E-Bikes: How Do Electric Bicycles Work?

There’s nothing quite like the open road on a pedal bike. There are things you can see from the seat of a bicycle that you’ll never see from the window of your car.

There’s no denying, however, that cycling takes effort. You have to be in excellent physical condition to go long distances and climb even slight hills. Technology has solved this problem with electric bicycles.

An electric bicycle will help you get up those big hills and enjoy the great outdoors once again. You may be wondering, exactly how do electric bikes work?

Keep reading to learn some excellent electric bicycle tips from what to buy to how an electric bicycle works.

What Is an Electric Bicycle?

An electric bicycle is not an electric scooter or motorcycle. It is a regular pedal bike with electric components such as a battery or motor integrated into its design. The electric components give a rider the assistance they need when they don’t have the physical torque to make the bicycle go.

How Do Electric Bikes Work?

Inside each electric bicycle, a sensor measures the rider’s cadence, speed, and torque input. The sensors perform hundreds of calculations in a single second. When the sensor detects the rider needs more torque, it sends a signal to the components which then release energy from the battery.

The battery energizes electromagnets in the motor, and these power the bicycle. As you’re pedaling, the pedaling will become easier or stay steady rather than growing harder as you crest a hill. You’re still moving your legs and pedaling the bicycle.

Qualities of a Good Electric Bicycle

Electric bicycles have become incredibly popular. As a result, you can find increasingly more models than even just a couple of years ago. If you’re looking for a particular brand, read this charge bikes review.

Otherwise, here is an electric bicycle guide that will help you know what to look for in each bicycle. Remember, the comfort and quality of your components matter.


Electric bike motors come with power ratings ranging from 200W to over 1,000W. United States law limits the size of the motor to 750W. Thus, legally, you cannot operate an electric bicycle with a motor bigger than a 750W motor.

As you’re considering the motor, know that if you have a bigger motor, you’ll deplete you battery more quickly. A smaller motor will save your battery power.

The motor does not always sit in the same spot for each electric bike. Most electric bikes have a hub motor that is integrated into the front or rear wheel. As you engage it, the motor will push or pull the wheel.

This system has one disadvantage. It’s not connected to the bike’s gears, and thus it does not work efficiently on hills or changing terrain. The system will operate much like a car running in a single gear all day.

Some electric bicycles have a mid-drive motor integrated into the gears and cranks. This increases your performance while using less battery. It also is better for hill-climbing because you can switch gears as you’re climbing.

An electric bike with a mid-drive motor also handles more smoothly. The motor sits closer to the ground, keeping the weight low and centered.


Your battery will affect the style, weight, and range of your bicycle. Most batteries are either sealed lead acid batteries or lithium batteries.

Sealed Lead Acid

SLA batteries used to e standard for electric bicycles and scooters. Most electric scooters still use them. Electric bike designers have sought out other opportunities, though, to keep bicycles more lightweight.

On the pro side, SLA batteries cost much less than their lithium counterpart. On the downside, though, theyy’re heavy and bulky, and they do not last as long as lithium batteries. They have a lifespan of about 100 to 300 cycle charges and require more maintenance.


Lithium batteries last two to three times longer than the typical SLA battery. They’re also lighter and require less maintenance. On the downside, they cost somewhere between $1,500 and $3,000 on average, much more than an SLA battery.


The controller is the brains of the electric bike. Without it, you could not operate the electric assistance on the electric bike.

Controllers sit on the handlebar so you easily manipulate it. You will have either a pedal-activated or throttle-based controller.

The pedal-activated controller kicks in when you press on your pedals. You do not have to press a throttle but instead just pedal you bike. You control the level of assistance on your handlebars by manipulating the controller.

The throttle controller has a throttle mechanism. It consists of a twist-grip or thumb-press type of throttle. To engage electrical assistance, you pull back or press on hte throttle.

On some bikes, you need only activate the throttle to receive assistance.

Staying Legal

In 2002, Congress enacted HB 727 that defined a low-speed electric bicycle as a two-or-three-wheeled vehicle operated by pedals and an electric motor of 750 watts or less. Thus, legally, an electric bike in the United States must have less than a horse power of power. The bike should move by the power of the human on it assisted with an electric motor.

When you look for you bike, make sure the specs comply with he law. The law also limits hte speed of hte bike when it is powered by the motor alone. A bicycle powered by just the motor should not go faster than 20 miles per hour.

If you’re pedaling, you may exceed 20 miles per hour, even when assisted by your motor.

Ride and Glide

Electric bicycles give those who are curious about bicycles a simple opportunity to become bicycle enthusiasts. They can travel bike paths without worrying about not making it home. The electric bicycle is a game changer.

Now that you can answer the question “how do electric bikes work,” it’s time to start cycling. Go shopping, and find your electric bicycle today.

Did you find this article helpful? If so, keep visiting our site. We seek to provide readers with helpful articles daily.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *