Electric bikes are becoming more and more advanced over the years but ever wondered how fast electric bikes can actually go?
Well, you’re not the only one.
This is a common question asked when concerning electric bikes. Since e-bikes have a motor that can reach much higher speeds than a pedal bike but not as fast as your regular mo-ped or car.
E-bikes have the capacity to go more than 28 mph but there are laws over the country in place to prevent them from doing so. US regulations state that bikes cannot assist above 28 mph.
But wait let me tell you something.
The matter of how fast electric bikes go depends on your state law and regulations. But before we go into the legalization let’s jump into seriously how fast these bad boys go.
So How Fast Can Electric Bikes Go?
Well, this all depends on where you are in the world and the type of e-bike you have; we all know that e-bikes go faster than pedal bikes, but how fast can electric bikes really go?
Well, in Europe the maximum power of an electric bike is 250 watts and a maximum speed of 15.5mph whereas in the US you can have a maximum power of 750 watts and speed of 20 mph, on some bikes you can have a maximum of 28 mph to help keep up with traffic.
Some companies allow you to reach that speed without pedal assistance, whereas others’ speed is only reachable with assisted pedaling. It also depends on the weight of your bike.
But What Is The Maximum Speed Of E-Bikes?
You may have heard around that electric bikes can go up to a maximum speed of 40mph or that the top speed of these e-bikes is very high, but this really isn’t true.
Just like riders’ bikes show up in different sizes, speeds, and even comfort levels, some bikes can pick up some real speed when going down a steep hill.
If you’re pedaling, you can ride as fast as your pumping ability but bear in mind most e-bikes in the US will only assist up to 28 mph / 45 km h, so whatever you put in after that is generated from you pedaling.
Top Speed Of Electric By Classes:
In the States, there are 3 classes of electric bikes you can use legally. E-bikes have been divided into classes to distinguish the level of motor assistance offered.
You should first work out what class of electric bicycles you’d like to go for before looking for certain types.
Class 1 e-bike:
This is an electric bicycle equipped with a motor that assists only while the rider is pedaling. It can reach maximum speed limits of 20mph and has a power output of 750W.
These kinds of e-bikes will only assist your pedaling but not your throttle; they’ll kick in when you start pedaling and stop when you hit 20 mph /32 km h
Most new riders start with a class 1 electric bike as they are the most affordable; they’re also universally accepted by law. You’re legally allowed to ride on city streets and many bike paths.
As electric bikes are becoming more and more popular, it is becoming more common that you’re allowed to ride on traditional mountain bike trails. While this may not be all it is a start, be sure to check before you go.
Class 2 electric bicycle:
This is an e-bike equipped with a motor that can be used exclusively to propel the bicycle; it doesn’t assist when the bicycle reaches a speed of 20mph or 750 watts.
They are known in the e-bike community as the ‘low-speed throttle-assisted electric bicycle’. The motor can engage even when the riding isn’t pedaling, but just like the class 2 electric bike, they are limited at 20 mph / 32 km h.
Class 2 e-bikes are typically allowed in the same places as class 1 as they cannot really exceed 20mph of motor assistance. They’re not as commonly made by manufacturers like REI and TREK, so I recommend getting either class 1 or 3.
Class 3 electric bike:
This e-bike is equipped with a motor that assists only while the rider is pedaling. It stops assisting when the bicycle reaches the speed of 28 mph / 45 km h, or 1000 watts and it is equipped with a speedometer.
Class 3 e-bikes are much more aerodynamic and faster; they’re also known as speed pedal-assist electric bikes’ and only assist when the rider is pedaling.
Class 3 e-bikes are more commonly found in commuter e-bikes as they’re much more powerful and faster than the other two classes. These are popular for commuters as you can keep up with traffic easier.
Class 3 electric bikes can also climb hills better and make it much easier to carry heavier loads; the only downside is that you can’t ride on most bike paths or mountain bike trails.
Laws Around E-Bikes In the States
Similar to other countries, electric bicycles have become increasingly popular across the states. Not only are e-bikes a great recreational bike and can be ridden for fun or for commuting purposes.
For daily commutes to work, people opt-out from pollution and drive the motor vehicle every day for a more eco-friendly option such as an e-bike to help support them from A to B.
An electric bicycle is also a brilliant alternative for those on a budget; nowadays, there are often bike storage areas at work to encourage employees to bike to work rather than driving.
