How fast are e-bikes, really?

Long story short, e-bikes can go as fast as you can pedal them. In general, an e-bike with pedal assist can go 20-28 miles per hour (or up to 45 kilometers per hour).

However, there are several factors that play a role in exactly how fast you can (and should) go on an ebike. Those factors include the:

  • e-bike class
  • laws in the state that govern e-bike speed
  • e-bike battery type.
car odometer, 0 to 260 kilometers per hour range

Believe it or not, e-bikes are not as fast as cars.

E-bike classes

There are several classes of e-bikes, and each of them has different top speeds. The most common classes of e-bikes include:

Class 1 e-bike

A class 1 e-bike is an electric bike that’s pedal assist only. It doesn’t have a throttle, and tops out at around 18-20 miles per hour.

A pedal-assist e-bike has a drive system that only turns on once the rider starts pedaling. Once someone starts peddling, the maximum speed is going to be about 20 mph. These bikes are allowed on bike lanes, bike paths, as well as on the road.

Class 2 e-bike

A class 2 e-bike has a throttle and it has a top speed of around 20 mph. Its throttle is usually a button or a twisting grip. The bike will accelerate without the rider having to peddle at all.

In some cases, class 2 e-bikes have a pedal-assist feature that allows riders to reach 28 miles per hour. A class 2 e-bike is allowed in most places where a regular bike can go.

Class 3 e-bike

A class 3 e-bike is a pedal-assist bike only. It tops off at around 30 mph.

Because of its higher power, class 3 e-bikes are often restricted from accessing certain bike trails and paths. In some cases, class 3 e-bikes also feature a throttle. However, this isn’t universal.

As the industry continues to grow and evolve, more e-bike classes will likely be created. But for now, class 3 is at the top of its class in terms of speed.

man doing a wheelie on his ebike, going very fast

You can go fast on an e-bike, but you probably can’t go fast doing anything too fancy.

E-bike top speeds

The top speed of an e-bike is going to depend on a number of factors. These include the drive system, the throttle, and the pedal-assist feature.

The vast majority of e-bikes are going to top off at around 20 miles per hour (mph).

On the other hand, some class 3 bikes that have exceptional drive systems or throttles might end up reaching a top speed of 30 mph.

Even though there are some bikes that go faster than this (even into the range of 45 miles per hour), these bikes may be more challenging to control.

Laws regulating e-bike speeds

Every state has different rules and regulations surrounding ebikes that stem from safety concerns.

The rule and regulations that govern e-bike usage and speed will vary from state to state. When comparing laws in various jurisdictions, some of the most important factors to consider include:

  • How does the state define an electrical bicycle?
  • What is the maximum speed allowed when powered by a motor?
  • What is the maximum power permitted by the motor?
  • Is helmet usage mandatory for all e-bike riders?
  • Is a driver’s license required?
  • What is the minimum age required for someone to ride an e-bike?

Because the laws are not consistent from state to state, this can be confusing for ebike users. It’s critical for everyone to be familiar with the laws in their state before they decide to use an e-bike.

States have a maximum allowable speed of between 20 and 30 mph.  For example, the top e-bike speed in South Carolina is 20 mph but the top e-bike speed in Missouri is 30 mph.

The inconsistency can make it challenging for ebike users to keep the laws straight. As e-bikes become more common, the laws surrounding e-bike usage should become clearer as well.

The growth of the e-bike industry

e-bike motor image, British flag very noticeable

Your e-bike battery and motor have a big impact on how fast you can go on an ebike.

E-bikes are a great way for people to get from place to place quickly without having to spend money on gas while getting some exercise. They’re also incredibly efficient and safe for people comfortable riding them.

As e-bikes continue to grow in popularity, they’ll continue to get cheaper and better (and maybe even faster). Ready to purchase your first e-bike?