Speed and Range Balance on Ebikes

Electric bikes, also known as e-bikes, have gained popularity over the years as an eco-friendly mode of transportation. With their ability to provide assistance while pedaling, these bikes offer a convenient and efficient way to commute or explore the outdoors. One of the key factors that determine an electric bike's performance is its speed. In this article, we will delve into the factors that influence an electric bike's speed and explore ways to maximize its velocity.

how fast can an electric bike go

Understanding Electric Bike Speed

Before we delve into the intricacies of electric bike speed, it's essential to grasp the basics. Electric bikes can reach varying speeds, ranging from around 15 mph to 28 mph, depending on the model and specifications. Achieving these speeds involves a combination of factors, including the motor, battery, and external influences.

The Science Behind Electric Bike Speed

To comprehend electric bike speed, we must first understand the physics behind it. Electric bikes are equipped with a motor that assists the rider's pedaling effort. The motor's power, measured in watts, determines the speed at which the bike can travel. When the rider pedals, the motor amplifies their input, propelling the bike forward.

Factors Influencing the Speed of an Electric Bike

Several factors contribute to an electric bike's speed. First and foremost, the motor wattage plays a significant role. A higher wattage motor can generate more power, resulting in greater speed. Additionally, the weight of the rider, terrain, and wind resistance can impact the bike's velocity. Lighter riders and favorable terrain conditions allow for higher speeds, while uphill rides or strong headwinds might reduce the overall speed.

The Role of the Motor in Electric Bike Speed

The motor is a crucial component when it comes to determining how fast an electric bike can go. Let's explore the different types of electric bike motors and how motor wattage affects speed.

Different Types of Electric Bike Motors

There are various types of motors used in electric bikes, including hub motors and mid-drive motors. Hub motors are located in the wheel hub and provide direct power to the wheels. On the other hand, mid-drive motors are situated at the bike's central crankshaft and offer a more natural riding experience by amplifying the rider's pedaling effort.

How Motor Wattage Affects Speed

The motor's wattage directly influences an electric bike's speed capabilities. Higher wattage motors can produce more power, leading to increased speed. For example, a 500-watt motor is likely to propel the bike faster compared to a 250-watt motor. However, it's essential to consider legal regulations regarding motor wattage in your area, as some regions have limitations on the maximum wattage allowed. In Ontario, Canada, the legal limit is a 500 Watt motor. Stay away from purchasing motors with larger sizes, as that may lead you into legal trouble and liability. 

Legal Speed Limits for Electric Bikes

While electric bikes can offer exhilarating speeds, it's crucial to be aware of legal regulations surrounding their usage. Different countries have varying speed limits and requirements for electric bikes. Let's take a look at some speed regulations by country and understand the potential penalties for over-speeding.

Speed Regulations by Country

In the United States, electric bikes are restricted to a maximum speed of 20 mph when operated in electric-only mode. However, pedal-assist speeds can go beyond this limit. In Europe, electric bikes are classified into different categories, each with its own respective speed restrictions. Familiarizing yourself with the local laws and regulations ensures a safe and legal riding experience.

Penalties for Over-Speeding

Over-speeding on an electric bike can have legal consequences. Penalties differ depending on the jurisdiction but can include fines, points on your driving record, or even confiscation of the bike. Adhering to the speed limits not only keeps you within the boundaries of the law but also ensures the safety of yourself and others around you.

How Fast Can Movin’ Electric Bikes Go

At Movin’, we have equipped our e-bikes with 500-watt hub motors, which provide a perfect balance between cost and performance. This motor wattage also complies with the legal regulations in Ontario, Canada to give you utmost peace of mind. While our e-bikes can easily achieve cruising speeds, we have deliberately limited their top speed to 32km/h (or 20mph) in compliance with the e-bike speed regulations in Ontario, Canada.

average bike rider speed

How to Increase Your Electric Bike's Speed

If you are looking to enhance the speed of your electric bike, there are several options to consider. Let's explore how upgrading your electric bike for speed and following maintenance tips can optimize its performance.

Upgrading Your Electric Bike for Speed

To increase the speed of your electric bike, you can consider upgrading certain components. Upgrading to a higher wattage motor can give your bike a boost in speed, while lighter wheels or aerodynamic enhancements can reduce weight and wind resistance, respectively. However, it's important to ensure that any modifications comply with local laws and regulations.

Maintenance Tips for Optimal Speed

Regular maintenance is vital for keeping your electric bike running at its best. Maintaining proper tire pressure, regular chain lubrication, and periodic brake adjustments can optimize performance and speed. Additionally, regularly cleaning the bike and its components can prevent wear and tear, ensuring your electric bike maintains its desired speed for a longer duration.

As you can see, an electric bike's speed is influenced by various factors such as the motor, battery, and external conditions. Understanding the science behind electric bike speed and considering factors like motor wattage, battery capacity, and legal regulations can help you make informed decisions when choosing an electric bike. By following maintenance practices and exploring potential upgrades, you can maximize your electric bike's speed potential and enjoy a thrilling ride every time.

The Impact of Battery Life on Speed

Another crucial aspect that affects an electric bike's speed is its battery life. The battery capacity, measured in watt-hours (Wh), determines how much energy can be stored and utilized during a ride. Let's examine how battery capacity influences speed and explore tips for maximizing battery life for optimal speed.

How Battery Capacity Influences Speed

A higher battery capacity allows the electric bike to sustain assistance for a more extended period, resulting in consistent speed. Bikes with larger battery capacities can travel farther distances at higher speeds before needing a recharge. When choosing an electric bike, consider your intended usage and the distance you plan to cover to ensure the battery capacity aligns with your requirements.

