For an e-bike speed enthusiast it can be exciting just to think about the fastest e-bike in the market.
Although these bikes come preprogrammed with certain speed limits and to handle certain levels of stress, there are different ways to derestrict your battery-powered machine.
So, if you want to feel the wind rush through your hair as you whizz down the tarmac, use the following guide to make your e-bike go faster!
How Fast Can an Electric Bike Go?
You might be wondering, “why would anyone want to increase the speed of their e-bike; aren’t they already fast?” Well, there are guidelines pertaining to the maximum speed, as well as the total battery wattage you can have on your electric bike!
Generally speaking, most electric bikes in the market can achieve a maximum speed of 20mph, although some will go up to 28mph. You will even find models that surpass the 28mph barrier but these are restricted by legal guidelines.
For instance, in the U.S a regular e-bike is classified as such but has a maximum speed limit of 20mph and has a battery capacity that is 750 watts or less.
Bikes that meet the above criteria are not categorized as motor vehicles despite having a motor propelling them. Luckily, most manufacturers are preconfiguring their bikes to meet these guidelines so that you can take your e-bike on the road..
The guidelines stated above are under federal law in the U.S meaning they apply to all the states. However, almost half of the states don’t comprehensively define what an electric bike is. So, if you buy an e-bike that can exceed 20mph, then you’re technically purchasing a motor vehicle.
Some e-bike makers also offer models that can hit a speed of 28mph. In some countries, you can use these on the road as long as you don’t get to that speed exclusively by the throttle. Instead, it is allowed if you use the pedal-assist!
How to Make Your E-bike Ride Faster
Most of the electric bikes in the market will typically come with a preprogrammed speed limit of 20mph. The motor assist automatically cuts off when the bike reaches 20mph, leaving you to propel the bike by pedaling. However, you can surpass this limit by pedaling harder, which also means more strain on your leg muscles.
With that being said, there are several tips and tricks you can use to achieve higher speeds without the effort of pedaling. Consider the following to increase the speed limit of your electric bike:
The amount of load that your leg muscles and bike motor have to propel forward goes a long way to determine the top speed you can achieve. As such, you’ll have to shed some weight off your electric bike if you want to derestrict how fast it can go.
One way to do this is by getting rid of any unwanted attachments that may be on the bicycle. For instance, if you have a backpack or a rack on the bike, you can remove them. The same is true for mudguards that are fitted on the bike wheels.
You may as well switch to much thinner tires to reduce the bike weight and wear relatively light clothing when riding your bike.
Ensure the Tire Pressure is Appropriate
Your tire pressure should be at the optimal psi to limit the creation of drag, which only serves to slow you down. The recommended tire pressure is usually recorded on the side of the tires, so always check the pressure to ensure optimal performance.
However, take caution not to inflate the tires beyond the recommended level of pressure as this can easily reduce the traction of the tires and downplay your stability when riding on wet off-road terrains.
Use Smoother and Thinner Tires
Another great way to achieve high speeds is to use thinner tires. This is the reason you see pro cyclists on the Tour de France riding bicycles with very thin tires. The concept behind this is that slimmer tires reduce the amount of drag and thus the energy needed to thrust the bike forward.
So, if you own an e-bike with a wide set of tires, consider replacing them with thinner ones. Aside from riding on thinner tires, you can also opt for a smoother pair to make your bike move master. While deep treads on the tire increase your grip on the surface, they are also counterproductive to the higher speed you want to reach!
Examine the tires on your e-bike, and if you feel they are more suited for use on a mountain bike; replace them with smoother tires.
Crouch while Riding
Crouching helps to achieve a more streamlined riding stance, which serves to limit the amount of air resistance you face. When your body is streamlined, it can move faster in the face of headwinds and this also means that the bike won’t be dragged down.
You can witness this among professional athletes when racing one another in a velodrome. They normally crouch down to limit the amount of air resistance and the amount of effort needed to pedal against it.
The result is that the cyclists move faster than a person who may be riding in an upright posture. However, you want to reconsider adopting this trick if you have any prevailing back issues; you don’t want to aggravate the injury, do you?
Keep the Battery Cool
Allowing your battery to overheat can adversely affect its level of performance. As such, you always have to be mindful of the temperature of the battery every time you are riding. Leaving the battery exposed to direct sunlight can easily cause it to warm up. To prevent this, try finding an appropriate cover to shield it against the hot sun.
The reason I say "appropriate" is that some covers may block the battery from getting the air needed to keep it cool. This is especially true on those clear days when there isn’t too much sun. Ideally, look for a battery cover that provides enough shade but also allows for free airflow!
