Contrary to popular opinion, the fastest electric bikes in the world right now were built in garages, not in factory workshops. Maybe its because companies are not interested in making illegally fast electric bikes because of liability, maybe there isn’t enough profit in making expensive and fast electric bikes, or maybe companies lack innovation and are waiting for individuals to make the bold steps forward. For whatever reason DIY garage-built bikes right now are the fastest electric bikes on the planet. I can put it this way, when Specialized announced last month that they were releasing the “worlds fastest electric bike” with a 25o watt motor, there were chuckles heard from garages everywhere. Some of the bikes on this list put out 200,000 watts. And racing any of these bike against the Specialized would be like racing a Hyundai against a Formula 1 car.This is a list of the 10 fastest electric bikes that we know of right now. No marketing BS here. To qualify for this list, the builder must have shot a Youtube video that illustrates the claimed speed of the electric bike. As we know the electric bike world is full of exaggerators…DIY builders being no exception.All the people on this list are respected builders, and are named by their Endless-Sphere forum handles. Endless-Sphere is the hang out spot for DIY builders and hot rodders. On this list are some of the biggest names in the DIY community.There are a few (very expensive) commercially available E-bikes that would make it to the middle of this list, but we have excluded those for now and will celebrate those instead in this story… Top 10: The Fastest Commercially Available Electric Bikes.This here list is to honor the achievements in the DIY community:
#10 Thud’s 45-MPH Mid Drive Race Bike
According to thud the bike above will go 65mph if geared for it. However Thud is not a big believer in speed tricks and instead focuses on twisty race track performance. Thud is well known in the community for making some of the fastest, lightest, most reliable electric race bikes ever created. He has won his share of electric bike races, and has blown away gas powered bikes as well. Below is a rare 2-speed mid-drive. Thud is a machinist, and when he couldn’t find a 2-speed transmission that was strong enough and as light as he wanted, he made one from scratch! Thud built the pictured bike for a friend, for him to compete with it at the Willow Springs Race track against gasser pedal bikes:
#9 GreasyPant’s 50-MPH electric bike
Greasypants not only built a clean looking Crystalyte hub motor powered 50-MPH bike and documented it on youtube, but he also created a book on how to build such a bike. He sells his book on the web for $50. For the last few years he has had a great presence on google searches, and has managed to make himself a few dollars while spreading the word on how to build an electric bike.
#8 Recumpence’s 50-MPH Trike
Recumpence has been a pioneer in adapting powerful RC-motors to electric bikes (specifically the top of the line Astro Flight stuff). After building several super powerful bicycles, Matt decided on a trike for his own set of wheels where the weight of the battery is down low, and 3 wheels is better than 2 wheels when handling the incredible high power that the Astro motor puts out in high-speed turns. Matt sells his reduction drive kits to the public, and many in the DIY community have used these to build themselves scorchingly fast and lightweight RC-powered bikes. (see our article on this trike here)
#7 Dogati 55-MPH Super Electric Bike
The Dogati super electric bike (see story here) is an Astro Flight 3220 powered machine running through a NuVinci variable transmission. This awesome bike is capable of incredible acceleration, frightening hill climbing, and blistering top speed. This E-bike is one of the most elaborate and beautiful DIY bikes ever, (read about top 10 elegant ebikes) and it was crafted from the ground up (not a converted bicycle, like almost every other bike on this list). Make note of the special-order extra-wide wheel rims, which allow the use of heavy-duty moped tires.
#6 Zombies’ 59-MPH Hubzilla-powered machine
Zombiess is a builder who is bringing to market an oversized 25-lb hub motor (a large version of the 9C) which was designed for large 45-MPH Chinese electric scooters, but some daring E-bike builders such as Zombiess have recently been adapting them to electric bikes, and of course…upping the voltage! Just like the Crystalyte 5304, Hubzilla motors are extra wide and they need a custom-built extra-wide frame. Zombiess managed to get his 59-MPH and prove it by capturing it on the Youtubes.
#5 Cedric Lynch’s 60-MPH Feet First Streamliner
Cedric Lynch not only built his electric bike around a mid-drive, but also built one of the worlds most efficient light weight motors to power his rig reliably at 60-MPH for great distances. He would later set several world records with his axial flux motor and bring it to market as the Lynch / Agni motor. Briggs and Stratton would eventually buy this technology which would lead to the Etek motor, which is now famous for making high speed efficient electric hot rods (see our story on the original e-bike hot rodders).
One tactic that Cedric uses to achieve high speeds is by following the rules of aerodynamics, and building a bike that is as aerodynamic and as efficient as possible. The other builders on this list bypassed this step, and Cedric uses this bicycle as daily transportation on real commutes. (read our article about Cedric here) Although this high-efficiency motor uses “old school” brushes, this fact allows builders to use very affordable controllers. He has proven his design choices through thousands of miles of commuting, and the Lynch motor is highly respected.
#4 Motomoto’s Santa Cruz 66-MPH
The Motomoto home-built Santa Cruz is the fastest electric bike I have ever ridden (or heard of) which actually still feels like a bike. The entire bike and power system weighs only 60-lbs, and puts out close to 10-HP with its 5-lb Astro motor that’s being fed 8000 watts. Ten horsepower on a light weight bike is an awful lot of power when its run through the pedal gears, and it can be seen propelling this Santa Cruz down-hill bike to 65-MPH oand nobody would have believed this dainty beautiful lightweight bike would do that but he did do a YouTube video proving it.
