Electric Bike & Speed e-Bike Rules / Regulations in the US. Electric bike speed limit

Electric Bike Speed e-Bike Rules / Regulations in the US

If you are an e-Bike rider who is living in or traveling to the United States, you may be wondering what the e-Bike laws look like over there.

From speed limits to maximum motor outputs and more, this article will address all the necessary details — including rules and regulations — that riders should know before they start e-Cycling in the U.S.

Are electric bikes legal in the U.S.?

The short answer is, yes! Electric bikes, or e-Bikes, are legal in the United States. The long answer, however, is that each state and region is subject to its own set of rules and regulations, which includes speed limit, maximum power output, what classifications of e-Bikes are allowed, road laws, age limit, and more.

  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) defines a low-speed electric bicycle as a two or three-wheeled vehicle that includes fully operable pedals, a top speed that when powered solely by the motor is under 20 mph (32 km/h), and an electric motor that produces less than750W. However, when it comes to the rules for e-Bikes on public roads, sidewalks, and pathways, these are classified under state jurisdictions and thus may vary across the board;
  • The CPSC also states that low-speed electric bicycles that meet the above requirements are exempt from being classified as motor vehicles;
  • E-Bikes that exceed these power and speed limits are regulated by the federal Department of Transportation (DOT) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as motor vehicles, and thus are subject to meeting additional safety and road requirements;
  • Though the Federal law governs the consumer product regulations for low-speed electric bicycles, the regulations of how these vehicles are used on public streets are subject to state vehicle codes and rules.

Essentially, this means that though there are rules surrounding what differentiates an e-Bike from a motorized vehicle (eg. the maximum power output of 750W and speed limit of 20 MPH), the federal laws do not dictate how each state and region’s laws govern the use of e-Bikes and how they are classified for public usage. For instance, some states have different speed limits and maximum power outputs.

Therefore, e-cyclists in the U.S. should be aware of their state’s rules before riding.

Difference in rules and regulations between pedal assist and throttle e-bikes

Many states in the U.S. abide by a three-tiered class system when it comes to e-Bikes, separating them into Class I, Class II, and Class III.

Class I e-Bikes, which are also known as pedelecs or pedal-assists, are limited to a top speed of 20 mph, with the electric motor only working when the rider is pedaling. Typically, Class I e-Bikes in the U.S. can be ridden on traditional bike paths, lanes, and anywhere else that a traditional bicycle is allowed.

Some pedelecs have a throttle included, which offers an extra power boost but are still only engaged when the rider is pedaling. This means that pedelec e-Bikes, even those with a throttle, cannot be ridden without human power.

Class II e-Bikes, which are also known as throttle e-Bikes, are similarly limited to a top speed of 20 mph. However, these e-Bikes include throttles that can propel the vehicle without the rider needing to pedal. That said, riders can still pedal alongside the throttle. In the U.S., Class II e-Bikes are allowed and can also typically be used on the same paths that traditional bicyclists can use.

Since federal law states that the top speed for a low-speed electric bicycle allows sole motor power of up to 20 mph, this means that Class II e-Bikes fit under the regulations of what is classified as a legal e-Bike.

Throttle can also be present on Class III e-Bikes, also known as speed e-Bikes, which will be discussed in the next section.

It is also important for riders to keep in mind that the maximum power output allowed on an e-Bike varies from state to state. These differences will be discussed later in the article.

Difference in rules and regulations between traditional and speed e-bikes

Class III e-Bikes, which are also known as speed e-Bikes, are electric bicycles that can go up to top speeds of 28 mph. Similar to Class I, Class III e-Bikes can either come with or without a throttle.

When it comes to speed e-Bikes, the road rules are where they differ most from traditional e-Bikes (eg. Class I and II). Since Class III e-Bikes have been deemed as too fast for off-road bike paths, speed e-Bikes are only allowed on road lanes or on-road bike lanes (also known as curb-to-curb infrastructure). However, they cannot be taken on bike paths that exist outside of the road, or on trails that are shared with pedestrians.

Before purchasing or using a Class III e-Bike, riders should also be sure to check whether speed e-Bikes are legal in their state and what the e-Bike speed limits are, as these rules can vary greatly. For instance, in California and Tennessee, Class III e-Bikes are banned. In New York, only Class I are considered electric bicycles, and anything else is considered a motorized scooter.

In various other states, throttles on Class III e-Bikes are allowed so long as they only go up to 20 mph on motor power alone, whereas pedal-assisted electric power can continue up to 28 mph. As well, be sure to check that your motor wattage does not exceed your state’s legal limit, as speed e-Bikes tend to be equipped with more powerful motors (eg. 750W-1000W).

Lastly, be aware that in other states, 20 mph is the maximum limit, and in this case, a rider will not benefit from the higher speeds of a Class III e-Bikes.

Ultimately, it is up to your state’s laws to determine whether you can ride a Class III e-Bike or not, so keep in mind that speed e-Bikes may or may not exceed your state’s speed and motor limit.

Difference in rules and regulations between traditional (human powered) and electric bikes

For most states, electric bicycles are classed as “Bicycles” under Vehicle Type and thus follow similar rules and regulations to traditional (human-powered) bicycles.

However, in states such as Alabama, Alaska, Kentucky, North Dakota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, South Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, e-Bikes are classified as motorized vehicles (eg. motorcycle, motor-assisted bicycle, moped, motorbike), which means that road rules and laws applied to your e-bike differ from traditional bike laws.

Difference by state

With 50 states in the U.S., each state has its own set of rules and regulations, some of which have already been referenced earlier in the article. Below, we have further grouped the different states under important categories like maximum speed limits, maximum power outputs, and minimum age requirements.

electric, bike, speed, e-bike

If you notice that your state isn’t present on any of these lists, be aware that some states have not yet specified a maximum power, speed, and/or minimum age limit. In this case, refer to federal guidelines and be sure to keep up to date with your state’s news on e-Bikes, as rules and regulations surrounding e-Bikes may change at any time.

Maximum Motor Power

  • 1000W: Georgia, Kansas, Oregon, Oklahoma, Vermont, Virginia
  • 750W: Arizona (less than 750W), Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware (less than 750W), Iowa (less than 750W), Idaho (less than 750W), Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming
  • 500W: Maryland, Montana
  • 50 cc: Alaska, Connecticut (less than 50cc), Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, West Virginia
  • 150 cc: Alabama

Some states measure motor power by Horsepower (HP).

  • 2 HP: Hawaii

Maximum Legal Speed Limit (miles per hour)

Maximum speed is determined by the speed of the e-Bike when powered solely by its motor.

  • 20 mph: Arizona, Arkansas (28 for Class III), California (28 for Class III), Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa (under 20), Maine (28 for Class III), Maryland, Michigan (28 for Class III), Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee (28 for Class III), Texas, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin, Wyoming (28 for Class III)
  • 25 mph: Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Virginia
  • 30 mph: Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, West Virginia, New York

Minimum Age Requirement

  • 14 years of age: Alabama, Alaska, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Tennessee (for Class III), Utah (or, 8 years old if accompanied by parent/guardian), Virginia (or, any age if under supervision of someone who is at least 18 years old)
  • 15 years of age: Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey
  • 16 years of age: Arkansas (for Class III), District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine (Class II and III), Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington (Class III), West Virginia

Helmet Requirements

While helmets are not legally required in every state, it is advised that riders should always wear a helmet for safety purposes. In most states, a traditional bicycle helmet is suitable, but in Alabama, New Jersey, and West Virginia, a motorcycle helmet is required.

Where can you ride an e-bike in the USA? Types of roads and paths

As stated earlier, road laws and rules very much depend on the state you are riding your e-Bike in. For the most part, however, Class I and II e-Bikes are allowed to be ridden on any path that a traditional bicycle is ridden, unless otherwise stated by state laws.

For the states where Class III bikes are allowed, they are prohibited from being ridden on off-road paths.

A few words in conclusion

Though it may take a bit of time and research to determine the exact e-Bike laws your state has, ultimately once finding out the road rules, e-Bike classification, speed limit, motor output, and age minimum, you will be good to go!

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Electric Bike Speed Limiter Removal: How to Do It Safely?

