25km/h? 32? 45? 60? What speed do you *actually* want on your e-bike?

Mass Deduction

Active Member
Most of my e-bikes have been class-3 (45 km/h, 28 mph). But I've also ridden many class 1 e-bikes (32km/h, 20 mph), and bikes limited to 25 km/h.

I wasn't very satisfied with 25 km/h (15.5 mph) for commuting. I can usually ride as fast or faster than that on a muscle bike, so it didn't add a lot to the experience for me.

32 km/h was a lot better, but still less than I preferred for commuting, or for many recreational rides. That's close to my normal cruising speed on a muscle bike.

So I migrated to class 3 bikes, not necessarily because I wanted the full 45 km/h, but because I wanted something more than 32.

I finally got a bike where I'm able to manipulate the top assisted speed, anywhere from 25-60 km/h, and I can set each level of assist separately. That's allowed me to play with a bunch of different top speeds each ride, to get a sense of what I really want. Crazy fast can be fun, but it reduces range so I've been trying to find the sweet spot between adrenaline and energy efficiency.

I've found that for me, I quite like:

- a 32 km/h (20 mph) mode to be legal for use on local multi-use trails, or when nursing a low battery home

- a 38 km/h (23.6 mph) mode for riding on roads

- a 60 km/h mode (37.3 mph) mode for riding on highways and private property.

I should note that this particular bike starts cutting out at the speed you set it to, but gradually reduces assist for the next 2 km/h. So for a mode set to 38 kmh/, it starts cutting out at that and is fully cut out by the time you hit 40 km/h (24.9 mph).

I intend to explore doing long-distance touring this spring in a 25 km/h assisted mode, to get really long range on a charge.

So my question to all of you is, what top speed do you all really want? Any of you with 25 of 32 km/h bikes that long for a little more? Anyone with a 45 km/h bike that would be content with a little less? If you could set each mode of assist independently, would you and (if so) what would you set each mode to?

So my question is, if your e-bike was tuneable, what would you tune it to? Would you tune each mode of assist to the same top speed, or would you create a selection of top assisted speeds for different places you ride?
 

Ebiker33

Member
I actually don't care about speed, 20 mph is plenty for me, I am more concerned about torque and distance.
Get me a bike that can carry 200lbs, climb 15% grade, on throttle only, at 20 mph.
Anybody own a Ebike that will do that?
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
48 kph or 30 mph. I mostly ride at 14 kph (9 mph) unpowered, but there are occasional trips where I am in a hurry to go a long way. More than 48 I'm afraid the ride would be too rough with no suspension and only 2.1" tires. After about 4.5 hours my hips and hands get tired of sitting, and the trip needs to be over before that.
I ride on streets & roads mostly. There are bike lanes sometimes but many elderly drivers tend to ride the very right of the pavement whatever the pavement markings say. Pedestrians are rare; I'll see one a mile or two from the shopping center sometimes.
Going to go on an expedition 2 days from now. 34 miles RT to view & possibly buy a crane. Putting the battery back on tomorrow since our weather is so mild this week. No, the crane won't fit in the pannier bag. Budgeting $$$ just to get it hauled to summer camp.
 
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Ken M

Well-Known Member
When you are using an ebike for transportation (not recreational riding around the neighborhood or on a mtn ebike) speed does matter because commuting time can be money. My first ebike would assist to 25mph (it was a Polaris Diesel and that was the legit cut-off point which made if faster than Class 1 and slower than Class 3 but they sold it as compliant to Class 1) and on my 13-18 mile commute I found myself wanting more speed on many of the long straight aways. Going downhill I could hit 32-35mph and I found that to be a comfortable speed with the nice Moto X 27.5 x 2.4 street tires I had on that bike.

I know there are plenty of people that read and write to this forum that will tell me it's not safe to suggest this but I think a good transportation ebike should assist to at least 50kph and maybe as high as 60kph. The issue is that at speeds over 45kph the aerodynamic drag really will consume a lot of battery power and rider contributions to sustaining those speeds will be minimal but nonetheless this is not rocket science.
 

CityExplorer

Active Member
I'm good if I can reach 40 km/h by throttle alone. I need that speed for when I'm on the main roads to be safe and travel the connector distances in a reasonable time and limit my time needed on regular roads.
 

Mass Deduction

Active Member
I'm good if I can reach 40 km/h by throttle alone. I need that speed for when I'm on the main roads to be safe and travel the connector distances in a reasonable time and limit my time needed on regular roads.
There are some moments, such as crossing a turn lane on a highway, where the faster I can go the safer I am. I have a 60 km/h mode that I mostly use in situations like that, when reducing the speed differential between me and the cars is safer for everyone concerned.
 

antboy

Active Member
I'm good if I can reach 40 km/h by throttle alone. I need that speed for when I'm on the main roads to be safe and travel the connector distances in a reasonable time and limit my time needed on regular roads.
This. :)

The vast majority of my usage via pedal assist well below the 32 KPH limit of class 2, but there have been a few times when I wanted upwards of the same 40 KPH to better match traffic on the roads, at least for short stretches.
 

