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All about E-bikes

How an Electric Bike Works?

By Konstantin Kaliuzhnyj

Table of contents:

The Battery How does an electric bike motor work The Sensor What Is an E-Bike Wattage? What Is an E-Bike Voltage? How do you operate the e-bike? Conclusion What makes an electric bike different from a regular bike? How does the electric motor in an e-bike work? What types of motors are used in electric bikes? How long does the battery last on an electric bike? Can I ride an electric bike without using the motor? Video

E-biking is undoubtedly growing, especially in NYC, and it’s not hard to see why. Once you start riding, it’s easy to see how beneficial it is and realize why getting an e-bike is cool. If you’re thinking of getting an e-bike but are unsure about how it works, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading as we explain how an e-bike works and all of its different aspects.

The Battery

E-bikes look similar to traditional bikes, but there is one particular unique detail that they have, and that is the battery. There are three things that impact how it works: the watts, which refer to horsepower, and Amp which is like the gas tank. The size of the battery also depends on the number of volts that it can produce.

Electricity provides power to the motor, so it’s important to maintain battery health.

The cheapest e-bike battery is a lead-acid battery. They are very heavy and offer limited charge cycles. Next up are nickel batteries, which are lighter in weight. Lithium-ion batteries are superior in that they can handle thousands of cycles. They’re also very compact and fit ideally into e-bikes.

All these three types of batteries can be connected to the e-bike via a connection port. How do you charge them? There are several ways. Sometimes you can connect your e-bike through the frame like a smartphone, or you can remove the battery and charge it alone.

Charging times depend on factors like the battery’s Amp, and if you want faster charging, consider getting a 5 Amp rather than a 3 Amp battery. We have a whole guide on how to charge and maintain your battery for a long time so make sure to check that out as well.

It’s also worth noting that every battery has a warranty period, and it varies from brand to brand, so please ask a local dealer to get the best battery for your needs.

How does an electric bike motor work

The great thing about an e-bike motor is that you don’t need to push hard to get from point A to point B. There are generally two types of motors:

  • mid-drive
  • hub-drive

Hub motors have been manufactured on a large scale for many years and they’re very common. They usually have a throttle that allows you to engage your motor without pedaling.

It may be on the front or rear wheel hub. Overall, a hub-drive is pretty cool for the city, but if you are going to hit off-road, a mid-drive motor is definitely a better choice because it’s more well-balanced. Nowadays, mid-drive electric bikes are the most high-tech option on the market, and even though they weren’t easy to find just a few years ago, now leading manufacturers like Bosch and Chimano produce it. If batteries haven’t changed for the last couple of years, then motors actually have.

Mid-drive is excellent for uphill and downhill riding but it does come with a bigger price tag. This is probably why mid-drive motors are not as popular as they could be.

For best results, use assistance wisely and make the most of your bike’s motor.

The Sensor

The sensor is another important component of an e-bike. It signals the motor to start when the cyclist starts pedaling and it comes in two versions; namely the cadence sensor and the torque sensor.

These sensors signal to the motor how much assistance is needed and the type of sensor you use will determine the driving experience and battery consumption.

Speed sensors indicate how fast you are pedaling and almost all budget models are equipped with this type of sensor.

Torque sensors measure how hard you push the pedals and adapt to the situation, which is important if you ride in hilly terrain or loaded with goods, and maybe even all at once. Torque sensors will help you ride more comfortably. The only downside is that they are costlier overall but most bike riders can agree that they are worth it.

In general, if you drive on a flat surface, then a cadence sensor will be enough. If you ride in hilly terrain, then torque sensors will be the best choice.

What Is an E-Bike Wattage?

Believe it or not, there is a formula to e-bike wattage: power = watts + amp

The speed of the electric bike and its ability to overcome climbs largely depend on the engine's power, and as a rule, the price of an electric bike increases in proportion to the increase in its power. Technically, the power of an electric bike is 250-3000 W.

For daily commuting or city trips, an electric bike of low power (up to 500 W) is ideal.On the other hand, off-road travel requires a powerful electric bike (500 - 2000 W or more), capable of climbing a hill without any issues, and one that is also not afraid of mud and sand.

What Is an E-Bike Voltage?

An e-bike battery creates a specific voltage in the bike's electrical network - and all components that require power, including the controller and the motor, are designed for it. Battery voltage also affects the bike's top speed and acceleration time.

There are three classes of voltage for e-bikes:

Class one. This voltage can be considered small and the electric bikes sharpened under it usually do not differ in terms of speed and can accelerate slowly. Nevertheless, they are relatively popular due to their accessible price point.

Class two. This is medium voltage and it's more than enough for a comfortable speed and acceptable acceleration - in most cases, more is not always necessary.

Class three. This is considered high voltage and batteries with this voltage are usually installed on top models with powerful engines. Accordingly, the driving performance of such electric bicycles is close to the maximum possible indicators for such vehicles.

How do you operate the e-bike?

There are generally three types of bike control, namely:

  • Pedals only. This mode allows you to control your e-bike like a standard bike.
  • Pedal assist. This one offers additional support for the e-bike at different levels: weak, medium, and strong. A pedal-assisted e-bike makes the trip much easier and pedaling assistance is used frequently.
  • Electric only. Using throttle mode, you can steer your bike with no effort at all and go as fast as your state laws allow with this bike.

You’re free to choose a different method depending on the road conditions and how charged your battery is. Just keep in mind that once the throttle is engaged, the battery will use more power and vice versa. If you want to save your e-bike’s battery, use pedal-assist mode all the time.

Overall, e-bikes are similar to standard bikes with the main difference being that they offer a new way of riding.


If you’re ready to ride off into the sunset in your e-bike, get a Whizz e-bike subscription for $30 OFF with the promo code k30.

The great thing about getting an electric bike in New York is that biking is becoming increasingly popular in the city and we offer free test drive within NYC for anyone looking to invest in one. Come say hi at our Manhattan office and pick our brains to get expert advice and recommendations.

We have two types of bicycles with standard and extra batteries. You don’t need a license to ride a bike and your Whizz subscription will come with a complimentary U-lock, phone mount, and bag. It doesn’t get better than that!

What makes an electric bike different from a regular bike?

Electric bikes are equipped with an electric motor that provides assistance to the rider's pedal power, making it easier to climb hills, accelerate, and cover longer distances without excessive fatigue. Unlike regular bikes, e-bikes have a battery, motor, and controller as key components that work together to enhance the riding experience.

How does the electric motor in an e-bike work?

The electric motor on an e-bike assists the rider's pedaling through a drive system. When the rider pedals, sensors activate the motor, which then provides a boost to the bike's motion. The amount of assistance can usually be adjusted via a controller on the handlebars, allowing for customized levels of support.

What types of motors are used in electric bikes?

There are mainly two types of motors used in electric bikes: hub motors, which are integrated into the front or rear wheel, and mid-drive motors, which are mounted at the bike's crank and pedal area. Mid-drive motors are known for their efficiency and balance, while hub motors are often simpler and more affordable.

How long does the battery last on an electric bike?

The battery life of an electric bike can vary widely depending on the type of battery, the mode of assistance used, the terrain, and the weight of the rider and cargo. On average, e-bike batteries can last between 20 to 70 miles per charge, with some models offering even greater range.

Can I ride an electric bike without using the motor?

Yes, electric bikes can be ridden without using the motor, functioning just like a regular bicycle. Turning off the motor can be useful for conserving battery life or when a rider prefers to pedal without assistance.


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