Average Cruising Speed on your e-bike

Taylor57

Well-Known Member
I have a class 3 Frey CC and today when I looked down at my display, I was doing between 16-20 mph. I would say my average cruising speed is probably around 17 if I had to guess. I have had it throttle only up to 38 but have no desire to do it again unless I'm being chased by a coyote!
 
Region
USA
City
San Diego
I have a class 3 Frey CC and today when I looked down at my display, I was doing between 16-20 mph. I would say my average cruising speed is probably around 17 if I had to guess. I have had it throttle only up to 38 but have no desire to do it again unless I'm being chased by a coyote!
If it's only a coyote, you chase it back!
 

Taylor57

Well-Known Member

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hoggdoc

Member
Region
USA
Well, since I am a utility rider not a recreational rider, and I have about a 15.5 mile ride each way into the office, I'm at least in the ballpark of @Coachman 's use case. I'm also a lifelong commuter cyclist who had to switch to ebikes after cardiac problems forced the change on me (more accurately: ebikes gave cycling back to me after knocking me off the bike for what would have been a permanent loss).

I built my bikes then and after buying a manufactured ebike to start with, I went to learning the 'e' portion of 'ebike' and building them from the ground up again. As such, my answer is entirely "it depends" as you'll see. If you know enough to build your own and stock it with quality components, you can write your own script.

As a cyclist I approached an ebike not as a bicycle but as an entirely new system, with entirely new rules to learn. You already are going in the direction of this mindset acknowledging the difference between a 'work' and 'fun' bike. So try throwing out the rulebook and look at everything with fresh eyes. Some of the worst ebike advice you can get comes from cyclists who are stuck on being an expert cyclist and haven't realized an ebike is a new animal entirely.

So, my take on this says a utility-oriented ebike (versus a recreational ebike) is not a bicycle, but rather is a bicycle-shaped-object whose existence is fixed on a set goal: Transportation at speed while delivering exercise. You want to haul ass. But you don't want to ghost pedal (unless circumstances of the moment dictate you do want that, in which case the 'e' in 'ebike' lets that happen).

Here's my solution to flat, urban USA riding where the roads are flat, and on-street bike lanes are well-available:

View attachment 93736
That is one weird-looking fat bike. But it has several thousand street miles on it, pretty much 100% of it commuting. Don't focus on the 5" tires that are on it in that picture (an experiment in going tubeless at the time). When the weather is dry (I am in California so that always right now) I run 4" smooth semi slicks on it. But do note a few details:

1. Front chainring is BIG for an ebike. 50T. Likewise the smallest rear cog that I stay in is 11T. Small. And that rear cluster is not very tall at IIRC 30T. So mid-length cage on the SRAM derailleur. Doesn't matter cuz I use the 11T almost exclusively. You do this to be able to pedal the bike with effort at high speed. No ghost pedaling is even possible as that gearing exceeds the bike's max powered speed.

2. Battery is big as well. This is an XL-sized frame (a chromoly Chumba Ursa Major) but the battery fills that triangle bag and weighs in at 30ah (52v). Because of the big gears, I can work hard at this bike's max powered speed, which depending on wind is 28-34 mph. So I work on my ride, and I run at typically 28-30 mph. Riding like that, the big battery lets me ignore range anxiety and just ride like I feel like.

3. Yes those are twin hub motors. 2wd. Done properly, a 2wd bike accelerates effortlessly to your desired cruise, and since both motors are connected to a common PAS sensor and dual controllers, you effectively have 10 levels of assist (5 per axle). But since this bike's job is to go places efficiently, I almost always just run it at full blast and pedal along with it using pedal assist (not throttle).

4. Not visible but a huge deal for a utility rider, for a bike whose job is to transport first and foremost: cadence-based assist is a huge benefit once you make the mental leap on how to implement it as part of a total system involving gears, battery capacity etc. With 10 levels of assist and gearing you add yourself that exceeds the bike's ability to motor itself, you are in control of precisely how much effort you put into your chosen cadence. It is not a 'bicycle experience' that torque sensor sellers claim (I'm looking at this as a bicycle-shaped-object and my take is you are selling yourself short if you think of this tool as a bicycle and try to emulate one). What this is, is an exercise machine that moves down the road. A spinner I guess they call them. But it goes places. You increment your assist up and down in bits as your needs of the moment dictate. Or do like I do and run it full blast always. If I hit a headwind that kills my preferred cadence, I upshift one gear, maybe even two so effort remains at my chosen level, cadence stays optimized, the motors work a little harder ... and I slow down some. Hit yourself with a 20 mph steady Central Valley headwind and then all that happens to you is you decelerate to 15 mph. But no change in effort or cadence.

