20 mph vs 28 mph Electric Bikes: Which Should I Choose?

20 mph vs 28 mph Electric Bikes: Which Should I Choose?

In this video we explain some of the major differences between regular and high speed motors on ebikes. There’s many things to consider when choosing between 20mph and 28mph electric bikes and we want to help you make the best decision.

1:30 What are you using the bike for?
1:50 Are you commuting?
2:55 Motor torque/speed differences
5:35 Locations restrictions
8:20 Access to different models of bikes/special bikes
10:00 Different additional requirements
10:30 Safety
11:15 Batter power/range

MusicBed: MB01U9M1C1HALPS

Readers Comments (50)

  1. It’s kind of crazy that we allow cars to be made with no lilmits while scooters are limited to 15mph, bikes to 20/28mph. I just saw an ad for an SUV being able to hit 160mph. Wth?

  2. I ride my ebike everywhere in NYC now. No need for subway. Just need to have 2 heavy chains on me all the time since NYC is full of animal scum who steal bikes.

  3. Chris, Thank-you for your time & effort in making a great video….here’s my story. I’m at Craig Park (Fullerton) on my R&M Nevo, stopped, under a shade tree, talking on my cell phone to my Mom (she is 87) when a park Ranger (with Police Power) rolls up & wants to "talk" about my breaking the law with my electric bike by being in the park. I was a regular volunteer at the Fullerton Electric Bicycle Center, I’m 62 & retired Law Enforcement (37 years). After a fair amount respectful listening I borrowed the Park Ranger’s California Vehicle Code Book pointed to chapter & verse as to why I was not breaking any laws. He eventually agreed, & I invited him down to our E-BIKE shop, to see first hand the different manufactured E-Bikes and how the Class #1 differs from Class #2 & so on. It was a blast helping out the Park Ranger & now his view on E-Bike riders has completely changed.

  4. You’d think everyone would want the 28 mph bike since you don’t have to go full throttle if you don’t want to. With the 28 you have a choice.

  5. It’s understandable that an e-bike salesperson would recommend the more expensive of 2 different bikes, that’s the name of the game. Similarly, when considering which Tesla car to buy, simply choose the most expensive one, and all will be well. It’s an easy choice to make.

  6. StuffOffYouStuff November 28, 2020 @ 7:30 pm

    In the UK they can only go 15.5MPH. A little too slow in my opinion. 20 is just right. I was curious to hear you say there was a difference between the performance line CX and the speed version of the same motor. I’ve tried to interpret the info on their site and it’s not something they mention. To anyone looking at their specs page, the only difference they can see is the Eco mode on the speed gives a bit more than the non-speed. I thought they were essentially the same except one is limited. As a consumer, I’d like it if Bosch could offer a derestriction service you could pay for so if I did change my mind, I could have that done.

    I also think it’s going to be pretty hard to enforce the law when it comes to going off-road with the 28 mph (UK) pedelecs. It’s about being sensible. I still think one of the dumbest ideas in history is allow human beings to drive huge vehicles called cars that can go at speeds well in excess of what is required. When fully autonomous vehicles are ushered in and prevent people from driving whatever speed they like, we will look back at these times as we did with other social calamities and will wonder, "just what the hell were we thinking!?" Similarly, perhaps one day the Bosche motor could sense when you’re off-road and automatically restrict the speed!! There’s an idea

  7. I’d really like to see your reviews include what cadence (at the highest gear ratio) is necessary to hit a bike’s top assisted speed. I have an R&M Charger with the Nuvinci CVT and, in order to hit its 28 MPH top speed, I have to be pedaling at a very, very high cadence. Ideally, you should be able to hit the bike’s top assisted speed (on a level surface and in the highest gear ratio) with a cadence of about 80 RPM.

  8. You didnt touch and explain battery volt which is important also

  9. 20mph is stupid. It should be at least 25mph which is the lowest posted speed limit in most areas. 20mph is just too low. No limit would be preferable. I can decide how fast I need to go. Not some regulator person sitting in an office somewhere. We are being regulated right into the ground. Soon you will need a permit to leave your house.

