Speed has increasingly become one of the considering factors when choosing an e-bike, therefore understanding the speed capabilities of the different electric bikes available would help to influence your decisions on which to buy. E-Bikes ranges have also continued to diversify as lately we have several different types specifically designed for various outdoor purposes. How fast e-bikes tend to go largely depends on the class in which they belong to.
Classification of E-Bikes
E-Bikes are classified into;
- Class 1 E-Bikes
- Class 2 E-Bikes
- Class 3 E-Bikes
The speed of electric bikes are generally determined by which class they belong to. Many states in the United States utilize a three class system for e-bike regulations, but it’s important to always check your most current local e-bike laws as they are rapidly changing from state to state.
Class 1 E-Bikes
The top speed that class one e-bikes can attain is 20 miles/hour and the electric motor only works when the rider is pedaling. Do however note that e-bikes consisting of an electric motor that only assist during pedaling are called Pedelac.
Some class 1 e-bikes have a throttle on the handlebars that offers an extra power boost, but on this class of electric bikes, the throttle works only if you're also pedaling. You don't have to be pedaling very hard, though. You can throw it into a low gear and just free-spin the pedals forward slowly and that's enough to let the throttle work.
Class 1 e-bikes are allowed on bike paths and bike lanes that are shared with traditional, non-assisted bikes—what we've started to call analog bikes.
Class 2 E-Bikes
Just like class 1 e-bikes, the class 2 electric bikes are restricted to a top speed of 20 miles/hour. The major difference between this class of e-bikes and class 1 e-bikes is that they have throttles that work when you are not pedaling.
That doesn't mean the motor won't assist you if you decide to pedal. Most Class 2 e-bikes offer electrically assisted pedaling alongside throttles. As with Class 1 e-bikes, you can generally ride them to the same places as an analog bike.
Class 3 E-Bikes
Unlike class 1 and class 2 electric bikes, class 3 e-bikes can go as fast as hitting a top speed of 28 miles/hour. They do however compulsorily need to be built with a speedometer but may or may not have a throttle.
Different states do have different riding rules, For example, in the state of California, class 3 e-bikes are not allowed to have throttles. In other states, throttles are allowed as long as they only work up to 20 miles per hour, while pedal-assisted electric power continues up to 28 miles per hour. In most states, you are allowed to take class 3 e-bikes into road lanes or a bike-only lane in the shoulder of the road, but you can't take them on bike paths that exist outside of the road or on multi-use trails shared with pedestrians, like in a park.
In a bid to adhere to these restrictions, a few e-bikes have added a mode that limits the speed to around 20 miles/hr so that you can ride them on multi-use trails and paths. All you need to do is toggle the setting or remove a special physical key and you can unlock the bike's full potential.
E-Bike Speeds According To Motor Input
A growing number of very fast e-bikes are capable of blowing past 28 miles per hour and yet still have found a way to technically, legally fit into the classification system with a switchable setting and a little rider cooperation. Different motor power capacity affects the speed of electric bikes significantly, an e-bike that is powered by a 1000W motor has been discovered to hit speeds of up to 35 miles/hour (56km/hr). This is way faster than the speeds that all three classes of e-bikes would hit.
Also, the speed of a 3000W e-bike motor ranges from 44 miles/ hour to 73 miles/ hour. The recommended maximum speed however is 62 miles/ hour at a battery voltage of 72 volts.
Electric bikes powered by a motor of about 5000W are the fastest. In most ideal scenarios, the rider is unable to hit the top speed that this motor can generate just for safety reasons. They are much faster than any of the e-bikes currently available.
Are E-Bikes Electric Motorcycles?
Aside from the similarities that they both have by being powered by electric motors, they are different. The difference between an e-bike and an electric motorcycle largely centers on the fact that an e-bike has pedals and a motorcycle doesn't. Even fast, non-classed e-bikes are technically considered bicycles in many US states because they have pedals. Legislators haven't given much thought to 40 mile-per-hour e-bikes, because they're uncommon. For now, they're in legal limbo in a lot of places.
Where To Purchase Quality and Fast E-Bikes
If speed if a telling factor in your decision when looking to purchase an e-bike, then look no further than progradeautoparts.com to choose bikes of great quality. Along with our range of fast and quality e-bikes, we also stack the best accessories of e-bikes available as well as other car and vehicle care products.