Electric bikes are good hauliers compared to conventional bikes. They can pull any trailer and get you going for long distances without pedalling. But do they have a weight limit? How much weight can an electric bike pull? Well, this depends on the motor power. Most electric bikes can pull 220-300 pounds. However, some electric bike modes can pull up to 500 pounds. In fact, some electric bikes are specifically designed for weight and can pull more.
The weight limit an electric bike can pull includes the cargo weight and rider’s weight.
How much weight can an electric bike pull?
How much weight an electric bike can pull depends on various factors. Are you riding uphill or on a flat road? You need a bike with more power to compensate for the force of gravity uphill.However, on a relatively flat surface, bikes can pull even more weight.
On average, most electric bikes can pull 220-300 pounds. The weight limit usually includes the rider’s weight. However, some electric bikes are designed explicitly for cargo carrying, hence pulling more weight.
To get a better understanding of how much weight an electric bike can carry, look at the following factors.
Power of the electric motor
The motor power is what essentially pulls the weight. More power means more weight pulling. However, you’re not going to buy the most powerful motor to haul more weight. There are restrictions on the amount of motor power on electric bikes.
I’ll discuss more motor power restrictions shortly.
A small hub motor will not pull heavy cargo. The situation gets even worse when riding on a hilly road. Most countries have a motor power limit of 250W. The motor power can comfortably pull up to 300lbs on a flat and smooth road.
However, if you live in a hilly area and haul more weight, you need to consider electric bikes with up to 750W motor power.
Regulations around motor power
Some regulations restrict the amount of motor power in different countries. You need to be aware of these regulations before choosing the highest motor power possible.
There are specific requirements that electric bikes need to meet to be considered a bike. In some countries, bikes with higher motor power are not considered bikes. They are not allowed on cycle paths and lanes.
For example, electric bikes in the US are divided into three categories. These are:
- Class 1: These are pedal-assist bikes only. The bikes can have a motor power of up to 750W only. These bikes feature mid-drive or hub motors and hit maximum speeds of 20mph.
- Class 2: The bikes feature both the pedal assist and power-on-demand modes. They have a max power of 750W and can hit high speeds of 20 mph.
- Class 3: Class 3 bikes still have the maximum motor power set at 750W. However, they can hit high speeds of up to 28mph when pedaling.
The restrictions on motor power vary from one country to another. In Europe, the maximum power allowed for most basic electric bikes is 250W.
Table showing electric bike power restrictions in the US, Europe & Australia.
|Electric Bike class||MaxMotor Power Allowed||Max Speed Allowed||Hub/Mid-drive motors||Throttle/Pedal Assistance||Rules|
|USA||Class 2||750W||20MPH||Hub motor||Both|
|USA||Class 3||750W||28MPH||Both||Pedal over 20MPH||Restrictions apply|
|Europe, Australia, and others||Pedelec||250W||15.5MPH||Both||Pedal|
|Europe, Australia, and others||S-Pedelec||750W||28MPH||Both||Pedal||Restrictions( Not allowed on bike lanes, insurance, etc.)|
To simply put it, the restrictions can affect how much weight one can pull on an electric bike. It is crucial you do some due diligence before investing in a quality E bike for pulling a trailer.
For example, S-pedelec bikes in Europe have some strict regulations. First, bikes are not allowed on bike lanes. You might also require some insurance and some mandatory lights. You must also wear a helmet to ride these types of bikes.
Type of electric motor
The specific type of motor on your bike can also determine how much weight the bike pulls. There are three different electric motor types. Each motor type comes with its pros and cons.
The Hub Motor
If you’re looking to move your bike forward without pedaling, then consider the hub motor. It gives its power directly to the wheel.
Your bike gets power-on demands without engaging the gears. The hub motor can be built into the front or rear wheel. The best thing about a hub motor is that it makes your electric bike fully automatic.
Bikes with hub motors are convenient and pretty easy to ride. They also support the pedal-assist mode. However, there are some restrictions on power-on-demand bikes in some countries. Most countries in Europe don’t allow bikes with a throttle.
Generally, hub motors are not the most powerful to pull heavy trailers. You get the same power even when you change gears. If you decide on a bike with a hub motor, then consider one with sufficient power.
A 250W hub motor works perfectly on a smooth and relatively flat road. However, when riding uphill, you need a more powerful hub motor.
Unlike the hub motor, a mid-drive motor gives power directly to the pedal. The power is then transferred to the chain and to the wheel.
It is a reliable motor that allows one to multiply the bike’s torque by changing gears. A 250W mid-drive motor can pull trailers on a hill that a 250W hub motor will not pull.
This is achieved by changing to the lowest gear and pedaling harder. The only limitation of mid-drive motors is they only give you more power when you pedal.
The terrain makes a big difference in the amount of weight you can pull. A very slight incline can greatly change how much weight your bike pulls.
Even without a trailer, uphill terrain is pretty difficult to ride. It’s like working against the force of gravity. Consider the terrain you’ll ride often and choose a matching electric bike.
If you live in a hilly area and have long distances to cover, then a powerful motor electric bike is needed. However, relatively flat neighborhoods with smooth roads work just fine with any type of electric bike.
How The Trailer Weight Affects Battery Life
When you’re riding an electric bike, the motor power comes from a rechargeable battery. The battery is the most expensive component of an electric bike. It makes sense to know how the extra weight will affect the battery.
How fast will the battery be depleted? The terrain, extra weight, and level of resistance determine how fast a battery runs out. These factors are crucial and can determine how far you can go on the power-on-demand mode.
Pulling heavy trailers on the power-on-demand can reduce battery run-time by 80%. That’s astonishing! If your bike goes 40miles on a single charge, adding weight reduces the runtime to just 8 miles.
In general, a fully loaded electric bike on mixed flat and hilly terrains gives up to 30% of the maximum range. You need to pedal more and reduce resistance to get more runtime.
Generally, electric bikes are good for pulling trailers. Most can conveniently pull 200-300 pounds of weight without draining the battery fast. Depending on the cargo you want to pull, choose a suitable electric bike and trailer.
Set realistic expectations and pull only what your bike can manage. Combine the power-in demand with pedal-assist to get enough runtime.