The first question often asked is, how fast can an electric bike go? Of course, we can’t say that sky’s the limit with it! We are not talking about MotoGP or Formula One here.
The history of a bike has come a long way ever since the first running machine hit the German roads in 1817. Pedals have been added. The drive chain is now integrated with the “derailleur” gearing system.
And before you realized it, it has turned electric, evolving into a beautiful machine with endless possibilities. E-bikes make the whole cycling experience even more awesome. A part of the fun lies in the speed of the electric bike.
Before you decide on the type of bike to take for your next ride, it’s important to know how fast your e-bike can go. Let’s try to keep it green and simple.
Go Green With Speed!
Talking about speed, the first question to ask is: how fast do electric bikes go? The good thing about an e-bike is that you can normally hit the speed up to 25 to 32 km/h and that too, without having to lose any sweat.
Speed is not the only cool thing about electric bikes. You can contribute to the protection of the environment by reducing your carbon footprint.
Yes, you heard me right!
You have to put in a little effort to move your bike forward. The electric bike is not what you may imagine, something like a scooter or motorcycle. In fact, it’s just a bicycle that comes with a battery-powered motor and a controller. The speed of the bike depends on the design and power of the motor.
Electric Bikes Are Not Scooters
Again, it all condenses down to how fast the electric bikes go. Just because there’s an electric motor integrated into its design doesn’t make it a motorized vehicle like a scooter or motorcycle.
First thing, you have to do some legwork to power up that motor. The motor, in turn, assists in your propulsion. But there’s a limit in how much it can propel you. The motor in the e-bike is designed to stop cut off its assistance to you when you exceed a certain speed limit.
This is set around 15.5 to 20 mph (25 to 32 km/h). This techno-legal restriction in how fast your electric bike can go is why you don’t need a driving license for it, because, technically, it’s still a bicycle.
That’s it… Just 15 to 20 mph?
Of course, not! It’s important to understand that the electric component in the bike doesn’t make it less manual. The motor is designed to supplement human power, and not completely replace it.
It makes pedaling the bike easier and smoother, especially during the uphill ride. That’s when the motor engages to boost your efforts. But that motor-boost is available only up to 25 km/h, in general.
The cut-off level may vary according to the type of the motor and the design of the electric bike. But as Ernest Henley said, “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul”, it’s not how fast the bikes go. It’s how fast you can make it go. There’s a difference. Read that again!
How Fast Can an Electric Bike Go?
Let’s get down to the million-dollar question. The motor is not the only source of power in an electric bike. This gives you the freedom to exceed the speed limit of the motor by putting in your pedal work.
The motor can help you conquer the uphill ride, but other than that, you can test how fast your e-bike can go while taking into consideration the safety measures. You don’t want to hurt yourself or others.
As long as you are in control of the bike, you are free to set your own pace with your pedal power while taking advantage of the gravity and downward slope.
Electric Bike Variations
Most e-bikes are pedelecs (pedal electric cycles) that fall under the Class 1 and Class 2 categories. However, there are S-pedelecs, aka Speedy Pedelecs, which can provide pedal assistance up to 28 mph (45 km/h). S-pedelecs are categorized as Class 3 e-bikes, thus, considered as mopeds and motorcycles, and require a license to ride.
Since the pedelecs are very much like conventional bicycles, just with an electric motor for the rider’s assistance, its speed is independent of its motor capacity.
Set Your Own Pace
Now that we have agreed on the fact that the motor-assisted propulsion to the electric bike stops when you reach the maximum supported speed limitation, it’s time to set your own pace to see how fast your e-bike can go.
Classification of E-Bikes
The speed of these bikes is directly related to their regulations. For this purpose, a more or less common system of classifying electric bikes is adopted. Before you make your purchase decision regarding which type of e-bike to go with, it is wise to know how the speed varies with each class.
Pedal-assist only (no throttle), i.e. the motor provides you with assistance only when you are pedaling, but the assistance is cut off once you exceed the speed of 20 mph.
Similar to Class-1 in terms of maximum supported speed, but it is equipped with a throttle, i.e. it can be propelled without pedaling.
This class is like a faster version of Class-2. It is pedal-assist only, with no throttle. The motor assistance can help you go as fast as 28 mph only when you are pedaling. However, because of its speed, it might be restricted in the cycle lane in some countries and states.
Go As Fast As You Can
Irrespective of the type of electric bike and the maximum speed level it supports, the bottom line is that you can go as fast as you can pedal it.
The maximum allowed speed for e-bikes means that its motor assistance will cease at that speed. If you want to go faster, you will have to work harder on those pedals or leverage gravity and terrain to your benefit.
Let’s accept the fact: the speed of 15 to 20 mph is pretty sufficient for an average cyclist. You can easily achieve that speed with motor assistance on your e-bike.
You can go faster and exceed the speed limit of 20 mph without motor assistance by going downhill, at your own risk.
This is pretty much around the average speed of professional cyclists in the Tour de France. Of course, they don’t ride electric bikes. Lance Armstrong can easily make the bike go as fast as 25.9 mph (41.7 km/h)!
Electric bikes are not just about speed. In the context where global warming has become a serious concern, the electric bike has evolved as an eco-friendly, sustainable, and economic alternative to fuel-burning combustion engines.
The fact that it requires no gasoline significantly reduces its carbon footprint in the environment.
As an ultra-light personal mobility tool with a remarkable speed support level, electric bikes are the future of cheap, convenient, and relatively energy-efficient transportation.
Endless Advantages and Possibilities
E-bikes have the benefit of speed and maneuverability over other forms of commute. This is where the two different worlds of leg-powered bicycles and motorized vehicles come together to make the bike unique, appealing, and accessible to all.
It allows you to get out from behind the wheel, avoid traffic and parking hassles, and arrive at your destination on time without breaking a sweat. Cycling can be a beautiful experience.
The choice of electric bike depends on what it is exactly that you are trying to get out of your cycling experience. It’s up to you to decide how fast your bike goes. If you are really into the “need for speed”, there’s good news for you. As crazy as it may sound, but now you can even race with your e-bike(s).
The European Cycling Union (UEC) has already added a new circuit for electric bikes in 2019. They called it “UEC Formula E-Bike”, and it includes both the e-road and e-mountain bikes as well.
Final Words of Advice
Keep your adrenaline rush in check when you are riding your bike. You don’t want to get too carried away with the thrill of the speed. With the assistance of a motor, you can go pretty fast. But with the electric components, your bike is no ordinary bike.
As a result, it will be a little difficult to maneuver it at first. But with practice and caution, you will be able to enjoy the ride while you safely discover how fast your e-bike can go, as long as it is within the local speed limits.