No one really expects a 500W electric bike to hit top speeds. But times have changed. Top-of-the-line electric bikes can do 0–25mph in mere seconds.
While this would be impressive for any two-wheeler, it is a fantastic accomplishment for dirt e-bikes. The top speed of electric bikes in California depends on many factors. This includes the dirt bike’s drag coefficient, overall geometry, and terrain type. Here are the deets.
With so many 500W electric bikes, it’s hard to quantify how fast they can go. Some electric bikes go up to 25 mph; others are slower at 15mph. It’s a mixed bag.
Note that these top speeds are only achieved on flat, smooth terrain. Hilly terrain with rainy conditions will slow down the electric bike.
On average, however, 500W electric bikes can go as fast as 25mph. However, most electric bikes do not go above 25mph.
This is mostly by choice and not because of technical limitations. Manufacturers program the motor for a specific speed to comply with local laws.
Most electric bikes are designed to assist cyclists in achieving and sustaining high speeds. They also help carry goods and cargo. Most areas have a legal limit of 20mph.
This is because the average cyclist is found to sustain speeds of 20mph. Any faster, and your electric bike will be banished to obscure forest trails in state parks.
For most cyclists, the range is a bigger concern when purchasing an electric bike. A higher range often means cycling at lower average speeds.
The slower your electric bike travels, the more you can travel. The faster you are pushed by the motor, the shorter your range before running out of charge.
For the most part, doubling your speed will halve the range of the electric bike.
We recommend experimenting with your electric bike to see the max range at top speeds. This allows you to plan your trip correctly.
Want your electric bike to go faster? We recommend experimenting with e-bike tuning tools to de-restrict your electric bike.
Several tools let you remove the speed restriction. Make sure to opt for tuning kits that let you undo the tuning to restore the factory specifications of the e-bike.
This will be useful if you want to cycle legally on public roads again. An alternative is to take your electric bike to an expert for tuning.
You can do a few things to make your electric bike go faster.
Your battery produces more voltage when it is close to 100% charge. As the battery loses charge, the voltage drops off a cliff!
For perspective, a battery at 50% charge will produce 3.6 volts. The same battery will produce 4.2 volts at 100% charge.
Your electric bike will go faster if each cell produces 4.2 volts. Are you in a hurry and can’t recharge your electric bike before going out?
Try to top off the batteries to 70%. You don’t have to get to 100% charge – that’s not even recommended!
The speed of the motor depends on the voltage. Switching to a higher voltage battery is the quickest way of increasing your speed.
Make sure that your e-bike controller is designed to handle the high voltage. Most controllers can work with slightly high voltages.
The maximum voltage rating of your controller is indicated on the capacitors. But you can always confirm this with the manufacturer.
Don’t upgrade to a higher voltage battery without confirming this first! You could fry out the controller if it can’t manage the new battery.
Note that your existing battery meter will not provide accurate information anymore. Upgrade to a new battery meter that can work with the new battery.
Keep your battery cool to minimize voltage sag. This is when the voltage drops under a heavy load. We know that lower voltage results in lower speeds.
Make sure your battery is also getting more cooling air to prevent heating. Most batteries have adequate cooling. But some electric bikes keep the battery isolated from the surroundings.
This is done to protect the battery but can result in heat problems. An overheating battery could rob you of top speeds.
The best way of keeping the battery cool is to store the electric bike in the shade. Do not keep an electric bike under direct sunlight.
Chances are, your electric bike came with off-road tires. These tires provide extra rolling resistance because of their wide surfaces.
Fat tires are useful on off-road terrains. But they slow you down considerably when riding on the road. You can’t accelerate fast enough and will maintain a lower average speed.
It is recommended to swap out the off-road tires with road tires. These tires are designed to be optimal with roads and offer lower rolling resistance.
If you have knobby tires, you can swap them out with slick tires. Your electric bike will go faster because the motor won’t work against the tires.
You should also add more air to your electric bike tires. This is a useful tip if you cannot switch to road tires for some reason.
Adding more air to your tires will increase the diameter of the wheels. Each wheel rotation will increase your top speed and cover more distance.
The disadvantage of adding more air to your tires is that the ride will be rougher. You will feel each bump and crack on the road. Inflated tires will also lose their traction with the surface.
So you must adjust your riding style to acclimate to the new settings.
Most electric bikes have speed limiters controlled using an onboard computer. By adjusting the wheel size, it is possible to achieve higher speeds.
This is because the computer uses wheel size as a factor in calculating speeds. At smaller wheel sizes, the computer thinks you are slower than you are.
