Have you been considering trying out an electric bike? Bicycling is a great way to stay in shape and cut down on carbon emissions. Yet, for some people, riding a bike to work isn’t feasible. It takes too long. That’s where an electric bike has an advantage. Powered by a motor, electric bikes can reach a considerable speed and do not require constant pedaling. Here’s everything you need to know about how fast can an electric bike go and how to influence its speed.
How Fast Do Electric Bikes Go?
Technically, an ebike could achieve great speeds. However, governments across the world decided to limit the top speed that electric bikes can achieve. Depending on what country you’re in, the top speed varies.
For those who live in the United States, an electric bike cannot go faster than 32 mph on its own. For those who live in Europe, the top speed is 28 mph. It is possible to go faster than that if you intend on pedaling. However, if just turned on and allowed to pedal itself, an ebike can only achieve those two speeds, respective of what country it is in.
If you’re wondering why governments have issued how fast can an electric bike go, it’s due to safety. Since bikes are typically used on sidewalks and trails–rather than just bike lanes–they’re constantly in the flow of pedestrian traffic. A bike traveling at top speed can seriously injure someone upon impact. If governments didn’t issue a top speed for electric bikes, then there would have been far more deadly accidents on trails and sidewalks.
Now that you know how fast do electric bikes go, there are still methods for improving your bike’s speed that allow it to shoot past its top mark. Here are a few of those methods.
One of the first ways that you can increase your speed on your electric bike is through pedaling. While most use their ebikes to help them get up hills and mountains, others might use them to boost their speed going down a hill. Pedaling downhill with your ebike can greatly influence your speed.
Pedaling, in general, can help you most past your top speed of 32 mph. You’ll be racing past cars along the bike lane in no time.
Buy the Right Kind of Class
There are actually three different classes of ebikes. Buying the right one may determine your top speed.
- Class 1 is a passive electronic bike. The motor only assists you when you’re pedaling. It doesn’t power the bike when you’re not pedaling. It also can only achieve a top speed of 20 mph. After you have reached that speed, the motor shuts off. It also only kicks on after you have started pedaling.
- Class 2 is known as a low-speed throttle-assisted ebike. These bikes don’t require you to pedal in order to get the motor going. You can simply turn it on and the bike will take off. They are also topped off at 20 mph. However, this bike does allow you to pedal even faster if you turn the motor off after reaching 20 mph.
- Class 3 are aerodynamic bikes that are also faster. The motor only kicks on when the biker is pedaling. However, it can reach up to 32 mph. They typically have a speedometer attached to them, so you know just how fast you’re going. After you have reached 32 mph, the motor will shut off, and you’ll only be able to pedal under your own power after that. Still, it’s possible to reach speeds greater than 32 mph under the right circumstances.
Heavier Weight Reduces Speed
How heavy you are and the load that is put on the bike can also influence its top speed. The heavier that the bike is, the more power that is needed to make the bike move. In terms of an ebike, this means that you’re going to need greater wattage. When pedaling, the motor is powered via watts.
To accelerate faster, you’ll need more power. Heavier bikes also require more power. To make your bike run a little faster, you’re either going to need to cut down the weight on the bike or install a motor that produces more watts.
Greater Battery Capacity
Another influence on top speed is the bike’s battery capacity. Those that have a small battery will only last for so long. You may only achieve top speed for a short distance before the battery runs out. Those with greater battery capacities can last longer and potentially help you achieve even greater speeds.
What sort of terrain you’re riding your bike on also influences your top speed. Some electric bikes are suited for urban use only. They don’t have the sort of tires or frame cut out for rough riding. If you intend on using your bike on trails, for example, then it might be worth it to find an electric bicycle made with a mountain bike’s frame and tires.
These are designed to survive the rough terrain. They also might provide a greater kick in power to assist you over hills.
For those who just use their bikes for city riding, then any standard electric bicycle should serve your needs and help you achieve top speeds.
Ultimately, you can go as fast as you want if you decide to pedal.
Robert Hall – a professional trainer with 6 years of experience.
I specialized in cardio cycling and indoor cycling
Have a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and holds a Bachelors Degree in Kinesiology from Michigan State University.