In general, electric scooters are simple, economic, and environmentally friendly commuters that provide a quick way to get around town. Most of the people that buy an e-scooter don’t really expect anything crazy and sensational. Yes, they can be really fun at times, but unless you get one of the premium racing scooters, you are bound to ride at modest speeds the whole time.
Or are you?
As it turns out, a lot of scooters are not actually as slow as they might seem initially, but are rather purposely limited by the manufacturer. Most models (even the cheaper ones!) can go much faster than they do, but are bound by a thing called a “speed limiter”.
Electric scooter speed limiter and removal
A speed limiter is a safety measure installed on the controller of the scooter that restricts the max speed at which the scooter can ride. There are three main methods to remove the speed limit set this way: overriding it in the display menu, modifying the controller, or replacing the controller with a new one that doesn’t have a speed limiter on it.
What is a speed limiter?
A speed limiter is a very simple safety feature installed on many electric scooters. Its only purpose is to set a limit on the top speed the scooter can ride at. The limiter can be installed in a form of a physical device, mounted on the controller of the scooter, or as a software feature that caps the power of the motor.
On most electric scooters, especially the cheaper models, the speed limiter is actually a simple wire that regulates the power output of the controller, and subsequently the speed of the motor. This makes it easy to bypass it by disabling the limiter in the scooter settings, removing the one wire which controls it, or just straight up disconnecting the wire from the device.
Why do companies limit the power of your scooter?
The main reasons why electric scooters have speed limiters are legal. The legal status of electric scooters is not very clear in many places, but in most places, there are some speed limits imposed on them, and manufacturers are trying to make their scooters compliant with local traffic laws.
Another reason for installing a speed limiter on electric scooters is, of course, the rider’s safety. Although many scooters look pretty safe and harmless at first, they can actually be quite dangerous vehicles if not used properly.
Losing control while riding on an electric scooter at above 20 mph / 32 kmh will almost guarantee you fall off of it and get hurt. This is especially dangerous for younger riders and beginners who haven’t yet got the hang of electric scooters. And since most scooters can very well exceed this speed on an empty road or while riding downhill, you can never be too cautious with them.
How to remove the speed limiter on your electric scooter?
I’m sure most of you will agree that while extra safety is always appreciated, sometimes you just really wanna go fast and get that adrenaline rush. For the thrill riders out there who are tired of their sluggish scooters, here are the three main methods to remove the speed limit from your electric scooter.
Before we continue, keep in mind that modifying the top speed of your electric scooter is likely to void your electric scooter warranty, as it results in modifying the scooter’s internals in a very invasive way. Further, while usually this is a simple and harmless procedure, sometimes things may go wrong, and you may be left with a malfunctioning scooter without a warranty. Strongly consider whether this procedure is worth it before continuing.
The most basic way you can remove the speed limiter on your scooter is by overriding it via the “hidden” settings menu on the display. This method may be the simplest, but it doesn’t work on every scooter. Many models won’t allow you to bypass this measure that easily, but with the ones that do, it only takes a few steps.
The specific buttons that need to be pushed will vary from one model to another, but in general, you would need to:
- Step 1: Turn the display on – first of all, you would need to turn the display in the cockpit ON so you can access the settings of the scooter
- Step 2: Open the “hidden” settings menu – once you’ve turned the display ON, you would need to open the additional, “hidden” menu, which on most scooters is activated by pressing or holding two buttons on the display at the same time (the precise way of opening this menu will depend on the display model and it can be found in the user’s manual)
- Step 3: Navigate to the “speed limit” page – once you are inside the “hidden” menu, scroll through it until you reach the “speed limit” section, which is usually marked with two or three digits with an “mph” or “kmh” mark right next to them
- Step 4: Increase the limit to the max – the speed limit in the “hidden” menu will typically be set somewhere between the 50 and 70 mark, although it can go up to 100. Note that this does not necessarily indicate the precise top speed on which the limit is currently set, but rather a percentage of the max speed the scooter can theoretically reach. In order to override the speed limit completely, just increase the value up to the highest number (most often 100), close the menu, and restart the scooter.
As we mentioned above, overriding the speed limiter directly from the display is the easiest way, but it can’t be done on every scooter. In fact, most scooter brands have installed the speed limiter as a separate device inside the scooter’s controller. This does make it much harder to override the limit, but not at all impossible.
In such cases, the speed limiter can be overridden either by replacing the controller with a new one that doesn’t have this safety measure or by modifying the controller yourself.
Remove the speed limiter by physically modifying the controller
A controller is an electronic circuit installed near the battery that regulates the speed of the scooter. Its main purpose is to connect the throttle to the battery in order to control the precise flow of current from the battery to the motor. In short, it is the device that tells the battery how much you have pressed the throttle so the battery “knows” how fast you want to go and gives the motor just enough energy for that speed.
When you look at it, a controller is just a combination of several wires. Each wire has a unique role, so removing just one would not cause the whole circuit to malfunction.
And this is where our second trick comes in.
The main cost-effective way of removing the speed limiter from your scooter is by physically modifying the controller, i.e. removing the wire or the few wires that regulate it. In order to do this, you would need to:
- Step 1: Open the part of the scooter where the controller is stored – on most scooters, the controller will be stored below the deck, right beside the battery, so the first step is to open the cover from this part of the scooter in order to expose the electric parts inside.
- Step 2: Find and remove the controller unit – once the scooter’s frame is open, you would then need to go on and find the controller unit. It looks like a small rectangular piece of metal with about a dozen of wires hanging out from it. The controller will usually be stuffed a bit into the inside of the scooter, so you might also need to pick it out in order to expose all of the wires. It is wise to take a picture of the controller before taking it out so you can later know exactly how it was connected.
