I am excited to be able to help people get by with their ebike journey. Here at ebikewizard.com, I share my expertise and over a decade of experience riding, testing, and troubleshooting ebikes of all kinds.
Electric Bikes or as people commonly like to call it, E-bike is one of the most efficient forms of transportation on the planet today. But, like it’s said everything comes at a price, the efficiency and zero emission standard in an E-bike comes at a price of lower speed. We wouldn’t say its substantially low, but it is definitely low as opposed to a vehicle running on fossil fuels. In the US, each state has its own law and regulation governing the E-bikes and most laws have regulated the speed limits for E-bikes causing the manufacturers to limit their inbuilt speeds. The US laws allow an E-bike to be manufactured in a way that its speed output doesn’t exceed a speed limit of 28 MPH. While the legislator’s concern is the safety of the operator, a few underlying risks and disadvantages of low speeds need a special mention here. To begin with, the speed of 28 MPH can be too slow when sharing a lane with other vehicles, posing a risk to drivers/riders. Additionally, a higher speed limit may encourage more people to ride their bikes for longer distances or as part of their work commute. This could result in a greater uptake of electric bikes and contribute to traffic congestion reduction while also promoting healthier, more active lifestyles in the community. These two reasons come to our mind, and we believe there must more be more in yours too ultimately leading to the golden question, How can we make our E-bikes faster, or Can we even make our E-bikes faster? While the answer to the latter question is a definite YES, the former we will try and answer throughout the course of this article but before that, we would like to clarify that we do not intend to solicit anything that goes against the spirit of laws applicable in your area. Your safety is your utmost priority followed by adherence to law and we strongly advice that do that in its letter and spirit.
Bear in mind that laws vary globally, and you are responsible for adhering to your local regulations. Ascertain the maximum speed that electric bicycles are legally permitted to travel in your area to avoid running afoul of the law. Additionally, note that travelling faster on an electric bicycle can be inherently riskier. Because kinetic energy increases exponentially with speed and reaction time decreases, it is critical to ride safely at higher speeds. Now when we have made our concerns clear, let’s begin with the tips that you could you make your E-bike faster. Some of these tips are simple things that everyone should be able to do but others are more technical and should be done only if you have a deep understanding of the components of the E-bike like a bike, battery and a motor. Don’t go around poking territories of your E-bike where you don’t find yourself equipped with. Trouble avoided, is trouble resolved.
Where is the speed coming from?
This article will be your self-help guide to self-engineer the speed for your E-bike and all guides begin with basics. Before we begin discussing how to speed up, it is important to discover where is the speed coming from and what are the components responsible. The three components that distinguish E-bikes from regular and conventional bikes namely, the motor, battery and control panel are the ones that speed up your E-bike.
Consider motor as the engine of your E-bike. It is the most important component and is responsible for providing motion. Three distinct types of motors used in electric bikes include the front and rear hubs and the mid-drive motors. The wattage of your motor indicates the amount of electrical power it can handle. Consider motor as the body of your E-bike.
If motor is the body of the E-bike, battery is the heart. Just like heart pumps blood into your body, the battery pumps energy into the motor which keeps the E-bike running. Just like a healthy heart leads to a healthy body, a well-maintained battery keeps the E-bike running well and smooth. This is also the first fundamental of speeding up your bike or if not speeding up maintaining a top speed. Quite naturally, a low maintained or an old battery will struggle to pump energy and therefore produce lesser power to amplify the motor as opposed to a new one.
The LCD is your electric bike’s brain. Additionally, it serves as the control panel. Apart from monitoring the E-bike’s performance, the LCD is in charge of extracting the necessary amount of power from the battery to the motor.
Now that you’ve identified the critical components that contribute to your bike’s speed, it’s time to learn how to increase the speed.
How to make your E-bike faster
No Limiter, No Limit
The majority of electric bikes come equipped with a speed limiter. These speed limiters restrict your electric bike’s top speed, ensuring that you do not exceed the legal speed limit. It is installed by the manufacturer for your safety and for your adherence to the law. A speed limiter can determine your speed by counting the revolutions your wheel makes within a predetermined period of time.