Another way of removing the speed limiter is to disconnect the limiter wire. Note that this will void your electric bike’s warranty.
The limiter wire is usually connected to the speed controller. It is different for every electric bike. Look up your electric bike to see if it comes with a speed limiter.
A mid-drive electric bike uses wheel speed sensors. Try moving the sensor to the crank instead of the wheel. The crank usually spins slower than the rear wheel.
This will increase your total speed. Note that your speedometer will not give reliable readings anymore.
Some electric bikes have a speed limiter programmed into the software. You can turn the settings off by going into the settings.
In some cases, you can update the software. The exact software update method depends on your electric bike in California.
Poorly optimized brakes can slow down your electric bike by adding more friction. You can tune the brakes yourself using cheap multi-tools for e-bikes.
An alternative method is to visit a local e-bike shop for brake tuning services. The latter is recommended because experts can do a better job of tuning your brakes safely.
This may sound unorthodox, but it works – according to physics! Adding a windshield can have a major impact on your top speed.
You could add as much as 3 to 5 mph to your e-bike. This may not have a dramatic impact on electric bikes that have a lower speed.
Drag only becomes a problem when your electric bikes achieve a certain speed. A windshield can come in handy if you go above 20mph.
Windshields work because they deflect the air from your body. Without a windshield, your body acts like a giant sail. Instead, a windshield deflects the air around you more efficiently.
You can use windshields that are meant for scooters and motorcycles. They can easily attach to your handlebars. Some windshields may require some modification to connect to the handlebars.
Go into crouching mode! This is easier and more practical than adding a windshield. Crouching achieves a similar effect as adding a windshield.
It makes you more aerodynamic and deflects air more efficiently. This will increase your top speed. Of course, this is not a very comfortable way of riding over great distances.
This is why adding a windshield may be more attractive to some cyclists.
It’s easy to think that suspensions only help you make smooth turns. But, in practice, the suspension plays a vital role in helping you tear through the tarmac.
Suspension is an essential ingredient in performance. This is because you want to maximize your tire’s traction on the road.
Take your electric bike to a local bike shop for suspension tuning.
The power-to-weight ratio is key to the acceleration of your electric bike. The less weight your motor has to move, the faster it will accelerate.
While tire traction and aerodynamics affect speed, an electric bike travels faster if it carries less weight. This is because of simple physics.
The simple tuning here is to make your e-bike as light as possible. But make sure to do this wisely. You may remove the front and rear racks and rear seats.
You should ideally service your electric bike daily. This will ensure your e-bike keeps performing at top speeds.
Take your e-bike to a reputable local bike shop at least once daily. These experts can check your e-bike for tire pressure and battery performance.
Even e-bikes that seem to be running fine may sometimes require minor adjustments to perform perfectly.
Learn How to Really Use Your Electric Bike
There is a difference between how a professional and a novice handle an electric bike. A lot of technique and nuance goes into e-bike handling.
Adding more years of experience under your belt will help you handle the e-bike battery. Ultimately, your e-bike will go faster if you can drive it efficiently.
Why You Should Not Increase Electric Bike Speed
Sometimes, the thrill of traveling at high speeds isn’t worth the risk. There are good reasons why your electric bike has a cap of 20mph. Let’s take a look at some of them below.
Cycling at a faster speed increases your chances of getting injured. We recommend putting on more protective gear if you want to travel at higher speeds.
Most states have laws for using electric bikes. Some outright restrict electric bikes on the road.
Moreover, you might be unable to use your e-bike if it travels at high speeds. Limiters are implemented to ensure your bike travels at the legal speed limit.
Circumventing this speed d limit could get you in trouble with the law.
Riding your electric bike at higher speeds will reduce the battery’s lifespan. This means you’ll have to replace the battery sooner than later. And an electric bike can cost a fortune!
Moreover, the motor will be under much stress and wear out faster. We recommend sticking to factory settings to maximize your bike’s lifespan.
It also goes without saying: more speed means less distance. A higher speed will drain your battery and reduce the total range you can cover.
A 500W electric dirt bike can go up to 25 mph. Some electric bikes may only reach top speeds of 15 mph. This is because the motor may not have a high enough power output.
Or perhaps you have loaded up the e-bike beyond its max capacity. It is also possible for the motor or battery to have been worn out from overuse. So how fast does your electric bike in California go?
And what techniques do you use to increase your top speed? Share your comments with us, and we will update this space with more information.
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My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars & Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.