- Step 3: Find the wire that controls the speed limiter – exposing all of the wires that are connected to the controller is crucial because the third step is to identify the wire that controls the speed limiter. This step is much easier than it sounds because the speed limit wire is always colored white or some other very light color and is placed farthest to the end of the array of wires (check out the picture above to get a sense of what this looks like). Additionally, in some scooters, the speed limiter is regulated by 4 white (or light-colored) wires glued to each other, making it all the easier to find them.
- Step 4: Disconnect the wire – once you’ve found and identified the speed limit wire, it’s time to disconnect it. With most controllers, you can do this by simply unplugging the wire from the device. But if the controller doesn’t use any plugs and all wires are attached directly to it, then you would need to cut the wire instead. There are a few things to have in mind when cutting wires directly from the controller:
- Do not cut the wires while the scooter is charging or is in any way connected to an electric outlet!
- Turn the scooter off completely and make sure it’s really off before meddling with the electric parts!
- Always cover the wires with an isolator in the end so you don’t leave them exposed!
- Step 5: Put the controller (and the battery) back in place – finally, once you’ve finished dealing with the speed limiter, it’s time to reconnect the controller and put it back in place. This is where the picture from step 2 comes in handy. You would need to plug back in any wire that you’ve unplugged from the controller, reconnect it with the rest of the scooter’s electric parts, and put it back in place
Removing the speed limit wire from the controller unit is not an easy task and requires some technical knowledge of how the scooter’s electric parts work. I would not recommend doing it by yourself if you’ve never dealt with any electrical tasks before, especially since it can involve cutting open wires.
Remove the speed limiter by replacing the controller
The third method of removing the speed limiter from your scooter is slightly safer than the one before, as it doesn’t involve cutting and removing wires, but it’s still a tricky one. It involves buying a new controller that doesn’t come with a speed limit wire and connecting it in place of the old factory controller.
Before continuing with the specifics, you should know that there are a couple of problems with this method:
- One, unlike the previous two methods which are free of cost, this one involves spending a bit of money on a new controller
- Two, some companies restrict their scooters to work only with official, brand-approved parts, so there is no guarantee that the scooter will work without its factory-set controller
However, if you really want to remove the speed limiter on your scooter and test out its max capabilities, but don’t want to compromise the old controller by modifying it, this is the way to do it:
- Step 1 and Step 2 are the same as with the previous method – Open the part of the scooter where the controller is stored and access it.
- Step 3: Disconnect the controller by unplugging all of the wires – unlike in the previous method, where you would only need to unplug the speed limit wire, here you must unplug all of the wires and completely disconnect the controller from the scooter so you can remove it.
- Step 4: Install the new controller – once you’ve disconnected and removed the old controller, it’s time to connect the new one. Plug all of the wires (remember, the new controller should come without a white speed limit wire) into the designated ports, matching the colors of each wire with each port.
- Step 5: Put everything back in place – just like in the previous method, when all is set, put the new controller back where the old one was and close the scooter up.
Possible problems with removing the speed limiter from your scooter
As we already mentioned, removing the speed limiter from your scooter in any way comes with some great dangers and may even cause some serious consequences.
Damaging the scooter beyond repair
The biggest problem that can happen while modifying your scooter is to damage some of the parts beyond repair. This can easily happen to the scooter’s controller, the battery, the motor, or even the frame, as these parts would all be involved in the process.
Some of the possible scenarios involve connecting the wires wrong, causing a malfunction of the battery, or leaving the end of a cut wire open, causing a short circuit.
Overwhelming the scooter’s build
Riding above the max speed set by the company can also put a much more significant burden on the scooter’s frame, wheels, and even its battery if it hasn’t been made for such high speeds. Many brands are well aware that their scooters can go much faster than what they’ve limited them to, but restrict their top speed anyway to preserve the lifespan of the scooter.
Voiding the warranty
Probably the harshest consequence that comes with modifying the scooter by yourself is that it completely voids the warranty provided by the manufacturer. This can be a big problem if you make a mistake during the process, as you’ll now have to pay an extra fee to take the scooter to a mechanic for repair.
Other ways to increase the speed of your scooter
As you can see, removing the speed limit can be a thrilling, but quite unsafe practice. That’s why you might want to try out a couple of other things first and see if they work in increasing your scooter’s power before modifying its parts.
See my complete guide on how to speed up your scooter for all of the tips.
Shift the scooter to the highest gear
This will sound weird to an experienced rider, but many new users don’t know that their scooter has multiple riding gears you can swap between. Most scooters, even the cheaper ones, have two or three gears with different top speeds. Your scooter might be set on a lower gear when it comes out of the box in order to preserve battery and have a more economic ride at a modest speed.
Check the user’s manual for an explanation of how to shift the scooter into a higher gear and see if this unlocks some more of its power.
Swap the built-in battery for a higher-voltage battery
Swapping or modifying the controller can be a daunting task, but swapping the factory-set battery for a new, more powerful one is much easier. Of course, not many scooters come with swappable batteries, and the ones that do are a bit more expensive. But you can always try and replace the built-in battery with a new one in the same way as you would the controller unit.
Just keep in mind that this method will also bring along some of the dangers that come with replacing the controller.
Ride with a full battery
In the end, the simplest thing you can do to ride your scooter at full speed is to just ride it with a 100% full battery whenever you step out the door. As the battery level lowers, it will send less and less energy to the motor, resulting in a slower ride at the end. If you really want to push your scooter to the max, you have to make sure that it’s filled up nicely.
What are the fastest electric scooters right now?
Sometimes, no matter how much you try to increase its power, your scooter will only go so fast. And if you already got bored of yours and are looking for new adventures with more thrilling rides, go check out my guide for the fastest scooters you can find on the market right now. And if you are wondering, yes, they do go well above 62 mph / 100 kmh.