While removing your electric bike speed limiter isn’t always recommended, it can be done. This article introduces you to three ways of disabling the speed limiter so you can ride at higher speeds.

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If you own an electric bike, you already know how convenient they are for getting around! It gets you to places faster than you can pedal! It’s sustainable and versatile, and you can travel further with an e-bike compared to a conventional pedal bicycle. But riding an electric bike does come with some safety restrictions. In order to meet government road users’ regulations in most countries, an electrically-powered bicycle comes with a speed limiter. For some riders, this can be inhibiting, but there are electric bike speed limiter removal techniques you can use to disable this function. Keep reading if you want to find out how to remove your e-bike’s speed limiter, plus what to be aware of before disabling this feature.

Before disabling the speed limiter

One of the main benefits of owning an electric bike versus the traditional pedal bicycle is that it’s powered by a motor. This allows you to increase your average speed, getting you to your destination faster and easier. However, there are stringent safety regulations in place to prevent riders from traveling at a speed that would be considered unsafe on the roads.

For safety reasons, CPSC recommends a maximum speed of 20 MPH

Trusted Source What to Know about E-Bikes | League of American Bicyclists Electrically-assisted bicycles, also known as e-bikes, have become much more common in recent years. Advancements in battery technology and motors have made e-bikes lighter, cheaper, and more capable. Many people are finding e-bikes address their needs for everyday transportation, hauling cargo, and fun. At the League, we are glad to have more people biking more often. bikeleague.org

for a 750 watts-powered e-bike ridden by a rider weighing 170 pounds, using paved level surfaces. State laws regulate the use of e-bikes within traffic laws. In states such as New York, electric bike speed limits are set at 30 mph or less on highways

Trusted Source New York DMV | Electric scooters and bicycles and other unregistered vehicles Operating an electric scooter or bicycle with electric assistEffective April 2020 – the law allows people to operate bicycles with electric assist (e-bikes) on some streets and highways in New York State. Effective August 2, 2020 – the law allows people to operate electric scooters (e-scooters) and bicycles with electric assist (e-bikes) on some streets and highways in New York dmv.ny.gov

Different speed limits may apply when using e-bikes on small roads or sidewalks. While disabling the speed limiter may seem like a good idea if you want a thrilling ride, there are some disadvantages to removing this feature from your e-bike.

  • Breaking the law: The e-bike’s speed limiter plays a vital role in keeping the rider and other road users safe from accidents that could be caused by riding too fast. Electric bike speed limiters keep the rider within permissible limits and, if removed, could result in expensive fines because of breaking the law.
  • Default on the warranty: Removing the speed limiter impacts how the bike operates and may even damage it beyond repair. E-bike manufacturers won’t allow you to claim against the bicycle’s warranty if this happens.
  • Structural damage: Higher speeds could put pressure on the bike. This unnecessary stress affects the integrity of the e-bike’s structure since it’s not designed to go beyond a certain limit. Pushing your bike over its top speed can cause the motor to burn out faster, reducing the bicycle’s lifespan.

Now that you’re fully informed about the cons of disabling the speed limiter let’s take a look at the removal techniques you can use.

How to remove the speed limiter on an electric bike?

To meet regulations, electric bikes include a built-in speed limiter. It works by shutting off the e-bike’s motor automatically when it reaches its top speed. There are three ways to remove the speed limiter on your Shimano, Gocycle or any other electric bike. Taking note of the pros and cons of each method will help you decide which is the best way to remove your e-bike’s speed limiter.

Hands-on method

Not all electric bikes for adults and teens share the same features, and manufacturers go out of their way to customize the bicycle to stand out as a brand. Built-in mechanisms differ between e-bike brands, and this includes the speed limiter function. Using the hands-on method requires manipulating the speed data being fed by the bike’s built-in sensor to the central controller. Removing the rear wheel magnet and positioning it elsewhere on the e-bike allows you to control the speed data being picked up by the sensor. Ideally, it needs to be reaffixed to the pedal brackets. The sensor should also be re-positioned closer to and facing the magnet, upside down. This increases the distance between the two devices while reducing the signals to the sensor.