However, you can adjust the limiter’s settings to make it go faster. The first method is to adjust the wheel size via the control panel settings. If your wheels are 26 inches in diameter, you could adjust the limiter and reduce them to 18 inches. By adjusting it, you can fool the limiter into believing you’re travelling at a slower speed. You could also opt to remove the speed limiter from your motorcycle. The simplest way to do this is to locate the controller’s limiting wire. Typically, it is supplied as a single wire with a connector. By removing these, you unlock your bike’s speed potential and enable it to travel at a faster speed.
External Tuning Devices
A lot of E-bikers share the opinion that the speed of 28 MPH, as the top speed of an E-bike is slow. If you agree with this assessment, you can increase your speed by utilizing a tuning device. Although tuning your bike on many public roads is illegal, you can easily purchase a tuning kit online. Prepare to spend between $150 and $300 for pedal-assist speeds of up to 50km/h.
Stiffen your suspension
Stiffening the suspension may help you cycle faster, especially if you’re cycling on the road. However, if you’re cycling off-road, keep in mind that you’ll feel the bumps more, so it may not be worth it for you.
Keep your battery charged up, always. A battery that is fully charged has a higher voltage. The speed of a direct current motor (such as the one in your e-bike) is entirely dependent on the voltage applied. Thus, higher voltages result in increased speeds. By maintaining a higher state of charge on your battery, you will inherently travel faster. This means charging more frequently, perhaps after each trip, rather than stringing multiple trips together on a single charge. A simple way to accomplish this is to purchase a low-cost charger to keep at work or wherever you frequently commute during the day. This way, you can maintain a full charge for your return trip. But with that being said, you may also want to keep in mind that letting your battery sit at a full charge for prolonged periods of time (weeks or more) can be detrimental to its long term health.
One alternative to this is to swap your battery to a higher voltage battery. Motor speed depends upon voltage and using a higher voltage battery is the quickest and one of the most effective way to substantially increase your speed. Before you upgrade your battery, you would want to check that your controller can handle the increased voltage (although most can accept slight over-voltage but it always better to take precautions). The voltage rating of the controller can be checked from the controller, but if you are still unable to check the same, you can always check with your manufacturer or online. It is highly recommended to swap batteries after checking, since you run a constant risk of frying up your controller, if it can’t handle the higher voltage.
More air more speed
Increase the air pressure in your E-bike tires to reduce their rolling resistance. It will increase the diameter of the wheels, which means that each wheel rotation will take you a little bit further. This will increase the speed of your electric bike slightly. The disadvantage is that the ride will become rougher. You will be more aware of pavement cracks. Additionally, you will lose traction if your tires are overinflated.
Say no to Knobby
Knobby Tires for mountain E-bikes are phenomenal for grips and incredibly smooth out the bumps on road and smoothen your ride but they are terrible for speeds. Switch your knobby tires with a smoother tire used for street or hybrid cycling and you will notice the significant change in the speed capability of your E-bike. Smooth tires have less rolling resistance and can actually add an extra 1-2 MPH in some cases.
Tune your Brakes
Poor braking systems are bad for speeds. They have the ability to rob away the speed from your E-bike by unnecessary adding friction from brake hub ultimately reducing your speed. You can either learn to tune breaks yourself or even visit a local bicycle shop and ask them to tune it for you.
Windshields can do wonders
Installing a windshield on your electric bike can significantly increase its speed. We can safely say that it adds 3 mph (5 km/h) to an already fast E-bike, though the effect will be less dramatic on slower e-bikes that are less affected by drag. The windshield has such a significant effect because it prevents your body from acting as a large sail. Rather than that, it more efficiently curves the air around you.
You can purchase windshields designed for motorcycles that easily attach to Electric bicycle’s handlebar, or you can purchase windshields designed for scooters that are less expensive but require some modification to fit onto bicycle handlebars. You can find someone to modify them for you.
