The Electric bike is one of the most rapidly growing types of bikes in the world. Powered by simple electric motors, you’ve all probably experienced the ease with which one can climb slopes and start from a standstill. They are perfect for those people who feel that they lack the raw leg power needed to start a conventional bike.
The rise of the electric bike
In fact, since 1998 the electric bike has been growing in popularity in some of the most populous countries in the world, with about 120 million bikes being sold over China in 2010 alone. It is also sweeping other parts of the world by storm, including India, the U.S, and Europe.
China is actually the current market leader in e-bike production. It produces nearly 20 million every year as the trend becomes more popular every day. One of the multiple uses of the e-bike is in reducing emissions for everyone.
A lot of people don’t buy bikes because they are simply too lazy to ride them. While hardcore cycling enthusiasts don’t have this problem because…well, because we like cycling, this is a major reason why other people choose cars over bikes, contributing majorly to our carbon footprint.
With the rise in popularity of e-bikes over the last few years though there is a far greater chance that the people will start to ride them instead of their gas guzzling motor vehicles. This should help contribute to a far safer environment both in terms of personal safety and that of the climate.
Speed always wins
Humanity has a fascination with speed. This is a fact that has been true for centuries. We have constantly been thinking up new ways to go faster than ever before. This is true even in the world of cycling. Within years of the first true bicycle being invented, we already had road races in place to see who the fastest in the world was.
Today, races like the Tour de France are some of the most popular sporting events in the world. Even the design of bikes has changed dramatically to emphasize speed and dexterity while riding. For example, the first steel or wooden frames have been replaced by lightweight aluminum alloy and titanium frames on road bikes, allowing for far lighter bikes on the roads.
The history of the e-bike
The first concept for an electric bicycle was by Ogden Bolton Jr. in 1895. This single speed bike was powered by a 10V battery. For the most part, bikes after this until 1992, during which torque sensors and power regulators were introduced to the electric motors that powered the bikes.
Today, e-bikes make up for over 30% of the two-wheelers in china. In a country of over 1 billion people, this is a huge number indeed. Through all of this, while the main focus has always been in the development of better regulation and speed control, humanity’s struggle to be fast has reigned supreme.
If you are a true enthusiast, you know exactly how worth it speed is. The feeling you get coasting downhill at 20 mph is one of the best that you will ever experience. Speed truly makes us feel free. Bike companies that specialize in the electric bike have understood this.
They have researched and developed bikes that are powered by electric motors so powerful that some of them should be called motorbikes instead. If you are a cyclist looking for a “hit” when it comes to the drug that is the adrenaline rush of high speed cycling, these twenty bikes are definitely worth taking a look at. They have been ranked as some of the best e-bikes in the world, and are definitely worth it (the list is not in order of awesomeness, because they are all amazing machines).
The types of e-bikes
There are many different classes of e-bikes of course. You can’t expect a machine with this kind of variety to be stuck to one specific method of drive. The 4 main families, with which you should be familiar with in order to choose the one that is best for your requirements, are:
- Pedal Assist E-Bikes – Pedaling activates the electric motor. This is one of the slower types of e-bikes, because it is just meant to make the act of pedaling easier. The usual speed limit on pedal assist e-bikes is about 15mph.
- On-Demand Throttle Assist – This uses a switch of sorts to activate the motor. This is also a low-speed electric bike, with a speed limit of about 20mph. This makes it desirable to people who lack the leg power to pedal, but are not too concerned about sheer speed. Face it, that’s what you want.
- Speed Pedelec – This is a higher speed electric bike that is more concerned with speed than the actual ride. It makes use of a powerful electric motor that allows riders to use a throttle and a pedal assist in conjunction, allowing speeds of 28mph or even more.
- Moped – This is a very confusing topic for most bike enthusiasts. The bike does have pedals, but it also uses an electric motor that is simply too big and powerful to be considered a normal bicycle. Check out cycling forums for heated debates on the topic.
