Whether you want to feel the wind in your hair like Tom Cruise racing an F-14 Tomcat on the track in Top Gun or just want to get to work faster, there are several ways to increase the speed of your electric bike.
Here, we’ll cover the top 10 methods for getting more speed out of your e-bike.
First, a few important notes to consider before getting started.
Keep in mind that laws differ around the world and it is up to you to follow your local regulations. Make sure you know what speed e-bikes are legally allowed to travel in your area so you don’t find yourself on the wrong side of the law.
Also note that traveling at faster speeds on e-bikes can be inherently more dangerous. Kinetic energy increases exponentially as speed increases while reaction time decreases, so be sure to ride safely at higher speeds.
Finally, don’t go digging into parts of your e-bike that you don’t feel comfortable with. Some of these tips are simple things anyone can do, while others are more technical and should only be tried by those with a deeper understanding of e-bike components like motors, batteries, and e-bikes. speed controllers. And don’t forget that some of them can certainly void your warranty, if your electric bike is equipped with them.
Ok, now that we have that out of the way…
Tip #1: Stay charged
A battery that is at a higher state of charge has a higher voltage. The speed of a DC motor (like the one in your e-bike) depends entirely on voltage. So higher voltages = higher speeds.
By keeping your battery at a higher state of charge, you will travel faster.
This means you’ll want to recharge more frequently, perhaps after every ride, instead of stringing together multiple rides with the same charge. A good way to do this is to get yourself an inexpensive charger to keep at work or wherever you go often during the day. This way you can stay charged for your trip home.
Remember that leaving your battery fully charged for long periods of time (weeks or more) can be detrimental to its long-term health.
Tip #2: Switch to a higher voltage battery
Since motor speed is voltage dependent, using a higher voltage battery is the fastest way to dramatically increase your speed. However, before you upgrade your 36V battery to 48V, for example, you’ll want to check that your controller can handle the increased voltage (most can handle a slight surge). If you don’t feel comfortable checking your controller’s voltage rating (usually written on capacitors), check with the manufacturer. Don’t just replace your battery without checking – you risk frying your controller if it can’t handle the higher voltage.
Also note that any battery meter you currently have will probably no longer read accurately unless you replace it with a new meter of the proper voltage.
Tip n°3: change the engine
Another way to increase speed is to use a motor that has a higher RPM rating for your specific voltage (called the motor’s KV rating). This is especially easy for hub motors, which are often designed with multiple motor windings for different models.
You will simply want to get a motor that has a higher KV or RPM rating than your current motor. For example, if you have a 48V e-bike that travels around 20 mph (32 km/h), you can swap out that hub motor and reach speeds closer to 28-30 mph (45-48 km/h ).
Tip #4: Use smoother tires
Knobby MTB tires are great for grip, and their wide contact patch can really help smooth out bumps. However, they are terrible for speed.
Lose the knobbies and opt for a smoother tire intended for street or hybrid use. They have less rolling resistance and can actually add an extra 1-2 mph in some cases.
My favorite tires are probably the Schwalbe Marathon or Marathon Plus.
Tip #5: Inflate your tires
While we’re on the subject of tires, another way to reduce rolling resistance is to use higher tire pressure. Keeping your tires inflated closer to their maximum pressure rating will not only help prevent flats from snakebites, but will also help increase your speed.
However, the downside will be a harder ride. You’ll feel every bump a little more with no soft, spongy tires to absorb road irregularities.
Tip #6: Adjust your brakes
Improperly adjusted brakes can reduce the speed of your e-bike by adding unnecessary friction from brake drag.
Either learn to adjust your brakes yourself (it’s easy with an inexpensive bike multi-tool), or visit your local bike shop and have them do it for you.
Tip #7: Add a windshield
I know it sounds crazy, but it really works. Adding a windshield to your e-bike can have a big impact on speed. I’ve seen it add 3 mph (5 km/h) to an already faster e-bike, although it doesn’t have such a dramatic effect on lower-speed e-bikes which are less affected by drag.
The windshield can have such an impact because it prevents your body from acting like a mainsail. Instead, it gently curves the air around you more efficiently.
You can find windshields intended for motorcycles that attach easily to bicycle handlebars, or windshields intended for scooters that are less expensive but require a bit of modification to attach to bicycle handlebars.
Tip #8: Crouch down
Go in a tuck. It’s easier than adding a windshield, but it has a similar effect. By reducing your section that takes the wind, you will make yourself more aerodynamic and increase your speed.
Of course, it’s not the most comfortable way to cover many miles, which suddenly makes this windshield much more attractive.
Tip #9: Keep your battery cool
A cold battery is a happy battery. And a happy battery has less voltage sag, which is when the voltage drops under load. And as we learned before, lower voltage equals lower speed.
So make sure your battery gets enough cooling air to keep it from getting hotter than necessary. Most e-bikes already have adequate cooling, but some that keep the battery hidden in a bag can have heat issues, which can rob you of a bit of top speed.
Tip #10: Hack your e-bike
[Cue the techno music and 90’s hacker graphics]
Depending on your electric bike, you may be able to hack it to remove speed restrictions and trick it into going faster.
There are two common ways to do this. The first is to change the screen settings of the e-bike to tell it that it has a smaller wheel size. Since the e-bike measures speed by counting wheel rotations, it will suddenly think it is going slower and may remove the speed limit.
The second method is to look for a speed limit jumper at the controller. This is often a single wire connected with an electrical connector, which can be plugged in to limit speed to 25 km/h (15.5 mph) legal in the EU, or removed to allow a higher top speed. high for other countries. If your e-bike is designed to be EU legal, you may be able to find a jumper like this that can be unplugged to remove the speed limiter.
Remember that with great speed comes great responsibility. Respect the highway code. To wear a helmet. And please don’t try to do anything on your e-bike that you don’t feel comfortable with or aren’t ready to handle.
As fun as it can be to go fast, at the end of the day it can sometimes be nice to just slow down and enjoy the ride.
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