Daggs

New Member
When you are using an ebike for transportation (not recreational riding around the neighborhood or on a mtn ebike) speed does matter because commuting time can be money. My first ebike would assist to 25mph (it was a Polaris Diesel and that was the legit cut-off point which made if faster than Class 1 and slower than Class 3 but they sold it as compliant to Class 1) and on my 13-18 mile commute I found myself wanting more speed on many of the long straight aways. Going downhill I could hit 32-35mph and I found that to be a comfortable speed with the nice Moto X 27.5 x 2.4 street tires I had on that bike.

I know there are plenty of people that read and write to this forum that will tell me it's not safe to suggest this but I think a good transportation ebike should assist to at least 50kph and maybe as high as 60kph. The issue is that at speeds over 45kph the aerodynamic drag really will consume a lot of battery power and rider contributions to sustaining those speeds will be minimal but nonetheless this is not rocket science.
I reckon you’re right. At over 45kph you’ll need eye protection (goggles). Wind drag becomes a limiting factor even with high tyre pressure. However if you’re riding at 45kph with a tailwind and thus reduced wind resistance add the wind speed to your bike speed and you’ll get well above 55kph (20kph tailwind) for the same energy input. Simples.
Be careful though; it hurts when you hit the ground.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
I would be very happy if the European pedal-assistance speed limit were risen to 32 km/h. I actually do not need anything more. My Czech rear-hub-motor e-bike allows removing the restriction. Given the power of the motor, I rarely even reach 32 km/h on that bike and am happy, actually riding slower than that. With 25 km/h restriction the bike becomes sluggish and slow but already good battery range is further extended.

The major reason for which I bought Vado 5 was to avoid the severe European PAS restriction. As a consequence, I had to register and insure the bike and I am not allowed to use bike lanes with the speed bike. I understand that completely. Given all the facts, I would be happy with a "regular" e-bike if it had the Canadian restriction of 32 km/h.
 

christob

Well-Known Member
While I've got a class 3 / 28mph assist limit non-throttled ebike, I can't recall a time I felt I needed the assist to 28mph (other than for fun/testing it out) on one of my rides. For the kind of riding I do regularly -- a mix of paved multi-use trail leisure rides (often populated enough that anything above high teens speed is a nuisance) and my office commute 5 miles door to door on paved trail -- I seldom sustain speeds above 18-20 (the work commute today, average, was 12.4 including time at red light stops, with a peak speed, during a small descent, of about 24mph) and I'm seldom out of the lowest assist level (1 of 5) any more.
Gravity-assisted, rolling down a decent hill I will hit the high 20's, but I'm feathering the brakes and not adding any pedaling during those descents.
I do appreciate having all that power in reserve for the rare times I'm in a traffic lane, or easing the occasional "big" uphill (my routes are not terribly hilly -- my office commute has an elevation gain of just 110 feet over the 5 miles; a good part of that comes from climbing up after using an underpass!) -- but sometimes I may not feel like doing all the hard hill work myself!
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
You don't need a class 3 to accelerate quickly, or to climb hills. You can do a great job at either without exceeding 20 mph.

I'm an old fart that rides for recreational purposes only. For safety reasons I refuse to ride in the same proximity as vehicles weighing 100 times as much as I do. I'm fine with a bike that offers arm stretching acceleration and good hill climbing ability even if it won't go over 15mph.....
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
If that question is for me, it's a custom '18 Rad City. Drive is a MAC 12t gear driven rear hub (huge torque monster with a 20mph top speed) and electronics are by KT with a 35a capacity (very similar to the performance kit Bolton sells for the Rad products).
 

Captain Slow

Active Member
MD I'm probably a lot like you in preferences. I find most of the time around 38 km/hr to 40 km/hr would suffice on my Juiced. I've been up to 55 km/hr. on it but the battery drains really fast at that speed. But I have pulled into traffic on Lougheed a few times due to the odd way they used to have the bike lanes and turning lanes and a few other issues. Those time I really appreciated being able to hit 50 km/hr. as the cars treated me like another vehicle. It was safer.

Now if I can get a Creo and maybe 2 range extenders on it, then it would be fun to be able to go 60 km/hr. as the position should be a lot more aero.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I would be very happy if the European pedal-assistance speed limit were risen to 32 km/h. I actually do not need anything more. My Czech rear-hub-motor e-bike allows removing the restriction. Given the power of the motor, I rarely even reach 32 km/h on that bike and am happy, actually riding slower than that. With 25 km/h restriction the bike becomes sluggish and slow but already good battery range is further extended.

The major reason for which I bought Vado 5 was to avoid the severe European PAS restriction. As a consequence, I had to register and insure the bike and I am not allowed to use bike lanes with the speed bike. I understand that completely. Given all the facts, I would be happy with a "regular" e-bike if it had the Canadian restriction of 32 km/h.
Canadians are never in a rush to get anywhere or do anything so I'm sure 32kph is fine for them. I just think that is too slow for a real transportation solution....why not walk if that's all the faster an ebike is legally allowed to assist to.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
why not walk if that's all the faster an ebike is legally allowed to assist to.
Why not to buy a light motorcycle.

Now if I can get a Creo and maybe 2 range extenders on it, then it would be fun to be able to go 60 km/hr. as the position should be a lot more aero.
Creo is a restricted e-bike, so you can get to 60 km/h only on a steep downhill ride.
 
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