Do Electric Bikes Have Weight Limits And How Much?
Electric bikes are used for everyday commuting, off-road adventures, leisure riding, and in every possible situation where ordinary bikes were exclusively used just a few years ago.
Rider weight or total load weight is a hot topic among electric bike users - does it affect the electric bike's performances and does the increased weight increase the stress on the electric bike's components?
Published: February 28, 2023.
Short Intro To Electric Bikes
Electric bikes are very similar to classic bikes, except electric bikes also have onboard lithium batteries, electric motors, control electronics, controls, and a few more parts.
As such, electric bikes usually support the following ride modes:
- Full Electric Mode - the user rides a bike powered by an electric motor only,
- Pedal-Assist Mode - the user rides a bike powered by both the electric motor and pedals,
- Pedal-Only Mode - the user rides a bike powered only by the bike's pedals.
When looking for an electric bike, there are a few important details to look for, including:
- battery voltage and capacity: most electric bikes feature 36V and 48V batteries with a nominal capacity of 5-15Ah+ and are able to store plenty of energy and release it when required.
- motor wattage: electric bikes come with motors in the 250-1000+ Watts range. Smaller motors are mostly used in children's bike and for small, compact, often foldable commuters with limited user weight. Stronger motors are used on more robust ebikes, often intended for off-road use.
- ebike maximum range and speed depend on the riding mode, but in full electric mode, many models can travel between 20 and 60 miles - maximum range depends on the road, terrain, battery capacity, and also the load on the bike. Also, their speed in full electric mode is often limited electronically due to legal reasons.
- ebike weight and load capacity depend on the bike size, construction, used material, intended use, and similar. Some smaller, foldable units barely have a weight limit of 200 pounds, while larger cargo ebikes feature a maximum load in the 400-500 pounds range.
Of course, there are other specific details that may be important for the future user, like wheel size, is the ebike foldable or not, is the battery removable or not, etc.
|Long Story Short: Do electric bikes have a weight limit? Yes, they do - they have a maximum weight limit set by their manufacturer and a practical weight limit, which depends on the rider's intent on how, when, and where to use the ebike. Of course, the practical weight limit is always lower than the maximum ebike weight limit.|
Little Bit Of Math
Here is an example to show how rider weight affects electric bikes and their performances.
Two riders of different weights are trying to climb the 10% hill using the same (hypothetical) electric bikes powered by 48V 15Ah lithium battery, 750W electric motor, weighing 70 pounds (~31.7 kg) and with 300 pounds (~135.9 kg) manufacturer weight limit.
The first rider weighs 120 pounds and the second rider weighs 220 pounds. Both riders travel uphill at a speed of 10 mph (16 km/h, 4.444 m/s).
In these examples, we will assume that electric motors are ideal (100% energy efficient) and that there is no air and road resistance of any kind.
If the riders are traveling at 10 mph, up the 10% hill, then their vertical speed is:
vvert = 4.444 m/s * 0.1 = 0.444 m/s
The combined weight of the first rider and the bike is 190 pounds (86.07 kg), which means that the electric motor must provide:
P = m * g * vvert = 86.07 kg * 9.81 m/s2 * 0.444 m/s = ~375 Watts
Assuming an ideal electric motor, the battery of the first rider must provide:
Ibat = P / U = 375W / 48V = ~7.8 Amps
An electric current of ~7.8 Amps should not be a problem for 48V 15Ah battery (~0.5C discharge current), but if the ride continues at the same pace, the battery will be fully discharged in 2 hours (faster in real life), after which it must be recharged again - each battery, even lithium batteries have a finite number of charging/discharging cycles.
The combined weight of the second rider and the bike is 290 pounds (131.37 kg), which means that the electric motor must provide:
P = m * g * vvert = 131.37 kg * 9.81 m/s2 * 0.444 m/s = ~572 Watts
Assuming an ideal electric motor, the battery of the second rider must provide:
Ibat = P / U = 572W / 48V = ~11.9 Amps
Again, 11.9 Amps current should not be a problem for a 48V 15Ah battery, but in real life, this current would be very close to 14-15 Amps (~1.0 C discharge current) due to energy losses in wires and electric motor and air and road resistance.
Regardless of what the manufacturers of lithium batteries claim, even such batteries last longer (measured as the number of charging/discharging cycles) when the charging/discharging currents are lower than the maximum allowed charging/discharging currents.
So, if the bikes in this example are constantly used by the same riders, going over the same roads, tracks, trails, etc., then the battery of the second rider will fail first.