Tips for Maximizing Battery Life for Speed

To maximize your electric bike's speed and overall battery life, there are several practices to keep in mind. Firstly, ensure you charge the battery fully before each ride. Regular maintenance, such as keeping the battery away from extreme temperatures and avoiding deep discharges, can also enhance its longevity. Additionally, maintaining an efficient pedal cadence while riding can minimize strain on the battery and improve overall speed.

How to Get the Maximum Range on an E-Bike

The range of an electric vehicle is affected not only by the battery's capacity but also by the driving style and even the weather.

The range of electric modes of transport depends even more on the driver's habits than that of gasoline-powered ones. For instance, the battery really dislikes "flooring it"—truth be told, it can only maintain maximum power for a few minutes, during which the charge quickly drops.

Overall, if your goal is maximum range, consider these rules:

Start off slowly (and push off with your foot a bit) Initially, the motor consumes the most electricity. Therefore, when starting, push off from the ground with your foot. Accelerate less abruptly. The electric motor also consumes noticeably more energy for rapid acceleration. This is easy to explain:
  • at the start, the motor needs to set all the elements of the bicycle in motion, which requires effort, just like accelerating any wheeled vehicle
  • but once moving, firstly, the principle of inertia comes into play, where an object rolling on a smooth surface will continue to do so until it encounters obstacles, and secondly, at peak speeds (depending on the mode you have chosen), the motor sometimes turns off if it cannot provide more speed than in the mode you've selected, thereby saving its charge

pressure tire bike

Reduce speed (to level 3, from 5)

The most effective way to save battery charge and increase range is to ride at low speeds in hybrid mode (motor + pedals). All kinds of friction in the components of the electric bicycle, rolling resistance, and aerodynamic drag quadratically depend on the speed of travel. If the speed doubles, the energy expenditure to overcome these resistances increases by four times. Sudden starts, high-speed riding, and abrupt braking irrationally use up the battery charge and significantly reduce the range.

Inflate the tires more (up to 3.5 atmospheres)

With increased tire pressure:
  • rolling resistance of the wheels decreases;
  • the contact patch of the tires with the road surface is reduced;
  • the roll-over improves;
  • the range of travel increases.
Even a slight difference of 0.5 atm. noticeably affects the roll and the distance of the range, reducing it by approximately 5 km. The tread pattern on the tires also matters. The finer it is, the further you will be able to go before the next battery recharge.

if the range allowed by the tire is indicated. A tightly inflated tire rolls easier.

Use regenerative brakes (if your bike has them).

Although it only provides a small saving, within the range of 2-3%, it allows for less frequent replacement of brake pads.

Avoid steep climbs where possible.

A climb always places a colossal load on the battery; if there's no possibility to go around it, but there is enough free space - move in a zigzag. This way, you will reduce the angle of the bike's ascent and help to preserve the battery's charge. And of course, don't forget about the pedals, they also generate additional charge for the battery, even if this is not directly stated in the bike's specifications.

Use only PAS mode

city bike toronto

The Pedal Assist System (PAS), which is widely used on electric bicycles in Europe, allows economical use of the battery charge and helps to prolong its life. When using the assistant system, the operation of the electric motor is not regulated by a throttle but depends on the pedaling.

A special sensor reacts to the pedaling and sends a control signal to the controller at the start of active pedaling. As a result, the motor-wheel is set in motion and makes pedaling easier. When the rider stops pedaling, the sensor sends a signal to the controller to stop the motor.

Advanced models of PAS systems have a torque sensor. It measures the intensity of pedaling and transmits the information to the controller. As a result, the motor-wheel's rotation speed changes depending on the intensity of pedaling. The Pedal Assist System can be used in conjunction with a throttle. In such a case, it acts as an additional stimulating tool for the motor's operation.

The battery does not like the cold

Air temperature is another factor that affects the range. When the battery cools down, its capacity decreases.

This knowledge will come in handy if you plan a trip in advance and can choose the day.

The battery also does not like sharp temperature changes, so if you brought the bike into a warm room, let it "cool down" for 1-2 hours so that all the condensation inside evaporates. Only then take it back outside.

Install an additional battery

If the standard battery cannot provide the desired range, you can install a second battery in addition to it. Most often, one battery is mounted on the luggage rack, and the second is in the frame triangle.

It is better to buy an e-bike with the possibility of installing a second battery; this guarantees the quality of their joint work and will be covered by warranty. But there are also kits for installing additional batteries, without any guarantees of operation. The decision is entirely up to you.

Reduce weight load

Even when assembling an electric bicycle, it is necessary to think about its configuration in order not to create excess weight. For this purpose, you should choose a light and reliable bicycle, a small reduction motor-wheel for its electrification, and a lithium-ion battery of the appropriate capacity. When choosing additional equipment and accessories, analyze their real necessity, so they do not turn out to be excess baggage. We at Movin Mobility have chosen the maximum balance between battery capacity and its weight. You will be able to see for yourself on the test drive.

Conclusion

There are many ways to increase the range of your electric bike. The main rule is to choose a goal:

  • If you are looking for extreme thrills and bought a bike for this purpose, then the only way to increase the range is an additional battery, but of course, this will also increase the weight.

  • If you need a more convenient/faster/more ecological way to get to work (or even use the bike for work), then do not "overdrive" it and the battery range will definitely be enough for the values specified in the specifications for the bike and even more (because the specifications provide an average value).

Do you ride an electric bike or electric scooter? What do you do to increase the range? Tell us when you come to visit. And a nice bonus awaits you. We are locating at 654 College street, Toronto. Have a blessed day!


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