How Do Electric Bikes Work?

How Do Electric Bikes Work?

Let’s talk about one of the coolest designs to hit the market in the last 20 years: electric bikes. 

How do they work? What parts make an electric bike different from a regular one? Why should I have an electric bike over a non-motorized one? What are the types of electric bikes, and which one would suit your needs?

There are a variety of parts (aside from the motor, obviously) that make an electric bike unique. Because these parts make the bike unique, its functions and uses are as well. It’s a completely different world out there if you’ve got a motor. 

There are so many reasons to make the switch to electric that we couldn’t possibly cover them in one article, but we’ll do our best! Below, you’ll find a complete guide on the special components of an electric bike as well as what we think are the biggest benefits of riding electric. 

Let’s get to it! 

What’s the Difference Between An Electric and Regular Bike? 

We’re going to get the most painfully obvious difference out of the way right off the bat: the motor! 

The whole point of an electric bike is, well, to be electric. Without a motor, it would just be a regular bike. We’ll get into that later, but for now though, let us share a very simple rule with you: If it has a motor, it’s electric. If it doesn’t, it’s a regular bike. 

Now that we have that settled, we’re going to give you a deeper look into the other parts and accessories that make an electric bike unlike anything else in the biking world. 

We would also be amiss if we didn’t mention that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a regular bike. They’ve worked for a century without a motor for a reason. That being said, we’re of the opinion that electric bikes bring forth a lot more versatility and use to your workout, commute, and leisure time as opposed to regular bikes. 

Before we get into that, let’s take a dive into some electric bike parts. Cyclists — grab your helmets because we’re surging forward. 

The Motor 

While mechanical parts like motors and throttles might sound complicated, the parts of an electric bike really aren’t that different from a car, just on a very smaller scale. Electric bike motors are powered by the battery (more on that later). Different types of motors offer varying types of speeds, volts (basically horsepower), battery life (also called Ah), and more. 

Motors are the heart of the electric bike, and none of the other parts on this list would serve a purpose if there was no motor. It’s undoubtedly the most crucial part of an electric bike, so be sure to pay extra attention when you buy your first electric bike. 

Someone who plans to use their electric bike exclusively for leisure probably won’t want to spend the extra money for a bigger, more powerful motor that can climb up steep hills or go off-road. Conversely, if someone uses their electric bike to commute to work, they might want a bigger motor so they can get to work faster. 

A quick note on motors: the drive system is a part that transfers power from the motor to the rear wheel, pushing the bike forward. Needs and use are huge factors when picking out a motor, so be sure you have all the facts before you buy! 

The E-Bike Battery Pack 

Here’s a question for those of you that passed elementary science: what does an electric bike need to run properly (besides a motor)?

You guessed it! Electricity. Batteries are the primary suspect here, as these will typically be the most expensive part of electric bike systems. 

Almost all electric bike batteries are lithium-ion. In the early days, there were multiple different types of batteries that were used by electric bike users. Today, with lithium becoming the most reliable and efficient, you would find it extremely difficult to find another type of battery. 

Every Velotric electric bike contains a 48V (volt) 14.4 Ah (battery power/life) lithium-ion battery that’s removable. Different electric bikes will have different numbers, and it all depends on the quality of the brand, motor, battery, and bike overall. If there are two things that you can’t take away from an electric bike, it would be the motor and the battery. 

Now that we’ve covered the essentials, let’s look at a few more parts that make this bike electric.

The Controller 

Largely underappreciated and never really talked about, the controller of an electric bike is comparable to the career of NBA-great Scottie Pippen. In this case, the motor is Michael Jordan. Do you see where we’re going with this? 

The controller never gets any love! That’s a shame because, without it, you'd be stuck going at maximum speed as you bike to your friend’s house. The controller responds and regulates the voltage of the motor whenever you squeeze the throttle. 

As we said before, our bikes have a 48V battery. If you’re at around 50% throttle, the controller regulates the voltage to 24V. So yeah, you’d be in some trouble without it. Thank you, controller! 

The Throttle 

Speaking of the throttle, let’s talk about it. 

Every other part we’ve mentioned to this point sort of works behind the scenes while you ride. 

Basically, while you’re riding, you’re probably not paying too much attention to the battery and the motor. You should be more focused on the great outdoors or your workout, which is exactly what we intended. 

The only thing you have to worry about is your throttle. Going back to the car comparison, the throttle of an electric bike is exactly like the gas pedal of a car. 