Relocating the magnet away from the wheel sends a message to the central controller that the bicycle is operating at a lower frequency. This will prompt the motor to still work at a higher speed. Replacing the original rear wheel magnet with a stronger neodymium magnet is another way of increasing the speed of your e-bike. The advantage of this method is that it can be done quickly by anyone, even if you’re not technically skilled! It causes minimal damage to the e-bike and can be easily reversed if you want to replace the magnet and sensor in their original spots. However, this method can’t be used on all types of e-bikes.

Sensor wiring method

This method entails disconnecting the wiring that connects the built-in sensor with the e-bike’s electrical system. Most e-bikers refrain from using this method as it’s more complicated than it sounds and is irreversible should they make a mistake. By cutting the wiring connecting the sensor to the bicycle’s central controller, you’re stopping y data being fed to the motor. It’s highly recommended to take your e-bike to a workshop that specializes in electric bicycles. A skilled technician will know which wire to cut without making a costly mistake! Using this method requires making a permanent alteration to the bike’s system, and as a result, your warranty will be revoked. You may have the best electric bike for taking the sweat out of riding but make sure you can control its higher speeds when not using the limiter.

Using a tool kit

Responding to complaints by e-bikers seeking higher speeds from their bikes, manufacturers are developing electric bike tool kits for manipulating the speed limiter. Using these tool kits requires having some technical knowledge and being willing to spend a bit of money as they don’t come cheap. The tool kits allow the cyclist to alter the speed data, similar to the hands-on method. There are two types available:

  • Type 1: Disassembles the electric bike’s circuit
  • Type 2: Attaches part of the kit to the sensor

The first tool kit type is normally included with the e-bike system and entails disassembling the electrical circuit. It’s important to remove the electric bike’s battery when using this tool. The second tool kit type is simpler to use, with no disassembling of the circuit required. Instead, the tool kit is attached directly to the bike’s sensor, disabling it as soon as you start riding.

FAQ

How do I remove the speed limit on Shimano STEPS?

The speed limit on Shimano STEPS e-bikes is set at 25kph (15.5 mph). To remove or increase it, you will need to make changes to the firmware settings of your e-bike’s drive unit. This can be done with a compatible PC/laptop and an ANT USB dongle. You will also need Shimano’s E-TUBE Project software to make these changes. Once the PC/laptop and ANT USB dongle have been connected to the drive unit, open the E-TUBE Project application. You can then make adjustments to your e-bike’s speed limit directly from the software. The E-TUBE Project app also allows you to customize other settings, such as maximum torque output, as well as save and upload ride data to Shimano’s Cloud service. Once you have made your adjustments, be sure to save the new settings before disconnecting the PC/laptop and ANT USB dongle from the drive unit. After that, your e-bike should be able to reach its new speed limit.

How to remove the speed limit on a GoCycle G4?

The GoCycle G4 does come with a speed limit of 25 km/h or 15 mph. One way to remove the speed limit on your GoCycle G4 is to adjust the speed settings through the GoCycle App. This requires a few steps, which can be found in the user manual.

Another way to remove the speed limit is to purchase a third-party controller module that will override the speed limit. These modules are available online and can be installed relatively easily. Just remember that tampering with the speed limit may void your warranty. Therefore, it is best to consult with a professional mechanic before attempting any modifications.

You can also increase the speed limit on a GoCycle G4 without tampering with the electric bike’s components. For that, you’ll need to increasing tire pressure, wheel size, and gearing ratios.

Final thoughts

It’s important to remember why speed limiters are installed in the first place! Removing the limitations comes with responsibility, and you need to be prepared to face the consequences of such action. However, if you’re still looking for more oomph from your riding experience, using these electric bike speed limiter removal tips will help you get moving faster. Depending on the type of electric bike you own, some of these methods can be simple. But, if you’re not technically confident, asking an e-bike expert to remove the speed limiter saves a lot of hassles. All you need to do is to FOCUS on controlling the speed of your powerful electric bike so everyone, including you, remains safe when you’re out riding on public roads.

References

Electrically-assisted bicycles, also known as e-bikes, have become much more common in recent years. Advancements in battery technology and motors have made e-bikes lighter, cheaper, and more capable. Many people are finding e-bikes address their needs for everyday transportation, hauling cargo, and fun. At the League, we are glad to have more people biking more often.

