How Do Electric Bikes Work?

How Do Electric Bikes Work?

How E-Bikes Work - The Electric Rider Guide

There’s currently a revolution taking place along our roads, and the future is coming.

Don’t believe me? Just take a look for yourself. If you could take a visit to your local bike store this week, we wouldn’t be afraid to bet that they have some shiny new e-bikes proudly standing at the front of the window. Even just take a glance into the cycle lane on your way to work, and you will likely notice some regular Joe speeding past a group of trained cyclists along the uphill with his e-bike.

The UK e-bike market has genuinely taken off in the last number of years. It still hasn’t even reached its full potential yet, either.

But as you will know, e-bikes rely on the latest branch of advanced and innovative science, which means they are difficult to understand. So in today’s guide, we are going to make it easier for you to understand, and outline - in a simple way - exactly how e-bikes work.

Sound good? Let’s get started!

How E-Bikes Work

To the naked eye. An e-bike is almost the same as a regular bike, minus a few features. The only true difference between the bikes is that electric bikes can make use of a couple of extra features, such as a battery, electric motor and a sensor.

A common misconception about the e-bike is to forget that all of these components work together with the pedals. This means that the rider can still enjoy their workout, but the extra boost makes their ride a little bit easier.


With an e-bike, you will control the power of the motor depending on how hard you pedal. There are many different placements of an electric bike motor, and there are benefits of each of them. The three standard types are mid-drive, front hub or rear hub. The motor is the most crucial element of understanding how -bikes work.

The sole goal of an electric motor is to control the torque of the wheels (the spinning motion). The more powerful the motor is, the more torque it offers, which means you can go much faster for longer.

Crank v Hub Motors

Crank motors are a type of motor in which the assistance from the motor is provided straight to the pedals, which then turn the wheels. This option often proves to be more popular than its alternative because it allows for power straight into the cranks. The benefit of this is that it feels a lot more natural compared to having power come straight from the wheels. While these crank motors are commonly found in more expensive e-bikes, they do come with added amounts of torque and offer a better riding experience.

Hub motors are a less expensive option and aren’t always found on high-end variants. They use the power from the electric motor to drive the wheel itself rather than towards the pedals.


You can place the battery of an electric bike in many places around the e-bike, usually depending on the size and frame type. The different types of makes mean that they will vary in charging time. Often, they should charge for around five to seven hours. The best thing about it? It's easy! It’s the same as plugging your mobile phone into the wall!


The sensor on an electric bike often isn’t given the credit that it may deserve. There usually are two different types of sensors. They are speed or torque sensor. The job of the speed sensor is to recognise when you have started pedalling immediately, and to engage the electric motor.

The torque sensor is a little bit different. All you have to do is provide a little bit of assistance, and it will then match your speed. It is, therefore, much more responsive and allows you to generate more speed.

How do these components work together? 

When answering the question, ”How do e-bikes work”, you have to think about the bigger picture. What separates the very best e-bikes from the average ones isn’t just the quality of the components; it’s about how they all work together. All of these components rely on each other to offer a smoother, more comfortable ride for you. The battery will provide power to the motor which in turn, Powers the drive train, giving you more speed and strength to tackle the long rides uphill. 

On top of that, most e-bikes feature a display which allows you to have direct control over how much assistance is provided and the amount of power that is sent to the drive train from the motor.

What is the actual riding experience like?

So now that we have gotten all of the technical details covered, you must be wondering “How do E-bikes work to affect the riding experience”. 

Well, the truth is that the electric bike takes all the disadvantages obtained from regular cycling, and just throws them completely out the window! For example, many people like to cycle to work, but don’t want to arrive in their office in sweat. But when you cycle with the added power of an electric motor, you don’t have that problem anymore. 

Don’t like cycling up hills? You don’t have to. The addition of an electric battery and motor can flatten out the mountain on your journey and make cycling much more convenient and effective.

Isn’t an e-bike cheating?

Some people might argue that an electric bike ‘defeats the purpose’ and question whether or not an e-bike is just cheating,

While it’s a legitimate opinion, it couldn’t be further from the truth. All of the technical components are there to help you, but they don’t necessarily mean you have to use them all of the time.

If anything, it is advantageous to have an e-bike, because cycling is now something you can enjoy. Let’s say you have to go to the grocery store just a couple miles from your home. The e-bike allows you to get there and back, quickly, without breaking much sweat.

And if you’re ever feeling tired, you can just let the battery take over. Unlike regular bike users, at least you have the choice of having it!


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