E-bike speed is intentionally limited to keep riders and those around them safe. Many e-bikes are capped at 20 mph, while others have a 28 mph limit.
Most electric bikes aren’t optimized for speed or efficiency, so pedaling at speeds higher than the motor’s cutoff point usually requires considerable effort, which can be frustrating.
However, this leaves room for owners to make modifications to increase speed. Likewise, through the settings on some models, you can quickly modify the 20 mph limit to 28 mph.
This article will explore seven easy ways to make your e-bike faster, some free and others requiring upgrading or buying new components.
Check Your Local E-Bike Regulations Before Proceeding
Before you modify your electric bike to make it go faster, check the e-bike laws in your area to ensure any modification you make doesn’t exceed the legal limit.
Even before that, we recommend checking out our list of the fastest electric bikes to see if any of the models meet your needs.
In the United States, there is a three-class system recognized by 39 of the 50 states. The max speed of an e-bike under this system is 28 mph, but some states haven’t implemented it and limit e-bikes to 20 mph.
Check out our ebike licensing and regulation guide for more information broken down state by state.
The three classes are as follows:
- Class 1: Pedal-assist only, 20 mph limit.
- Class 2: Pedal-assist and throttle, 20 mph limit.
- Class 3: Pedal-assist with 28 mph limit, optional throttle with 20 mph limit.
You cannot ride any electric bike that exceeds 28 mph on public roads and paths without a license and registration. However, you can use them on private property.
7 Easy Ways to Make Your E-Bike Go Faster
There are many ways to make an electric bike go faster, some of which involve increasing the top speed, and others involve reducing drag, weight, and friction to increase average rolling and climbing speeds without increasing the max speed.
Again, modifications that increase the max speed must be considered carefully. Doing so could make the e-bike illegal, void the manufacturer’s warranty, and make you more liable if an accident occurs.
1. Change the Speed Settings
The quickest and easiest way to increase the top speed of your electric bike is through the settings. Many e-bikes are shipped as Class 1 or 2 so that they are legal across the US but with the option to quickly increase the speed to 28 mph.
This setting is typically accessible through the display or the manufacturer’s companion app.
Again, ensure your state permits Class 3 e-bikes before increasing the top speed.
2. Choose High-Voltage Batteries
The voltage rating of an e-bike battery helps determine the top speed as it represents the maximum force of the flow of energy; higher voltage allows the motor to produce more power.
Almost all modern e-bikes have 36V, 48V, or 52V batteries.
All parts of an e-bike system must have matching voltage to work safely, including the controller (the e-bike’s brain), motor, and battery.
For example, putting 48V through a 36V motor will burn it out. For this reason, you cannot replace the battery of your e-bike with a higher-voltage one.
Instead, it’s necessary to replace the whole system to increase an e-bike’s voltage.
Choose a higher voltage system if you’re installing an electric bike conversion kit and want a high top speed.
3. Ride With a Charged Battery
A battery’s max voltage is only available when fully charged or close to it.
As the energy level decreases from usage, so does the peak voltage, meaning the bike may not reach the same max speed unless it already has underutilized voltage.
If you want to accelerate more quickly and ride faster, ensure you don’t let your e-bike battery drop too low.
Doing so has the added benefit of increasing the lifespan of your battery, as it loses performance faster if you regularly discharge below 20 or 30% and charge back up to 100%.
4. Lower Your Weight Load
The higher the weight of the rider, cargo, and bike, the more power is required to move at a given speed.
If the motor isn’t very powerful, it may be unable to overcome the weight to propel you at the bike’s max speed.
This effect is especially relevant when traveling uphill, as the force of gravity makes weight more of a limiting factor, multiplying the amount of power required.
The more weight you can take off your bike, the faster it should go, especially when climbing. You can try removing unnecessary accessories, carrying less cargo, or upgrading to lighter components.
You can also check out our list of the lightest electric bikes for a good headstart.
5. Use Appropriate Tires and Tire Pressure
Tire type and pressure greatly influence the rolling speed and power requirements.
By swapping your existing tires for something narrower and with less tread, you can increase how fast your bike travels at a given power output.
For example, a city bike with 2.1″ tires may be compatible with a narrower 1.75″ tire with a tread designed to maximize speed instead of balancing speed and traction.
In general, the narrower the tire, the faster it will roll. However, this doesn’t always apply to road bike tires; 28 mm tires usually roll faster than 25 mm.
Tire pressure is another easily modifiable factor affecting rolling speed. By increasing tire pressure, you reduce the size of the contact patch with the road and increase rolling speed, allowing the bike to go faster for longer.
Conversely, traction is higher with lower pressure, but the motor must generate more power to move at the same speed.
6. Improve Your Aerodynamics
Bike and rider aerodynamics play a massive role in speed. This is evident when you see cyclists ‘drafting’ by riding behind each other to reduce drag and power requirements.
The more aerodynamic the rider is, the less energy required to move at a given speed.
To reduce drag, assume a more bent-over position closer to a road bike. The more upright your torso is, the more wind you catch, and the slower the bike will go at a given power output.
The effect of aerodynamics isn’t as notable when climbing steep gradients. Instead, weight is much more consequential.
7. Trick the Limiter (Caution!)
There are a few sneaky ways to increase the speed of your e-bike by disabling the speed sensor or tricking it into measuring a speed lower than the actual speed.
We don’t recommend using any of the following methods as they will likely void your warranty, increase your liability in the event of an accident, and make the e-bike illegal and you vulnerable to prosecution.
Firstly, you can disable the limiter on some cheaper or older electric bikes by disconnecting the cable held within the controller.
An alternative method of tricking your e-bike is moving the speed sensor magnet from the wheel to the crank. The crank does fewer revolutions, making the sensor think you’re moving slower. Another way to achieve this is by changing the wheel size in the settings to a smaller one if your e-bike allows it.
Finally, you can install third-party devices such as the SPEEDi by NLS Components to increase the bike’s speed by 50%. This easy-to-install component doesn’t require messing with the motor or battery and doesn’t affect the bike’s metrics.
Conclusion: How to Make Your E-Bike Faster?
There are many ways to make an electric bike go faster, including increasing the max speed by tricking the limiter or reducing the amount of power needed to travel at high speeds, such as using narrower tires or assuming a more aerodynamic position.
Making your e-bike faster is tempting, especially if you have a model limited to 20 mph.
However, be aware that modifying the max speed can make the bike illegal, void the warranty, or increase liability in the event of a crash.
Likewise, it’s essential to check your local e-bike regulations before making any modification to avoid exceeding the legal limit.
Speed laws are in place to keep you and those around you safe when using the roads and other cycling infrastructure.