The 20 fastest e-bikes in the world
Without further ado, here is a list of the fastest twenty e-bikes in the world. You will have to consider these if you are thinking about investing in electric bikes soon. They are definitely going to pay off especially if you are a speed demon who can only think about the wind in your hair and the feel of power between your legs (sexual innuendo not intended, thank you).
1 – Pedego Super Cruiser (Designed by Ford)
The super cruiser was designed by the Ford Motor Company for Pedego, and features a 500W electric motor. The Schwalbe Big Ben tires add the perfect sand grip, and uses a lightweight aluminum frame for maximum speed and aerodynamics. The 7 speed Shimano gears and chain are added cherries on top of the cake. While this bike may not be as fast as our number 1 pick, it is definitely one of the best electric bikes out there. With a top speed of 20mph without pedal assist, it is also one of the fastest in the world.
Top speed – 20mph
2 – Focus Aventura Impulse Speed 1.0
This is a very decently priced electric bike, going at $5000 dollars. While your eyes may have widened at this, the specifications will change your mind. It uses some of the most high end component sets in the market, with Magura MT5 Speed hydraulic disc brakes, B&M LED lights, Ergon grips, and a Fizik Rondine saddle.
It also uses a Gates Carbon Drive CDX drivetrain and an internal Shimano Alfine 11 speed gear hub. Made out of dark gray aluminum alloy, this bike is sleek, elegant, and has been built for the urban commuter with a love of all things beautiful.
Top Speed – 28mph
3 – Wave E-bike
The Wave e-bike is being marketed as the fastest, most affordable e-bike in the world. It is still a crowdfunded project, and needs only $70,000 to make it into final production. It is estimated to cost around $1000 in the future.
It has a range of over 26 miles in electric mode on one charge. It has a 750W motor and weighs 50lbs, and can be used either as a conventional road bike or with electric mode, as it is a throttle driven e-bike.
Top Speed – 28mph
4 – Specialized Turbo
This Pedelec bike is built by the world famous bike manufacturer Specialized, and is built for urban riding. It releases at $3800 which is quite a decent price, considering that some electric bikes range in the tens of thousands of dollars.
It uses a 750 Watt motor, made by Ortlinghaus-Gruppe, and has a throttle that allows for a top speed that is cutting it very close to the street legal limit. The bike weighs 50lbs, and is made out of Specialized M4 Aluminum Alloy with 10 speed SRAM gears.
Top Speed – 28mph
5 – Stromer St1 Platinum
This e-bike was made by Stromer to look like a gorgeous, elegant road bike that you wouldn’t know had electric capabilities. It is one of the lighter e-bikes out there, weighing in at 64 pounds. It is a pedal assist bike, and is very affordable indeed at $4000.
According to reports, the Stromer St1 Platinum is capable of going at a top speed of 30mph. This makes it perfect for zooming around the streets of the city without going overboard. If you are on the lookout for a fast, affordable electric bike, the St1 is made for you.
Top speed – 30mph
6 – Optibike 1100R
The R11 or 1100R Optibike is one of the most rounded out electric bicycles on the market. The bike features a peak power rating of over 2000W, and is perfect for off-road biking as well as road cycling. It has been highly rated by the customers who have made the investment, both on and off the road. It also uses a Rohloff 14 speed SpeedHub and Schwalbe Fat Albert tires for the best in all-terrain grip, and an external touring battery option that increases the maximum range to 90 miles.
Top Speed – 33mph
7 – Bultaco Brinco ebike
The Spanish electric motorcycle manufacturer has turned its eyes towards the world of cycling, and built the gorgeous Brinco electric bike. It is a full throttle assist class of bike, and is perfect for both road and mountain biking.
It uses a 2000W motor that puts out 60Nm of torque. There are three different riding modes allowed in this bike, with the most powerful being the Sport mode that senses the torque being put into the pedals and assists with electric drive accordingly.
Top Speed – 37mph
8 – Audi e-bike
This bike has not released yet and is one of a number of electric bikes made by car companies. It certainly looks like Audi has taken a step into the future with this one. According to reports, the bike has not hit production lines yet, but it is definitely something that everyone who likes electric bikes is looking forward to.