Examples of Real Electric Bikes and Their Weight Limits
The following list lists some of the most popular electric bikes with their most important features and specifications.
Note: the list is ordered alphabetically, and the links are Amazon links that open in the new windows, so feel free to check them for the most up-to-date offers and prices.
|Model||Battery/Motor||eBike Weight||Maximum User Weight|
|Addmotor M-360 Electric Cargo Trike||48V 20Ah, 750W||86 lbs (~39 kg)||350 lbs (~158 kg)|
|Addmotor M-560 P7 Electric Bike||48V 17.5Ah, 750W||73 lbs (33 kg)||300 lbs (~136 kg)|
|ANCHEER AN-EB5 Electric Commuter Bike||48V 7.5Ah, 500W||39.7 lbs (~18kg)||265 lbs (120 kg)|
|ANCHEER AT1 Electric Mountain Bike||36V 10.4Ah, 350W||44 lbs (~20kg)||300 lbs (~136 kg)|
|ANCHEER Hummer Electric Bike||48V 10.4Ah, 500W||52 lbs (~23.6 kg)||265 lbs (120kg)|
|ANCHEER Swan Max Electric Bike||36V 12.5Ah, 350W||59 lbs (~26.7 kg)||330 lbs (~150 kg)|
|DJ City Bike||48V 13Ah, 750W||68.3 lbs (~31 kg)||275 lbs (~125 kg)|
|DWMEIGI MG1703 Electric Trike||48V 18.2Ah, 750W||124 lbs (~56 kg)||330 lbs (~150 kg)|
|ECOTRIC Hammer Fat Tire Adult eBike||48V 13Ah, 750W||69 lbs (~31.3 kg)||265 lbs (120kg)|
|Heybike Cityscape Electric Bike||36V 10Ah, 350W||58.4 lbs (~26.5 kg)||~265 (~120 kg)|
|Heybike Mars Foldable eBike||48V 12.5Ah, 500W||66 lbs (~30 kg)||330 lbs (~150 kg)|
|Heybike Ranger Electric Bike||48V 15Ah, 500W||70.5 lbs (~32 kg)||330 lbs (~150 kg)|
|Sailnovo Y1-14 Electric Bike||36V 10.4Ah, 350W||46.3 lbs (~21 kg)||~265 (~120 kg)|
|Swagtron EB-6 Bandit||36V 7.8Ah, 350W||48.5 lbs (~22 kg)||~265 (~120 kg)|
|Swagtron Swagcycle EB-7 Elite Plus||36V 6.4Ah, 350W||42.3 lbs (~19.2 kg)||~265 (~120 kg)|
|Velowave Electric Fat Tire Bike||48V 16Ah, 750W||75 lbs (~34 kg)||300 lbs (~136 kg)|
Note: Amazon affiliate links ("Model" column) open in the new windows, feel free to check them for the most up-to-date offers and prices.
Of course, there are many other models on the market with respectable maximum user weight, so choose according to your own needs and preferences.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Here are some of the most common Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about electric bikes.
Do electric bikes and trikes have a weight limit?
Yes, electric bikes and electric trikes have a weight limit, which is given by their manufacturers, considering frame material and strength, battery energy capacity, motor strength, controller's maximum current, and similar.
However, the user must be aware that the bike's agility will not be the same if the user is at the bike's weight limit or, for example, half of that weight...
How much weight can an electric bike hold?
Maximum load of electric bikes is usually in the 220-330 pounds (100-150 kg) range, although there are cargo bikes and trikes that can hold much more (450-500 or even more lbs).
Note that the maximum load of the bike includes the sum of the user weight and the cargo weight.
Can overweight people ride e-bikes?
If the user has issues with weight, but this weight is less than the maximum user weight, technically, such a user can ride that e-bike.
Will cycling reduce belly fat?
Cycling can help the user increase the amount of burned calories, but fat reduction is much more complex than that. When ebikes are used in full-electric mode, the user is not doing any work that would burn extra calories.
What are the disadvantages of electric bikes?
When compared with "common" bikes, electric bikes are heavier and more expensive, the batteries must be recharged regularly, they may have different legal statuses in some states/countries, etc.
How strict are bike weight limits?
Bike weight limits exist for a reason, so obey them for many reasons. Having a bike that features a maximum user weight lower than the actual user weight may shorten the ebike's useful life - not to mention potential accidents that may happen when something breaks.
But, the rider's habits and terrain also affect how long the ebike will last.