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250W Electric Bike Guide [Hills, Top Speed + More]

So, you’ve made the decision to invest in an electric bike. Congratulations! You’re in for a great adventure, with assisted pedal power helping you achieve higher speeds and longer distances with (relative) ease.

If you’re shopping for an e-bike in the UK, you’ll most likely be looking for a 250W bike, as a 250W motor is the most power a road-legal e-bike can have.

But what does this actually mean, and how will it affect your day-to-day usage?

In this guide, we’ll take you through the speed, range, hill-climbing capabilities and general pros and cons of 250W electric bikes so you can continue your search for the perfect e-bike totally clued up.

Electric Bike Wattage [EXPLAINED]

Let’s start with the basics – what exactly is electric bike wattage?

A watt is the unit which is used to measure the power of e-bikes, just like the power of cars and motorbikes is generally measured in horsepower.

The power of e-bikes generally ranges from around 250 to 900 watts – though not all of these are road-legal in all countries – which equates to around 0.3 horsepower to 1.2 horsepower.

Therefore, the wattage of an e-bike influences how fast it can go without pedal assist, because of the amount of power the motor can produce.

SOURCE: Unsplash.com

250W Electric Bike

For an e-bike to be road legal in the UK and EU, its power must not exceed 250w, and therefore the electric motor must not be able to propel the bike when it’s travelling more than 15.5mph.

To be clear, this doesn’t mean you can’t go faster than 15.5mph on your electric bike – it just means that the motor will cut out at that speed and you’ll be relying on your own pedal power at higher speeds.

The laws are slightly different in the US, and vary from state to state too.

Federal law defines a ‘low-speed electric vehicle’ as a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with a maximum motor output of 750W and assistance limited to 20mph, and these are treated by federal law in the same way as a non-electric bicycle.

However, different states have different laws around how electric bikes are classified and how they can be used, including in terms of licensing and insurance, so you should always check the law in the state where you’ll be riding.

How Fast Does a 250W Electric Bike Go?

A 250W electric bike is limited to speeds of 15.5mph in the UK and EU and 20mph in the US, at which point the motor will cut out and you will be powering the bike purely with the pedals.

That said, it is possible to slightly increase the top speed of your 250W electric bike (up to around 20-25mph) by removing the speed limiter which is placed by the manufacturer in order for the bike to be road legal.

While this is possible, it will of course render your bike illegal to ride on public roads. Additionally, even if you lift the speed limit of the bike, this does not mean that the brakes and other components are designed to deal with the pressure of higher speeds, so you should do so at your own risk.

Source: Unsplash.com

250w E-Bike Top Speed

As mentioned, 250W e-bikes are generally speed limited to 15.5mph in the UK and EU, and 20mph in the US, in order to make them road-legal.

They can, of course, go faster than this, but when you reach 15.5mph the motor will stop providing additional power and it’ll all be down to how much power you can provide by pedalling.

If you choose to remove the speed limiter you will be able to achieve higher speeds of up to around 20-25mph, but this would mean it is illegal to ride your bike on public roads and also probably invalidate your warranty.

How Far Can a 250w Electric Bike Go?

How far a 250W electric bike can go depends on the particular model you’re riding, but generally a typical rider on a typical e-bike might expect around 60 miles or 100km of range.

250W E-Bike Range

There are a number of factors which might affect the range of your 250W e-bike.

The motor does not usually work at its full capacity because, as mentioned previously, when you ride over the legal limit of 15.5mph in the UK and EU or 20mph in the US the motor will stop working and you’ll be riding with purely your own pedal power, saving your battery and extending your range.

Hills will drain the battery quicker than a flat ride, and other factors like wind speeds, your bike’s weight and your own weight will also have an impact on the bike’s range.

Can a 250W E-Bike Climb a Hill?

Absolutely! A 250W e-bike is perfectly capable of climbing a hill, and helping you get to the top of an incline without becoming a sweaty mess – though there are some factors, like torque, location and quality, that will determine exactly how effective it is.

Source: Pexexels.com

250W Electric Bike Uphill

How well your 250W e-bike will fare in climbing a hill can depend on a number of factors, including how much torque it has, where in the bike it is positioned, and the quality of the motor.

If it is located in a hub (which generally happens on cheaper bikes), it’s likely to struggle because the bike isn’t so balanced, but a mid-drive motor will have a much better output. Similarly, a 250W motor that produces 30Nm of torque, for example, won’t be so good at hill climbing, but one that produces 75Nm will be much more capable.

For maximum hill-climbing power, look for motors from the big brands like Shimano, Bosch or Yamaha, as they are industry-leading.