If you want to absolutely fly, move that thing all the way forward. If you’re looking to relax, pull it back. The throttle is directly connected to the controller, which feeds directly to the motor. With the throttle, you can control your speed and power at any point of the ride, even while you’re pedaling. (All Velotric bikes have a top speed of 20 miles per hour — unlockable to 25 MPH.)

The Sensors

The throttle allows you to control the e-bike motor with your hands, but what controls it while you pedal and aren’t using the throttle? 

That would be the torque sensor and pedal assist system (PAS). The PAS basically lets the motor know when you’re pedaling, and you can control how much it helps you out. The torque sensor accomplishes this as well, but it also lets the motor know how hard you’re pedaling. 

You can’t control the torque, and it’s really just another way to measure how powerful the bike is and how hard you can pedal. The PAS is a staple of electric bikes, and some will either only have a PAS or throttle control. All Velotric bikes come with 5-level pedal assist and throttle control, so you can mix and match however you’d like.

What Are the Benefits of Electric Bikes?

There are plenty more parts and components that make electric bikes unique, but those are the main ones. 

Now that you know the essential parts of an electric bike and how they all work together to create an awesome ride, it’s time to show you how you can put those parts to work. 

As we said earlier, there are so many benefits to riding an electric bike we couldn’t possibly fit them all here. Fortunately, we were able to narrow down some of our favorite ways you can use your electric bike. From exercise to commuting to reducing your carbon footprint, there really are a lot of ways to get your money’s worth. 

Let’s look at a few of our favorites. 

Commuting

If you’re sick of walking, bussing, or driving to work or school, there is one awesome solution waiting for you: electric bicycles. 

Commuting can be hard, annoying, and inconvenient, especially in the most recent years. Driving in a big city is unreliable and stressful, and you can use the same adjectives to describe public transportation. 

Instead, you can use an electric road bike to get to and from your classes or place of business. As an added bonus, you get a nice workout in between. Don’t worry about showing up sweating and out of breath; you can use your pedal assist mode or throttle system to regulate how much you want to pedal. If you live in a city with significantly steep slopes (hello, San Francisco), the electric assist will make hill climbing easier. 

Environmentally Friendly 

Environmentally, the impact of switching to an electric bike as your primary mode of transportation cannot be understated. 

With our growing propensity as humanity to disregard our planet’s needs, getting even one car off the road truly can make a difference. As another huge bonus, the more cars you get off the street, the less traffic there is. And if you’re living in or near a big city, you know exactly how we feel. The fewer cars, the better!

Low-Impact Exercise

If you’re having trouble finding regular exercise due to injury or chronic pain, electric cycling is a perfect solution. We don’t need to tell you how huge cardio is in improving weight and cardiovascular health, and biking is one of the best ways to get cardio. 

Unfortunately, this isn’t an option for some people. With Velotric’s throttle and PAS control, you can take it as easy as you need to since it’s gentle on the knees. You won’t have to worry about aggravating or re-injuring your body as you can control every aspect of your exercise. You can even make the ride extra comfy with handlebar grips

Go Further for Longer With Less Effort

Have you ever planned to go on a long bike ride, but for whatever reason, you just couldn’t finish it? Sometimes, life happens, and you just can’t finish those last few miles. It’s a bummer, too, because there’s always more to see and do when you’re outside. 

Fortunately, you can go further if you’re riding electric. All you have to do is fire up that throttle or PAS, and off you go! Not to mention, biking is amazing for your mental health. There’s no need to turn back to keep exploring for as long as you want.

Exercise or Leisure — Take Your Pick 

Finally, we land on the versatility of electric biking.

Too sore? Rest day? You can rely on the motorized assistance and cruise all the way home (charger permitting, of course). Or, maybe it’s the opposite, and you’re ready for the most intense workout of your life. 

Your e-bike can become a traditional bike (essentially) when you turn off the motor power and pedal on with no battery boost. For something in between, adjust the assistance level you need — part electric power, part pedal power. If you’re on either side or anywhere in between, riding electric gives you full control of your workout. 

Velotric 

Velotric is dedicated to making sure you get the absolute most out of your ride each and every time. 

We produce the safest, most powerful, and most stylish electric bikes on the market. You can ride with ease and comfort, knowing you can go as far as you want every time you step outside. 

We hope you learned something today, and we’ll see you out on the trails soon! 

Sources: 

E-Bicycle as a Green and Physically Active Mode of Transport from the Aspect of Students: TPB and Financial Incentives | PubMed

Electric Bike Product Conception and Styling According to Design Trends | MDPI

Electric bike (non)users’ health and comfort concerns pre and peri a world pandemic (COVID-19): A qualitative study | PubMed


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