  10. Turner's Tech Talk November 28, 2020 @ 7:36 pm

    Man – spot on! You’re delivering terrific content and really helping out the folks that are thinking about getting an ebike! I rode both before buying and I knew immediately that a 28mph bike was the only way for me to go. Not because I always go more than 20mph – but when I want to it’s VERY nice to have and I absolutely would’ve regretted it if I went with a Class 1 bike.

  11. WTF? Why aren’t the gutter covers perpendicular to the flow of traffic. It’s an unnecessary obstacle for cyclists stat already have to avoid traffic and the rail tracks. What city is that?

  12. Where is your bike shop???
    Thanks 🙏

  13. No Chris, I don’t want to become Europe .

  14. This is a great topic as I am considering whether a 20mpg or a 28 mpg is right for me

  15. 15mph (in Europe) is slower than normal bikes can do.

  16. If only it was 20mph over here in the UK. 15mph is just bollocks. I used to have a Tongsheng powered eBike and the immediate drop-off in power at 15mph was jarring. If you’re averaging about that it would pulse on and off as you got either side of the limit. I just test rode a Riese und Muller Delite and the Bosch wasn’t quite as bad around the limit – but it was still annoying to be going so slow compared to the traffic in the city, so I ordered the HS. I asked if the CX motor name plate would fit in the place of the Speed Line plate and the shop said sure, they got a few customers swapping the name plate to keep the performance under the radar. I don’t really need 28mph, since most of the roads I commute on are 20mph, but having the ability to keep up when other vehicles are going that fast, or a bit quicker, is important to me. Complying with all the other regulations that apply to motorcycles, whether they do 28mph or 228mph; not so much. If the government met ebike riders half way and produced a vehicle class that was closer to bicycle regulations but perhaps required a road safety course and 3rd party liability insurance – sure I’d register and comply. Treating a 28mph bike as being in the same class as a Hayabusa is just asking people to disregard the law.

  17. StuffOffYouStuff November 28, 2020 @ 7:41 pm

    Oh wait, or how about a restriction service where if you wanted to take the bike away for off-roading, Bosche could offer a restriction to allow you to do that. The technology is there, Consumers shouldn’t be forced to make a choice when the capability to flex between the two can be easily done. We want flexibility. It just takes a sensible registration system to make it happen. Business, bike charities and governments working together to get it done.

  18. Thanks for the information, Chris. Was new for me that Pedelec has more torque than S-Pedelec!

  19. 28 mph or faster!

  20. Amazing video . Can someone please tell what’s the Brand of the yellow bike at 1 :08. and the grey bike at 4:18 ? they look Amazing .

  21. I go about 18- 19 mph I have reserve up to about 25mph though good ebike but its a bike and I don’t want an accident!

  22. Where I live now, 28 mph bikes aren’t allowed on bike paths. That pretty much sealed the deal for me. One of the joys of life is getting to enjoy the tiny bit of infrastructure our city has reserved for bicycles. Plus, our Gazelle is such a beautiful bike, my speed complaints are minimal. 🙂

  23. US Rider living Beachside in Florida …. no hills, year-round riding…… If you need to go faster than 28 MPH……consider a motorcycle……personally, my main consideration is range…..bigger battery, more efficient controller and motor = range. Unfortunately, I see (in the near future) enthusiasts riding 1000+ Watt, 35 MPH home-builds on paths and trails designed for walking and recreational riding……

  24. Great info man!

  25. I have a bafang 1000 with 52 volt battery on a mountain bike, it will go 32 but normally ride about , 18 just nice to have the extra when I feel like it.

  26. Thanks so much for the great video! Can you recommend a few 28 mph cargo bikes of the long tail variety? Thanks again.

