Less is More: 6 Reasons Your E-bike Motor Should be 500W or Less

A man rides his electric bike at speed

Nearly every retail electric bicycle and ebike conversion kit is listed at a specific power level, such as a “500 watt electric bike” or a “250 watt ebike conversion kit”, yet often this power rating is misleading.

When it comes to choosing a motor for your e-bike, bigger isn’t always better. Traditional motors range from 250W-500W, but as the e-bike industry grows, so is motor power. High powered motors are available ranging from 1000W-6000W but the question is- could less actually be more? Are there advantages to this upgrade in power? And lastly, how much power do you actually need?

When choosing a motor, there are two important factors. How much you weigh, and the terrain you’ll be riding on. A 250w motor is sufficient for general commutes, while upgrading to a 350W or 500W is beneficial for those who will be doing a lot of uphill rides. To put it in perspective, 6000W motors are appropriate for motorbike racing, and are not designed to be contained to city roads.

Related: The Difference Between Mid Drive and Hub Drive Motors

Generally speaking, for the average person an efficiently designed e-bike provides more than enough power at 500w or less. In fact, increasing the watts on your e-bike comes with disadvantages. Before we dig into the downside of high-powered motors, it’s important to keep in mind that standard by-laws usually cap motor power at 500w. These regulations came into play based on engineering principles and safety.

Why your motor should be 500w or less:

Related: What Do Volts, Amp Hour, And Watts Mean And Why Are They Important In E-Bikes?


Motor power over 750W provides too much power for a street bike and probably should be considered an electrical scooter or some other type of motorized vehicle.

When it comes to choosing the right motor, it ultimately depends on the intentions of the rider. Lower watt motors are low cost, they comply with street legal standards, they are efficient, and don’t come with the downfalls and risk of higher-powered motors. Our consensus: bigger isn’t always better.

For more e-bike blog posts, find us here:



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Adam Media

Marketing, content, copy and all the other words, based in Vancouver, Canada.