Average Cruising Speed on your e-bike

Coachman

New Member
Region
USA
How much faster is a Class 1 E-bike than an equivalent non-e-bike, and how much faster is a Class 3 e-bike than a Class 1 e-bike in the real world?

I have seen another thread on this forum asking what everyone's cruising speed is, but that did not answer my question, and so I pose it differently:

I do not own an e-bike yet. I am seriously considering getting one - hence this question.

I commute regularly on my acoustic bike (read non-electrically powered, traditional pedal bike). This is a heavy steel-frame fat bike with panniers and frame bag. It is a Surly Pugsley.

Here are my rides for 2021 thus far:
1626709555726.png

That brings my average speed on the Fat Pug to 13mph on the nose (1280mi / 98 hours).

My commute is on the longer side - 21mi each way. I find that it takes me too long to get to work and I would like to cut down on the time by riding an e-bike instead. However, I do not know whether to get a Class 1 (20 mph) or a Class 3 (28 mph). I need the forum community to help me through your experiences with your e-bikes, please? I don't think it will be too hard to sustain almost 20 mph on a Class1 e-bike, given the fairly flat routes I commute on. However, I would like to know how hard it is to sustain close to 28 mph on a Class 3 bike? Wind resistance increases exponentially, which means it will need a LOT more power to sustain 28 mph than 20 mph.

Can anyone tell me more about your experience? Please understand that I am not so much interested in short distance top speeds. Rather, I am keen to understand what average speeds one is able to sustain with an e-bike under real-world conditions. If anyone here has both a Class 1 and a Class 3 e-bike, I would be very interested in talking to you.
Thanks!
Coachman
 

RunForTheHills

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Wow! 42 miles round trip on an unpowered fat bike is hard core. You must have legs and lungs of steel. You will be faster on either a Class 1 or Class 2 bike. What is your route like? Is any of it on a MUP that doesn't allow Class 3 ebikes? How much of it is on road where it is safe to go over 20mph?
 

fooferdoggie

Well-Known Member
28 is hard so much wind resistance and noise. if you don't have a lot of stops maintaining 22 to 24 is going to really speed things up. I keep it around 22 that does not eat the battery up fast and I can get a decent workout. but the speed feels safe.
 

Coachman

New Member
Region
USA
Wow! 42 miles round trip on an unpowered fat bike is hard core. You must have legs and lungs of steel. You will be faster on either a Class 1 or Class 2 bike. What is your route like? Is any of it on a MUP that doesn't allow Class 3 ebikes? How much of it is on road where it is safe to go over 20mph?
I have a choice of routes.
I can do 60% of the commute on the American Tobacco Trail, which is a bike/horse/pedestrian trail, and I would be hesitant to go very fast (although, at 5:30am you don't have much traffic on the trail). It is only in the afternoons during holiday season that the trail becomes congested enough that one cannot sustain decent speeds. On my Fat Pug, I hardly ever need to back off.
Or I can do 100% of the commute on back roads and city streets. My routes could accommodate both Classes.
We have some hills, but they are not severe (hills are all relative, anyway).
 

Coachman

New Member
Region
USA
28 is hard so much wind resistance and noise. if you don't have a lot of stops maintaining 22 to 24 is going to really speed things up. I keep it around 22 that does not eat the battery up fast and I can get a decent workout. but the speed feels safe.
Thanks for your reply. You mention wind resistance, noise and safety putting you off riding at higher than your current 22 mph average. However, if you wanted, would you be able to sustain closer to 28 mph over a longer stretch, given no stops, little traffic, etc, or is the wind resistance just too hard to overcome for long periods of time?
When I'm not commuting on my bicycle, I commute on a motorcycle, so I guess I am more used to wind noise and dealing with traffic while on two wheels. I strongly suspect that I would be able to hover around the 20 mph mark on a Class 1 bike, but I don't know how hard it will be to hover around the 28 mph mark on a Class 3 bike.
 

fooferdoggie

Well-Known Member
Thanks for your reply. You mention wind resistance, noise and safety putting you off riding at higher than your current 22 mph average. However, if you wanted, would you be able to sustain closer to 28 mph over a longer stretch, given no stops, little traffic, etc, or is the wind resistance just too hard to overcome for long periods of time?
When I'm not commuting on my bicycle, I commute on a motorcycle, so I guess I am more used to wind noise and dealing with traffic while on two wheels. I strongly suspect that I would be able to hover around the 20 mph mark on a Class 1 bike, but I don't know how hard it will be to hover around the 28 mph mark on a Class 3 bike.
it would depend on the bike. I have a bosch performance speed the motor cuts off around 27. but to keep about 26 on turbo takes about 200 watts out of me to maintain that speed. so my heart rate would be about 14 or so
and I would burn 1500 or so calories. Plus I would only get at most 20 miles on a battery.
 

