work against your ebike when climbing a hill and it will work in your favor when you are descending from a hill. It’s pretty much the same thing when using a conventional bicycle.

Ebike Restrictions

An ebike’s motor makes them faster than ordinary bikes. Hence most states will require the ebike manufacturer to limit their top speed. When the ebike reaches a certain speed, the motor will cease providing electrical assistance by design. If you want to go faster, you will have to pedal faster.

Top Speeds In Relation To Motor Wattage

The number below assumes that the ebike is running on flat ground:

  • 250w = 15-20 mph on average
  • 500w = 25 mph on average
  • 750w =27- 28 mph on average
  • 1000 = 33 – 35mph on average
  • 1500w = 40 mph on average
  • 2000w = 43 mph on average
  • 2000w = 43 mph on average
  • 3000w = 46 – 48 mph on average

Again, while the motor can theoretically reach higher speeds, the local laws and regulations will likely limit the ebike manufacturer from producing a motor capable of going faster.

The Importance Of Battery Capacity

ebike-battery-capacity

The battery of an electric bike is one of its most crucial components. It defines the bike’s power, range, and speed. The batteries on most ebikes are 36 or 48 volts. However, some electric bicycles use batteries that are at least 52 volts in capacity.

We recommend that you pick an ebike with a larger battery capacity if you want the best combination of speed, power, range, and efficiency.

The most powerful ebikes have a maximum range of up to 250 miles. These bikes feature 3kW batteries, making them suitable for longer trips; ebikes with smaller batteries (400-500W) can travel about 50 to 60 miles on a single charge. 

Terrain, riding technique, battery size, battery type, pressure, and weather are just a few variables that might determine how far an electric bike’s battery can go.

Conclusion

People who want to cover longer distances with less effort may find joy with an ebike. Your overall cycling experience and riding comfort will improve with the pedal assist feature that any class of Ebike will provide. Because most electric bicycles come equipped with a pedal assist mode, you do not need to be concerned about exerting too much effort when you pedal.

We have reviewed several ebikes, and we are sure one of them will fit your needs. If you are a casual rider who is just getting started with ebikes, a good Class 1 Ebike with a 350W motor should fit your needs perfectly without breaking the bank.

Check out our blog post – Are Ebikes Worth It? To find out even more about Ebikes!

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