  27. Lol I don’t bike but I go 17 to 20 mph for biking commute bc I save gas even live at America

  28. What is a the make of the bike in the first min of video, the yellow one with front and rear luggage rack, anyone know??

  29. Thank you for helping me choose a 20 mph for the extra torque and more access to bike trails.

  30. What is the name of the bike at 9:30 to 9:51 in the video? Thanks.

  31. Christopher Harmon November 28, 2020 @ 7:55 pm

    Another great video! Thank you for your insight.

  32. it is hard to decide on bikes as i’m around 5ft 5 and short legged (been year riding experience), currently have a 20inch wheeled and small frame single chain budget ebike from our local UK bikes store Halfords its the cheapest bike they do of £500 but for what it does only last whole day before need recharge. The battery does 20miles distance but my commute to and through work is around 10miles (5 miles each way) average speed i get is 15mph, one time i did reach 23mph once going do big hill lol

  33. The faster the better. Speed limiters be damned. Also helmets are not needed, in Amsterdam riders rarely wear them.

  34. Amazing video, such an important subject in a rapidly changing landscape. I love your analogy of the Ferrari in the school zone because I sold my SS Camaro and bought my Class 3 e bike to commute to work. Now we have 3 e bikes in the house and both our cars are being used so infrequently that the disc brakes are visibly rusting. All classes of e bikes should be able to ride on almost all bike paths, just be reasonable with your speeds. This is the message from one of our local cops to me when talking at the last bike show here in Montreal. Keep people moving away from cars to e bikes! Thanks Propel for helping the community out so effectively! Bravo!

  35. in the uk you need to register a 28mph bike cost £55 plus insure not sure about road tax

  36. 13:22 The last topic to me is the most important as a novice e-bike rider and an experienced street rider in NYC who has enjoyed going up to 25mph on a 25lbs single-speed bike on flat straights. My first experiences with a 65 lbs 500 W Radcity bike that cuts off the rear-hub motor right as you reach 20.0 mph are unpleasant. It basically makes it impossible to go faster than 21mph without exerting an undue amount of pedal energy.
    So after just a few days of experiencing this limitation, I now know that I would prefer an e-bike as light as possible, with zero, 3 or 7 gears, and enough battery capacity to help me ride up bridges and uptown hills while lasting around 40-50 miles.
    Not sure a bike like that exists yet. So far I have my eyes on the Ride1Up Roadster V2 ( https://ride1up.com/product/roadster-v2/ ) which is only $1000, has a 350W motor, integrated 252 Wh battery, 25mph top speed, and weighs only 32 lbs! I’d be thankful for any pointers to other comparable models.

  37. People buy cars that do 120 plus mph and speed limits in most NYC street is 25 mph greater where is it’s posted .

  38. In the UK the limit is 15.5 mph. And pedal assist, no throttle allowed.

  39. This really covered all the bases. I see most say to go with 28mph.. but I went with a level 1 because on my Surly LHT, I rarely go above 20, even downhill.. so getting up to 20mph going uphill is a joy 🙂 I don’t commute on my bike because I work from home.. but it is nice to run to the store or just take nice longer and a little faster rides. I know that if I did live in a city and rode with cars, I would want that faster speed, but that isn’t likely for me. thanks for the great info

  40. Get the higher rated bike for battery economy by riding slower instead of its highest speed. The old story of just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Don’t forget at 28mph, if you hit something on the road you shouldn’t, you will go down a lot faster than if you were going 20 mph or less. Speed isn’t everything unless you are tired of living.

  41. We have a 25km speed limit in Spain. I live in Santiago de Compostela -quite hilly- and use a Biwbik 300

  42. You want to feel you driving a bike or you want to feel driving a scooter? I think America does not have the infrastructure like we have in the Netherlands. I think that is the way to go, work on the infrastructure, then you should like 20 miles an hour (as top) more. You still can go up hills. 28 miles is a slow motorbike. Nothing to do with a bicycle.

