How An Electric Bike Works

This short article explains in a couple of minutes how an electric bike works. The basic anatomy of an electric bike is similar to a normal bike. You have the basic frame, handlebars, saddle, pedals and wheels in the usual places like so...

Two major components are then added – the motor and the battery. Besides the main frame, they’re the heaviest part of an electric bicycle so they’re situated low down either slung between the top and down tube or immediately behind the saddle.

The motors are then built into either the forward or rear wheel hub and connected to the battery and the throttle mechanism situated on the handle bars via wire.

There are various different throttle mechanisms for the two main types of eBike - power-assisted and power-on-demand.

A pedal-assist bike – often called a pedelec bike. There are two main types, one is more sophisticated using a torque sensor to measure the users input based on how hard they’re peddling and then adds power proportionally. Whereas the other type uses a rotation sensor to sense when you are pedallng and provides additional assistance at a set level regardless of how how hard you pedal.

Many bikes also have a simple twist-throttle similar to on a motorbike which means you need to be careful when indicating right. This normally works independantly therefore it can ge used without pedalling. However this is illegal outside the UK above 4mph.

The best bikes are:

• Light: The motor and battery are heavy. Some cheaper models (using lead acid based batteries) compromise cheaper materials to keep costs down

• Powerful: Although the actual power of the motor may need to be limited, the power of the batteries isn’t. Provided they’re not too heavy you should try to get as bigger battery as possible. Manufacturers and dealers often skimp over the fact that best battery performance (which they give in their specs) is less and less likely with age, hot or cold weather and depending on how often the battery is charged.

• Easy to control and responsive: This one’s a no brainer, but you want an electric bike which does what it’s told!

More articles about Electric Bikes

Electric Bike Law in the UK

Tax-Free Electric Bikes in 5 Steps

Get Fit with Electric Bike Exercise

Award Winning Dealers 



Join a E-Bike Community

Ask questions and join in discussion with hundreds of electric bike users


News and Reviews 

 Peter Eland, editor of Electric Bike Magazine puts together a fantastic quarterly magazine. And you can read it all online too.