How Fast Does an Electric Bike Go: Understanding Speed Capabilities

Delving into the world of electric bikes, one might wonder about their speed capabilities and the multitude of factors that influence it.

Electric bikes, or e-bikes, have revolutionized the cycling world with their ability to assist riders in overcoming challenging terrains and long distances.

The speed of an e-bike primarily depends on its design and the rider’s input.

However, on average, most e-bikes can reach speeds of 20 to 28 miles per hour (32 to 45 kilometers per hour).

Some high-performance models can even surpass these speeds.

It’s essential to note that local laws and regulations may limit the maximum speed of e-bikes.

In this article, we delve deeper into the factors that determine e-bike speed, the differences between various models, and how to choose the right e-bike based on speed and other factors.

Key takeaways:

  • Most e-bikes can reach speeds of 20 to 28 mph.
  • Factors that determine e-bike speed include motor wattage, weight, terrain, pedal assistance, and legal limitations.
  • The higher the wattage, the faster the acceleration.
  • The weight of the bike and rider affects speed.
  • Different terrains can significantly impact e-bike speed.

What Determines an E-bike’s Speed?

how fast does an electric bike go

Several factors combine to determine the speed of an electric bike. The core features include the motor’s wattage, the weight of the bike and rider, the type of terrain on which it is used, the level of pedal assistance, and any legal limitations that apply in a specific region.

The wattage primarily governs acceleration, not top speed. However, a higher wattage can help maintain speed when going uphill or against the wind. Weight, on the other hand, impacts the energy required to move the bike. Lesser weight equals greater speed.

Pedal assistance plays a significant role in maintaining momentum, while the terrain can directly affect the bike’s speed – smoother, flat surfaces allowing for higher speeds.

Lastly, by law, various regions limit the speed of electric bikes to ensure the safety of riders and pedestrians. For example, in many European countries and the United States, the speed cap is around 20-28mph for specific e-bike classes. To maximize your e-bike’s speed, understanding and navigating these factors can make a crucial difference.

Understanding the Functionality of Watt in E-bikes

E-bikes commonly span a range of about 200 to 800 watts (W), but what does this number really mean? Essentially, the watt is a unit of power, which indicates the electrical power that the e-bike’s motor can produce. It’s directly linked to the potential energy output. A higher wattage often translates to a more powerful bike – that is, one that can accelerate faster and sustain higher speeds, especially while overcoming resistance such as wind or inclinations.

However, the wattage alone doesn’t spell out an e-bike’s performance. Imagine it as an engine’s horsepower; higher horsepower doesn’t necessarily mean the car will go faster. Similarly, an e-bike with a high wattage motor won’t always be faster. The bike’s design, weight, and battery efficiency also significantly affect its performance.

Remember, more power demand results in quicker battery drain. So, a 500W e-bike won’t necessarily take you further than a 250W one if the power is inefficiently used. Balancing power with battery life is critical in getting the most out of your e-bike.

The Role of Weight in E-bike Speed

Weight significantly influences the speed of an electric bike. Simply put, the heavier the e-bike or the rider, the slower it tends to be. This is because more energy is necessitated to propel the mass, thereby demanding more from the battery and motor.

Firstly, the weight of the e-bike itself matters. Heavy frames and components can draw more power from the battery to maintain the same speed as a lighter one.

Secondly, the rider’s weight directly impacts speed. A lightweight rider can zip around faster, as the motor and battery don’t need to work as hard.

Lastly, additional weight, such as a loaded pannier or trailer, will also decrease speed. Every pound counts when it comes to efficiency and speed in e-bikes. Lightening the load can lead to noticeable improvements in cruising speeds.

In essence, understanding this relationship between weight and e-bike speed can help to optimize performance and increase riding pleasure.

Influence of Terrain On E-bike Speed

Different surfaces can affect the performance of an electric bike, with speed often being significantly impacted. On smooth, well-paved roads, your e-bike can glide efficiently, making use of maximum power output. However, rocky trails or steep hills necessitate more energy, ultimately reducing the speed achievable.

If you often navigate inclines, bear in mind that the steeper the angle, the slower the E-bike. Pedal assistance comes in handy here to supplement your effort, though it will still not compare to flat ground speed.

Lastly, riding on soft surfaces such as sandy or snowy paths causes your e-bike to consume more power to maintain a given speed, as the tires create a larger footprint on these surfaces, causing more drag.

Legal Limitations On E-bike Speed

In the U.S., the Consumer Product Safety Commission dictates electric bikes in their jurisdiction can’t exceed 20 mph when powered solely by the motor and not assisted by pedaling. However, if you’re pedaling whilst using the motor, you may be able to travel faster.

Various countries have their own specific restrictions. For instance, in the European Union, the limit is 25 km/h (around 15.5 mph), after which the electric assistance cuts out. In Australia, e-bikes are limited to 25 km/h, but in a rule unique to Australia, a ‘throttle-only’ e-bike can travel up to 6 km/h without pedaling.

Bear in mind, these are legal limitations and actual performance may differ depending on various factors such as weight, terrain, and so on. Consequently, familiarizing yourself with the regulations in your country or city is essential to avoid running afoul with the law.

