Okay, let me see if I get this straight. You’re pedaling your heart out on your e-bike, yet you’re chugging along the road at the pace of a snail.
And so, you did what any reasonable person would do in your situation. You got home, took the phone out of your pocket, and googled why your e-bike is so slow, hoping to find an answer.
Well, then, this blog post is for you. We’ve written it to help you tackle the mysterious — and very often misunderstood — topic of e-bike speed. Grab a drink, find some place comfortable, and let’s discuss why yours might be going slower than expected.
Why Your e-Bike Seems Slow
Here are the most common reasons why your electric bike is too slow, in order of obviousness:
Is the Speed Limiter On?
First things first. If you just bought the electric bike and gave it a spin for the first time, and it seemed slow, are you sure that this isn’t because of the speed limiter?
Almost all electric bikes have a built-in speed limiter. Why would there be a speed limiter in your bike? Because e-bikes are a means of transportation on public roads, lawmakers in many countries have decided to require manufacturers to limit their speed by default for safety reasons.
The fix: Removing the speed limiter.
Do the Tires Have Enough Air in Them?
You’re absolutely and positively sure that the problem isn’t the e-bike’s speed limiter. Check the tire pressure. This is especially true if the e-bike used to be faster, but then it started slowing down all of a sudden.
Softer tires mean more drag, which makes the ride slower. Besides, bicycle tires deflate faster than most people think. In fact, experienced e-bike commuters have a daily pre-ride routine where they check their tire pressure and pump the tires up if they’re going soft.
The fix: Pumping up the tires to the correct pressure.
Are the Wheels Moving Freely?
Lift the front of the bike and give the wheel a good spin. Watch how it moves. Is it rolling freely, or does it slow down and grind to a halt? Regardless of the answer, go to the back of the e-bike and repeat the test.
There’s more than one reason why your e-bike’s wheels could be rolling with resistance. And, unless you’re really familiar with how to fix and troubleshoot this, you may want to call the repair shop. But by far the most common are poorly calibrated brakes that touch when they shouldn’t.
(In case you’re wondering, the second most common reason is the wheels’ bearings, although this mostly happens on old or worn e-bikes.)
The fix: Fixing the brakes so they only brake when needed.
How Hot Is It Outside?
If there’s one thing true for all e-bikes, it’s that they don’t get along well with heat. Most electric bikes have built-in protection that cuts power when the engine or battery overheats. However, not all of them will notify you of this.
Suppose it’s the heat of summer, and you’ve just noticed that your e-bike is suddenly no longer as fast as it used to be. The engine may be overheating, and the e-bike may be cutting off power to allow it to cool. The same may be true for the battery.
The fix: Not much, unfortunately. Ride in cooler weather.
Could It Be Battery Sag?
Battery sag is when a worn battery drops in voltage as the motor starts drawing power from it. This reduces the motor’s speed of rotation, which in turn makes the e-bike slower.
If your battery is too old or you haven’t been taking good care of it, the culprit for your electric bike suddenly turning slower might be battery sag. Have the battery inspect and replace it with a new one if necessary.
The fix: Inspect and replace the battery if needed.
Why is your electric bike slow?
We could have listed other reasons, like the rider’s lack of knowledge of the e-bike’s capabilities, more pedaling needed, and so on, and so on. But we decided to cut the B.S. and give you the most plausible causes instead.
More often than not, it’s either the speed limiter, underinflated tires, brake or bearing issues on the wheels, riding the bike in a heatwave, or good old battery sag.
Thanks for reading this far and hope you found this guide helpful.