Trip Ideas - 8 min read

How Fast Can Electric Bikes Go? (Top Speeds by Class & Type!)

Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall, Updated October 16, 2022

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Bikes are a great way to get from place to place, whether pedaling around New York or Omaha. They won’t add to your carbon footprint or drain your wallet. But sometimes, it can be tough to tackle steep hills or bike against the wind, tiring you out before you reach your destination. Electric bikes provide an easier way to handle these challenges, but how fast can they go?

Electric bikes are available in various styles and wattages, with average Class 1 and Class 2 bikes maxing out their assist at 20 mph. Top speeds of more advanced Class 3 bikes max out at 28 mph, while off-road styles can top 85 mph. If you’re new to riding an e-bike, the recommended top speed is 15 mph.

Although electric bikes have a motor, you still need to pedal them. The idea behind e-bikes is they give you an assist, a little boost, so you don’t have to expend as much effort. Of course, they can be just for fun. But if you use a bike as your main source of transportation, an e-bike can make a huge difference.

What Is the Top Speed of an Electric Bike?

Credit: Joe Flood / Flickr

Most electric bikes have a top speed of 20 miles per hour. But Class 3 bikes can reach a max speed of 28 mph. However, it’s important to remember that your speed depends a lot on how fast you pedal.

These speeds are the speeds at which e-bikes top out or stop performing an electric assist. If you can pedal faster, then you can go faster. For example, on an ordinary bike, an average person can travel about 10 to 14 miles per hour.

However, avid bike riders with intense training could reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour or more on a regular bike. If these riders used an electric bike, it stands to reason they could go much more than 30 mph.

However, the bike will no longer provide an electrical assist once the person reaches 20 or 28 miles per hour. The top speed depends on the bike’s class.

You can divide most electric bikes into three classes; class 1, class 2, and class 3. Class 1 and 2 bikes provide an electrical assist up to 20 mph. Class 3 e-bikes provide an assist up to 28 mph. There are also some e-bikes that fall into a fourth class, and these bikes can go above 28 mph.

Closer Look at Classes of Electric Bikes

Here’s a quick snapshot of the different classes of electric bikes. Different states might have different rules for what you can do with e-bikes, so know the rules in your state.

Class OneClass TwoClass ThreeClass Four
Pedal-assist onlyOffer throttle assistance and can also have pedal assistancePedal and throttle assist optionsConsidered a motorized vehicle
Max assisted speed 20mphTop assist of 20mphTop assist of 28mphCan provide an assist at speeds over 28mph
Must pedal to get assistanceDo not need to pedal for assistanceMay be subject to special laws/rules and needs to have a speedometerSubject to specific laws and regulations. Typically only allowed off-road
The motor must be under 750WCannot have over a 750W motorThe motor must be less than 750WThe motor can be over 750W

How Does Battery Voltage Affect Miles Per Hour?

In a nutshell, the higher the battery voltage, the higher the potential speed of the electric bike. Here’s a quick science lesson.

Voltage describes the pressure at which a battery releases charged electrons and the strength of the electrons through a current. These electrons are what make the motor in an electric bike spin.

The higher the voltage, the more electrons can reach the bike’s motor per second. The more electrons that reach the motor, the faster the motor can spin. Finally, the faster the motor can spin, the higher the speed of the bike.

Also, the higher the battery voltage, the more likely your bike will be able to handle more difficult terrain. The reason for this is that your battery needs to work harder to produce enough power to handle more challenging riding situations. 

If you have a battery with higher voltage, it won’t have to work as hard to tackle more demanding riding scenarios. Basically, the higher the battery voltage, the faster and more powerful your electric bike.

How Fast Do Electric Bikes Go (By Wattage)?

Credit: 70_musclecar_RT+6 / Flickr

A 500-watt motor can reach speeds of 25 mph, but a 10,000-watt e-bike could go over 80 mph. (Keep in mind the max allowed on most e-bikes is a 750-watt motor for your bike to still be considered a bike.) How fast your e-bike goes depends highly on the wattage and how fast you pedal.

Other factors can also affect your bike’s overall speed, including the terrain and the rider’s weight. However, the most significant factor is the wattage.

