Last Updated on May 17, 2023 by Matt
There are a few ways you can make your electric bike faster. In this guide, we will check all of them out.
What to know before increasing the speed of your electric bike
Before we go any further, it’s important to mention that there are limits and risks to some of the methods to make your electric bike faster.
Prioritize your safety when modifying your electric bike, and ensure you follow local electric bike laws and regulations if you will be using the modified electric bike on a public road.
Also, know that if you’re significantly modifying your electric bike, you risk voiding your warranty.
We will prioritize the risk-free methods in this guide, and discuss the risks associated with each of them where necessary.
How to make your electric bike faster
These are the most common methods you can try to make your electric bike faster, ordered by ease of use and lack of risk.
|Method/Electric bike Modification||DIY or Expert?||Safety rating (0 is low, 5 is high)||Parts/Tools Needed (examples)|
|Inflate tires||DIY||5||Inflation kit or air pump|
|Pedal assist adjustment||DIY||5||None|
|Charging the battery||DIY||5||Charging cable|
|Adjusting battery settings||DIY||5||User manual|
|Tuning the electric bike motor||Expert/DIY||4-5||Tuning equipment/gadgets, work tools|
|Upgrade battery||DIY/Expert||4 to 5||New battery, torque wrench, cable tools, screwdriver, multimeter, etc. (depends on battery assembly)|
|Motor upgrade||Expert||3-5 (depends on electric bike design and manufacturer recommendations)||New motor, torque wrench, cable tools, screwdriver, multimeter, etc. (depends on motor assembly)|
|Installing slimmer tires||DIY/Expert) depends on the bike design)||3-5 (depends on electric bike design and manufacturer recommendations)||New tires torque wrench, cable tools, screwdriver, multimeter, etc. (depends on motor assembly)|
|Install bigger wheel size||DIY/Expert) depends on the bike design)||3-5 (depends on electric bike design and manufacturer recommendations)||New wheels and tires, torque wrench, cable tools, screwdriver, multimeter, etc. (depends on motor assembly)|
|Mid-drive motor installation||Expert||3-4||Mid-drive motor, work tools, electric bike technical manuals|
|Throttle upgrade||Expert||3-5||Work tools, electric bike technical manuals|
|Controller adjustment||DIY/Expert||2-5||None or basic|
|Aerodynamic mods||Expert||2-5 (depending on the mod)||Aerodynamic enhancement parts (can be custom-built or off-the-shelf) work tools|
|Weight reduction||DIY/Expert||2-4||Work tools, electric bike technical manuals|
Inflate tires/change tire pressure
Low pressure on any of your tires increases the rolling resistance of your electric bike because it increases the surface area in contact with the ground. Always ensure your tires are properly inflated and have enough thread remaining for better performance.
Make your electric bike faster by adjusting the pedal assist
Adjusting the pedal assist can make your electric bike go faster depending on the terrain and incline of the surface you are riding on. The pedal assist determines how much help your Electric bike is getting from the electrical motor in addition to your pedaling power. The higher the pedaling assistance, the faster the electric bike can move with minimal pedaling input.
Generally, most electric bike manufacturers connect pedal assistance levels with the throttle. This means you can increase assist levels by pushing the throttle buttons on your bike controls. Of course, this varies from one bike to another, but standard models come with a plus (+) and minus (-) button on the handlebars. Pressing on the plus (+) button will increase pedaling assistance and make your electric bike faster.
There are bike models where there are different levels of pedal assistance distribution modes. This means you have different ranges of pedaling assist based on the mode you are in.
There are typically several pedal assistance distribution levels, with additional options for each level. Choosing the higher pedal assist levels means you have more modes and can make your bike go faster than the lower ranges.
To change your pedal assistance distributions, you need to go into the mode selection menu on your control display and navigate to the correct configuration screen. It might help to find mode change instructions for your specific model from the manufacturer.
For reference, the following table for pedal assist levels for a particular model shows the kind of power output you get for each option (high to low).
Charging the battery
Another super-easy item to cross off your list to make sure you’re getting 100% of the speed.
Some electric bikes restrict the amount of power going to the motor if the battery level goes below a certain percentage. This is a battery efficiency feature designed to help get more range from your electric bike’s battery.
Charging the battery will typically give your more speed.
Adjusting battery settings
Some bike models have different power efficiency modes ranging from eco to race mode or dynamic.
The efficient modes generally reduce the amount of power sent to the motor which means the electric bike will be slower. You need to change to a different mode for higher speeds.
Tuning your electric bike motor for higher speeds
Electric bike motor tuning is perhaps the most common method used to get rid of the top speed cap on stock Electric bikes. There are several ways you can go about tuning your Electric bike’s motor, ranging from the easiest where you install a tuning kit, to the hardest which involves making adjustments to the motor, controller, and other components.