  43. in my country Norway may 28 miles bike has license plate and insurance and i need a moped helmet + moped license and i must have a Mirror and a el horn specialized vado 5.0 but not on my vado 3.0 a 20 miles bike brose motors has 90nm

  44. EveryoneIsAnotherYou November 28, 2020 @ 8:13 pm

    You will never regret going with a 28mph bike with a Rohloff or standard derailleur. I own a 20mph Enviolo bike (Priority Embark) and a 28mph Rohloff bike (Riese & Müller Superdelite).

    Both are fun and awesome in their own way, but the smooth-riding Enviolo with a 20mph just leaves you wanting for speed too often on trails. I ended up hacking the Gen3 Bosch motor with a Speedbox 3.0 chip, but I’m now hampered by the Enviolo’s 380% gear range, so can only get it to 21-23mph without getting insane and uncomfortable cadence. Beyond about 19-21mph and the cadence is simply too high for me to enjoy the ride.

    More often than you might think, it’s nice to have the Rohloff’s 520% gear range and a motor that doesn’t cut-out at 20mph.

    Keep in mind that 20-28mph can be a lethal or seriously dangerous speed in an accident, so exercise extreme caution and make sure you are using headlights, helmet and protective gloves, excellent disc brakes and tires, and be extra alert for unaware pedestrians and slower cyclists and vehicle doors. You ought to have a loud horn at those speeds, like the R&M Superdelite has. And keep your bike well maintained so it’s as safe as possible.

  45. As a first remark: I’m from Europe, rules here are not 20 vs 28 miles but 16 vs 28 miles (anyhow fact in Belgium)
    Apart from this, you nail it, 80% of my cycling time is commuting , over a distance of 25miles producing an average of 23 mph (real life trafic).
    When I’m touring multiple days having50 miles/day speed drops somwhere around 18mph (average).
    A very good remark was on the situation in cities (over here you have in many cities a speedlimit=19mph) you are way better of with a a 28mph.
    Wrapping this up, I couldn’t agree more with you : if you are asking yourself the question, 20 or28 and you are commuting go for a 28mph (I’m really glad i did)

  46. It’s safer to have the 28 mph bike for one key reason: Sooner or later you will be forced to use a Motor Vehicle Lane. And being slower does NOT improve your safety around pissy motorists.
    You need to be able to boogie with the push of a button, or risk getting pasted either deliberately or accidentally.
    Besides, you can bloody well do 28mph+ on a decline without any power whatsoever on any bike, and the MAMIL crowd frequently get well over 20 on flat land in bike paths anyways.

  47. best explanation of a very important decision a buyer must make. Great education here Chris!

  48. As far as I know, in Europe, maximum assisted speed limit, to be considered as a "standard" bicycle, is 25 km/h (around 16hph); if motor pushes you over that, it is considered as a small motorbike (in France) with all laws associated to that sort of vehicule (motorbike insurance, motorbike helmet and other accessories…). That explains that HS ebikes are very rare in France, and usually illegaly used; but insurances become aware of that and are checking properly all vehicules, when it is about an important accident.
    That limit at 25 km/h seems right to me: it is a speed that you can regularly reach with a non assisted trekking bike on flat road; so it is logical to regroup all this biccyles, assisted or not, in same category. When you want motor assistance over that speed limit, you cannot be associated anymore with non assisted cyclists; it is logical that, in this case, you must respect specific laws and rules. Maybe these laws and rules must evolves to take into account differences between HS ebikes and motorcycles, but I think that "regular" (non HS) ebikes must continue to have rules, including low speed limit for motor assistance, in order to remain assimilated (and accepted) to non assisted bicyles.

  49. Here in Europe the limits are 25km/h and 45km/h. There is absolutely no point to take the 45km/h model because it is compared to a moped (50cc) and you can no longer ride ANY cycling paths or lanes.. So you are forced to cycle with the cars all the time AND you’ll get a mandatory insurance about 200+€/year. And if someone living here still is considering it he or she must remember that it will also be a very hard sell if you ever need to get rid of it.

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