Electric bikes are becoming more and more popular in recent years, and for good reason: they are fun, capable, and portable.
When you ride an eBike, you don’t have to worry about the car that might frequently get stuck in traffic or the parking spot that might be too small. You also don’t have to worry about carbon emissions, as they don’t produce any. On top of that, you can use them during any weather conditions and on any kind of terrain – be it a sandy beach or a jagged hill.
Electric bikes are perfect for people who commute to work or school on a daily basis, people who live in small apartments, and people who are looking for ways to save money on transportation costs. This is why they have been replacing cars in a number of cities around the world, especially in Europe.
One of the biggest questions that arises when someone is making the move to this futuristic mode of personal mobility is whether or not electric bikes can provide the speeds offered by other modes of transportation. If you have been wondering the same, just read on and your doubts will be cleared in no time.
How Fast Do Electric Bikes Go?
Generally speaking, electric bikes are faster than regular bicycles but slower than motorcycles. Even though they can virtually go as fast as you can pedal them, there are many other factors that come into play when determining their top speed.
These factors may include everything from their motor output to their net weight to the terrain you are riding at.
The biggest factor, however, is the manufacturer-imposed speed restriction that is there to comply with the speed regulations instituted by state and local governments around the world. For instance, electric bikes in the US are speed-limited by the following 3-tier class system.
- Class 1 electric bikes can go at 20mph (32km/h) max on pedal-assist mode
- Class 2 electric bikes can go at 20mph (32km/h) max on both pedal-assist and throttle (pure electric power)
- Class 3 electric bikes can go at 28mph (45km/h) max on pedal-assist mode
Likewise, electric bikes can only go at 15.5mph (25km/h) max in the EU.
If they go any higher, they will not be considered eBikes, but will be grouped together with ‘motor vehicles or mopeds’ – which means you will need to register them and obtain a riding license for their usage on public roads.
Much like the European Union, the UK and Australia limit electric bikes to a maximum speed of 15.5mph (25km/h), while the federal regulations in Canada limit them to a max speed of 20mph (32km/h) on public roads.
So, while electric bikes can theoretically travel at any speed, their real-world speed depends on where you’ll be using them. If we were to ignore the local speed regulations, the electric bikes can easily rival any other vehicle in speed and performance.
For instance, the Delfast Top 3.0 – one of the fastest commercial electric bikes in the world – has a max speed of 50mph (80km/h). It’s powered by a 3kW motor, a massive battery, and costs around $6,500.
The limited-production electric bikes, such as the Revolution XX from HI Power Cycles, can even hit 70mph (112km/h). Not to mention these premium and expensive electric bikes, even the ordinary eBikes that you can buy for as low as $1000 can easily cross 30mph (48km/h) when derestricted.
Factors Impacting the Speed of eBikes
When it comes to electric bikes, speed is a big differentiator between various eBike models. Different electric bikes have different top speeds, though the actual speed output depends on the type of terrain you’re riding, your personal preferences, your riding style, to name just a few things.
If we were to ignore the manufacturer-imposed speed restrictions for a moment, here are the factors that determine how fast do electric bikes go.
The motor is what makes an electric bike go, so it’s also what makes it go fast. The electric bikes with more nominal (continuous) power are faster than those with less nominal power. In simple words, the more watts (W) your motor has, the faster your electric bike can go.
For instance, the Tesgo Hummer PRO has a 1kW motor, which can allow it to hit speeds as high as 34mph (55km/h). It can cruise at even higher speeds under favorable conditions.
Keep in mind that nominal power output is a better indicator of how fast do electric bikes go than the peak power output – as the peak output stays around for just a while.
Besides the power output, the motors with a higher RPM (revolution per minute) – such as gearless/ direct drive and mid-drive motors – can give you more speed than the motors with less RPMs.
Also, keep in mind that the electric bikes with a higher battery voltage (say 48V) are faster than the ones with lower voltage (say 36V).
No. of Speeds
The speed of an eBike also depends on how many speeds or gears it has. For instance, an 8 or 9-speed electric bike can go faster than a 6 or 7-speed electric bike.
The more gears you have, the more you can amplify your speed or power output. By shifting your chain to a smaller cog, you can rotate your rear wheel more times per a single crank revolution, leading to a significant increase in your speed output.
Likewise, the electric bikes with bigger wheels can go faster than the ones with smaller wheels. This is why mountain electric bikes – like the Metakoo Cybertrack 300 – come with 21-speed transmission and giant 27.5” wheels.
Weight has a significant impact on how fast do electric bikes go.
Since more power is needed to move a heavier object, lightweight electric bikes can go faster than the heavier ones. The same also applies to the total payload on the electric bike – that’s the weight of the rider as well as their cargo.
This is why road and racing electric bikes shed as much weight as possible. They have sleek and ultra-lightweight frames, no suspension, thin tires… and they ditch everything that can bog them down.
The electric motor on an eBike can assist you in either pedal assist (PAS) or throttle mode. While the former requires you to pedal at all times, the latter mode works more like a scooter and you don’t have to pedal at all.
The maximum speed on the throttle mode is always less than what you experience at the PAS mode. Also, there are various power levels in the PAS mode that don’t let your speed go beyond a certain threshold.
If you’re going at a steady pace, you just need to pedal for about 10-15 seconds before your motor can reach its maximum nominal power output (provided that you’re riding at the highest level of the PAS mode) – enabling you to cruise at your max assisted speed.
The type of terrain, the slope of the road, and the wind and weather conditions also determine how fast do electric bikes go.
You can go a lot faster downhill than when you’re riding uphill. Likewise, you can ride faster on smooth pavements as they won’t repeatedly break your speed like what you experience when riding at uneven or rough terrains.
You also can’t expect to go fast on slippery terrains (such as wet or muddy roads) or soft-packed surfaces (such as sand and snow) due to reduced traction and tire sinking, respectively. Last but not least, riding against the wind direction can slow you down due to the drag resistance. This is why eBikes meant for speed have an aerodynamic design.
Your pedaling input is a huge factor in determining how fast you would go. Since it’s the combination of your leg power and the motor power that propels an electric bike forward, it can practically go as fast as you can pedal it.
So there’s simply no limit to how fast you can go on an eBike… if you can just pedal as fast! Moreover, riding with an aerodynamic posture can help increase your speed by minimizing the drag resistance created by incoming air.
To Sum Up
Electric bikes are a reliable way to get from A to B, and they can be a great alternative to your standard bicycle. They’re also extremely capable, which makes them an excellent choice for those who live in hilly areas or find it difficult to get around.
If you want to understand how fast do electric bikes go, you need to consider a lot of factors. In general, electric bikes with larger motors and more gears can reach faster top speeds. The same goes for electric bikes where the motor can operate at higher RPMs.
The most important factor, however, is where you use them – as all eBikes have to comply with your local speed regulations.
In case you want to buy an electric bike for yourself, don’t forget to check our line-up. We have a variety of affordable eBikes with various top speeds for all types of riders. You can visit our eBike collection here. Happy riding!