Will a Bigger Battery Make My E-Bike Faster? Expert Analysis

Perhaps one of the most addictive sensations is speed, especially as your skill and comfort on your bike increase to the point where you find yourself slowly inching toward the limits of your bike. And, at some stage you find yourself wanting just a little extra hot sauce from your bike, but your battery is maxed. So, can you increase your bike’s speed with a bigger batter? Well, maybe.

The voltage output of your battery dictates how fast your motor will spin. Adding more volts will cause your motor to spin faster, increasing the speed and power output. However, if you over-volt the motor and controller beyond their capacity, your risk burning them out.

There are few things as dangerous as making electrical changes to your e-bike armed with nothing but the foundational theory. So, assuming you are not intent on destroying your bike, you should take a slightly deeper dive or consult a pro.

Increasing Your E-Bike Speed With A Bigger Battery

36V batteries were prevalent not too long ago, but that seems to have changed. Today 48V and 52V batteries are probably the most common batteries on an e-bike.

In fact, it’s not uncommon to see bikes equipped with 72V powerhouses. It’s also not unusual for e-bikers to toy with the idea of sticking a bigger battery on their bike to increase speed. And this is actually quite a logical question.

The speed at which your motor can turn, and the power it delivers is determined by the number of volts it can pull from the battery. So yes, in theory, if you swap out your battery for a higher voltage battery, your motor has more volts to draw from and can potentially spin faster.

Looking for more speed? Pump up the torque on your e-bike

However, there are two significant hurdles that you need to consider.

It Is Possible To Destroy Your Bike

The first, and most crucial consideration is that your motor and controller are rated for a specific voltage load. In short, their internal circuitry is built to a standard and can only handle a certain number of volts.

Think of this like a water pipe. Suppose you want to get more volume of water out of the other end of the pipe. In that case, it logically concludes that you should increase the water going into the pipe. But this also increases the pressure; if your pipe can’t handle it, it will burst.

The same applies to your electrical circuitry: add too much power and you overload the circuit, causing it to burn out.

That being said, you have some room for error, but it’s vital to check your motor and controller’s voltage. For example, if you have a 48V motor and stick a 72V battery on your bike, you should probably carry a fire extinguisher as well.

Is it Possible to Upgrade Your Ebike Battery? What You Need to Know

However, there is some room for change. Typically, a 48V motor is rated to handle maximum loads between 60V and 70V, which means you might be able to step up from a 48V battery to a 52V. In fact, this is a common upgrade option among many manufacturers.

52V batteries have become highly popular because they balance power, weight, and cost. In short, they are typically superior to 48V batteries, making it a potentially worthwhile upgrade that will also give you a slight bump in speed.

Still, messing with your bike’s electrical components is risky, even if you are in that safe range. So, taking it to the pros for advice or complete installation is best.

Your E-Bike Is Probably Speed Limited

All right, now you’re convinced that you will fork out the cash to upgrade from a 48V to a 52V battery. So you excitedly install the new battery and go for a ride, only to find that your motor is still hitting the same max speed.

Related:  Electric Bike Motors Uncovered: Which Motor Is Behind Your E-Bike’s Power?

Unfortunately, most e-bikes have a fun-spoiling speed limiter or speed restrictor. In most cases, these speed limiters are required to keep e-bikes under their legal speed limit. And lawmakers have several motivations for inducing those limits, but it mostly boils down to the safety of the riders and the public.

In the USA, for example, this speed limit can range between 20 and 28 miles per hour, depending on the state and how that state classifies your e-bike. So, if you are already pedaling at the cusp of the bike’s limiter, adding more volts isn’t help you all that much.

How To Easily Increase Your E-Bike’s Speed

While you should avoid messing with your bike’s electronics, there are a few ways to get a little more miles per hour without risking a voltage overload.

The first is to play with your gear ratios. If you are a reasonably strong rider or primarily ride flat and downhill trails, you can swap out your chainring for a slightly bigger one. A bigger chain ring will make your entire asset pedal harder but faster.

Similarly, if you primarily use your e-bike as a mountain goat to scale up steep climbs, you can put a smaller chainring on the front to help you pedal a little easier, potentially adding a little speed in the process.

The following component change you can make is to get a pair of tires that suit your needs. If you use your e-bike to commute to work and generally paved or hard-packed gravel roads, use a slicker tire to reduce friction and add speed.

On the other hand, if your bike is your off-road companion through mud and loam, then putting grippier tires on it will help it handle better and give you the confidence to go faster.

Conclusion

A bigger battery can increase your e-bike’s speed because the higher voltage means your motor can spin faster. However, if you add a battery higher than your motor’s rated capacity, you can burn out your electrical components, effectively destroying your bike. It’s best to consult your local bike shop before your spend money on a new battery.

Ready for a deep dive? Explore the world of torque and watts in e-bikes.

Author

  • Miles Baxter

    Miles Baxter is an engineer with a longstanding love for bicycles, sparked by winning a mountain bike in a childhood lottery. Balancing a keen interest in mechanics with the thrill of biking, his career is a testament to the art of turning wheels and gears into adventures.

    Baxter Miles