Part of what makes riding an electric bike so appealing is the high speeds you can reach when compared to riding a regular bike or walking on your own. Accordingly, there's one question that comes up often among new riders: how fast can an e-bike go? Today, we'll be responding to that query and delving into the potentially unexpected reasons behind its answer.
What’s the Maximum Speed an E-Bike Can Travel At?
While laws vary from location to location, in many areas of the United States, the fastest you can legally ride an e-bike on the road is 28 miles per hour using pedal assist. This means that the biggest limit on an e-bike’s speed doesn’t involve the bike's specs at all. You may be a bit bummed about this speed limitation, but it’s an important one. E-bikes aren’t considered motor vehicles in most of the US, which means they can access areas that cars and motorcycles can’t. These areas are usually reserved for regular cyclists and pedestrians, and for them, 28 miles per hour is undeniably fast.
Consider this: many e-bikes are used for inner-city and neighborhood rides, where speed limits are usually around 30 miles per hour at most. On top of that, 28 miles per hour is a much faster speed than regular cyclists can maintain, and it rivals the average speed of professional cyclists. If e-bikes were to go any faster, they could easily pose risks to pedestrians, motorists, and other riders.
If you’re capable of it, and your bike doesn’t limit it, you could technically get the bike to go faster than the speed limit of 28 miles per hour through pedaling alone, but you would have no assistance from the motor. This leaves you with, essentially, a very heavy version of a traditional bike. So while it’s possible to go faster than 28 miles per hour, it’s not efficient or sustainable.
How Fast Can I Go With Throttle?
The rules for e-bikes with throttle are different. E-bikes can only go up to 20 miles per hour using throttle, or pure-electric mode. Though it may be frustrating to go slower unless you pedal, these rules help ensure the safety of all riders.
The Importance of E-Bike Classes
Not all e-bikes can reach these speeds. Different classes of e-bike have different speed limitations. Class I and Class II e-bikes can only reach 20 miles per hour on pedal assist, and Class I e-bikes don’t have a throttle mode at all. Only Class III e-bikes can reach 28 miles per hour, but they're still limited to speeds of 20 miles per hour on throttle. Certain classes of e-bikes are restricted in where they can ride, especially in local parks or nature paths, so make sure to pay attention to your e-bike’s class before you hit the trail. At GOTRAX, we offer both Class II and Class III e-bikes, letting you pick a bike that matches your riding needs.
Riding at maximum speed can be a blast, but it’s important to be careful: you want to be able to keep yourself and your bike safe for years to come. No matter what you ride or how fast you choose to go, remember to follow local laws and regulations for e-biking, and always wear a helmet!