Is 250 Watts Enough For eBike - Thebicyclegeek

Finally, you decided to buy a 250 watt ebike, but is a 250w electric bike really good for you?

The power of an electric bike’s motor is measured in Watts. The higher the wattage – the more power the motor can generate as it propels the e-bike forward. The motor’s power is manifested in the bike’s speed and ability to climb steeper surfaces and navigate through rough surfaces.

What Is A 250W Electric Bike?

A 250 watt electric bike is a type of electric bicycle that is powered by a 250-watt motor. This motor is usually located in the rear wheel hub of the bike and is powered by the ebike battery. Electric bikes use motors to reduce the force a rider must invest in moving the pedals to move the bike forward. The more powerful the motor, the less force the rider needs to apply to the pedals.

Simply described, the motor’s ability to spin the electric bike’s front or back wheel, or its crank, at a specific speed is called torque and is measured in pound-foot (lb-ft), while the energy required to generate that torque is called power and id measured in Watts.

A 250 watt eBike motor generates 47.94 lb.-ft., less than 350W or 500W motors, and will be of better use in city commuting and on flat surfaces and mild slopes.

Is 250 Watts Enough For An eBike?

The simple answer is YES. But depends on your use. If you use ebike for daily use, 250w is enough. But if you use your electric bikes to off-road or cross mountains, 250w may not be enough.

Usually, electric bikes use 250W, 350W, 500W, and 750W motors that generate an increasingly larger amount of power.

eBikes have two types of motor drives:

  • Hub-drive motors are mounted on the front or back wheel
  • Mid-drive motors are attached to the crank with its revolving pedals.

The power generated by the motor increases the torque or the speed at which the wheels or the crank turn.

Mid-drive motors turn the crank directly and, therefore, more efficiently and generate a higher torque for the wheels than hub motors, which use a chain to turn the wheels.

A 250W, mid-drive eBike is suitable for flat terrains and even-moderately sloping surfaces. It is also cheaper and lighter than eBikes which produce a higher wattage and require larger batteries.

As a rule, riders need to fit the size of their eBike to how they plan to use it. Biking to work and back across an urban, primarily flat landscape requires different equipment from off-the-road or mountain eBiking.

The US Department of the Interior announced some time ago that electric bicycles would not be considered motor or off-road vehicles. Instead, these bikes will share the same rights and responsibilities as non-motorized bikes.

Can A 250 Watt eBike Climb A Hill?

Your 250W eBike will likely do well in flat to moderately sloped terrains.

Riders find that their 250W bikes, especially those with a mid-range motor, manage hill-climbing with enough pedal assistance and significantly reduced speed. The battery may be a challenge, as it may become depleted due to the increased load taken by the motor.

How Fast Does A 250W Electric Bike Go?

There is a marked difference between the speed a 250W eBike can go in terms of its structure, weight, and the torque its motor generates and legal restrictions on the maximum speed it is allowed to reach.

In 2020, the US Department of the Interior redefined electric bikes similarly to non-motorized bicycles and created three classes for all eBikes. The department also set the maximum allowed speed for each of the three newly defined classes.

Class 1

Class 1 includes eBikes with the pedal assist – that is, using the pedal to start the motor, which keeps supporting the pedals until the rider stops pedaling. These bikes are without a throttle which, like in mopeds and motorbikes, and uses a lever or a sliding button to increase or reduce the torque the motor provides and, consequently, increase or decrease the speed of the bike. The maximum assisted speed of Class 1 electric bikes is 20 mph.

Class 2

The Class 2 eBikes use the throttle and the pedals to assist the motor and the max speed is 20 mph.

Class 3

Class 3 bikes use pedal assist but have no throttle. The max speed of these bikes is 28 mph. All three classes have a motor wattage limit of 750W.

What Is The Difference Between 250W, 350W, And 500W eBike?

The motor spins the eBike’s wheels according to its position. Mid-drive motors rotate the crank, while hub-drive motors spin the back or front wheel. For the motor to spin the wheels faster (increase torque), the motor needs to generate more power, measured in Watts.

It is true that a 250W motor generates less power than a 350W motor, while a 500W generates more power than the other two motors. It follows that the wheels of a 500W could turn faster. This, however, depends on three factors:

  1. How hilly and steep is the area where you will be eBiking? Are you from flat Charleston, South Carolina, or hilly San Francisco, California?
  2. Your weight, to which you should add any cargo you carry, and the range you will cover. A person weighing 100 lbs. who drives around a flat area and carries a 10 lbs. bag is not likely to have too many problems with a 250W bike. A 350W bike will enable the same person to climb a 10% graded hill, and a 500W will carry our rider up a 15% graded hill.
  3. Your reach. Consider how the range of your uphill trips affects the motor and the battery. As the eBike makes its way uphill, the motor will need to increase its output, usually by decreasing speed.

The motor will also increase the power it draws from the battery. The 250W and 350W bikes will struggle more than the more powerful 500W bike, but even the most powerful motor of the three is likely to struggle uphill. Your range is shorter due to the conditions of the terrain you are covering.

What Size eBike Motor Do I Need?

Firstly, one needs to look at the regulations & standards for e-bikes in the United States to which all eBikes must adhere.

These include, among other legal requirements, that the rider must use the pedals, that the motor power must not exceed 750 Watts, and that the maximum rider’s weight must not exceed 170 pounds. Finally, the legal speed for these bikes may be at most 20 mph.

The speed limitation imposed on eBikes is quite sobering. If your primary requirement is to commute around town as fast as legally possible, and you live in a flat area, you will only need a 250 watt ebike, that has an average speed of between 15 and 20 mph.

Its motor must generate enough torque to move you and your cargo around at a reasonable speed. You also require a powerful battery to ensure you reach your destinations safely without having to be recharged, or at least recharged seldom.t


You can opt for the lighter and cheaper 250 watt eBike, as long as you are sure that the motor can withstand your weight and the weight of the cargo, and the terrain where you will be riding is primarily flat with some moderate hills. If the motor does not carry the weight within the given landscape, you should consider a motor of a larger size.