Bike riders come in all different shapes and sizes, as well as speed and comfort levels. The same could be said of bicycles themselves, both electric and non-electric. After all, you could take any old bike down a very steep hill, and end up going very fast.
But, let’s say you’re not going down a hill, and you’re not even pumping your legs on the pedals. Then, how fast can an electric bicycle go?
What The Law Says
In the United States, the Consumer Product Safety Act defines a "low speed electric bicycle" as having fully operable / usable pedals, a motor of 750 watts or fewer, and a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour, or 32 kilometers per hour.
This means that, if your e-bike complies with those speeds and requirements, you can generally ride it anywhere you can ride an old fashioned bicycle: streets, bike trails, and even sidewalks in certain jurisdictions.
But if you’re the type of bike rider that wants to go even faster than 20 mph, you may be in luck. While we always recommend that you ride as safely as possible, experienced riders will find a few great opportunities to go even faster.
Super-charged electric bikes, like the EVELO Aries or Aurora, with available 500 watt motor, have an “off-road only” mode. When you activate this, your bike can reach speeds of 25 miles per hour, or even faster if you help pedal.
However, this is only to be used in appropriate, outdoor terrain areas. This will vary incredibly depending on each park, preserve, or grounds, so make sure to consult the locals before speeding away at 25 mph.
We’ve heard of other riders and brands modifying their bikes to offer up to 40 miles per hour of electric power, but we have to recommend never to do that, as it is unsafe and potentially illegal.
Watch Your Battery Drain
Logically, the faster you go, the more energy you’re going to use. That means that if you’re cruising along at top speed, and not pedaling at all, you’re going to drain your battery more quickly. While some “racing type” riders will keep a spare battery so they can keep chugging along, there are other great solutions. For example, if you buy an EVELO with an “extended-range” battery, you’ll get about 50% more power. In fact, when ridden conservatively, an upgraded battery is good for a whopping 60 miles of electrically assisted bike riding!
So remember, electric bikes can be fantastic for both those looking to ride at a comfortable pace, or someone who wants to blast their way forward as fast as possible. But no matter how you ride, always be mindful of your surroundings, and be sure to remember that safety comes first.