Before we discuss Electric bike motor tuning, it’s important to know how and why electric bike motors are set up to deliver speeds from the factory. Generally, most countries and regions have specific laws and regulations governing the design and function of Electric bikes. The most important for this guide, however, is the maximum top speed, which ranges between 10 to 20 mph depending on your region or country.
Most electric bikes are set to not exceed this top speed, even if they are equipped with a powerful motor capable of higher speeds. There could be a slight difference from place to place and the model you have, but most are equipped with a 250W motor which is capable of delivering more pedaling assistance (power) with a bit of tuning.
Electric bike manufacturers implement the maximum speed cap or clamping in various ways, but the most common and easiest way is by installing a sensor on the wheel frame. The sensor measures the wheel speed of the electric bike by detecting the rate and number of revolutions and transmitting the data to the controller. With this data, the controller then determines the type of signal to send to the motor so that it does not exceed the electric bike’s legal top speed limit.
Easy electric bike tuning – sensor swapping or repositioning
Tuning an electric bike that uses a wheel speed sensor mechanism can be done quite easily.
You will typically have to swap the sensor out with an after-market one or change its positioning to the pedal or another area, depending on the design of your bike.
This tuning method works by “tricking” the electric bike controller (computer) with the wrong wheel-speed data, therefore, forcing it to send the wrong instructions to the motor.
To use this method, you first need to locate where the speed sensor is located on your electric bike.
Some manufacturers attach it to the rear wheel frame while others may have it on the front wheel frame. An additional component (usually a magnet) works in tandem with the sensor and must be moved also. Take a look at this example YouTube DIY Electric bike sensor repositioning video to see how this works in real life.
However, this method is not always effective, especially on complex hub motors such as Neodrive Xion, Go Swiss, and Panasonic rear hubs. Pedal-based motors are easier to tune using this method because they depend on the manual wheel-speed measurements of the sensor-magnet mechanism.
On the other hand, modern motor/controller setups use more complex speed clamping methods and can only be tuned with the methods described below.
Tune your electric bike with a kit
You can also opt for a bike tuning kit that can be attached to your sensor or controller to make your electric bike faster.
Owing to the increased popularity of electric bikes and the demand for increased power above stock configurations, many after-market electric bike tuning kits have flooded the market in recent years.
These tuning kits range from simple devices you can attach to the real speed sensor, to complex setups that come with after-market tuning components, magnets, displays, and companion smartphone apps.
The simplest kits so far are those that attach directly to the wheel speed sensor and modify the kind of data sent to the controller so your bike can exceed the maximum top speed.
Depending on the design of the kit, it may come with a button-controlled unit that allows you to turn the kit on and off depending on your needs.
There are several models available on the market. You may need to find one that works for your specific model.
Also, there are more advanced motor tuning kits designed to cater to hub-based bike models that use complex wheel speed measurement systems. Newer models of Yamaha, Bosch, and Shimano FLYON typically use a speed sensor embedded in the controller.
Advanced electric bike tuning kits attach directly to the controller with wires and use a special chip or microcontroller. This changes how the controller perceives speed to eliminate the capped top speed.
Advanced tuning kits are usually more difficult to install because you need to open the crankcase and access the inner components of your controller. You also need to understand the design or assembly of the controller if the kit does not come with an installation manual.
They are, however, usually harder to spot and more reliable than sensor-attached kits. Take a look at this YouTube Electric bike tuning tutorial to get an idea of how one of these tuning kits works.
Generally, low-capacity batteries tend to send less power to the motor, or are configured to send less power for a better range.
You can upgrade your electric bike battery if you want to make it faster and if your installed motor and controller are capable.
Also, note that tuning your electric bike’s motor almost always means needing a higher-capacity battery.
The most obvious modification you can do to make your electric bike faster is to upgrade the motor.
For instance, you can swap out a 60 Kw motor with a 100Kw motor to get more power if your controller, battery, and bike frame can handle the increased power.
Installing slimmer tires
Slimmer tires have lesser rolling resistance as compared to the fat stock tires that come with most consumer electric bikes.
If possible, consider swapping out the stock tires on your bike with a slimmer pair to make it faster on the road.
Keep in mind that thinner tires perform poorly on rough terrain and are less comfortable to ride on.
Install bigger wheel size
A bigger wheel size means more RPMs (revolutions per minute. Sometimes installing a bigger wheel can give you that extra speed you need.
