Electric bikes bring lots of leg-saving benefits to the table, but they contribute so much more than simply taking the reins when we’re feeling a little pooped. They can also go really fast. Like… really, really fast.
Now, that’s not to say that every single e-bike on the market is capable of giving you a severe case of whiplash, but, for the most part, you will be traveling at a much faster pace on an e-bike than you would on your traditional bike. The question is, how much faster?
Let’s find out!
The World’s Fastest E-Bike
With a blistering top speed of 50 miles per hour, the fastest electric bike in the world is currently the Top 3.0 from company Delfast. To put that in a bit of context for you, most road bike users will travel at an average speed of 10–18 miles per hour, or possibly, if they train regularly, around 22 mph.
So, yeah… 50 miles per hour is absolutely insane, and, if I’m being perfectly honest, not too safe.
Calm your nerves, though, friend. The Top 3.0 is a one-of-a-kind monster.
The e-bike you end up with will be much easier to tame and safer to use, which may not be as exciting as the Delfast demon, but coming home from your ride in one piece is a definite bonus.
How Fast Can The Average E-Bike Go?
The average top speed of electric bikes tends to fall around the 20 miles per hour mark, the reason being, this is the speed cap imposed by the US authorities.
It seems a lot of companies would rather limit their bikes from the get-go than face the possible legal ramifications of their products being used illegally by American citizens.
But before you have a tantrum about the powers that be putting a damper on your need for speed, you should know that we’ve actually got it pretty good here in the States — The limit across European nations is only 15 miles per hour.
Besides, a lot of electric bikes sold in the US for general use won’t have a cap in place, and they can often reach speeds of 28 mph.
And if that’s not quite fast enough for you, some companies sell electric bikes designed for racing that can break the 30 mph mark without breaking a sweat.
Classes Of Electric Bike And Their Top Speeds
In the US, electric bikes are separated into three distinct classes, each with different wattage, speed, and operational parameters.
Class 1 e-bikes are also known as pedal assist bikes, meaning they won’t drive the bike for you, but they will make pedaling a lot easier, up to 300% easier on some models.
The average pedal assist bike tends to max out at around 20 mph.
Class 2 e-bikes are hybrid designs. They have the pedal assist function found in class 1 bikes, but they also feature a throttle function that will completely take care of pedaling for you up to speeds of 20 miles per hour.
The pedal assist function of Class 2 electric bikes also has a top speed of 20 mph.
Capable of reaching speeds of 28 miles per hour, class three electric bikes are the fastest of all the normal consumer-grade models on the market.
Due to this impressive top speed, there are a lot more rules and regulations in place pertaining to Class 3 electric bikes
You must be at least 17 years old to ride one of these e-bikes, and you may also need a license before you take one for a spin.
The Fourth Class
Okay, so I wasn’t being completely honest when I said there were only 3 classes in the States. There is one more class, and it’s the speediest of all. Well… it’s not technically a class as such, but it is a top-tier mode that certain e-bikes have, and it’s known as Race Track Mode.
Race Track Mode guarantees speeds of over 28 miles per hour, and as there are no speed restrictions at race tracks, you can really open your bike up and see what it can do.
What Determines The Speed Of An Electric Bike?
The power of the battery and the wattage of the motor are the main contributors to the top speed of an electric bike.
A powerful electric motor with watts coming out the wazoo will deal with the burden of weight much more efficiently, meaning it will accelerate and travel quicker. Here are a few examples of how wattage corresponds to speed.
- 250 W = 20 mph
- 500 W = 25 mph
- 750 W = 28 mph
- 1000 W = 35 mph
- 1500 W = 40 mph
Of course, there are many other variables that can affect the real-world speed of an electric bike. Rider and cargo weight, for instance, will have a big impact on top speed, as will the weather conditions and terrain.
What Class Of Electric Bike Is Right For You?
My advice on this subject is simple… Buy for your needs, not for top speeds! If you never normally hurtle down a trail at 20 miles per hour, there’s really no need to purchase an e-bike that’s capable of such a feat.
If you rarely break the 15 mph mark when riding on the road, and you have no problem with that, then what’s the purpose of spending money on an excessively powerful machine.
On the other hand, if you’re used to traveling at 20 mph on a road, and you often tackle some pretty tough terrain, then you should absolutely go for a high-quality Class 2 or 3 electric bike.
There you have it, folks — Most electric bikes have a top speed of around 20 miles per hour (the legal limit in the US), but Class 3 models can reach 28 mph if needed, and the fastest e-bikes of all can travel between 30 and 50 miles per hour, which I think we can both agree is nuts!