Working Mechanism of Electrical Assistance in E-bikes

With the twist of a throttle or the push of a button, you activate the e-bike’s electrical assistance. This engages the electric motor, which is often located within the bike’s hub or its crankset. The motor draws power from the on-board battery to supplement the bicyclist’s pedaling.

With pedal-assist e-bikes, the motor assists only when you’re pedaling, allowing the ride to feel more natural and less choppy compared to full-throttle e-bikes. This mechanism helps generate more speed without expending as much energy. It’s a significant feature that enhances the appeal of e-bikes, helping cyclists conquer hilly terrains and long distances with less fatigue.

However, have in mind, e-bike’s speed is not solely influenced by its electric assistance capability. Factors such as rider’s weight, terrain, and the bike’s wattage also play crucial roles. Additionally, there’s a legal speed limit set for e-bikes, which ensures safety on roads shared with motor vehicles and pedestrians.

Choosing the Right E-bike Level for Optimal Speed

Selecting an appropriate level for your e-bike involves considering its power capabilities and how well you can control this power. Most e-bikes offer multiple power modes – eco, normal, and high.

Eco mode uses less battery, providing minimal assistance, and is ideal for flat terrains and longer rides. This mode offers a balanced mix of manual pedaling and assisted power, keeping the speed in check and extending the battery life.

Normal mode falls in-between, giving you moderate electronic aid, a fair balance between speed and energy consumption. This mode is typically suitable for controlled quick rides, rolling terrains, or daily commuting.

High mode, often labeled Turbo or Sport, uses the most battery power but delivers the highest speed with the most pedal assistance. Choose this for steeper inclines, challenging off-road expeditions, or simply when you feel the need for speed.

Remember, it’s essential to pick the correct mode for your riding circumstances to not only optimize your battery life but also to handle the e-bike effectively, comfortably, and safely.

Impact of Pedal Assist Motor On E-bike Speeds

When considering the e-bike’s speed, the type of pedal-assist motor plays an integral role. These motors kick in once the rider starts pedaling, adding a boost to their manual power.

1. Motor Position: Hub motors are found in the wheel, while mid-drive motors are positioned in the bike’s center. The latter provides a more balanced, natural ride, therefore helping the bike reach maximum speed more efficiently.

2. Power Output: The motor’s power output, generally between 250W to 750W, directly affects speed. Higher wattage results in faster speeds, with 750W motors capable of reaching 28 mph.

3. Pedal Assist Levels: Most e-bikes feature varying levels of pedal assistance. Higher levels deliver more motor power, aiding in reaching top speeds quickly.

4. Battery Life: The power needed for high speeds can drain the battery faster. Riders need to maintain a balance between speed and battery life for optimum performance.

In essence, understanding the specifications of a pedal-assist motor and its function can help riders harness their e-bike’s speed potential more effectively.

How the Classification of E-bikes Correlates to Speed

There are essentially three classes in the world of e-bikes. Each category displays unique speed capacities due to different regulations and motor capabilities.

Class 1 e-bikes, propelled by Pedal Assist Systems (PAS), cap their motor speeds at around 20 mph (32 km/h). Here, the motor aids only when the rider pedals, automatically shutting off beyond the speed limit.

Proceeding to Class 2, these e-bikes combine pedal assistance and throttle functionalities. Like Class 1, the motor’s operational speed hits a maximum of 20 mph (32 km/h).

Lastly, Class 3 e-bikes, often referred to as “speed pedelecs”, offer brisker paces. With a PAS, their speed limit reaches up to 28 mph (45 km/h).

Remember, these figures are not indicative of the bike’s top speed. Rather, they show the point at which the electric aid ceases. Beyond the specific limit, any additional speed relies on human strength and exertion. Despite the speed differences, each class presents unique advantages, fitting disparate needs and preferences of riders.


Can an electric bike go 60 mph?

Yes, an electric bike, such as the Colibri model, is capable of reaching speeds up to 60 mph.

How much faster is an ebike than a regular bike?

An e-bike can reach speeds of up to 20 miles per hour or 28mph for class 3 models, which is significantly faster than a regular bike that typically tops out at around 10 to 15mph.

Can an ebike go 30 mph?

Yes, an ebike can reach speeds of up to 30 mph, as demonstrated by models such as the new FW11 electric bike.

What ebike can go 50 mph?

The Xion E-Bike is an ebike that can reach a maximum speed of 50 mph.

What factors affect the speed of an electric bike?

The speed of an electric bike is influenced by factors such as the motor's power, battery capacity, the bike's weight, rider's weight, terrain, and weather conditions.

Are there any legal restrictions on the speed of e-bikes?

Yes, legal restrictions on the speed of e-bikes exist and often vary by country, but typically limit the maximum speed to around 20-28 mph (32-45 km/h).

How does the weight of the rider influence the speed of an electric bike?

The weight of the rider influences the speed of an electric bike wherein a heavier rider will, in general, cause the bike to move at a slower pace due to increased resistance.