6 ways to legally increase the speed of your ebike
In Australia the legal speed limit for ebikes is 25km/h. This doesn’t mean that when you ride down a section of steep hill that you will not exceed this speed limit, just simply that the motor will not be propelling you down the hill but rather gravity.
There are many riders who feel that the 25km/h ebike speed limit is too restrictive. This ebook is not about debating the merits of that argument but simply informing you how you can get the most speed out of your ebike. The main reason for the speed limit is to try and reduce road tolls. Ebikes are heavier and it could be argued that if they are faster it could lead to more deaths. What is most important is to ride safely and understand that with greater speed comes shorter reaction times. Remember this whenever you’re riding so that you can ride safely at higher speeds.
It’s also important to note that I’m not including any speed increases that would mean your bike is not road legal or require you to start messing with parts of your ebike that require electrical know how. Remember as well that any changes to your battery or motor could potentially void your warranty and should really be left to the professionals.
So, let’s get down to it!
1 – Ride fully charged
This one is really very simple. To get the most speed out of your ebike you need the maximum charge in your battery. Why is that? Because the speed of your motor is entirely dependent on a higher voltage:
Higher voltage = higher speed
The key is to get into the habit of charging your bike after every ride so you’re always riding on full charge. This may require a second charger if you commute to and from work, but the result is that you are always primed to ride at higher speeds than you will achieve with a flatter battery.
2 – Use smoother tyres
This is where smaller is better. One of the downsides to the all-terrain fat tyres is that with the extra coverage and grip comes less speed. With a smoother tyre service comes less resistance. Expect at least an extra 1km/h with smoother tyres.
Less resistance = higher speed
For riders with hub motors changing the tyre will not be a simple task. This is especially true if you own a fat tyre bike as the motor is designed with the larger wheels in mind. What you can look at however is whether there are lighter fat tyres or compare rolling resistance amongst different tyre brands. It’s also true that no tyre is made the same and there are differences in rolling resistance amongst fat tyres.
3 – Pump it up baby!
One of the simplest ways to increase your speed is to ensure you have the right tyre pressure. This is where having an accurate bike pump that can provide you with exact PSI reading is a must. For the speed junkies out there it’s best to have the tyre pressure at the highest level of the specified range. The tyre pressure range is provided on the tyre sidewall.
You will sacrifice on the comfort levels as the bumps will become more pronounced, but you will get when you need to that bit faster.
Higher PSI = higher speed
4 – Tune those brakes!
Poorly tuned brakes will slow you down by creating unnecessary friction from your brake rubbing against the rims. This is not a simple task and may require you to go to a bike service shop to complete. If you are more adept at bike servicing, you will need a few tools to complete the job:
- Allen key set
- Open end spanners/wrenches set
- Needle-nose pliers
- Torx set
- Clean rags
- Cable stretcher
- Cable cutter
Less friction = higher speed
5 – Go crazy and add a windshield!
I told you that this one would surprise you. It’s crazy but it works! By adding a windshield, you can add up to 5km/h to your top speed. You will gain the greatest increase in speed at the higher speeds as it will cut down on drag more dramatically. At low speeds you will not see that great of a difference as there is less drag.
What the windshield does is prevent your body from acting as a giant sail. The windshield will gently curve the air around you and allow you to ride more efficiently and quicker.
The fitting will require some know how but you can adapt windshields from motorbikes or some scooters and attach them to the handlebars. This may be better on bikes with more room on the handlebars as well.
If nothing else, you will definitely stand out from the crowd!
Less drag = higher speed
6 – Tuck in and crouch down
If you were watching the Olympics, you’ll know that tucking your body in and getting down low is another great way to reduce wind resistance. It doesn’t make for a comfortable ride but when you are on those extreme downhills it’s the easiest way to replicate a windshield.
After a long time tucked into this position adding a windshield to your ebike might not seem like such a bad idea!
Remember that speed can kill, so be responsible and ride defensively. When you are on an ebike you have less protection than a car so always wear a helmet and always obey the road rules. Please don’t be that rider who thinks they can run a red lights or ride blissfully unaware against the traffic, this sort of riding is the quickest way to become another road toll statistic.
Riding fast can be fun but falling off at high speeds is not much fun at all. Don’t underestimate the enjoyment of riding at a leisurely pace and taking in your surroundings. It can be fun to ride your bike at lower speeds as well and you won’t need to crouch or have a crazy looking windshield to achieve it!
Most of all stay safe and have fun!