We all know that electric bikes are faster than regular non-motorized bikes. We also know that though they are fast, they are not as fast as motorcycles. But how fast does electric bikes go?
Generally, class 1 and 2 electric bikes can legally hit a top speed of 20mph, while class 3 can go up to 28mph. The difference is that class 2 e-bikes achieve 20mph without pedaling, while the other two classes (1 and 3) are dependent on your pedaling effort.
Essentially, reaching a top speed with an e-bike primarily depends on the e-bike type or class and pedaling effort. Other factors, which I’ll talk about, include the state laws (legal restrictions), motor watt rating, terrain, e-bike type, bike load, and wheel size.
I’ll help you understand how these factors dictate an e-bike’s top speed, how you can speed up your e-bike, and the risks to be wary of if you decide to increase your e-bike’s top speed.
Let’s get started.
How Fast Does Electric Bikes Go? Key Factors
E-bikes can hit a top speed of 20-28mph when pedaling, depending on several factors. These factors include:
1. E-Bike Class
Electric bikes come in three classes, depending on pedal assistance, namely;
a) Class 1 (Pedal-Assist)
Class 1 e-bikes only offer you pedal assistance when you start pedaling. These electric bikes don’t come with a throttle and only have a maximum speed of 20mph.
In that case, they cut off the pedal assistance once you clock 20mph. Overall, you don’t need a license to ride a class 1 e-bike.
b) Class 2 (Throttle-Assist)
Unlike class 1, class 2 e-bikes come with a low-speed throttle that allows you to hit a top speed of 20mph without pedaling. They are, however, capable of surpassing 20mph when you pedal.
c) Class 3 (Speed-Pedelec)
These electric bikes only offer pedal assistance and don’t have a throttle like class 1. But unlike class 1, they have a more powerful motor that allows you to hit 28mph when not pedaling. So, with pedaling, you can do more than 28mph even though it’s illegal on most streets.
Most states consider class 3 motorbikes as vehicles. Thus, you’ll need to obtain a license to ride one.
Below is a table comparing the maximum speed of the three e-bike classes:
|E-Bike Class||Maximum Speed|
Let’s discuss the top speed of an e-bike when pedaling and when not pedaling.
How Fast Do Electric Bikes Go When Pedaling?
When pedaling, you can hit a top speed of 20mph with a class 1 electric bike and 28mph with a class 3 electric bike. However, you can achieve a class 2 e-bike’s maximum speed without pedaling.
How Fast Do Electric Bikes Go Without Pedaling?
Generally, you can hit a top speed of 20mph with a class 2 electric bike without pedaling. You may, however, go faster with pedaling. Once you exceed the speed, the throttle assist disengages, leaving you to rely on your pedaling effort.
3. State Laws – How Fast Can an Electric Bike Legally Go?
State laws vary from the United States to Europe and even to Australia when it comes to riding an electric bike at top speed in public places.
In the U.S, for example, you can only hit 20mph with a class 1 or class 2 electric bike and up to 28mph with a class 3. However, the speed cap is 25km/h (15.5mph) in the U.K and Australia.
4. Motor Watt Rating
The motor Watt rating is an essential gauge of an e-bike’s top speed. Usually, a higher Watt (W) means a more powerful motor, which translates to a fast e-bike.
In that case, it’s easy to hit 20mph with a 750w e-bike than it is with a 500w or 250w option.
That explains why you can hit 28+mph with the VELOWAVE Electric Bike, which is a 750W e-MTB, and can only manage 19mph with the Heybike Cityscape Electric Bike, which is a 350W cruiser e-bike.
Below is a table showing what to expect from various motor watt ratings:
|Watt (W)||Maximum Speed|
5. Bike Load
Expect a lightweight electric bike to go faster than a lightweight option. Mark you; we’re not just talking about the e-bike’s weight but also the load (including the rider’s weight).
In this case, it might be easier hitting 20mph with an e-bike only carrying 100 pounds than an option carrying 200 pounds.
6. Rider’s Effort
Your physical effort determines how fast you go on an e-bike. The fitter you are, the likelier you will pedal faster and attain top speed.
So, while an e-bike offers you massive pedal assistance, you can only clock top speed with a bit of effort. The exemption is a class 2 e-bike that can hit top speed without pedaling.
