How fast can an electric bike go?

Electric bicycles, commonly known as e-bikes, have gained popularity in recent years due to their integrated electric motors that provide pedal assistance. Technological advancements have led to increased output and speed capabilities of e-bike motors. However, it is essential to understand the speed limitations and regulations associated with e-bikes. In this article, we will explore the factors that determine the speed of electric bikes, including legal speed limits, motor power, torque, gear hub systems, and the actual top speeds that can be achieved. By understanding these factors, you can make informed decisions about e-bike usage and ensure compliance with local regulations.

I. Statutory Speed Limit

Most countries and regions have established legal speed limits for electric bikes to distinguish them from high-powered electric motorcycles and scooters. These limits typically involve motor power caps and auxiliary speed restrictions.

Motor Power Caps

E-bikes are usually limited to motor power ratings ranging from 250 to 750 watts. The specific limit depends on local regulations and classifications. Riders must ensure that their e-bike motors adhere to the designated power ratings.

Auxiliary Speed Restrictions

In addition to motor power, there are speed limits imposed on e-bikes. These limits commonly range from 15 to 28 mph (24 to 45 km/h). Riders must ensure that their e-bikes do not exceed the specified speed limits while using motor assistance. Exceeding the legal speed limit requires unassisted pedaling.

II. Motor Power and Torque

The power rating of an e-bike motor significantly influences its speed capabilities. Different types of motors exhibit varying power outputs and torque characteristics.

Hub Motors

Hub motors, located on the axle of the e-bike, typically have power ratings ranging from 250 to 500 watts. These motors are commonly used in e-bikes for everyday commuting and recreational purposes.

Mid-Drive Motors

Mid-drive motors, positioned near the bike's pedals, offer more power and torque. These motors can deliver up to 750 watts, allowing for faster acceleration and improved hill climbing abilities.

III. Gear Hub Systems

Many e-bikes utilize gear hub systems in their hub motors to enhance torque and top speed. These systems incorporate internal planetary gearing, which allows the motor to provide higher speeds while limiting the power output to comply with legal regulations. The addition of more gear ratios enables some e-bikes to reach speeds of 28 to 30 mph (45 to 48 km/h) with motor assistance.

IV. Actual Speed

In situations where there are no legal power or speed limits, e-bikes have been known to achieve speeds exceeding 60 mph (97 km/h). However, it is essential to note that these high speeds are typically seen in dedicated high-performance e-bike constructions equipped with large batteries and motors with power ratings exceeding 2000 watts. These unregulated e-bikes are not permitted to travel on public roads due to safety concerns and legal restrictions.


While e-bike technology continues to advance, most e-bikes are legally limited to speeds ranging from 20 to 28 mph (32 to 45 km/h). Achieving higher speeds typically requires pedal assistance or modifications to the e-bike, but it is crucial to observe legal speed limits for safety reasons. You should familiarize themselves with local regulations governing e-bike usage and ensure compliance to enjoy the benefits of e-biking while maintaining a safe and responsible approach.

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