So you want to ride an electric bike and you want to ride it fast? How fast can an ebike you go? Probably one of the most common questions when starting out with electric bikes.
Generally, in North America, electric bikes are limited in speed to 20 mph (32 km/h). This speed limit is where most electric bikes stop providing power to the motor. In Europe, most electric bikes stop providing power to the motor at 25km/h (15mph). That being said, you can pedal on your own to propel your bike faster than those limits above.
That was the short answer. The long answer below describes some of the limitations on speed depending on where you live, what class of electric bike you have, and where you ride.
United States top Assisted Speed for Ebikes
In some states, electric bikes are still classified as a moped and you typically need a license to ride one that is covered by the current moped regulations in that state. But the states that are following the three-class system are increasing every year it seems.
New state laws have been created that define electric bikes under several the Class I, II, III framework. Legislation creating the class system has been passed in twenty-two states (as of July 2019): Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Class of Ebike?
The Bicycle Product Suppliers Association (BPSA) has developed a bike class system to help define different types of electric bikes (in the US) and how they are regulated based on their maximum assisted speed.
Different Classes of Electric Bikes with Different Capabilities and Top Speed
Class 1 – an electric bike equipped with a motor (750w or less) that provides power only when the rider is pedaling, and that stops providing assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 mph (32 km/h).
Class 2 – an electric bike equipped with a motor (750w or less) that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle (without pedaling using a throttle), and that is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 mph (32 km/h).
Class 3 – an electric bike equipped with a motor (750w or less) that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that doesn’t provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 28 mph (45 km/h) and has a speedometer.
In Europe, electric bicycles are generally limited to 25 km/hr with a 250 W motor. Some countries have adopted electric bike class system with three main classes of ebike’s with speed pedelecs allowed to travel up to 28 mph but this is usually limited to roads or dedicated bicycle paths.
Canada Top Assisted Speed for Ebikes
In Canada, e-bikes are limited to a maximum motor-assisted speed of 32 km/h (20 mph) on level ground and a 500 W motor.
Beyond the US, Europe, and Canada, several other countries laws and regulations are well summarized here.
Off-Road & Private Property
When riding off-road or on private property, electric banks are generally allowed to travel faster.
How Can I Make My Electric Bike Go Faster
Without breaking the law or modifying your controller to increase the governed speed limit of your bike, there are a few things you can do that will either increase your range or increase the average speed of your electric bike by making it easier on the motor and your own physical effort to propel your bike forward.
- You could lighten the load, don’t carry as much baggage with you which takes more effort and the motor is even more efficient
- Maintain higher tire pressure and narrowing the tire used. By narrowing the tires and increasing the pressure in your tires reduces the drag those tires have with contact on the road
- Riding lower and more streamlined will reduce your wind drag especially at higher speeds
- Keep your bike in good working order – that means gears and chains are clean and oiled, and other components are working as efficiently as possible
I summary, ebikes are capable of going fast, but often are limited by the laws and regulations in each country. But, think of it this way. Even if you are limited in speed, you’ll probably end up traveling faster from point A to point B, since your average speed on an electric bike will be faster – especially helping you up all those hills at top speed!