7. Terrain and E-Bike Type
Expect to go much faster with an e-bike on-road than off-road as there is minimal resistance on-road than off-road. But given the restrictions that exist on-road, you may not go to the full potential of your e-bike on-road as you can do off-road.
That explains why an e-bike like the YOUEBIKE Electric Bike can hit 32mph at top speed, despite being a fat-tire e-bike, while the Sixthreezero Electric-Bicycles Around The Block can hit 28mph despite being a beach cruiser.
In contrast, you can only reach 20mph with the Ancheer Electric Bike, a commuter e-bike.
8. Wheel Size
Usually, smaller wheels cover less ground than bigger wheels. So, expect to go much faster riding a 26-inch or 27.5-inch e-bike than a 20-inch or 24-inch of the same motor capacity.
Similarly, expect to go slower with a fat-tire e-bike than an e-bike with standard-width tires.
Can You Make an Electric Bike Go Faster?
While most e-bikes average a top speed of 20-28mph, few reach it. And in some cases, riders prefer to make their electric bikes faster than that. Overall, you can make your electric bike faster using these ideas:
a) Stay Charged
You wouldn’t want to run out of charge mid-ride. And for you to accelerate and attain top speed, you need your battery to be as powerful as possible. For that reason, ensure you charge it and stay charged throughout the ride.
b) Higher Voltage
You can make your e-bike faster by getting a battery with a higher voltage. For example, if you have a 36V battery, you can step up to 48V.
c) Disable Speed Limiter
A speed limiter’s job is to restrict your speed. So, once you remove or turn it off, you eliminate the restraint, which means you can go as fast as the bike can. Just ensure you don’t go beyond the legal requirement.
d) Get A Windshield
A windshield’s job is to reduce wind drag, which is likely to slow you down. So, it makes you more aerodynamic, thus faster. While there are no e-bike-specific windshields, you can fit that of a motorcycle.
You can consider crouching to shape your body into an aerodynamic profile. In that case, it allows you to cut through the wind resistance and ride faster.
f) Slimmer/Smoother Tires
Broader and knobbier tires usually face a lot of rolling resistance, slowing you down. So, if you want to go faster, you may have to swap them for slimmer and smoother options.
One such option is the Schwalbe Marathon HS 420 (View On Amazon). This tire works on your urban, city, hybrid, or touring bike. It’s not just slimmer and smoother, but it’s also puncture-protected, thus hardy.
The Dangers of Increasing Electric Bikes Top Speed
While it’s possible to make an e-bike faster with a few adjustments, the adjustments may present a few serious risks. The risks include:
- Higher risk of crashing and sustaining an injury
- High probability of being charged for overspeeding
- Promotes faster battery and energy (human vitality) drainage
- Your warranty becomes void once you make these adjustments
- Your insurance service provider may deny your claim application
People Also Ask (About Electric Bikes Top Speed)
1. How Fast Does A 1000w Electric Bike Go?
A 1000w electric bike can go at a top speed of 25-30mph, depending on terrain, rider’s effort, and state laws. That makes it slightly faster than a 500w or 250w electric bike.
2. How Fast Does A 500w Electric Bike Go?
You can hit a top speed of 20-25mph with a 500W electric bike. Note, however, that most states only allow you to hit a maximum of 20mph. If your e-bike exceeds 20mph, you’ll need a license.
3. How Fast Can A 36v Electric Bike Go?
A 36V electric bike averages 15-20mph, depending on the rider’s effort, terrain, bike type, and bike load. Overall, the more effort you put in and ride on a smoother road with a lightweight bike, the faster you will go.
4. How Fast Does A 5000w Electric Bike Go?
Depending on the terrain, pedaling effort, and bike weight, you can hit a top speed of 50-65mph with a 5000w electric bike. Nonetheless, it’s illegal in most places to go past 20-28mph on public roads unlicensed.
5. How Fast Does A 700cc Electric Bike Go?
You can easily hit a top speed of 20mph with most 700cc electric bikes. You are, however, more likely to hit this height on flatter roads.
Also Read: Electric Bike Speed Limiter Removal
How Fast Does Electric Bikes Go? Closing Thought:
In summary, you can go at a maximum speed of 20mph legally in the U.S using a class 1 or 2 e-bike and up to 28mph with a class 3 option. Note, however, that the speed limit drops to about 15.5mph in Europe and Australia.
So, be wary of these limits to avoid overspeeding, which could result in prosecution or a fatal injury.