Another undesired factor you don’t want to expose your bike battery to is cold. Cold causes batteries to drain faster, which means that it won’t be performing at top capacity. The recommended temperature to store your battery is between 0 and 40 degrees Celsius.
Get Rid of the Limiter
If you’re good with gadgets, it is possible to trick the bike’s computer into thinking you are moving slower than you actually are! This can be done by indicating on the controller that you are riding on smaller tires. This is due to the fact that when larger and smaller wheels are rotating at the same RPM, the larger tire moves faster than its counterpart.
Hence, telling the computer that the tires are smaller will make it assume that the bike is moving at a slower pace. This ensures that the speed limiter won’t kick in even when you’re riding at higher speeds.
However, be mindful of the actual speed you’re moving at, especially when you consider that the LCD will be showing slower speeds. You don’t want to be busted by the authorities breaking the rules on the road!
Alternatively, you can pay to have the display removed altogether. You will find some technicians offering these kinds of services; take advantage of the same to ensure that you are not being limited anymore. The only downside is that by doing this, you run the risk of contravening the laws.
Upgrade the Motor
The motor could be another thing slowing you down. If you don’t have a powerful motor on your e-bike, you may upgrade to a more powerful unit; one with a higher KV rating for the recommended voltage, as well as a higher RPM rating.
This improves the top speed that the motor can deliver. However, you might want to remember that this will probably reduce the range of the bike if the battery remains the same!
Use a Higher Battery Voltage
Apart from upgrading the motor, you can also upgrade the battery to a higher voltage. This helps to boost the maximum speed you can achieve on your electric bike. Having said that, there is a risk of the motor burning out if you don’t update this as well; so, watch out for this!
To prevent this, consult the manufacturer or a professional technician to know whether the existing motor can accommodate the increased battery voltage.
Keep the Battery Charged
Always ensure the battery is at full capacity before taking the bike for a ride. This is because a lower charge tends to reduce the power output, causing the bike not to move as fast. It also implies that you won’t be able to stay on your bike for long.
To prevent this, give the battery enough time to recharge when it runs out of power so that you have enough juice to keep you going fast. For more info on this, see our e-bike batteries explained megapost.
Add a Windshield
As crazy as it may sound, adding a windshield can greatly affect the kind of speeds you can reach on your electric bike. The windshield helps to reduce air resistance and works wonders on higher-speed electric bicycles. According to research, it can add as much as 3 mph to the top speed of a bike, which means faster rides for you!
The windshield deflects air to the side and prevents your body from behaving like a sail. Luckily, the market already provides specially designed windshields for motorbikes that you can attach to the handlebar.
Hack the E-bike
With a little DIY magic, it’s possible to hack the bike’s computer and trick it into assuming the speed limit is lower. You can do this by locating the speed limiting wire jumper on the controller. This is typically a single wire that is linked to an electrical connector and can be removed to enable you to achieve higher speeds.
For countries that have the speed limit at 20mph, you can plug the wire to record a 15.5mph, so that the bike is not limited at the 20mph mark.
Why You May Not Want to Go Any Faster
Although it can sound thrilling to achieve these top speeds on your electric bike, you should be aware that such great speeds come with great responsibility. Failure to take proper care can cause a range of risks you could do without. Some of these include:
The faster you ride, the higher the risk to make an accident and injure yourself. Unfortunately, driving at top speeds undermines the amount of control you have over the ride. In case of any collisions, you want to make sure that you’re wearing a helmet and other protective gear to reduce the extent of the damage.
Trouble with the Law
Cycling above the legal speed limit can also put you on a direct collision with the authorities. This is especially true if you decide to ride your bike on public roads and spaces. Before doing this, check what the law of the land says to avoid breaking it.
Reduced Battery Life
Riding fast tends to push the performance of the battery, which means that wear and tear happen much faster and replacing the e-bike battery can be an expensive affair.
The same can be said about the motor since the additional strain on it will wear it down. If you don’t have the funds to replace these crucial components of your bike, then you might want to go slow on the speed idea to enjoy longer service from your electric bike.
More Strain on Your Muscles
Remember in order for you to achieve these high speeds, you won’t be getting help from the motor; your leg muscles bear all the brunt! This is to say you’ll have to push your pedaling to the limit, which may not be great for your muscles.
There is a risk of injuring them; not to mention that it takes away from the fun of electric biking. Why did you ditch your regular bike if this is what you wanted?
If you have been trying to push your electric bike to its limit, now you know what you can do to maximize the speed! However, take caution while doing this for the reasons explained above.
Wear enough protective gear, follow traffic rules, and watch out for the police. Riding fast can be so much fun’ but there is no shame in taking things slow and easy.