Operating an electric scooter or bicycle with electric assistEffective April 2020 – the law allows people to operate bicycles with electric assist (e-bikes) on some streets and highways in New York State. Effective August 2, 2020 – the law allows people to operate electric scooters (e-scooters) and bicycles with electric assist (e-bikes) on some streets and highways in New York

How Fast Is an E-Bike? The Truth Behind Electric Bike Speed

Electric bikes are known to be faster than regular bikes but how fast are they? This is the question we will be answering in this article. We’ll also discuss some factors that determine the speed of e-bikes.

  • How Fast Can E-Bikes Go?
  • What Determines the Speed of Electric Bike?
  • 1. Motor Power
  • 2. Battery Capacity
  • 3. Weight and Aerodynamics
  • 4. Speed Controller
  • 5. Rider’s Pedaling Effort
  • How to Make an E-Bike Faster?
  • Can I Chip My E-Bike?
  • E-Bike How Fast FAQs
  • How Much Faster is an Electric Bike Than Normal Bicycle?
  • How Fast Does a 500W E-Bike Go?
  • How Fast Does a 750W Electric Bike Go?
  • How Fast Can a 1000W E-Bike Go?
  • Can Electric Bikes Go 30 mph?
  • Can eBike Go 50 mph?

How Fast Can E-Bikes Go?

Technically, electric bikes can go as fast as the rider pedals but the motor assists up to a certain point.

E-bikes are divided into different classifications that tell you what kind of motors are fitted into them.

Class 1 and 2 electric bikes have motors that assist the rider to ride up to 20 miles per hour (32 km/h), while class 3 e-bikes have motors that can assist the rider up to 28 miles per hour (45 km/h).

This means that the electric motor supports the rider’s pedal-power within the e-bike’s supported speed limit, and riding becomes easier. For example, if the maximum speed of your e-bike is 28 mph, then the motor will only assist you below or at that speed and stop assisting you when you exceed 28mph.

This does not mean you can’t ride faster than this on your e-bike. Given the right conditions like smooth terrain and tailwind, you can exceed the maximum speed. You just have to pedal faster.

At this point though, the motor stops assisting, and maintaining that speed depends solely on the rider. It feels like riding a normal bicycle. Because of this, the rider will spend more energy pedaling than they would if they were riding within the speed limit.

But as soon as the speed falls below that certain limit, the motor immediately starts assisting you again.

What Determines the Speed of Electric Bike?

There are several factors that determine the speed of e-bikes. Here are the main ones:

Motor Power

Electric bikes use motors that are graded in Watts (W). This determines how fast they can go.

The stronger the motor, the faster the electric bike is.

For example, an e-bike fitted with a 500W motor is able to ride faster than an e-bike fitted with a 250W motor.

Battery Capacity

The speed of an e-bike is also determined by the voltage of its battery.

The higher the voltage, the faster the e-bike can go.

A rider can increase the speed of their e-bike by getting a battery with a higher voltage but it has to be within the limit of the motor’s controller.

Weight and Aerodynamics

The heavier the e-bike and rider, the slower the e-bike becomes when accelerating or going uphill. This is because the bike’s motor works harder to pull all that weight.

Aerodynamics is also an important factor. The faster you go, the more the wind resists you and produces drag. This pulls you back.

Speed Controller

A speed controller draws power from the e-bike’s battery to control the speed of the electric motor.

Fitting your e-bike with a higher battery voltage to get better speed may be a good idea, but speed controllers have the maximum battery voltage they can work with. Anything higher will cause overheating.

Rider’s Pedaling Effort

Just like on regular bikes, you can go as fast as you can on e-bikes if you pedal hard enough. However, since the electric motor stops assisting you at a point, maintaining that speed will depend on your pedaling effort.

It will require fitness and strength to achieve your preferred speed.

How to Make an E-Bike Faster?

Can I Chip My E-Bike?

Chipping means removing the speed assistance limit of an e-bike’s motor.

When you ride very fast on your e-bike, crossing its speed limits, the motor stops assisting your pedaling and more effort is required to keep up the pace.

