What Is an Electric Bike (E-bikes Explained) 

By  Chris Wilson

 June 19, 2021

An E-bike

Electric bikes have come a long way in recent years. They are now more popular than ever and can be used almost everywhere, from getting to work to exploring the country side to navigating the city roads but what really is an ebike and how does it work?

An electric bike, or e-bike, is a bicycle that has an integrated electric motor to provide pedal assistance. An e-bike can be powered by on board battery. The extra power from the motor will help you get up hills and make your ride more enjoyable.

Most people use their e-bikes for commuting purposes but they are also (ebikes) great for recreation like riding on trails and dirt paths.

What Is the Point of an Electric Bike?

A lot of conventional bike riders and motorcyclists ask these questions, and here are a few answers;

  • An electric bike removes the barriers associated with biking especially for older people, people who suffer from joint pains, and beginners. Also with electric bikes, you require very little effort to climb steep hills and ride off-road.
  • They are also for people who want to beat traffic and arrive at work on time without the added stress of having to pedal all the way to work.
  • Electric bikes are easy to use, fast, flexible, and have much lower maintenance costs than cars.
An E-bike

Photo created by unsplash

Electric bikes are a hot topic in the bike industry. Some people love them, some people hate them, and many others don't know much about them at all.

The most popular thing (and the most important feature for that matter) about ebikes is when riding one, it can take you farther without getting sore or tired because the electric assist helps take some of the work load. If you need to go uphill, no problem! you will feel that boost underneath you which propels you forward with less then the anticipated effort. 

In a nutshell, electric bikes are energy-efficient, emission-free, and provide physical and health benefits.

How Does an E-bike Work?

How an E-bike Works

Photo created by gazelle

An e-bike has four main components: the frame, the battery, the controller, and the motor. The frame is usually made from aluminum or steel alloys for light weight and durability.

E-bikes are powered by electric motors, which get their power from batteries. The rider can control the assistance level of the bike using a throttle on the handlebar or pedal assist mode (pedal assist is usually more efficient). This means that riders can choose to ride with little effort or go all out when pedaling up hills. 

What Is an Ebike? Is It Worth Buying?

Electric bikes come in pedal assist (more common) or throttle-assist functionalities. However, electric bikes don't function merely on the twist or push of throttles nor does it assist solely on the push of the pedals. You still can ride it by pedaling just like you would with a regular bike.

Other components work together to allow electric bikes to operate smoothly. These are; 

  • The Electric motor
  • The battery
  • The Sensors(Torque sensors and cadence sensors)

Can You Overcharge an Ebike Battery?

Can You Overcharge an Ebike Battery?

Photo created by canva

The answer is, "NO." While lithium batteries are highly volatile, it's not possible to overcharge them because most of them have an internal circuit that cuts the charge once it reaches 100%.

The only way e-bike batteries "overcharge" is if there's a malfunction of the charging system, which in most cases results in the heat buildup.

However, there’s a caveat for leaving your e-bike battery charging all day long.

Once the battery reaches 100%, it’ll continue to top off the charge. The “trickle charge” keeps on attempting to keep the charge at 100% by compensating for the bit of charge the battery loses naturally on its own.

This constant bouncing between full charge and below full charge can result in higher ambient temperature, which in turn reduces the capacity of your battery over time.

What to Do if Your Electric Bike Battery Is Not Charging?

What to Do if Your Electric Bike Battery Is Not Charging?

Photo created by canva

There are three things to check if this is happening to your ebike:

  • Make sure that the battery charger cord is plugged in and connected properly to both the bike's battery and the wall outlet, 
  • Check for any debris that may be blocking or preventing contact with all connectors Check for loose connections between the battery contacts and the battery station on the bike's frame.

If all of these checks go well, then there may be something wrong with your battery pack itself, which will require either professional service or replacement."

How Do I Check My Bike Battery Health?

How Do I Check My Bike Battery Health?

Photo created by freepik

There're several ways you can check the health status of your e-bike battery.

The first one is through visual inspection.

Here, you need to check for broken terminals, excessive leaking, discoloration, bulging, or even broken terminals.

Any of the above signs may indicate a broken battery, and they may not only impact the performance but they're also a safety concern.

Secondly, you might need to load test the battery.

While your local repair shop might be more than able to perform the test, you can do it on your own.

The battery load test aims to see how long your battery can maintain a battery range for a given time.