Is 250 Watts “Enough” for an E-Bike?

Yes, 250W is usually plenty powerful for the majority of riders, including commuters and leisure cyclists.

The fact that 250W bikes are road-legal opens up many more possibilities than a higher-powered bike that you’d need a licence for, but they still have all the benefits of reduced effort and increased power compared to a regular bicycle.

250W E-Bike [PROS + CONS]

PROSCONS
Road legalLimited power restricts hill climbing
Up to 15.5mph of assisted powerRelatively low top speed
Affordable compared to higher powered bikesStill pricier than regular bikes

What is the Difference Between a 250w and 500w Electric Bike?

The biggest differences between a 250W and a 500W electric bike are the bike’s power, top speed and ability to go uphill.

A 250W bike will have a top speed of around 15mph at full throttle and provide less power going uphill compared to a 500W bike – but it is road legal without a licence in many countries, which is of course a huge plus.

A 500W bike will offer top speeds of up to 20mph at full throttle, have optimal power going uphill, and is slightly easier to ride because it has that bit of extra power.

250W vs 500W eBike Comparison

250 Watt E-Bike500 Watt E-Bike
15mph top speed20mph top speed
Legal in UK and EULegal by US federal law
OK going uphillGood at hill climbing

Best 250w Electric Bikes [Top 3 Picks]

  1. Cowboy 4 [REVIEW]
  2. Urtopia Carbon E-Bike [REVIEW]
  3. TENWAYS CGO600 [REVIEW]

1. Cowboy 4

Weight: 18.9 kg (total weight including battery)
Range: Up to 70 km
Wheel Size:
 27.5″
Price:

  • 🇬🇧 £2,490
  • 🇺🇸 $2,990
  • 🇪🇺 €2,790

The Cowboy 4 is a strong contender for anyone wanting a city bike that’s practical and reliable but still looks the part. It’s also a bike that is perfect for any commuters wanting to go electric, as it’s easy and offers a comfortable ride.

This quirky bike is available in a range of three trendy neutral colours – black, sand and khaki. Therefore there’s a colour to suit everyone’s taste. This bike also comes with mudguards and a single ring on the front, to keep it low maintenance.

It’s fitted with a 10 Ah, 360 Wh removable Lithium ion battery, which is 100% recharged in 3hours and 20min. This bike also benefits from having fitted a custom designed 45 Nm / 250 W motor which is integrated in the rear wheel.



2. Urtopia Carbon E-Bike

Weight: 15 kg
Range: Up to 100 km
Wheel Size:
 27.5″
Price:

  • 🇬🇧 Not available
  • 🇺🇸 $2,799
  • 🇪🇺 €3,299

Now this is a cool looking e-bike. It just looks fast and futuristic.

Indeed, this isn’t just an electric bike. This is a smart bike and has incredible useful features such as a built-in navigation, AI voice controls, indicators, fingerprint unlock and anti-theft GPS.

And the list of impressive features doesn’t end there. It uses a belt-drive to keep maintenance to a minimum and has an outstanding range of up to 100km (62 miles).

Urtopia have done an especially god job on the appearance – or lack thereof – of the battery pack as it is discreetly built into the frame, but it is still removable, so you can take it from the bike to charge inside.

And as you might have guessed from the name of the bike: it’s got a carbon frame. Which explains how it’s managed to pack all these awesome features into a total weight of just 15kg (33lb).

The Urtopia bike is available across mainland Europe and north America, but sadly not the UK as it stands.



3. TENWAYS CGO600

Weight: 15 kg
Range: Up to 70 km
Wheel Size:
 700C
Price:

  • 🇬🇧 £1,499
  • 🇺🇸 $1,799
  • 🇪🇺 €1,599

Offering a smooth and enjoyable ride, the CGO600 from TENWAYS is a solid and well priced option for anyone looking for a belt drive electric bike to ride around on that won’t break the bank.

This bike comes in a range of colours to suit your personal style: Midnight Black, Sky Blue, Light Grey, Lime Green and Arctic Blue. It also comes equipped with hydraulic brakes.

Electronically, the CGO600 has a 36V, 7AH Lithium-ion battery with Samsung/LG/Panasonic cells, that’s paired with a Mivice M070 250W motor, located in the rear hub. This motor allows (in the European market) for speeds of up to 25km/h or 16mph.

TENWAYS CGO600 Colours


Rachael Davis


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Rachael Davis

London’s parks and canal paths are Rachael’s current favourite place to cycle, but having grown up in Norfolk she’s no stranger to a forest track or countryside trail. When she’s not on a bike ride, find her out for a run, at a gig, browsing for fashion or watching films somewhere in the city.