However, if you chip your e-bike, you can ride as fast as you want without losing that assistance. This means even though you are riding above the speed limit of your motor, it won’t stop working or assisting your pedaling.

Naturally, electric motors are capable to go faster than their official speed limit. It stops assisting because the manufacturer puts a device on the e-bike that tells the motor when to stop. The device informs the electric motor that a rider has crossed its speed limit so it should stop assisting.

You can achieve this by simply making the device read false signals. The computer thinks you are riding at a slow or normal speed, even though you are riding above the speed limit. Since the electric motor isn’t notified of this, it keeps working.

Is Chipping My E-Bike Legal?

Chipping your e-bike is not legal.

Speed limits are country or state rules for e-bikes. When you chip your bike to exceed that limit, you are breaking the law. This can lead to severe consequences in case of accidents.

Cyclists aren’t required to have driver’s licenses, helmets, insurance, etc. However, once you chip your e-bike, it is no longer classified as a bicycle. It is now a moped or another form of motorcycle.

You can not ride it without a driver’s license, insurance, helmet, etc.

You have to follow your state rules governing mopeds and only ride it where accepted.

E-Bike How Fast FAQs

How Much Faster is an Electric Bike Than Normal Bicycle?

The average speed on normal bicycles is about 12 – 15 mph depending on your pedal power. However, You can achieve up to 28 mph on e-bikes with pedal assistance, depending on your country’s speed limit.

How Fast Does a 500W E-Bike Go?

The speed of a 500W e-bike varies based on terrain, load, and battery. On average,e however, a 500W E-bike can go about 20 mph.

How Fast Does a 750W Electric Bike Go?

The maximum speed a 750W e-bike can attain is 28 miles per hour, given the right conditions. If the conditions are not favorable, you can get an average of 20 mph on it.

How Fast Can a 1000W E-Bike Go?

Theoretically, 1000W E-bikes can go as fast as 35 mph with a minimum speed of 22 mph. 1000W bikes are however not allowed in most states in the US.

Can Electric Bikes Go 30 mph?

Electric bikes fitted with electric motors of at least 750W can go 30 mph. Coupled with a good quality battery, you can even get more than that.

Can eBike Go 50 mph?

E-bikes fitted with 2000W and above can go 50 mph easily. Some powerful e-bikes with 28 mph speed limits can also go 50 mph if they are chipped.

How fast is an electric bike?

A well-engineered electric bike has the potential to power you up to high speeds. But how fast it can actually travel isn’t usually determined by its physical capabilities.

The real question isn’t “how fast can an electric bike go”, but “how fast is it allowed to go”. Whereas it’s engineering that determines the former, it’s legal constraints that determine the latter and they vary globally.

In fact, in much of the world, the legal framework that determines to what speed the motor in an electric bike is allowed to provide support is similar. It’s only in the USA that things get more complicated. and faster.

Given that the law treats electric bikes in the same way as pedal-only bikes and they’re allowed to share cycling infrastructure, it makes sense that they are limited to similar speeds to normal bikes. you wouldn’t want someone riding along a cycle path at 40mph.

In the UK and Europe all electric bikes are pedelecs, meaning that you need to pedal them to activate the motor. To be legally operated, the motor’s output needs to be limited to 250 watts and the motor must cut out when the e-bike’s speed reaches 25km/h (15.5mph). Australian regulations are similar, but they add throttle-controlled bikes as a second e-bike category.

There’s nothing to stop you riding faster, it’s just that the motor won’t help. A fitter rider on one of the racier e-road bikes is likely to be travelling faster than this, at least on the flat, and it’s very easy to exceed this speed when travelling downhill.

You can buy e-bikes that have higher power output than this and can reach higher speeds. Called speed pedelecs, e-bikes from Switzerland’s Stromer are a good example. Stromer’s e-bikes’ motors have up to 970 watts power output and can reach speeds limited at 45km/h. But legally these are treated as mopeds in Europe and the UK. That means that the e-bike must have a registration plate, be taxed and insured and you must wear a more robust helmet than a standard electric bike helmet to ride it on the road.

