Many people have reservations about eBikes due to speed and safety concerns but, in reality, there’s not too much to worry about. Most eBikes around the world are limited to a maximum speed of 28mph (45kph) due to Government restrictions. But, if you really need to go quicker, there is no speed limit on manual pedalling…
So, how fast can eBikes go and what is the top speed of an eBike? Most eBikes in the UK are Class 1 and Class 2, meaning that they are limited to 15.5mph (25kph). However, governments around the world have agreed to a maximum speed limit of up to 28mph (45kph) for Class 3 eBikes. That being said, you are free to go as fast as you like when manually pedalling the bike!
Keep reading to learn more about how fast eBikes can go, and how powerful they are.
How Fast Can eBikes Go?
To be considered an eBike in the UK, bikes cannot exceed 250W, or 15.5 mph (25kph). Anything above this, as well as eBikes that can be propelled without pedalling, are legally treated as mopeds or motorcycles, where a licence, registration, tax, and insurance will be required.
|Watt||Speed (MPH)||Speed (KPH)||Licence Required?|
These speeds and power limits apply to the EU and Australia (specific laws vary slightly by state) but will vary for the rest of the world.
In the US, laws are slightly different. Electrically assisted pedal cycles (EAPC) can reach a top limit of 28mph (45kph), although most will be limited to 20mph (32kph). In Canada, however, eBikes cannot exceed 20mph (32kph) and have a maximum wattage of 500w. Both pedal assist, and throttle are allowed in Canada.
Is 250W Enough for an eBike?
A 250w eBike will reach a maximum speed of 20mph (32kph) on flat ground, although the legal maximum speed in the UK is 15.5mph (25kph). This type of eBike is, generally speaking, best for recreational purposes and local journeys, where you may need pedal assistance for certain parts of the journey. You will be able to use pedal assistance to go up hills on a 250w eBike, but a 500w eBike would be much more suited to this task (if you want to go to the effort of getting a licence and registration for it!).
When choosing an eBike, also consider your weight. A 250w eBike is usually better for lighter-weight people as less power will be required to propel the person along. Heavier-weight people may benefit from choosing a 500w eBike, even though this will require a licence, registration, tax, and insurance.
A 750w eBike is better suited for longer journeys, as well as steep and rough terrain. Although, most people will suffice with a 250w or 500w eBike for everyday journeys.
What is a Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3 eBike?
To assist with government compliance, eBikes are categorised into one of three categories in the UK. Class 1, Class 2, or Class 3. Note that Class 1 eBikes are the only type of eBikes that do not require a licence to operate in the UK. All other eBikes are generally considered as motor vehicles.
Class 1 eBikes have a top speed of 15.5mph (25kph) and are often referred to as electrically assisted pedal cycles (EAPC). This means that the bike only provides electrical assistance when the rider is pedaling, and that continuous power must not exceed 250w. Electrical assistance will be cut off when the top speed of 15.5mph (25kph) is reached.
Class 2 eBikes are throttle-assist and are capable of propelling the rider without any manual operation, although electrical assistance will be cut off at 20mph (32kph). Class 2 eBikes may have a maximum power of 500w and require a licence to operate.
Class 3 eBikes can reach a top speed of 28mph (45kph), with power up to 750w, in most cases. These are the fastest and most powerful type of eBikes and are generally considered more as a moped or motorcycle than a bicycle. As such, a licence and registration are required to operate a Class 3 eBike.
The motor will only assist when the rider is pedalling, however, and will cut off once a maximum speed of 28mph (45kph) is reached. Class 3 eBikes are often equipped with a speedometer to assist with speed control.
Do You Need a Licence for an Electric Bike UK?
eBikes that do not exceed 250w, and 15.5 mph (25 kph) are classed as regular bicycles and, as such, do not require a licence in the UK. However, riders must be at least 14 years of age to operate an eBike.
eBikes that exceed 250w and 15.5mph (25kph) will require a licence as they are legally classed as a moped or motorcycle. As well as this, they will also require registration, tax, and insurance.
Unisex 250w eBikes at Buy Britain
Buy Britain offers a unisex 250W eBike from Revolutionworks. The Whippet is a British-made lightweight class 1 eBike that is a joy to ride with top quality, quiet rear hub motor and is available in a range of colours to suit the whole family. Learn more about The Whippet on our website now, or get in touch with us for more information.