How Do Electric Bikes Work - thebicyclegeek

These years, electric bikes were developed rapidly. The electric bikes do not have exhaust gas and noise pollution like the cars or motorcycles and their speed is low and easy to ride. More and more people are considering buying an electric bike.

In this article, we will talk about the basics of electric bikes, so that you can have a more comprehensive understanding of electric bikes.

How Do Electric Bikes Work?

Remember electric bikes are not standard bicycles. Powered by electricity, an electric bike makes pedaling easier and performs additional features that take the strain off your legs.

It’s also not right to call it a motorcycle since its energy doesn’t compare to a gas-powered engine. And, in general, they are still only the size of a standard bike, with similar framing and wheel size, but with a motor attached.

But if you are unfamiliar with the mechanics behind a motorized bike, you may be wondering just how exactly does an electric bike work?

First, we must understand the parts that compose it. There are six major components on an electric bike, including the frame, motor, battery, controller, sensor, and display.


The frame material for an electric bike is just as important as any other component. The right frame determines the bike’s overall weight support, stability level, and shock absorption.

The most common electric bike frames are aluminum, steel, titanium, and carbon fiber.

Each type has its advantages and disadvantages and will depend on the rider and their intended purposes.


The motor can be seen as the bike’s effortless assistant as it makes the whole vehicle operable. The range of power and its functionality are two things people need to understand about the motor.

Types of Electric Bike Motors

Two types of motors exist for electric bikes. Hub-drive motor and mid-drive motor.

A hub-drive motor is most common among electric bikes. It is placed on either the rear or front wheel and helps move the wheel forward or backward. The only issue is that there’s no control over the gears, which keeps you at one speed.

A mid-drive motor is integrated with the bike’s gears and maintains performance with less battery power. This motor also allows you to switch gears, making it a favorable component for rides with many hills and inclines.

How Do Electric Bike Motors Work?

The motor works electric power in its favor to move the bike. It comes equipped with a pedal-assist function that makes pedaling easier with little effort.


The battery is the heart of the electric bike. It gives power to the motor and other connected components. Without it, the bike is inoperable and becomes a standard bicycle.

How Do Electric Bike Batteries Work?

The amount of power supplied to the bike depends on the kind of battery that fuels it.

Standard electric bike batteries offer about 250-500 watts of power. Energy consumption depends on how often the bike rides, the types of terrain it is used for, and whether or not the pedal assist is on.

Older electric bikes depend on lead-acid batteries, while modern models use lithium-type batteries. Acid batteries are cheaper but take longer to recharge and are bad for the environment. Lithium batteries have become more popular because of their longer lifespans and require less maintenance.

Since electric bikes run on battery power, they can be charged continuously and saves money on replacements. It’s easy to maintain by plugging it into a wall outlet and letting it recharge overnight to ride the next day.


The controller is like the brain of an electric bike. All other components connect to this box and respond with the desired inputs. With no controller, all the supplied power has no place to go.

How Do Electric Bike Controllers Work?

With the power supplied by the battery, the controller uses its power circuits to carry voltage throughout the entire bike.

Like a nervous system, inputs from the electric bike are sent to the controller and then transferred back to either the battery or motor.

The controller is also responsible for providing all the protective functions of the bike. It watches the battery voltage and shuts down if it’s too high or low and causes an overcharge or discharge.

Aside from voltage, the controller also monitors the temperature from getting too hot, the electrical current that supplies the necessary energy, and the braking power that smoothly stops the electric bike.


The sensors on an electric bike go hand-in-hand with the pedal assist function. When the bike gets feedback that the rider is beginning to pedal, the sensors automatically start the motor and pedal assist.

Types of Electric Bike Sensors

There are two types of electric bike sensors — torque sensors and cadence sensors.

The cadence sensor determines if you are pedaling. As the pedals move, the sensor acts like a light switch and activates the motor. The sensor will control the rider’s speed and fight against increasing velocity. If the pedaling is faster than the motor’s spinning, the bike will try and slow down that effort.

Torque sensors measure the pedaling force and determine how much electric power is needed to push the bike. The adjustments are instantaneous as the sensors balance the pressure with electric power.

How Do Electric Bike Sensors Work?

The sensors are connected to the bottom bracket of the bike to detect when the pedals begin to rotate. The cadence sensor picks up the pedal’s forward rotation, and the torque sensor activates when force is applied.


While the electric bike is in motion, the display screen shows the vital parameters and overall health.

From the display screen, riders can check on the mileage, battery power, pedal-assist function, and even the wattmeter that shows the amount of electric power supplied.

By utilizing the display screen, riders can be more aware of their performance and shape their goals and exercise plans.

Conclusion: How Do Electric Bikes Work

If your bike isn’t enough, but you don’t want to get a motorcycle or a car, then an electric bike might be the perfect option for you. To get the most out of an electric bike, understand the individual parts that make it up and customize it to your ideal preference. Enjoy riding!

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