Where Can I Charge My Electric Bike?

Where Can I Charge My Electric Bike?Photo created by freepik

If you're looking for a place to charge your electric bike there are plenty of options. You can find charging stations in many public places such as coffee shops, restaurants, hotels and airports. 

How Long Does an E-bike Battery Charge Last

How Long Does an E-bike Battery Charge LastPhoto created by unsplash

This depends on many factors, but generally, the longest recorded range is 350 to 400 km on a single charge. That's 217 to 280 miles. Normally, most of these long-range e-bikes are powered by 3000 Watt batteries.

For the average electric bikes such as Ride1Up 500 SERIES MTB or ANCHEER Power Plus Electric Mountain Bike, the range is a little less as they can only manage 100-120 km. That's 64 to 75 miles.

E-bikes with shorter range are powered by 400-500w batteries.

Least on the spectrum range are the city e-bikes, which have smaller batteries. Their range is 50-70 km on a single charge. That's 30 to 44 miles.

Here we answer even more important questions about the electric bike battery.

Do Electric Bikes Charge When You Pedal?

Do Electric Bikes Charge When You Pedal?Photo created by freepik

Yes, it does, through a process known as regenerative pedaling.

To be honest, however, the concept doesn’t work very well.

To generate extra energy for the electric bike, you need to add resistance, and weight to the bike for generative components.

The gains for the regenerative pedaling are minimal; they are not worth the extra costs.

Sure, some manufacturers advertise that their bikes re-charge batteries while pedaling, but in my opinion, I think it’s just a marketing tactic.

Are Electric Bike Batteries Interchangeable?

Are Electric Bike Batteries Interchangeable?Photo created by freepik

Eventually, the lifecycle of your electric bike battery will come to an end, needing replacement.

When this happens, you need to contact your electric bike manufacturer for a replacement.

Now, while it's possible to perform a DIY replacement, you should let the electric bike manufacturer do it for you to avoid voiding your electric bike warranty.

But what if the e-bike manufacturer is no longer in business?

Well, you've no option but to visit a local dealer to get a replacement. Ideally, the replacement should have similar specifications to those of the original battery.

Can You Ride an Electric Bike Without Pedaling?

Can You Ride an Electric Bike Without Pedaling?

Photo created by bosch

Yes, it’s possible to ride an e-bike without pedaling.

However, for you to ride without pedaling, your e-bike should have a pedal-free throttle.

The pedal-free throttle lets you ride your e-bike without pedaling.

Depending on the configuration, you need to engage the motor by twist throttle or thumb throttles, and the motor will provide all the power you need for cycling.
While it’s a convenient and effortless way to commute, it usually drains the battery pretty fast.

Are Electric Bikes Worth the Money

Is an Electric Bike Cheating

Is Electric Bike Cheating

Photo created by unsplash

Whether it's for commuting, going to the grocery store, or just cruising around town, a lot of people are interested in this new technology. But is it cheating? It's not easy to say exactly how much of a difference an electric bike makes because it varies from person to person. However, those who are new to biking will notice that they can go faster and for longer distances with no effort at all! 

The answer usually depends on your perspective and goals. It might be cheating if you're trying to prove something against other cyclists--like that they really can't keep up with you. But if you're looking for convenience and freedom from pedaling-related knee pain or fatigue then an electric bike could be exactly what you need!  So before making any decisions, consider all the pros and cons of riding an electric bike. There's no right answer here--just different options depending on your lifestyle needs and preferences!

What Are the Disadvantages of Electric Bikes

An Electric Bikes

Photo created by freepik

Electric bikes are a great alternative to driving a car, but they don't come without their disadvantages.  For starters, electric bikes can be expensive - with prices ranging from $1,000 to over $10,000. Some people do not think the price is worth it for the advantages of an electric bike.

The weight and price of an electric bike are two major drawbacks that can deter customers from purchasing one. In addition, there may be a wait time in order to get your bike serviced or repaired if you need any work done on it. Another disadvantage of an electric bike is its battery life which can vary depending on how often you use it and the type of terrain you ride over for extended periods of time.

In nut shell, Electric bikes come with a lot of advantages that some riders ignore their disadvantages. Some of these disadvantages are;

  • Electric bikes weigh more than the regular bikes
  • The time required to charge the battery is too long
  • Electric bikes are more expensive than conventional bikes
  • Maintenance and repair of electronic components is costly
  • Poor riding range, as most electric bikes, cannot exceed 30 to 34 miles
  • When the electric motor runs out of power, you will need to pedal all that weight mentioned above with your legs unless you are close to or come across a charging station.