The Audi E-bike has custom made carbon fiber wheels and a frame made of the same material. Everything about this bike is premium and custom made. Even the forks have been specially designed for the bike. In fact, there are rumors floating around in the velosphere that thee bike has been partially designed by PG.
Even though the Audi bike is made full suspension, it only weighs 46 pounds, which is very small indeed for an e-bike of this caliber. It uses a 2300W battery as well.
Top Speed – 40mph (tentative, not official)
9 – Trefecta E-Bike (Military Spec)
Trefecta mobility has created an absolutely beautiful bike designed for the military and high performance usage. It uses a 4000W motor and has a 100km range. The frame is made of Aluminum alloy for maximum lightness. A 14speed Rohloff Speedhub completes the design, and Hope V series brakes and F20 pedals. The bike is also completely foldable, with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
Top Speed – 44mph
10 – M-55 Terminus (2012)
The M-55 Terminus is one of the most prestigious bikes ever built. This electric bike offers the best in the market in terms of build quality, design, and speed. The full aluminum frame is complemented by HopeTech V2 EVO floating disc brakes, and a 14-speed Rohloff Speedhub gearbox.
The front hub is a White Industries Venti (20mm), perfect for all you downhill speed junkies. With every last detail perfectly though out, right down to the carbon fiber mud guards, this bike is definitely one of the most expensive anywhere.
Top speed – 50mph
11 – Stealth Bomber
The Stealth B-52 Bomber is one of the most durable and fastest e-bikes in the world. With a top speed of just under 50mph, and a range of 80 km, this is the fastest Tourer on the market right now. While it I pretty pricey, the 5200W electric motor more than makes up for it. The braking system is one of the newer KERS brakes, with regenerative braking power for the high speed cyclist.
Top speed – 50 mph
12 – FFR Trikes 422 Alpha
Not your conventional tricycle, FFR Trikes are known for selling tricycles that are pure muscle power. These are some of the hardiest, and most badass looking machines out there. They use a motor that FFR likes to call the Astro (they really are shooting for the stars with this one) to put 6 horsepower into the trike.
When geared up for less torque, the FFR 422 Alpha easily hits a top speed of 50mph. When geared down for drag racing and climbing, this beast can still hit 40mph with no trouble at all. It looks absolutely amazing, with the sleek black parts making you feel like it was meant for speed.
Top Speed – 50mph
13 – Monster Yellow Trike by Matt Shumaker
This bike is created by a private electric bike maker who custom builds them for racing and street use. The tricycle allows for two high powered Astro 3220 motors, and can accelerate from 0 to 40mph in less than 5 seconds.
The frame is a custom adapted KMX Typhoon frame. It has 16” wheels, and Maxxis Hookworm tires. It sells for a pretty steep price of $7500 but is definitely worth it. It is also a DIY trike, so you could even do this at home by following Matt’s video guides.
Top Speed – 50mph
14 – HiPower Cycles Wolverine
This is one of the most powerful e-bikes out there. If you thought that you had seen power before, you have been gravely mistaken. This bike, built by HiPower for the hardcore mountain trails, features a 4500W battery and some of the best specifications out there.
Both the front and rear disc brakes are Tektro Dorado hydraulic brakes, and the suspension in the front fork is a Rockshox Revelation. It also features a 27 speed SRAM X9 gear system, allowing for maximum functionality over all kinds of terrain. The bike also offers the option of two buttons on the handlebars. When pressed, these lock the front and rear suspension individually.
The bikes are made only for off-road use. On the streets, they would probably break a few laws as they zoom past people. The X3 Wolverine (which is the 4500W model) weighs 68lbs.
Top Speed – 52mph
15 – DIY Electric Bike Commuter by evolutiongts
This is a custom made bike that was built by an enthusiast at home. It cost him only $2500 to build, and features a very high performance motor (rear hub). The range at high speeds is 19 miles, which is pretty great when you consider that it goes in excess of 50mph.
