Electric bikes offer plenty of convenience to riders by taking away the need to manually pedal the bike to get around. However, an important consideration when switching to an e-bike is the question of how fast one of them can go.
Related: Electric Bike Vs. Regular Bike: Which One Should You Buy?
You can expect Class 1 and Class 2 electric bikes to go as fast as 20 mph and Class 3 bikes to reach 28 mph. The maximum speed is federally-regulated to differentiate e-bikes from other motor vehicles. So, even if the bike can technically go faster, rules and regulations keep their top speed at 28 mph at the most.
In this guide, you’ll learn all about how fast electric bikes can go. Then, you’ll discover the factors that affect an e-bike’s maximum speed and what you can do to maximize that speed.
How Fast Do Electric Bikes Go?
The maximum speed of an electric bike will depend on its class and the riding mode that you’re using. For instance, you can expect a Class 1 and Class 2 electric bike to go as fast as 20 mph only using its motor, without any peddling on your part. A class 3 e-bike, on the other hand, is faster and has a higher maximum speed of 28 mph.
Despite those maximum speeds, you must remember that the top speed of an electric bike doesn’t just depend on the power of its motor. Instead, the maximum speed also depends on the bike’s accessories, the weight it carries, and the riding conditions.
Whatever the case, always remember this: no matter the class of e-bike you have, you still have the option of pedaling it manually. And when you do that, the bike’s top speed will depend on how fast you can turn those pedals with your legs.
Here’s how fast you can expect standard e-bikes to go based on their motor and battery capacities:
|Battery and Motor Capacity||Top Speed|
|250 watts||20 miles per hour|
|500 watts||25 miles per hour|
|750 watts||28 miles per hour|
What Affects An E-Bike’s Top Speed?
As you saw above, Class 1 and 2 e-bikes have a top speed of 20 mph, while Class 3 bikes can go as fast as 28 mph. However, the true top speed you’ll get from your bike also depends on several other factors.
Here are the factors that will affect how fast electric bikes go:
- Motor Power, Battery Voltage, and Capacity: Primarily, the top speed of an e-bike depends on its key components. That includes its motor and battery. The more powerful a motor the bike has, the faster it can go. On top of that, the battery that powers that motor will also affect its maximum speed.
- Tire Size And Pressure: The size of an e-bike’s tires will also affect its maximum speed. In simple terms, larger tires or under-inflated tires will generate more friction. That friction will reduce the bike’s top speed, even when riding on a flat surface.
- Weight: Naturally, any weight on an e-bike will affect its top speed. That includes the rider’s weight, the weight of any cargo or baggage, and the weight of the bike’s frame. The more weight is on the e-bike, the harder its motor works to push the bike forward.
- Terrain: The route you take on your e-bike is another significant factor that affects its maximum speed. For example, an e-bike will move faster when heading downhill, thanks to gravity and a lack of resistance. On the other hand, riding uphill or on bumpy roads will reduce the bike’s top speed.
- Rules And Regulations: As e-bikes become more popular, they’re becoming increasingly regulated. For safety reasons, local, state, and federal regulations will set how fast an electric bike can go. This isn’t new, as such regulations are why e-bikes have speed limiters preventing them from going too fast in public areas.
Do E-bikes Have A Speed Limiter?
Yes, electric bicycles come with a speed limiter, sometimes referred to as a governor. As the name suggests, its purpose is to limit how fast your e-bike can go.
The speed limiter is present on all e-bikes thanks to federal regulations on electric bicycles. Those federal regulations help differentiate e-bikes from other motor vehicles and make them safe for use on bike paths and similar locations.
Even if the bike is technically capable of going at higher speeds, the limiter ensures that it won’t go beyond those federally mandated top speeds.
How Can I Increase My Electric Bike Speed?
Electric bike top speeds are federally regulated not to go above 28 mph. However, riding conditions and other factors will prevent you from getting your bike to reach that maximum speed.
Here are 4 ways you can maximize your electric bike’s speed:
#1 Maintain Battery Charge And Health
An old, worn-out battery or one under-charged can’t deliver enough power to your bike motor.
That’s why, first and foremost, you should always keep your e-bike battery fully charged and in good working condition.
If your bike battery isn’t in good health, you should soon invest in a replacement.
#2 Reduce Weight
You can get more speed from your e-bike by reducing the amount of weight on it. That includes removing any baggage or unnecessary accessories on your electric bicycle.
#3 Be Mindful of the Bike Route
If you’re trying to get more speed out of your electric bike, take some time to plan your bike route. Going uphill or navigating a jagged path will reduce your overall speed.
However, level surfaces or those that go downhill will help you make your bike go faster.
#4 Maintain Tire Pressure
Last but not least, keep your bike tires in ideal condition. Filling them with enough air at the correct pressure will minimize friction, allowing your bike to go as fast as it should.
Bottom Line: Is An Electric Bike Faster Than A Normal Bike?
Yes, an electric bicycle is faster than a normal bike. More importantly, an electric bike can sustain its maximum speed for much longer.
Even if you can manually pedal your bike faster than an electric bike, you’ll eventually become tired. On the other hand, an electric bike will maintain its maximum speed for as long as its battery can supply power to its motor.