What Should I Look for When Buying an Electric Bike?

Buying an Electric Bike

Photo created by freepik

There are so many electric bikes on the market, it can be difficult to know what you should look for when purchasing one. Whether you want a bike that is easy and comfortable to ride or something with more speed and power, there is an electric bike out there for you. I think the most important question to ask first is, how much weight do I need my e-bike to handle?   -If you're looking for a speedy e-bike that will give some serious competition in races, then consider one with a 500W motor or higher. However, if comfortability is paramount in your search for an e-bike then go with the 250W motor. There are many other features to talk about here but to help make your decision easier, we've compiled this ebike buying guide of the most important features to look at when buying an electric bike.

Electric bikes are motorized bicycles that have become one of the most utilized forms of transportation in major cities across the globe.

They are eco-friendly bikes equipped with an electric motor, rechargeable battery, and sensors, which removes the stress that comes with riding conventional bikes and replaces it with comfort.

What Is an Ebike? Is It Worth Buying?

Electric bikes come in either pedal or throttle-assist functionalities. They have two types of electric motors (Hub-drive motor and Mid-drive motor) which power the bikes to a speed of 15 to 34mph.

Buying an E-bike can dramatically increase how often you ride. Its equipped electric motor allows for easy and long distance commuting.

Pedal and Throttle Assist

Pedaling the bike activates the bike sensor which then sends an impulse to the electric motor, whose main purpose is to provide torque when you pedal and the more torque your bike has the more power you can get out of the bike. This is usually a smooth transition.

This also applies to throttle assist except you won't be pedaling, you will only be twisting the throttle of the electric bike.

Do You Still Need to Pedal an Electric Bike?

Electric Bike Good For Hills - Must-Know Tips

In general, Yes, you still need to pedal a pedal-assisted electric bike, and no, you do not need to pedal a throttle assist electric bike.

Pedal-assist: If you don't pedal, there's no chance the electric motor will provide power to make riding easy. Pedaling extends battery range, motor life, and keeps you healthy.

Throttle assist: Unlike pedal-assist, throttle-assist electric bikes activate on demand of the user. Twisting the throttle engages the bike's motor.

Difference Between an Electric Bike and a Normal Bike

Electric bikes and normal bikes are very similar. Both have a handlebar, wheels, pedals, brakes, body geometry, are eco-friendly and they both exercise some parts of the body. Electric bikes are equipped with the following;

Electric Motor 

What Is an Ebike? Is It Worth Buying?

Electric bikes have two types of motors which are Hub-drive motors and Mid-drive motors. These motors require the rider to pedal or twist the throttle for them to function.

Hub-drive motors and Mid-drive motors in ebikes are two types of electric bike drive systems. that operate differently.

Hub-driven ebikes have a motor that attaches directly to the front or rear wheel

On the other hand, a Mid-drive motor is located inside the frame just below the saddle or down tube of your ebike frame with one end protruding outside so that you can connect it to your chainring or sprocket.

Hub motor has a few advantages over the Mid-drive.  

The hub motor is simpler, lighter, more powerful, less expensive, and easier to install than a mid-drive system. 

On the other hand, there are some drawbacks: hub motors are not as efficient at climbing hills or going up long grades because of their large rotating mass and they don't have as much traction on slippery surfaces like snow or mud because they power the rubber tires instead of chains which makes them a little louder than mid drives motors.

Electric motors boost the bike to reach speeds of 15 to 34mph and make pedaling easy and comfortable. This also helps older people with joint pain cycle with less stress on their knees and less sweat.

Battery, Sensors, and Classes

What Is an Ebike? Is It Worth Buying?

Electric bikes come in Lithium-ion batteries or lithium polymer batteries. These batteries have an average charging time of 5 to 6 hours.

Sensors

There are two types of sensors on an electric bike, they are; torque sensor and cadence sensor. The torque sensor measures how hard you pedal to power the electric bike while cadence sensors detect if you are pedaling.

Classes of an Electric Bike

So what are the different Classes of electric bikes? 

The three most common types of electric bikes are Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3. Each class has its own pros and cons.

