What Determines the Maximum Speed of Electric Bicycles?
- Updated: July 23, 2021
Electric bicycles are more popular than ever before. The idea of having assisted pedaling has motivated many people to take up cycling as a hobby. People of all ages and physical conditions can enjoy cycling thanks to electric bikes. They have also been found to be excellent commuting vehicles owing to their low running costs.
An electric bicycle is fitted with a motor and a battery. Since the motor assists the pedaling of the cyclist, one can expect the top speed of an e-bike to be greater than the speed of a conventional bike. A common question that first-timers ask is, how fast can my electric bike go? This question is often asked out of safety concerns.
Depending on the part of the world, different legal regulations apply to the maximum speed of these two-wheelers. For instance, in the United States, the top speed allowed for e-bikes is 25 mph. This limit can be lower in some states. In Europe, a speed limit of 15.5 mph is more common. However, some electric bicycles can reach higher speeds. But you cannot ride them on usual roads.
In this article, we will discuss how fast is electric bike. We will discuss the technical aspects that influence the maximum speed, the legal classification of e-bikes, and related topics. Bear in mind that you, as an e-bike owner, are responsible to learn about legal speed limits in the area where you intend to ride your vehicle.
What Determines the Speed of an Electric Bicycle?
Most electric bicycles allow you to select the level of pedal assistance that you want to get. So, fit cyclists may choose a low level in which they get a little boost in difficult situations like riding uphill. Others may select the maximum level of assistance in which the motor provides a boost even in flat terrain.
Some e-bikes feature a throttle mode that allows riding without pedaling. This mode is not “pure” cycling. So, we’ll leave it out of the discussion for now. Whichever level of assistance you selected, the pedal assistance mode will engage when some sensors detect that you need a boost.
Without any type of pedal-assistance, most cyclists can reach a speed of 7.5-9-5 mph. The instantaneous speed depends on several factors like cyclist’s fitness and terrain conditions. However, with the assistance of an electric motor, cyclists can easily double the top speed reached with the power of their legs only. What factor does determine the speed that an e-bike can reach?
The top speed that an electric bike can reach depends on the power of the electric motor. Other factors that affect the e-bike’s speed are the terrain, weight of the cyclist, speed and direction of the wind, and others. But in similar conditions, the top speed of an e-bike increases with the power of the electric motor. However, the relation between speed and the power of the motor is not linear. In other words, if we double the power of the motor, the resulting top speed won’t double.
For example, an e-bike fitted with a 250 W will reach 20 mph at most. If we double the power of the motor, the resulting top speed would be 25 mph. In several parts of the United States, the maximum power of the electric motor allowed on an e-bike is 750 W. The maximum speed reached with this power value is 28 mph.
How Electric Bicycles Are Classified
To regulate the use of electric bikes in public spaces, the following three-tiered classification has been proposed in the United States:
- Class 1: Electric bicycles in this class feature a pedal-assist mode only. The top speed they can reach is 20 mph. To ensure compliance with this limit, the pedal assistance ceases when the said speed is reached;
- Class 2: This class comprises e-bikes with the same top speed as those in Class 1, but with a throttle;
- Class 3: In this class, we find the fastest e-bikes for use in public spaces. Their maximum speed is 28 mph and they feature a pedal-assist mode only.
The legislation of every state in American defines what type of e-bike can be used on specific roads.
Faster Electric Bicycles
You probably have heard of the fastest electric bicycle. Some e-bikes in the market have been designed to reach speeds above 28 mph. That’s the case of the Delfast TOP 3.0, whose top speed is 50 mph. This outstanding speed is possible thanks to a 3,000 W motor and a high-capacity 72V battery. This vehicle has different riding modes that ensure compliance with regulations. To ride the speed limits set by the aforementioned e-bike classification, you need to go to a race track. Alternatively, you can ride it on a privately-owned property where regulations for public spaces don’t apply.