While it is not permitted to be classified as a bicycle in a lot of countries, this moped is one of the cooler looking out there. The blistering power allows it to be driven down mountain trails as well. The builder has received some fire from e-bike owners who are afraid that theirs will be banned because of these custom made bikes.
Top Speed – 52mph
16 – Giant DH Comp (modded by Dr. Bass)
Dr. Bass is a Canadian motorbike maker who has made huge advancements in the hot rodding of hub motors. The usual motor that this guerilla ebike maker uses is the same that is used in the Stealth Bomber e-bike (featured above), the Crystalyte 5304. The usual bike that he adapts is a full suspension Giant Down-Hill Comp.
The power output of this bike maker’s bikes is usually in excess of 15,000 Watts. This makes his bikes illegal for street use in many countries including the US, but is perfect for track racing. In fact, this bike is 20 times as powerful as the maximum for US electric bikes on the street.
Top Speed – 58mph
17 – BlackTrail BT-01
This is the most expensive bike in the world at $75,460. It is also the fastest. The bike is designed by two companies, PG and UBC, which makes parts for Porsche racing cars and Formula 1 cars. It is made entirely of super lightweight carbon fiber, aluminum and titanium alloys, and is powered by a 1200W electric hybrid motor. The build materials are boasted of as being used by NASA.
Top Speed – 62mph
18 – “2 Pi” by Farfle
Farfle is a bike maker who makes custom electric bikes for the race track. They decided that one motor was just not going to cut it, and took two Golden Motor Magic Pie motors, and turned out one of the most powerful hub motors that has ever been seen on a bicycle.
From the AutoCAD 3D modeling that took ages to do, and a custom made frame that they made themselves, this electric bike is perfect for everyone to use on the streets and everywhere else. It is perfect because even though it doesn’t last long, it can easily be repaired, and the parts replaced.
Top Speed – 70mph
19 – Dogati Super Electric Bike
This is one of the coolest e-bikes out there. It has some of the best acceleration ever in a bike, allowing it to power up steep inclines like it is zooming down a flat street. It uses an Astro Flight 3220 electric motor and has NuVinci variable transmission.
It is actually a DIY bike that any enthusiast can replicate at home. It was built completely from the ground up, which is pretty awesome considering that most other modified e-bikes are road bikes that have been adapted with motors. Because of its unique construction, this is one of the most beautiful homemade e-bikes ever.
Top Speed – 70mph
20 – “The Bicycle of Doom” by Liveforphysics
*****Search for the image
Liveforphysics is a bicycle builder who adapts bikes to make them into the fastest and most powerful electric bikes anywhere. In fact, his custom made bike “Pinky” was sold to a businessman in Hong Kong for quite a large sum. The bikes he makes have gone over 80mph, and are usually illegal for city use.
The power levels that the Bicycle of Doom puts out are in excess of 100,000 Watts. This is massive, compared to the standard 4500W bikes that you see in normal production. However, with great power comes great responsibility and the bikes need to be used with care, because such heavy duty motors are going to be pretty risky if abused.
Top Speed – 80mph
The velomobile – conflicted yet true
These are the 20 fastest electric bikes the world has ever seen. However, there is another class of bike as well. This has been through a lot of debate because of the differences it has to the traditional style of e-bike. The velomobile is an electric tricycle with added bodywork, making it look more like a 1940s racecar than a normal bike.
It is hard to come to terms with riding one of these and maintaining that you are a cyclist, but the fact remains that the velomobile is indeed a classified bike. This means that the electric assist velomobiles are also some of the fastest out there. However, since they are tricycles and this list is all about the bicycle, they won’t be expanded upon right now.
The best part about a velomobile compared to a traditional bike is that it is close to the ground and is designed for speed. The bodywork around one of these is such that it slices through the air like a bullet. The electric assist velomobiles can achieve top speeds of 50mph without the same power as the electric motor on a normal bike.
Getting an e-bike can be an expensive choice indeed, especially if you are going for one that has the ultimate ranking in speed and quality, like the M-55. However, it is definitely a choice that you are not going to regret. In addition to being gorgeous machines, the e-bike is fast becoming the transport of the future.