  • Class 1: Pedal assisted only, no throttle. Battery power kicks in when riders start to slow down and stops assisting when speed exceeds 20 mph. (Speed assist range is from 0-20mph)
  • Class 2: Pedal assisted with throttle activation up to 20mph. Throttle does not activate once speed reaches over 20 mph. (Speed assist range is from 0-20mph)
  • Class 3: Throttle activated or pedal assisted up to 28 mph without any pedals being used. This class was designed for people who desire a more manual bike feel but want the assistance of an electric motor for those strenuous hills or just don't feel like pedaling all the.

Maintenance and Repairs

You can always take an electric bike to a normal bike repair shop when it develops regular faults in handlebars, wheels, brakes, etc but you must not take it to any repair shop when something goes wrong with the electric component. Faulty or damaged electric components can only be fixed by an e-bike specialist.

Do Electric Bikes Charge When You Pedal?

What Is an Ebike? Is It Worth Buying?

Electric bikes do not recharge while you pedal, but a few electric bike models can recharge when you apply brakes. 

The energy captured when brakes are applied is fed back to the battery and only 5-10% of energy is captured using regenerative braking on bikes.

Regenerative braking is not so popular in electric bikes because regenerative brakes require a Direct Drive Motor. This motor tends to be larger, heavier, and so much different from the motor you see in normal electric bikes. 

Direct Drive Motor provides more resistance when you pedal without electrical assistance. 

How Hard Is It to Ride an Electric Bike?

Riding on an electric bike is a lot similar to any regular bike. The moment you get on and start pedaling or twist the throttles, the electric motor kicks in, which makes cycling more comfortable and enjoyable.

How Long Do Electric Bikes Last?

What Is an Ebike? Is It Worth Buying?

What is the lifespan of a typical electric bike? How long will it last before you need to replace parts or invest in repairs? 

With an average lifespan of about 4-6 years, a more precise answer depends on how much your e-bike gets ridden and what type of terrain it is used on.

It is important to understand the factors that contribute to the longevity of your ebike.

Batteries last for around 1,000 charges which can be estimated to be 4-5 years. Do not be in despair! E-bike batteries can be easily removed and replaced by the user.

Other components of electric bikes that do not last so long are chains and tires. Cyclists who ride their ebikes often will need to clean, lubricate and do some regular maintenance.

How Much Does an E-bike Cost?

How Much an E-bike CostPhoto created by unsplash

In general, a decent electric bike cost between $1,000 to $10,000. There are many factors that go into the pricing of a ebike. For one, what kind of e-bike do you want to buy? Are you looking for something inexpensive and lightweight that can be carried on public transportation or in a car's trunk with ease?"

"Or maybe your budget allows for something more expensive but durable with features like gears, suspension, powerful brakes and lights.

There are so many different types of bikes and brands to choose from, and prices range widely. This article will break down all your options for you to help make your decision easier.

Is an Electric Bike Worth Buying?

You have been thinking about getting an electric bike for a while now, but you're not sure if it's worth the money. There are many factors to consider when deciding whether or not to buy one, including your budget and how often you will use it.

So one of the first things you'll want to consider is whether an e-bike will fit your budget and needs. The price range varies greatly depending on where you shop and what features are important to you.

Some people want the extra help as they bike uphill or with heavy loads. Others enjoy that it can make biking more accessible because they don't need to worry about getting sweaty or tired while riding. If this sounds like something that would work well for your lifestyle too, and If you're looking for a way to combine exercise and transportation, an e-bike might be perfect for you.

Electric Bikes Worth the MoneyPhoto created by unsplash

Electric bikes are often expensive investments. However, the benefits can outweigh the costs if you work hard to keep your bike in good condition and take care of it properly. When looking for an electric bike, consider these factors: does the frame fit well? Is there enough range on a single charge? How easy is it to ride uphill or down steep hills? These are all important questions that will help you decide whether an electric bike will be worth the money.

Since the invention of electric bikes, many people have been asking themselves if they are worth the money. Some say that electric bikes are a waste of time and money because they do not provide a significant increase in power as opposed to regular bikes, which is true in some cases. However, for those who want an easier ride or help with hills there may be no other option than an electric bike. The truth is you get what you pay for when it comes to these types of items- so it's up to individual taste!

Electric bicycles can give riders more power and make pedaling easier on hills. This makes them perfect for riders who want a little extra assistance but don't want to go full throttle on their own pedal power alone.

Learn More About Electric Mobility!