500W Electric Bike

A 500-watt electric bike can go up to 25 miles per hour. You can find many e-bikes that can go this speed in Class 1, 2, or 3. It would likely average out at a top speed of 20 miles per hour.

You would achieve this same top speed with bikes with a 250 or 350-watt motor. On average, a smaller motor is the way to go if you’re new to electric bikes. Additionally, you should maintain top speeds of about 15 miles per hour.

1,500W Electric Bike

You can reach top speeds of 40 miles per hour on a 1,500-watt electric bike. These bikes surpass the 750-watt maximum and, therefore, would be in the Class 4 category. 

Officials would consider these bikes motorized vehicles. They are subject to many more laws and restrictions than bikes under 750 watts.

2,000W Electric Bike

A 2,000-watt electric bike reaches top speeds of about 43 miles per hour. As with all electric bikes, the speed can vary based on how fast you pedal. 

Plus, it will go faster on steep declines and also on flat terrain. Since it’s typically easier to pedal on flat surfaces, you could pedal faster, which means the bike could go faster.

3,000W Electric Bike

A 3,000-watt electric bike has a top speed of roughly 48 miles per hour. As with other e-bikes over 750 watts, this bike would not be able to go on regular bike paths, etc.

5,000W Electric Bike

If you get a 5,000-watt electric bike, you can reach top speeds of 60 miles per hour. On flat terrain, this bike will average between 50 and 60 miles per hour. 

8,000W Electric Bike

Electric bikes with 8,000 watts can reach impressive speeds of up to 68 miles per hour. Although not the same as a motorcycle, these faster electric bikes are also viewed as motorized vehicles.

10,000W Electric Bike

Some of the fastest electric bikes have 10,000 watts and go up to 85 miles per hour. You can see why bikes like this must be licensed and insured and are considered motorized vehicles. They are also, like other higher-wattage bikes, only for off-road use.

Top Speeds of Electric Bikes by Wattage

250W20 mph
500W20 mph
750W28 mph
1,000W35 mph
1,500W40 mph
2,000W43 mph
3,000W48 mph
5,000W60 mph
8,000W68 mph
10,000W85 mph

How Fast Do Electric Bikes Go Without Pedaling?

Credit: Gill King / Flickr

You can reach top speeds of 20 mph without pedaling if your e-bike has a throttle. However, if your e-bike is pedal assist only, then you cannot go without pedaling. Something worth noting is due to many local laws, the throttle assist will only work up to 20 mph.

Therefore, with a Class 3 bike with a top-assisted speed of 28 mph, the throttle only assists up to 20 mph. After 20 mph, the additional assist only kicks in with pedaling, no throttle.

On the flip side, you can set the pedal-assist function on your bike to zero and ride your e-bike like a regular bike. This is good to keep in mind if you’re out and about and your battery dies.

How Far Can an Electric Bike Go?

Credit: Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield / Flickr

An electric bike can go between 15 and 100 miles on one charge, depending on the battery power. A smaller 36V battery might last about 15 to 25 miles on one charge. However, a more powerful battery could take you up to 100 miles on one charge.

If you’re riding on more challenging terrain or uphill, your battery will work harder. Therefore, you won’t get as far on a single charge as you would if riding on easy terrain.

You will likely need to replace your bike’s battery every three to five years. The exact timeline depends on your use and how well you take care of it. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper care and storage of your bike’s battery. 

Summary

Electric bikes can make pedaling a lot easier, which makes them ideal for frequent riders. If you regularly bike to work or as your main mode of transportation, an e-bike might be a good option for you.

Most bikes fall within one of three categories, Class 1, 2, or 3. All of these bikes have a maximum-allowed 750W motor. Class 1 and 2 e-bikes offer an assist at top speeds of 20 mph, and Class 3 tops out at 28 mph. Any faster than these speeds relies on your pedal power.

There are faster e-bikes that can go between 30 to over 80 mph, but these would fall into Class 4. These faster bikes are considered motorized vehicles and must be licensed and insured. They’re only for off-road use and must adhere to many more restrictions and guidelines.

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