5. No suspension. Thats a big part of why the tires are fat-ish. Also fatties are plenty maneuverable on city streets where you are moving at speed and potholes exist aplenty. There is a very good reason for no suspension which you can read about in the build article I wrote on this bike.
5. And yes I have throttles. If I am late for work and I have a conference call scheduled in X minutes, and I need to get there fast. I can cheat and hammer down on the electrics. Throttle speed is a couple mph faster than pedal cruise so I am at the top end of the range vs. the bottom. Or I have a date that night after work and I am wanting to haul ass home and be ready for it sooner not later. Same deal... throttles are your friend on occasion.

The bike above has dual racks and a lot of space for panniers but that was back when I was using the bike for shopping/cargo duties. Since then I have built dedicated cargo bikes for that separate purpose.

So... obviously this is not a commercially-sold bike, and if you dig around in that series of AWD articles, you'll find I don't have a high opinion of the 2wd commercial bikes out there (except for Christini, they're still stuck at Version 1.0 and have all the mistakes I've already made and worked around still in play).

If I had to buy a bike off the shelf, I would buy a Sondors MXS, then replace its controller, display and battery with 60v upgrades that are readily available in kit form. At that point I'd have a bike with a motor that can handle that sort of power coming out of the gate, that can reportedly reach 40 mph no problem. I'd for sure set the controller to slow-start at the least and maybe limit it via the display to about 35. Past that point your hydraulic brakes and suspension will be outmatched.
This is a great post.
 

hoggdoc

Member
Region
USA
Here are three variations on my work commute (Fast/Slow/Hilly). ~20kms each way give or take the route that day. The fast run is on highway shoulder. The slow run is mixed-use city trails. The third option is my "Workout" route with lots of undulating hills and a couple of good climbs. Al three are very fast by acoustic standards, and unsustainable unless you are very fit. I find I mix in well with the serious road riders on the flats, but I leave them behind on any sort of incline or hill. But around town for shorter recreational rides, I seldom exceed 25km/h (15mph). Just my own experience...

View attachment 93781View attachment 93782View attachment 93783
What device are you using to track your rides and store the information?
 

hoggdoc

Member
Region
USA
The Jumbo Jim was and may still be the lightest fat, non-urban (not smoothie) tire on the market. I would not use these tires on high speed ... anything. They are great for reduced rolling resistance on a traditional analog fat bike, or on singletrack where speeds are never fast, anyway. But for sure I would not use the thinnest-skin tire on the market to roll fast and hard.

If you can fit it on, the Surly Edna is a great fast roller and it wears like iron. I put about 1000 miles on a set before I replaced them on my Big Fat Dummy. Thats a bike that got some very heavy use - literally. Its a cargo bike. For a budget tire, the Panaracer Fat B Nimble, Origin8 Tsunami, Arisun Big Fatty or Chaoyang Big Daddy (its all the same tire, made by Chaoyang) is another fast roller and good for many, many miles. Don't buy them on Amazon, which is a graveyard for seconds and irregulars.

Another one I haven't tried is the Maxxis fat Minion in 4.0. Being a Maxxis its going to be an awesome tire I would have no qualms going fast on.

Matt where do you suggest buying tires (fats 4")? I'm new to ebikes March this year and am very surprised the prices they are asking for fat tires. I have seen and bought motorcycle tires for less.
 

hoggdoc

Member
Region
USA
I'm new to ebike, and just bought this Sondors Fold XS a couple months ago. I switched out the seat for a Selle Royal Respiro. I can hit 25 mph in "unlimited" mode, but would like get to 30+ if possible (and not spending $$$ on a new controller, display, throttle, etc.). The 48T chain wheel is way too small combined with the 14Tx28T freewheel at "high" speeds. Beyond about 17 mph my legs are pedaling faster than an F1's crankshaft! I'd really like to install a 56T chain wheel if it won't hit the frame. Great discussion here! 👍
Your top speed is limited by the tire size, and winding of the motor as well as the voltage of the battery pack.

As for a change to 56 tooth front sprocket I feel that is way to big and you will regret that change when climbing hills. I suggest a 50 tooth from sprocket maximum or a freewheel change to 11-34 gear set.
 

theemartymac

Well-Known Member
What device are you using to track your rides and store the information?
Phone & apps primarily. I have a specialized Ambush helmet with the ANGI crash sensor, so the specialized app runs on most commutes. I have other helmets for lazy rides or winter use, so either the "Map My Ride" app, or my GPS device with Garmin Earthmate if I'm going out of cell service.
 