Some people might find windshields expensive and if you are unable to afford one, a less expensive option is to alter your riding posture. When you ride with a straight back, the air hits you directly in the face, increasing air resistance and slowing you down. By bending forward or crouching, you can cut through the air like a scythe and accelerate your movement but for longer riding trips it may not be the best idea.
Clean up and Lubricate
As previously stated, excess weight can significantly slow you down, and one thing that can significantly increase the weight of your bike is mud. Therefore, spending an hour or two cleaning all of the mud off your bike will significantly reduce its weight, increase its speed, and make it easier to accelerate to top speed.
While you’re at it, you should also lubricate the chain to allow it to run more freely. To sum up, The primary methods for increasing the speed of an electric bike are to ensure that the battery is fully charged, to use a higher voltage battery, to use a higher RPM motor, to reduce weight, to use thinner tires and to fully inflate them.
Now when we have made you aware of some of the widely used and DIY (most of them) tricks to increase the speed of your E-bike, it becomes our responsibility to tell you why you should NOT. Although you will get unmatched thrill with an increase in speed but the points below qualify as good reason not to, so please hear us out!
Down side of making your E-bike faster
Increased Chances of Injury
Cycling at a faster pace significantly increases your risk of injury. It is necessary to wear protective equipment in order to minimize the risk of injury in the event of an accident. Although it is true with all modes of commute even including the motor vehicles, the chances of injury can be more on Electric bike. This is also one the major reasons of concern of the legal enforcement and authorities due to which the legislators have barred the speed limit of E-bikes at 28 MPH.
Breaking the Law
There is a reason for the speed limiters on electric bikes. Limiters are used to ensure that an electric bicycle does not exceed the legal speed limit. In other words, increasing the speed of your bike may result in a violation of the law.
Reduced cycling range
The energy consumption of an Electric Bike battery is directly proportional to the pace of the bike. The faster you ride your e-bike, the more energy you consume. Your battery will drain more quickly, reducing its cycling range.
Faster Battery Drain
Cycling at a higher speed reduces the life of your battery and forces you to replace it more frequently. Additionally, the electric motor will be subjected to significant stress, causing it to wear out faster than the manufacturer’s specifications.
Higher energy consumption
If you have your limiter in place and wish to travel faster, you must power your e-bike similarly to a conventional bike. Pedaling your bike without pedal assistance has a number of disadvantages. On the one hand, you will quickly tire out due to muscle fatigue. On the other hand, you’ll burn more calories, which is beneficial in the long run.
With great speed comes greater responsibility. Always obey the traffic rules, wear protective gear including the helmet and try not to do anything on your E-bike that you don’t feel comfortable with or aren’t prepared to handle. Speed up, only as much as you can control because essentially control is the key. As long as you have your E-bike in control, there is not a lot you have to worry about. Your focus should be to enjoy the ride. It’s true that the speed thrills but the fastened setup is not reliable in the longer run and it is not even very good for your E-bike. If you increase the speed ability of your bike but driving within the limits, you are following the law but the moment you increase the speed (more than 28 MPH in the US) as a result of the increased ability of your E-bike, you end up breaking the law.
Today, a greater emphasis is placed on cleaner energy consumption than in the previous decade. The growing desire for low-carbon vehicles has increased public access to energy-efficient vehicles such as the e-bike. The tips above will help you get the most out of your bike. Nonetheless, your ‘Need for Speed’ should not prevent you from adhering to local traffic laws and riding safely. As enjoyable as it is to accelerate, sometimes it’s nice to simply slow down and enjoy the ride.
R E F E R E N C E S
- How to make an E-bike faster? 9 Ways you can do it, Accessible At: https://endlessrushoutdoors.com/how-to-make-an-ebike-faster/
- 10 tips to make your electric bicycle go faster, Accessible At: https://electrek.co/2018/08/01/make-your-electric-bicycle-go-faster/
- What’s the best way to increase speed on an Electric Bike?, Accessible At: https://rocketelectrics.com/electric-bike-speed-limiter-removal/
- 16 tips to make your electric bike go faster, Accessible At: https://electricbicycleplanet.com/21-tips-to-make-your-electric-bike-go-faster/