RunForTheHills

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I think the wind resistance also depends on how aerodynamic you are. If you get a drop handlebar bike that you can get into the aero position, you will be able to maintain a faster speed with less wind resistance. The higher wind resistance will also drop your battery range dramatically. Depending on your gearing, you will be able to contribute less with leg power at higher speeds as well also decreasing your battery range.
 

fooferdoggie

Well-Known Member
I think the wind resistance also depends on how aerodynamic you are. If you get a drop handlebar bike that you can get into the aero position, you will be able to maintain a faster speed with less wind resistance. The higher wind resistance will also drop your battery range dramatically. Depending on your gearing, you will be able to contribute less with leg power at higher speeds as well also decreasing your battery range.
right I am at about 60 percent angle so there is a lot of resistance but the noise in your ears could actually damage your hearing.
 

billmeek

Member
Region
USA
City
Summertown, TN
In large part it will depend on the bike and it's gearing. I have a Sondors MXS that with my out of shape body can sustain 27MPH with power assist level all the way up without great effort, but I have to pedal quick or else I'm just "ghost pedaling" with the motor doing all the work which will eat batteries. The MXS is a 14-28 freewheel and really needs a larger range for higher speed riding. I have an LX on order with a 12-34 tooth cassette that should be easier to maintain that same speed.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
@Coachman:
I don't use my e-bikes for commuting, only for health reasons. Let us assume neither of my e-bikes has a speed limiter, and my legs are my speed limiter, same as the necessity to conserve battery charge limits my speed.

Said the above, my average speed on e-bikes in 2021 has been same the 13 mph as yours. However:

1626714143920.png

  • I rode my bikes for 169 times and you rode your traditional bike for 57 times in 2021;
  • I have covered 3,649 miles and you've ridden for 1,280 mi;
  • I spent 280% saddle time compared to you.
Thoughts?
 
Last edited:

Taylor57

Well-Known Member
I think I probably average around 16-17 MPH on my bikes. Sport and CC. Lately I haven't been riding much, but when I do it's flat ground, bike paths, sidewalks and a few dirt trails. The CC will do 38 flat ground throttle only, but I have only done that once or twice on a desolate straight stretch of bike path...
 

Coachman

New Member
Region
USA
@Coachman:
I don't use my e-bikes for commuting, only for health reasons. Let us assume neither of my e-bikes has a speed limiter, and my legs are my speed limiter, same as the necessity to conserve battery charge limits my speed.

Said the above, my average speed on e-bikes in 2021 has been same the 13 mph as yours. However:

View attachment 93719
  • I rode my bikes for 169 times and you rode your traditional bike for 57 times in 2021;
  • I have covered 3,649 miles and you've ridden for 1,280 mi;
  • I spent 280% saddle time compared to you.
Thoughts?
Hey Stefan
I would absolutely LOVE to be able to ride as often as you do! Very jealous! However, my time to ride is limited - work, family, etc.
I used to commute to work 4-5days per week, but we moved further away from work last year, which has increased my commuting distance. I can now sustain only about 1-3 commutes per week, and again, the main constraint is time. Currently I need at least 90 minutes to ride to work or home (heavy traffic days and 95+ degrees F (35+C) pushes 100 min). That is more than 3 hours on the bike per day. Not only does it get a bit much by Friday, but I also struggle to fit all the riding into my schedule - leave home by 05h30 and get home by 18h45... If I could average more than 20 mph on my commute, I would win back a whole hour in the day. That is my goal with an e-bike. Yes, I might also be able to ride to work more days per week too, which would increase the volume of my riding, but my main goal is to save time (and still be priviliged enough to ride my bike to work and back 😊).
 