#3 Dr Bass’s 66-MPH Giant DH Comp Hub Motor
Canadian “Dr Bass” is considered one of the pioneers in hot rodding hub motors (read our hot rod hub motor primer here) and has been doing it for years. His motor of choice is the large Crystalyte 5304, the same 25-lb rear hub-motor used in the Stealth Bomber. His bike of choice like many other guerrilla E-bike builders is a full suspension bike with an extra large triangle for convenient mid frame giant battery strap-ons….the Giant Down-Hill Comp. This bikes battery uses 100-volts, and puts out 150-amps for a mind-blowing 15,000 watts (20-horsepower, the national street-legal limit in the US is one-HP). Dr Bass holds the only official world speed record on an electric bike at a verified 58-MPH. He is in contention with the young guns: Liveforphysics and Farfle to break the E-bike 100-MPH barrier. He has his hands full.
#2 Farfle’s 72mph 2 Pi
Farfle decided one motor was not enough for his latest race bike creation and took 2 Golden Motor Magic Pies and joined them into one. He re-made many of the parts inside the motor. He then laboriously (over 40 hours) rewound his Frankenstein hub motor (a grueling job) and cut air cooling holes to end up with one of the most powerful hub motors ever put on a bicycle .The bicycle itself was purpose built from Autocad files to welding bench, to final frame. This bike has a top speed of over 70mph and still is used as a commuter and has over a thousand miles on it. Recommend Farfle to bulders everywhere: Build to last…
“It will be assaulted by the elements, It will be ravaged by time and it will be destroyed by the user. BUT, if you Stick to the little rules: K.I.S.S., Overbuild everything, and test, review, revise, repeat. It will last”
Later Farfle would build an electric airplane and learn to fly it and test fly it in less than one year.
#1 Liveforphysic’s “Death Bike” 100-MPH
Liveforphysics, tired of frying fragile and lightweight RC motor setups, has discovered a magical combination of massive axial flux motors intended for E-motorcycles, Sevcon controllers, and Nano-Tech Hobby King LiPos strapped onto a custom built non-suspension frame. He is achieving speeds never seen before on an electric bike, all the while keeping his bike’s weight down under 200lbs. My favorite video of his is of the first carnation of the “Death Bike” which he built (in 7 days time) specifically to win a race I was putting on last summer called the “San Francisco Hill Climb”. Here is the crash that ensued and was caught on camera:
List of exceptional achievements from this list
Purpose Built Ebikes
The Dogati bike, the Farfle, and the liveforphysics death bike (2nd incarnation) are the bikes built from scratch to be electric bikes. (read our purpose built e-bike story)
The Liveforphysics bike and the Thud E-bikes are the bikes that were race proven, racing on twisty swirvey race tracks against other electric bikes and also gas-powered bikes. Motomoto’s bike and the Dogati are also race worthy given that they are lightweight and well balanced, but have not yet been raced.
Custom Built Motor
Of these bikes, the Farfle bike and the Cedric Lynch have custom built motors.
To be honest its considered rather easy in the DIY community to build an awesomely fast hub motor powered bike (read our hub motor hot rod primer). All you really need is a fat wallet and the right list of components (battery, controller, and motor) which guys like Dr Bassand Zombiess, can sell you (greasypants will sell you a book to help you choose which components to buy). Hats off to the guys on this list who did it the hard way with mid drive motor systems. These mid-drive builders are – Liveforphysics, MotoMoto, Cedric Lynch, Dogati, Recumbence, and Thud.
Best Hub Motor Job
Farfle took hot rodding a hub motor to a new level. Read about his elaborate hub re-build here. With over 90 of hours of skilled labor into this motor, Farfle invested heavy into making one of the fastest electric bikes ever.
Most reliable Speedster
Of all the machines on this list, only one has been used as a commuting device, and has been driven thousands of miles. Hats off to Cedric Lynch for building the undisputed most practical speedster on this list. The Farfle bike deserves mention because he has claimed to put over 1,000 miles on this bike commuting.
Most efficient Speedster
No contest here either. Cedric Lynch wins this hands down with his recumbent complete with aero-fairings. Car manufacturers do wind tunnel testing for a reason….the faster you go over 25-MPH, the more energy you will throw away to wind resistance. Going fast is very inefficient unless you can deal with the wind resistance factor…which Cedric has done.
Road Legal Award
All of these machines in this list would be over any federal limit definition of “electric bike” so therefore all these electric bikes would be considered to be illegal in most countries. All except for one. The Cedric Lynch machine has turn signals, headlights, horn etc, and actually has a license plate, making it completely street legal as motor bike. Unfortunately Cedric’s bike would also win the “booby prize” because I discovered later this bike does not have pedals.
Entrepreneur Spirit Award
Although nearly everybody on this list tried to make money off their electric bike ideas, 2 have seemed to make enough to make a living off of it. The entrepeneur spirit award goes to Cedric Lynch and Greasypants. Cedric Lynch’s motors are sold all over the world in high performance electric vehicle applications such as E-motorcycles, and Greasypants’ electric bike E-book is one of the most predominant electric bike products on the web, which is clearly sold at a great profit. Greasypants has a real knack for internet marketing.
Only one of these builders it seems has made no attempt to make any money out of his electric bike creation, and in fact has spent probably more money per operational mile on his creation than anyone on this list. The independent spirit award goes to Liveforphysics, who seems to build his bikes for the pure fun and belief in promoting the electric bike cause. There is no “secret sauce” to LFPs creations…he shares all the info from his builds with pics, and his videos show the sheer joy on his face and also those around him.
Would you like to join this list?
Are the gears in your head turning? Would you like to join the elite 50-MPH club and accomplish what only a handful of people have done on youtube? Do you have an extra $3000 to spend and are good with your hands? Remember 50-MPH bikes are for offroad use only and safety gear is highly recommended.
We leave you with Liveforphysics as always, trying to achieve the elusive 100-MPH mark on an electric bike. Notice he rides this bike in the right place…at the race track with a helmet and gloves.