Mid-drive motor installation
A mid-drive motor is an auxiliary motor installed in the cranks of an electric bike to generate torque directly on the chain drive or chainring. If compatible with your electric bike, a mid-drive motor can give more pedaling power or allow you to increase the speed with the gears.
Chances are, upgrading your throttle will probably not give you a huge speed boost. However, it is definitely worth trying if you know that your throttle is the bottleneck for your top speed.
Controller adjustments and modifications
Every electric bike comes with a controller or an electronic control unit that acts as its brain. The controller, among many other functions, controls how much pedaling assistance is generated by the electric bike motor which translates to acceleration and speed.
Depending on the default setup of the controller, there are a few things you can do to increase the speed of your electric bike.
Changing power settings
The first you should do before you even think about modifying the controller is to check if your electric bike is set to max power using the display interface unit.
Most electric bikes provide an option to change the power level aspects of the controller through an intuitive menu system on the display unit.
Some things you may need to check if you want to adjust power settings for higher speeds are the options that enable you to change ride modes, power efficiency, torque, pedal assist, gear ratios, etc.
Depending on the electric bike model you have, you will have different variations of these modes to choose from. It may help to consult the user manual if you are unsure of which is best and how it works.
For example, some electric bikes offer different power efficiency modes that control how much electrical power is sent to the motor, and in turn the range and efficiency of the batteries. Generally, lower power modes are more efficient and provide more range but they introduce a cap to the top speed and acceleration of your electric bike.
There are, however, times when you may need to compromise on range and efficiency to go faster, especially for short runs or when you need to go fast in a busy road section.
Reprogramming the controller unit
Just like the computer modules that control power delivery on cars, some advanced electric bike controllers provide an interface for service programming.
If your electric bike has one of these controller units or you plan to install an after-market model, you can reprogram it using special software and an electronic interface if available.
Reprogramming the controller unit on an electric bike usually involves programmatically changing various speed ad acceleration-related properties such as power delivery throttle mapping, top speed, voltage levels, etc.
Not all electric bike controller units support low-level reprogramming in this manner or support third-party API access, especially if the electric bike is stock and manufacturer-serviced.
Manual controller reprogramming-trick the controller
You can also hack your electric bike controller manually to remove any top speed restrictions put by the manufacturer for compliance.
For instance, EU-Legal 25 limits electric bike top speeds to about 15 mph even when the electric bike is capable of a higher top speed.
To make the electric bike faster using this method, locate a speed-limiting jumper on the controller and unplug it.
The location and design of these top-speed-limiting jumpers differ from one electric bike controller to another, so it’s best to advise your bike’s manual.
Change the electric bike controller unit
In some instances, you may be able to make your electric bike faster or more responsive in specific terrains (like hill climbs) by installing a new controller altogether.
The easiest way to do this is to install an after-market control unit with a higher voltage if it is compatible with the motor. However, only install a higher-voltage controller if the motor is rated for that voltage. Otherwise, you may end up with an overheating controller or motor and a less efficient battery.
For reference, higher-quality electric bikes usually come with a 52 V or 100 V controller and an equally high-powered motor and battery unit.
For specific models, you might find that the electric bike motor can handle a 100 V controller even if it came with a 52 V one from the factory.
Be sure to consult an expert if unsure about the voltage ratings of your electric bike motor if you are thinking of swapping them out.
Though less common, you could also install some aerodynamic mods on your electric bike or modify it to reduce wind resistance. Examples include installing wheel covers, angled handlebars, fairings, etc.
The weight of your bike contributes to the amount of power spent on pulling the bike and your weight while riding. You can explore ways to reduce the weight of your bike such as installing a lightweight battery module, or getting rid of unnecessary components.
How to remove the speed limiter on an electric bike
There are two methods to remove the speed limiter on an electric bike depending on how the design of the speed sensor.
You can remove the speed limiter of pedal-based motors such as 36 V Panasonic, older Yamaha motors, and Bafang by disconnecting the wheel speed sensor located on the rear wheel, or changing its position to the pedal.
For newer hub-based motors, you can remove the speed limiter by disconnecting a jumper inside the controller and installing an after-market electric bike tuner.
Is there a chip to make an electric bike faster?
Yes, you can install a tuning chip next to your electric bike’s wheel speed sensor or inside the controller.
Electric bike tuning chips are designed to trick the controller into sending more power to the motor and eliminate the 15 mph maximum speed limit on stock electric bikes.
However, not all tuning chips work, and using them can make your electric bike illegal on public roads or in competitive sports.
In conclusion, increasing your electric bike’s speed can be done in various ways, ranging from the simplest to more complex methods.
To make sure you are doing the right thing, ensure you understand the design and capabilities of your electric bike and what is required. Apply these tips carefully, and know that they might result in your warranty being voided.