RunForTheHills

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Well, if you want to average > 20mph then your best choice is a class 3 ebike. With a class 1, you will not be using the motor much at all. Honestly, I believe you are probably fit enough to be able to average close to 20 mph on a non-electric road bike with dropbars if you can average 13 mph on a fat bike.

I am not sure what Stefan's point was and English is not his first language. However, Stefan has a lot of experience with very long distance rides on ebikes and can give good advice for extending the range of your battery.
 

john peck

Well-Known Member
How much faster is a Class 1 E-bike than an equivalent non-e-bike, and how much faster is a Class 3 e-bike than a Class 1 e-bike in the real world?

I have seen another thread on this forum asking what everyone's cruising speed is, but that did not answer my question, and so I pose it differently:

I do not own an e-bike yet. I am seriously considering getting one - hence this question.

I commute regularly on my acoustic bike (read non-electrically powered, traditional pedal bike). This is a heavy steel-frame fat bike with panniers and frame bag. It is a Surly Pugsley.

Here are my rides for 2021 thus far:
View attachment 93697
That brings my average speed on the Fat Pug to 13mph on the nose (1280mi / 98 hours).

My commute is on the longer side - 21mi each way. I find that it takes me too long to get to work and I would like to cut down on the time by riding an e-bike instead. However, I do not know whether to get a Class 1 (20 mph) or a Class 3 (28 mph). I need the forum community to help me through your experiences with your e-bikes, please? I don't think it will be too hard to sustain almost 20 mph on a Class1 e-bike, given the fairly flat routes I commute on. However, I would like to know how hard it is to sustain close to 28 mph on a Class 3 bike? Wind resistance increases exponentially, which means it will need a LOT more power to sustain 28 mph than 20 mph.

Can anyone tell me more about your experience? Please understand that I am not so much interested in short distance top speeds. Rather, I am keen to understand what average speeds one is able to sustain with an e-bike under real-world conditions. If anyone here has both a Class 1 and a Class 3 e-bike, I would be very interested in talking to you.
Thanks!
Coachman
Get class 3; it covers all bases even if your average speed of 13 mph doesn´t change.( same as mine.)
 

john peck

Well-Known Member
@Coachman:
I don't use my e-bikes for commuting, only for health reasons. Let us assume neither of my e-bikes has a speed limiter, and my legs are my speed limiter, same as the necessity to conserve battery charge limits my speed.

Said the above, my average speed on e-bikes in 2021 has been same the 13 mph as yours. However:

View attachment 93719
  • I rode my bikes for 169 times and you rode your traditional bike for 57 times in 2021;
  • I have covered 3,649 miles and you've ridden for 1,280 mi;
  • I spent 280% saddle time compared to you.
Thoughts?
That´s cuz ebikes are more fun to ride:D
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Just like you would not floor your brother-in-laws car and leave it floored for your entire commute, the same goes with a bike that you like. As has been said, going along at 22-24 is nice on a bike. Why not convert the Surley. These are great bikes. Just pull the bottom bracket and install the mid-drive. For a 200-pound rider on a 2% grade, traveling 24Mph it takes 500 Watts of continual power. Bottom line: Get a class three.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Well, if you want to average > 20mph then your best choice is a class 3 ebike. With a class 1, you will not be using the motor much at all. Honestly, I believe you are probably fit enough to be able to average close to 20 mph on a non-electric road bike with dropbars if you can average 13 mph on a fat bike.

I am not sure what Stefan's point was and English is not his first language. However, Stefan has a lot of experience with very long distance rides on ebikes and can give good advice for extending the range of your battery.
My point is that "with an e-bike you ride more often, and cover bigger distances than on a traditional bike". The third factor is the higher speed (not my case!) High cruising speed is the outcome of the combined rider's leg power and of the battery charge consumption. Now, some figures to illustrate the point. Let me talk about a Class 3, mid-motor e-bike such as Vado 5.0, which is equipped with 600 Wh battery and weighs some 53 lb.

Approximately a year ago, I made a controlled ride in 100% Turbo mode. The distance covered was 26 miles. The net ride time was 1 h 28 minutes, and average speed was 18.2 mph. I can't remember very well but I feel there was not very much battery left post-ride.

Now, the OP might fare better because he is a fit person. Still, achieving high average speed is not that easy because of the air drag. (The power demand grows in the third power of relative rider/air speed).