Before answering the question: how fast is an electric bike, here are some historical notes.
The Birth of the Bicycle
It was early in the 18th century when a steerable, two-wheeled contraption was made by a German baron named Karl von Drais. It was a wooden prototype that didn’t include brakes, pedals, or even a chain.
The riders pushed the fifty-pound frame off from the ground using their feet. The first edition of bicycles was known by various names such as the running machine, draisine, velocipede, and hobby-horse.
The new edition led to Drais being acknowledged widely as the father of the bicycle. The old version bikes continued to be improved with time by adding pedals and cranks by various inventors such as Pierre Michaux, Ernest Michaux, and Pierre Lallement.
By the beginning of the 1860s, these were the first machines to be named as bicycles and bone-shakers.
New models, with the over-sized front wheel, were introduced by inventors such as James Starley and Eugène Meyer to add stability to the bicycle.
They were dubbed ‘ordinaries’ or ‘penny-farthings,’ and were a sensation during the 1870s and 1880s. They helped bring bicycling into the mainstream.
In 1885 when James Starley’s nephew John Kemp Starley redesigned the penny-farthings and perfected a ‘safety bicycle design’, it featured a chain drive and equal-sized wheels. This was followed by tires and brakes, which established a basic template for the modern bicycle.
The average speed of draisine was found to be around 12 miles per hour. The speed was recorded when a German cyclist by the name Semmler covered a 6.2-mile course in 31 minutes and 30 seconds.
As draisine progressed to a penny-farthing, the average speed was recorded at 18 miles per hour. Bicycle, which was soon introduced with a lot of its features changed with pedals and chains added, recorded an average speed of around 30 miles per hour when a pro rode it on regular terrain.
There were several minor updates made to the bicycle, with the recent update being called an electric bike or an e-bike, which is gaining a lot of popularity nowadays. Would you like to know how fast an electric bike is?
Brief History of Electric Bikes
An electric bike or e-bike is a bicycle that was introduced to the world in the early 19th century. Though electric bikes were documented, it was in 1895 that Hosea W. Libbey of Boston invented the first electric bicycle.
The bicycle was propelled by a double electric motor that was later imitated and reinvented by Giant Lafree e-bikes in the 1990s. An electric bike is defined as a bicycle with an integrated electric motor that is used for propulsion.
Many kinds of electric bikes are available that have an engine to assist pedal power. All e-bikes can be pedaled by its rider, which keeps it at bay from an electric motorcycle.
Due to legal reasons as to what constitutes as a bicycle, a moped, and a motorcycle, the classification of electric bikes is complicated. Despite that, they are classified into three variants.
An electric bike is very similar to a regular bicycle and uses the same parts in its manufacture as well. The only difference is that an electric bike uses an electrical component to augment human power.
It is vital to note that electric power only enhances human power and not replace it. The increased power helps a rider to travel further without getting tired as it offers more speed. How fast is an electric bike is a question that everyone is curious to know the answer to!
How Fast is an Electric Bike?
How fast can an electric bike go is not an answer that can be offered in a word as it can be powered in three different ways.
The electric bike is powered by pedal only, assisted by pedal, and powered by electric where the throttle and the bike go like a moped. There are three classes of electric bikes.
- Class 1: It is equipped with a motor that offers assistance only when the rider is pedaling and ceases to assist when the speed reaches twenty miles per hour.
- Class 2: It is equipped with a throttle that propels that bike up to a speed of twenty miles per hour with the rider pedaling. It can achieve twenty miles per hour with the rider assisting and without using it the throttle.
- Class 3: It is a speed pedal-assisted electric bicycle that offers assistance only when the rider is pedaling and ceases to assist when the speed reaches twenty-eight miles per hour.
Video: E-Bike Classes Explained
The power and torque depend on how the rider prefers to ride the e-bike, the battery capacity, the weight and the strength of the rider, the topography, as well as the weather conditions.
Considering that the electric bike was tested for speed on a regular terrain without obstacles, such as headwind, the maximum speed of the e-bike is around 20 miles per hour on electric alone, 28 miles per hour when assisted, and sometimes more when pedaled.
Some varieties of electric bikes do more than 28 miles per hour when assisted as well, under favorable weather conditions and on favorable terrain. Irrespective of the speed offered by the electric bike, it is gaining a lot of popularity as it is found to be the most suitable ride to replace fossil-fuel-powered mopeds and bikes.
How fast can a 750-watt bike go?In the United States, the Consumer Product Safety Act defines a “low-speed electric bicycle” equipped with pedals with an engine of up to 750 W and a maximum speed of 20 MPH (32 km/h).Do I need a driver’s license for an electric bike?No, a driving license is not required. However, cyclists under the age of 18 must wear an approved helmet or all cyclists who use a Class 3 electric bike.Are electric bikes good uphill?In general, to climb any hill, you must have a bike of at least 750W. You should expect to climb hills with a slope of up to 15% without problems.Do electric bikes go without pedaling?Of course! Aside from PAS (Pedal-Assist) e-bikes, electric bikes equipped with an accelerator are commonly known as “twist-and-go” electric bikes, and they don’t require pedaling.Can ebikes be used in the rain?Yes. Electric bikes are waterproof because the components are sealed and designed to be used even when it rains heavily. However, it is not recommended to immerse them underwater.
Since the early 18th century, when the prototype of a bicycle was introduced, we have seen several changes and additions to a bicycle from a push-powered to pedal-powered and battery-assisted.
Considering the change from the prototype to the latest bicycle variant, speed is one thing that has always been tested and appreciated but never remained constant.
How fast can a bicycle go? While the draisine had an average speed of 12 miles or approximately 20 kilometers an hour, the penny-farthing recorded a speed of 18 miles or 29 kilometers per hour.
If you consider all the electric bike variants to be one, the average speed that it offers is around 24 miles per hour. To answer the question ‘how fast is an electric bike?’ it would be ideal to say that a class-3 electric bike can ride at a speed of twenty-eight miles or forty-five kilometer an hour.