US e-bike classes

In the US, e-bikes are treated rather differently, as explained in our full guide to e-bike classes. Briefly, Class 1 e-bikes are similar to the pedelec e-bikes you find in the rest of the world, except that they’re limited to 20mph maximum speed rather than 15.5mph. You have to pedal them for the motor to operate.

Class 2 e-bikes are also limited to 20mph maximum speed but have a throttle, so the motor can provide power without you needing to pedal.

Class 3 e-bikes are limited at 28mph maximum speed (that’s 45km/h, the same as speed pedelecs in Europe). They need to have a speedometer and may have a throttle, although that can only work up to 20mph (effectively making them compliant with Class 2 regs). You need to pedal to get assistance over 20mph.

It gets more complex, as these classes are mandated by federal law, but may be superseded by state law. What is legal to operate and where you can ride an e-bike varies by state.

Chipping an e-bike

With the e-bike’s software limiting its maximum assistance speed, it’s relatively easy to remove the block on travelling faster with motor assistance. Called chipping, we’ve more on its ramifications in our piece on can I chip my e-bike.

This may just be a question of altering the software to remove the speed limit. But note that it will move your e-bike from the pedelec to the speed pedelec class in Europe and the UK and change its class to Class 3 in the US.

That means that different regulations apply, so you’ll be into registration and mandatory insurance territory. In some places like France, chipping an e-bike is illegal and could land you in jail.

Don’t forget either that there may be safety issues, as an e-bike will not have been engineered for these higher speeds. The brakes might not be able to stop you effectively, for example.

Power and torque

Most pedelec e-bikes are limited to 250 watts of continuous power output. That’s a measure of the work done to propel you along. Peak power may be considerably more than this, sometimes up to 500 watts, but this is only delivered for short periods, such as when starting up. There may be a boost button on the handlebars to unleash the extra power.

Although power output is fairly consistent between e-bike motors, the amount of peak torque that the motor can provide varies considerably between models.

Torque measures the amount of turning power the motor delivers, so it’s important when accelerating, as it determines how fast you can pick up speed. It’s also significant when climbing hills, as it determines how steep a gradient you can climb.

So higher torque motors are usually found in cargo bikes, where there’s a large load to accelerate, and in mountain bikes where there are often steep gradients to climb. A typical high torque motor like the Bosch Performance Line CX and Shimano EP8 will have torque figures in the range of 70 to 90Nm.

electric, bike, speed, e-bike

In contrast, many city hybrid e-bikes have torque outputs of between 40 and 60Nm. The best road e-bikes often use the Fazua system with 50 or 60Nm of torque or the Mahle Ebikemotion rear hub motor with 40 or 55Nm torque, depending on model.

Battery output and range

E-bike battery capacity is measured in watt-hours, in other words, how many hours the battery can put out a specified number of watts. So since all e-bikes are limited to 250 watts continuous output, you’d think that a 250Wh battery should provide power for one hour, regardless of the motor’s torque output number.

In practice, a higher torque motor requires a higher capacity battery to get the same range as a lower torque motor. That’s because the high torque motor is giving you more assistance and so doing extra work and draining the battery quicker. It will also normally provide higher levels of assistance over a greater proportion of your ride, which again means more work done.

Whereas, for example, the Specialized Turbo Vado SL e-bike has 35Nm torque output and a 320Wh battery, the Turbo Vado has a 720Wh battery to power its 90Nm motor over a similar total range. The Turbo Vado SL requires you to do more work and does less itself, but in exchange drops the e-bike’s weight significantly.

So how fast and how far an e-bike can carry you is as much a function of what it’s permitted to do as what it’s capable of. Keeping speeds in check makes sense from a safety aspect, to ensure that pedal-powered cyclists are safe travelling alongside e-bike riders. If you want to go faster, you’re either going to have to pedal harder or mix it with the moped riders.

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Paul has been on two wheels since he was in his teens and he’s spent much of the time since writing about bikes and the associated tech. He’s a road cyclist at heart but his adventurous curiosity means Paul has been riding gravel since well before it was cool, adapting his cyclo-cross bike to ride all-day off-road epics and putting road kit to the ultimate test along the way.

How to Remove Speed Limiter on Electric Bike? – Detailed Guide

Electric bicycles normally come with a speed limiter. It is a helpful device to ensure that the bike does not accelerate more than the allowable speed. A speed limiter also guarantees safety while you are on highways or busy roads.