As I mentioned above many states follow the 3 class system for e-bikes, however, this is not the case for all states. This three-class system across the US differs from state to state so I’d be sure to check the regulations for your specific state before choosing your e-bike.
The 3-class system dictates where you can go using that specific e-bike and the maximum speed the electric bike goes. For example, classes 1 and 2 can be used pretty much on all roads and sometimes even on trails whereas class should only be used on the road.
As a general rule of thumb class 1 and 2 bikes can go anywhere where regular bikes can go but are restricted to speed limits such as the maximum speed of 20 mph.
Class 3 electric bikes are also subject to additional requirements such as minimum user age, helmet requirement but do not require licensing, registration, or insurance like other countries.
This essentially means that each state or local government is allowed to set up its own laws regarding electric bicycles. The best thing I would recommend is to check the local laws for your area as they differ from state to state.
- For example, in California, the law is clear that no driving licence is required to operate class 1, 2, or 3 e-bikes, and a helmet is not required for class 1 and 2 e-bikes but is required for class 3 users.
- However, in Maine, e-bikes are not as popular or well defined, and they have much stricter laws when it comes to where they can ride to comply with the law.
An organization called ‘PeopleForBikes’ has risen as a national advocacy group and has been pushing for more transparency regarding e-bike laws across the US. They have already pushed the three-class system, which was implemented in 2016, but it is still not used in every state.
PeopleForBikes continue to push for other states to follow suit when it comes to this three-class system until e-bikes are legal in all states.
If you’re wondering what the law is for electric assist bikes in other states then check out my guide, I break it down in more detail here.
Battery Capacity and Calculating Range + Speed
Here is the average battery and motor, max speed, average price, and how much charge time each takes.
|Battery/Motor||Max Speed On Flat Terrain||Average Price||Average Charging Time|
|250 W||20 mph / 32 km h||$500 – $1000||20 minutes|
|500W||25 mph / 40 km h||$750 – $1250||40 minutes|
|750 W||28 mph / 45 km h||$750 – $1500||60 minutes|
|1000 W||35 mph / 56 km h||$1000 – $1500||80 minutes|
|1500 w||40 mph / 64 km h||$1500 – $2000+||120 minutes|
While this may be the maximum speed for these motors, this doesn’t bear in mind the laws, and anything above 1000W and 28 mph is illegal in the United States; in most states, it’s illegal above 20 mph.
You may be looking confused, and trust me, you’re not the only one, but to put it simply, despite 750W bikes being classed as class 1 e-bikes, they are restricted at 20 mph.
1000 W bikes of class 3 bikes are restricted to 28 mph by law, so while you can go above that speed, the motor will disengage when it reaches 28 mph or 20mph.
Maximum electric bike speed on different terrains:
An E-bike performs differently on different types of terrain and is often separated between trails and leisure.
Pedal-assist electric bicycles are most commonly used to go to and from work and make commuting easy, but mountain e-bikes have been developed to make trail-shredding fun and easy in recent years.
Rough Trails Electric Bike:
Like with a regular mountain bike, and mountain e-bike can tackle rough terrain and steep hills for extended periods of time. They often have a maximum motor of 750 W, and more and more electric bikes are being allowed on the trails.
Fat tire electric bikes are also super fun their size motor tends to range between 750-1000W, which is pretty impressive.
You can find many available types such as hardtails, downhill, trail, and full suspension ebikes. Most trails allow more and more electric bikes on the trails but not all, so be sure to check your local area.
Leisure and City E-Bike:
These were the first type of e-bikes to be established to replace fossil-fueled mo-peds. Many city e-bikes to choose from will help you get from A to B with ease.
Most of these bikes can go as fast as 28 miles per hour to keep up with the traffic, they are pedal-assisted electric bikes, and the motor only engages when the pedals are engaged.
Many cities such as Miami, LA, New York City have adopted a new kind of electric bike that can be rented; these are also known as ‘Citi Bikes.’ It encourages visitors or city dwellers to take a bike instead of a car or taxi.
So there you have it folks, the maximum speed of an electric bike. Now while this may differ from country to country and from bike to bike you need to be sure you’re getting the right bike for your law restrictions.
I would highly recommend you check out my full guide of all the electric bike laws across different countries here and if you’re looking to take the next step and buy an electric bike then click here.