John from Connecticut

Well-Known Member
Get class 3; it covers all bases even if your average speed of 13 mph doesn´t change.( same as mine.)

I completely agree with John Peck. A Class 3 does cover all bases. My personal experience. I own two e-Bikes.
A Trek XM700 Stock Class 3 Commuter, I bought primarily for road riding which it excels at and some Rails to
Trails riding. Turns out I didn't feel secure road riding with the XM700 ( because of distracted/ don't care drivers )
Being a commuter, the XM700 a little twitchy for my likes. Thus...

I bought a Trek Powerfly 7 Class 1 e-MTB. I found the Class 1 limiting because many times I found myself wanting
to cruise at about 22-23 max, so I installed a Speedbox Dongle making my Class 1 a Class 3. Success !!!


My Powerfly7 is my all around go to bike. I love it. 'Tons' of torque yet fast enough for any of my needs.
I have no desire to push the bike speed limits and never will. If I had it to do all over again
I would have gone with just the PF7. I hope this is helpful.

Good luck,
John
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Matt where do you suggest buying tires (fats 4")? I'm new to ebikes March this year and am very surprised the prices they are asking for fat tires. I have seen and bought motorcycle tires for less.
Yes its going to be expensive. The lowest you can go if you get a good price is about $45. But $90+ is not uncommon. This is assuming, again, you are looking at a smoothie 4" tire for street riding. Recently I have bought tires @ bicyclebuys.com, where I have gotten good deals on some Vee tires. This outlet is an overstock chain. I also get my 5.05" Vee tubes there - which you should use all the way down to 4.0" tires.

Beyond that, I just look for deals and buy in advance, so I am never stuck. I always try to have at least one spare set for a bike available, but reality is by sitting and watching and pouncing on deals, I have much more than that and I have had to impose a buying moratorium on myself. Me and bike tires are like Imelda Marcos and shoes.

I don't buy on Amazon anymore. For a variety of reasons, Amazon's product distribution scheme (intermingling of inventory regardless of source) makes it a dumping ground for seconds and QC failures. I've had repeated issues with Amazon-bought tires and even though I use them for almost all of my online shopping... not for ebike tires.

You will find that tires that have dropped entirely off the face of the earth and appear to be dead products - only available at insane prices - will come back out of the blue. Thats just the nature of our current demand with our wretched supply chain thrown in. Stuff will come back. Then disappear again. Hence my advice to be on the lookout and buy in advance. Its the only way to go.

A quick search at bicyclebuys:


The best smooth roller street tire out there. Must be inflated to 20 psi first and work your way down from there until it self-steers, which it will do. But kept nice and firm it rolls forever. This is the 30 tpi ironclad. BUT if used on the front, your front tire may hold nails just long enough to throw them straight into this tire in back. To solve this I put an Arisun Big Smoothy on the front, which has a bit of tread on it instead of being slick-ish. Incidentally even though this tire is kind of a slick, it sticks to the pavement well, even in at-speed cornering. $90 is not a great price on this tire - look for its floor to be aroung $60 - but if you can't find it anywhere else I'd spend the money if you are after a street tire.

Vee Zigzags are $65 on this site. I've never used them but have wanted to try them out. The thin rubber in the channels worries me a little though.

These guys only want $32 for Big Smoothys. On sale. This is the kind of stuff you have to just google and sniff out. I am sure they will stick it to you on shipping but when you are starting at $32 you have room to eat some.


I think this is the best tire for a budget ride where you want some knobs for dirt roads and city parks, but also want to run on the street. I use the "4.9" version - its really a 4.3 - but the 4.0 is same tread pattern with the knobs more closely spaced. This tire is better known as the Chaoyang Big Daddy. Arisun is their EU/North American brand and you can find this exact tire relabeled (Origin8, Panaracer, Arisun and Mongoose as well as Chaoyang all come to mind). This tire is not sexy, and it is the best at nothing. But pretty good at everything.


Blow the budget and get the same fast-rolling behavior: Surly Edna. Mine have 1000 miles on them and no real signs of wear. Made by Innova. I have them set aside and they are going back on my Big Fat Dummy as soon as I get tired of the ultra fat tubeless Snowshoes I have on now.

 

PSm

New Member
Region
USA
Have had the Ride1UP Roadster for 3 months, and have already gotten 1300+ enjoyable miles, reached 44 mph downhill pedaling like mad to get up to 30+ mph and then in an aerodynamic tuck to reach max descent speed. I wouldn't trust folding bikes or other iffy brands, to go at that speed, but that's just me.