However, it can reduce the motor’s speed and limit it from reaching its maximum performance. So to fully enjoy the bicycle’s full speed capacity, many people would rather remove the speed limiter.

How to remove speed limiter on electric bike? Read this guide to find the step-by-step process:

Things You Need for This Tutorial

This may sound like a complicated process, but you only need some tech skills for electric bike speed limiter removal. If you prefer the easiest method, you will need to purchase an electric bike tool kit.

Methods of Removing Speed Limiter on Electric Bikes

How do you override the speed limit on an e-bike?

There are different ways to override the speed limiter on your bike. You can remove it by taking off the limiting wire, using a special e-bike tool kit, or handling it manually. Here in this guide, we will show you all the methods to modify your equipment:

Process 1: Removing the bicycle limiting wire

The first process is probably the easiest way to remove the speed limiter on your bike. If your electric bike has limiting wire installed, you just have to remove the e-bike speed limiter wire from your equipment and follow the instructions below:

  • You have to locate the limited wire installed on your bicycle. It is usually found at the controller and normally comes as a single wire.
  • Then, since it is attached to the connector, you can simply take it off.
  • After removing the wire, your bicycle now lacks the e bike speed limit, and you are free to enjoy its full speed.

Process 2: Derestricting bicycle with the use of manual tuning

This process to derestrict an electric bike is also called the By-Hand Method. You can do this manually by hand without any extra bike tool or tool kit. It is cheap but effective in removing the speed limiter on your bike.

Understand some technical terms before you move forward:

Working on the sensor

The sensor monitors and reads the behavior of your bike. It sends data to a computer unit that analyzes the input, and comes up with the proper output needed by your bike motor.

Modifying the sensor is one of the critical ways of taking off your speed limiter. It is usually found at the base of the bike frame, and it directly works with the magnet. The magnetic device works side by side with the sensor, too.

With the use of the magnetic device, you can make your bicycle faster. You can relocate the device away from the bicycle wheel. In this way, the controller will notice a lower frequency and signal that you are using the bicycle at a lower speed.

In turn, the controller will prompt the engine and the speed limiter to move at a faster pace. But this ebike speed limit hack should be done properly, following the guide below:

  • Locate the magnetic device and sensor on your bike. Remove them from their respective locations and find another place to re-position them.
  • The best place to relocate the magnet is the pedal bracket of your electric bike. Once you move the magnetic device, proceed to the sensor.
  • the sensor near the magnetic device. Make sure that the sensor is facing the magnet.
  • By this time, your bike is derestricted, and you will that the bike speeds up upon using it.

Process 3: Use of e-bike tools

Since plenty of bikers are complaining about speed limiters, manufacturers came up with e-bike kits to help cyclists manipulate the speed. Compared to the first two methods mentioned, this process can cause you money.

You need to buy an e-bike tool kit that will help you modify the speed rate of your bike and distort the speed data on the equipment. There are two kits available in the market:

You should know which tool kit to purchase. For instance, the tool kit on electric bike Bosch is one of the most commonly used kits available in the market today. It is compatible with most e-bike brands.

The first tool kit type does not require you to disassemble the circuit of your bike. The kit comes with switches that can easily be activated and deactivated by pressing the keypad’s lighting button

Using the type I tool, it is important that you remove the battery of the bike.

Compared to the first type, the second type of tuning kit is more convenient to use. You do not need to disassemble any circuit from your bike. You only need to attach a part of the kit to the sensor of the electric bike.

Once it is fully intact with the sensor, the device will already work its wonders. You have instantly removed the speed limiter on your bike, and you can now ride at the fastest speed.

If Type II did not work immediately, be reminded that some kits only get activated once you are riding on the bike and reach the maximum speed.

Conclusion

The speed limiter can be part of an electric bike’s safety features, but to adrenaline junkies who ride at top speed, it can be too restricting. Bikers who are used to enjoying the rush of cycling at maximum speed will want to know how to remove speed limiter on electric bike without causing any damage. You just need to follow the guide and enjoy your bike’s optimum speed.

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