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How Fast Can an Electric Bike Go?

How Fast Can an Electric Bike Go?

Electric bikes (ebikes) have revolutionized urban mobility, combining traditional biking with the power of electric motors. Understanding the speed capabilities of ebikes can help you choose the right model for your commuting needs and leisure activities. In this guide, we'll explore the factors that affect e-bike speed, the different types of ebikes, and the regulations that govern their use.
If you're in the USA you can learn more about the rules in your state at People for Bikes' helpful ebike site.

Understanding Electric Bike Speed

The speed of an electric bike can vary based on several factors including motor power, bike weight, and the rider's effort. Here's what you need to know:

Factors Influencing E-Bike Speed

  • Motor Power and torque: Typically measured in watts (W) and newton-meters (NM), the motor power directly influences how fast your ebike can go. Torque ratings are especially important for determining how well a bike climbs hills, which is why mid-drive motors with relatively low rated wattage can provide great performance due to higher torque output along with efficiency gains over hub drives.
  • Battery Capacity: A larger battery can enhance the motor's performance, as the voltage can dip when the battery is nearing "empty" indirectly affecting the bike’s top speed.
  • Rider Input: Pedal-assist ebikes require the rider to pedal to activate the motor, meaning the more effort you put in, the faster you'll go.
  • Terrain and Weather Conditions: Steeper inclines and adverse weather conditions like strong winds can reduce overall speed.

Types of Electric Bikes and Their Speeds

Electric bikes are generally divided into three classes, which determine where they can be ridden and their maximum speed. Here the Vvolt Guide explains the 3 classes of eBike systems.

    E-Bike Regulations

    • Legal Speed Limits United States: Varies by state; typically 20 mph for Class 1 and 2, and up to 28 mph for Class 3.
    • Europe: Maximum of 25 km/h (15.5 mph) for pedal-assist bikes; throttle bikes may have different regulations.

    Where Can You Ride?

    • Bike Lanes: Ebikes of all classes are generally allowed in bike lanes.
    • Bike or multiuser paths: Some states or localities restrict ebike use, typically allowing Class 1 or 2 ebikes with a 20mph max motor assit.
    • Roads and Urban Areas: All classes are typically permissible on roads, though Class 3 bikes may require a helmet in some areas of the US.
    • Dirt Trails: Many singletrack bike/hiking trails restrict ebike use entirely. If ebikes are allowed, they are often limited to Class 1. 

    Choosing the Right Electric Bike

    When selecting an e-bike, consider the following:

    • Purpose of Use: Determine whether you need the bike for long-distance commuting, off-road adventures, or casual rides around town.
    • Budget: More powerful ebikes tend to be heavier and more expensive, so consider your budget in relation to your needs.
    • Local Laws: Ensure the ebike you choose complies with local laws and regulations regarding speed and usage.


    Electric bikes offer a sustainable and efficient mode of transportation. Knowing how fast an ebike can go helps in selecting the right model that aligns with your lifestyle and local laws. Whether you opt for a pedal-assist or throttle-assisted bike, ebikes can significantly enhance your commuting experience and provide a fun, eco-friendly way to explore your surroundings.

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