Whether you want to feel the rush of the wind in your hair like you’re in a fighter jet or if you simply just want to get to work faster, there are several ways in which you can increase the speed of your electric bicycle.
Before we delve into the best methods to improve your speed, there are a few important notes to run through first.
You should keep in mind that laws will differ around the world and it is up to you to respect your local regulations. Make sure you know how fast electric bicycles can legally travel in your area so that you don’t find yourself on the wrong side of the law.
Although slightly obvious, travelling at faster speeds on electric bicycles will be inherently more dangerous. Kinetic energy will increase rapidly as the speed increases whilst your reaction time also decreases. Ensure you ride safely and responsibly at high speeds.
Lastly, it is important not to poke around with parts of your e-bike that you do not feel comfortable with.
Some of these tips will be something that everyone can do whilst the rest will be more technical and should only be attempted by those who have a good understanding of electrical components like motors, speed controllers and batteries.
Now that is out of the way, here are 7 top methods that will generate more speed out of your e-bike.
Stay charged up
A battery that is fully charged will have a higher voltage. The speed of a DC motor is entirely voltage dependent. Therefore, higher voltage means higher speed.
If you keep your battery at a higher state of charge, you will be able to travel faster.
As you need to stay fully charged, you will need to be charging more often, perhaps after every trip. A good solution for this is to purchase an inexpensive charger to keep at work or wherever you commute to during the day. This will allow you to stay charged for your return trip,
Swap to a higher voltage battery
As motor speed is voltage dependent, using a higher voltage battery is the quickest way to rapidly increase your speed. However, before you invest in an upgraded battery, you’ll need to check if your controller can handle the increased voltage. If you do not feel comfortable checking the voltage rating of your controller, then check with the manufacturer. Do not swap out your battery without checking – there is a risk that your controller could fry if it can’t handle the higher voltage.
Additionally, any battery meter you currently have will likely not read accurately anymore unless you swap it out for a new meter of appropriate voltage.
- Swap your motor
A further way to increase speed is to use a motor that has a higher RPM rating for your specific voltage. For hub motors, this is especially easy as they are often designed with multiple motor windings for different models.
You will simply need to source a motor that has a higher KV or RPM than your current motor. As an example, if you have a 48V e-bike that travels up to 20 mph, you can swap on this hub motor and reach speeds up to 30mph.
- Use smoother tires
Although knobby tires for mountain bikes have great grip, this can drastically reduce their speed.
By removing the knobbies and using smoother tires meant for street or hybrid use, you will improve the speed of your e-bike. These tires have less rolling resistance and can even add an extra 1-2mph in some cases.
The most popular of these tires are the Schwalbe Marathon or Marathon Plus.
- Pump up your tires
On the topic of tires, another way to reduce rolling resistance is to use higher tire pressure. Keeping your tires fully pumped up closer to their max pressure rating will help to prevent snake bite flats, but will also help boost your speed.
Despite this, the downside will be a harsher ride. You will feel each bump a bit more without soft, spongy tires to absorb road irregularities.
- Tune your brakes
If you have poorly tuned brakes, this will rob speed from your e-bike as it adds unnecessary friction from brake rub.
The solution would be to either tune the brakes yourself or visit your local bicycle shop and ask them to do it for you.
- Add a windshield
Although this sounds crazy, it actually works. Applying a windshield to your electric bike can have a big impact on speed. It can add up to 3mph to an already higher speed e-bike, though it won’t have as dramatic of an effect on lower speed e-bikes which are less impacted by drag.
The windshield can help to create more speed because it prevents your body from acting like a big sail. Instead, the air will gently curve round the windshield more efficiently.
A thought to leave you with is that with great speed comes great responsibility. Remember to obey traffic laws, wear a helmet and do not attempt to do anything on your e-bike that you don’t feel comfortable with or aren’t prepared to handle.
Although it can be great fun to go fast, sometimes it is nice to slow down and simply enjoy the ride.