Most countries allow the use of eBikes up to a speed limit of 20-28 mph in assisted mode. Once that speed is exceeded, the engine should shut off automatically, and you can only reach higher speeds by pedaling on your own.
The eBike is becoming one of the most popular means of transportation in the world. The number of eBiking enthusiasts grows every year, as is the curiosity about the technical specifications of these vehicles.
In this sense, one of the main questions that a new owner or future new owner usually has is: #how fast can an eBike go?
Generally speaking, this will depend on the eBike model and the laws of the country where you live.
While a typical eBike can reach a top speed of 32 mp/h (52 km/h) in the US, and 28 mp/h (45 km/h) in Europe, the most modern models of Speed eBikes can reach as high as 80 mp/h or 128 km/h.
If you are already curious and want to know more, then continue reading this article until the end.
[How fast can an eBike Go?]
EBikes, also called pedelecs, or assisted pedal bicycles, have the same approval as conventional bicycles, at least those in common use.
As a general rule, on these bikes the motor will assist you as long as you pedal up to 20 mph (32 km / h). From that speed and for legal reasons, the motor will stop and you will be able to continue moving only on the basis of your own strength when pedaling.
The moment you brake or stop pedaling, the motor will also stop, restarting when you pedal again.
This is because, although the engine can potentially reach higher speeds – as already mentioned at the beginning – these are set by law to only reach a certain speed limit.
However, there are also models that have engines capable of assisting up to speeds ranging from 45 km / h to 128 km / h.
These bikes are known as s-pedelecs or speed eBikes. Although they are very similar to conventional eBikes, the legislation prohibits their circulation on public roads, limiting their use to sports tracks, unless they have a license – which would imply complying with a regulation similar to that of a motorcycle .
How fast can an eBike go legally?
As with any other vehicle, eBikes are not exempt from regulation, especially when it comes to speed limits.
As mentioned earlier, most countries allow the use of EBikes up to a speed limit of 20-28 mph . Any speeds faster than that is prohibited.
This means that when buying an electric motor bike, you should first ensure that its technical specifications classify it as an eBike to avoid legal problems.
In the US for example, the legal definition for an electric bicycle is that the vehicle must operate with a motor with a maximum of 750 W that can provide a maximum speed of up to 20 mph, but also works with pedals. However, this may vary in some states.
In Europe the situation is more restrictive, since in most of the countries of the continent only speeds of up to 15 mph (25 km / h) are allowed in 250 W engines, although this has been changing over time, allowing higher limits in some countries.
What about licenses?
As long as your eBike has a 750W motor that does not exceed 20 mph – at least in the US – you DO NOT need a license. Regarding age, it is necessary to be at least 16 years old to operate an eBike in public places.
In most states you can use your eBike on any surface suitable for conventional bicycles. This includes:
- Bike lanes on the street
- Special paths reserved for bikes and pedestrians
- Paved trails for bicycles on state parks – it can varie by park
- Unpaved forest service roads
Note: that in National Parks you should check with the park management.
[What makes an eBike go faster?]
First of all, it is important that you understand some aspects of how an eBike works.
EBikes are characterized by having a built-in electric motor, usually near the rear wheel, which facilitates movement.
Depending on the type of eBike, this movement may require more or less effort on your part, since it is actually a system that assists pedaling. This means that you have to pedal for the motor to work and help you complete your pedal stroke.
Based on this, electric bikes have several assistance modes, usually three.
The former provides little pedaling assistance, so the bike’s battery will last longer. The second provides medium support and the third provides great power and support, but the battery drains much faster.
There are three main groups or categories for eBikes according to the type of pedaling assistance they give the rider.
Class 1 eBikes
These are the most common, especially outside the US, and their main characteristic is that the motor helps pedaling even if the bicycle exceeds 20 mph.
This does not mean that you cannot go faster with the bike, but that the motor will only help you up to 20 mph, shutting down when you exceed that limit.
This limitation is given by the EPAC (Electronically Power Assisted Cycles) regulation. Although most eBike motors have the capacity or power to reach higher speeds, the law states that they cannot exceed that speed and their power rating must be equal to or less than 750 W.
This is possible through the software included in the bicycle itself, which the manufacturer can limit electronically to reduce the power and speed of the motors to enter within the legal framework established for eBikes.
Any EPAC bicycle is considered for legal circulation purposes, the same as any conventional bicycle without a motor.
Class 2 eBikes
Electric bikes are exactly the same as the previous ones, but they can transport you without the need to pedal at any time.
Some of these eBikes have motors with a power greater than 750 W, usually up to 1,000 W, depending on the country.
These bicycles are not allowed within the European Union, unless they are registered and licensed. In the United States if they are allowed in certain states.
These eBikes can be sub-rated based on their capabilities, and while they can generally go up to 28 mph (45 km / h), their speed is similarly limited by law to 20 mph.
Class 3 eBikes
Within electric bikes we also have Speed eBikes. These have an accelerator that can be located in the grip of the bicycle, in a button on the steering wheel, and even in a pedal.
The motor in these eBikes is usually located in the center of the bike for greater stability and is not activated when pedaling, but when the accelerator is activated, so if you want, you can move without giving a single pedal.
The motors of these eBikes can easily exceed a power of 1,000 W, even reaching up to 5,000 W in the most modern models.
In the US, these eBikes are limited by law to a speed of 32 mph (52 km / h depending on the state) and typically include a speedometer.
How does the type of motor and the wattage influence the speed?
The design and location of the motor on an eBike is a factor that influences its speed
The most common type of motor is the hub motor, which is usually located on the rear or front wheel and drives them directly.
The downside to this system is that the engine is not connected to the gears, so this equates to having to run using a single “gear change” all day. This would be a major drawback in a car, as the advantage of shifting according to road conditions is lost.
On the other hand we have the mid-drive motors, which are much more efficient in terms of speed, energy consumption and stability as they are integrated with the crank and the gears, increasing the overall performance of the bike.
Regarding wattage, look at it this way:
The wattage would be the equivalent of the horsepower of a car engine. The higher wattage, the more weight an eBike can move.
This is something you should consider regarding your own body weight, as the higher your own weight, the more wattage the eBike needs to reach the same speed as a lower wattage bike driven by someone less heavy.
However, keep in mind that the law will only allow you to reach a certain speed limit at all times – unless you are going to a sports track with a class 3 eBike of about 5,000 W.
How fast can in eBike go depending on the wattage?
- For a 1000 to 2000 W eBike, the speed is typically around 30 mph, depending on the model features.
- For a 750 W eBike, the speed is close to 25 mph.
- And for a 500W eBike, the speed is close to 20 mph.
Can an Ebike replace a car?
It depends on your needs. In terms of power and performance, an eBike cannot replace a car. But if you are not too concerned about speed, the number of passengers, and you want to pollute the environment, an eBike is the ideal for you.
Can an Ebike get wet?
Yes you can. EBike batteries are insulated enough to withstand light rain or moisture while in use. However, excessive pressure and atmospheric erosion for a long time can damage your battery in the long term, just like any other device.