How Does An Electric Bike Work?

Last Updated on March 18, 2022 by

Electric bikes are still relatively new gadgets that are quickly rising in popularity, especially in the inner parts of major cities. Users call them an eco-friendly alternative to driving for your commute – but how exactly do they work and what benefits do they offer?

Here we are going to take a look at electric bikes and how they differ from regular bikes. Because electric bikes are still quite new, a lot of people aren’t entirely sure how they work – so  let’s address that issue so you can decide if an electric bike is worth your time. 

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What Are Electric Bikes?

Electric bikes have been rising in popularity in recent years, but what exactly are they? Let’s take a look at electric bikes, what they do, and how they different from other types of bicycles. 

What Do Electric Bikes Do?

Electric bikes look very similar to regular pedal bikes except that they offer a solution to a lot of problems that surround pedal bikes. 

Some people find it difficult to use pedal bikes due to their physical fitness or ability, meaning that some may not be able to pedal for too long or struggle with moving certain joints.

Electric bikes were made to make cycling more accessible by providing extra support like battery assistance to help those who want to find an eco-friendly way of traveling longer distances but are held back by their bodies. 

What’s the Difference Between an Electric Bike and a Normal Bike?

Electric bikes are very similar to a regular pedal bike, except that it includes added features like a motor, a battery, and sometimes even a digital display screen. 

These extra features are designed to help people pedal uphill or when carrying heavy loads so the person cycling does not need to strain themselves trying to travel up slopes or across long distances of a single city.

While cycling is great, it’s not for everyone as now everyone is physically fit to cycle long distances so this is where the motor and battery of e-bikes come in. 

They can provide extra power to take the strain away from the person riding the bike, making up for their lack of energy with battery power. 

What’s the Difference Between a Hybrid e-Bike and an Electrical Bike?

There are two main types of electric bikes – the regular bike that you often see in cities and streets called the electric road bike, and the hybrid electric bike. The two are built very alike but hybrid e-bikes are designed to be able to go off road while road e-bikes are better sticking to paved roads. 

Hybrid e-bikes have wider tires to handle rougher terrain, and are designed with straight handlebars and upright seating to help with aerodynamics. Road e-bikes are designed with comfort in mind including multiple riding styles and a handlebar drop style. 

The frames are also different as road e-bikes are lighter, making them easier to carry into buildings so people can use them to commute to work and store within city apartments. 

How Electric Bikes Work?

Electric bikes contain many additional features that regular bikes do not. The battery pack is used to power a motor which can then spin a shaft connected to a chainring.

This is how e-bikes pick up the extra power needed to go uphill or when the cyclist grows tired. Sometimes, there are even sensors to register when the motor needs to kick in and it will advise the cyclist to switch modes. 

How Fast Can an Electric Bike Go? 

The top speed of an electric bike all depends on its make. Some electric bikes feature stronger motors which can help reach higher speeds than some of their competitors. 

However, the average electric bike can travel as fast as 20mph, with some going as fast as 28mph. In certain city areas, there may be speed restrictions in place so it is important to find out how fast you are permitted to go in the area you plan on using your e-bike.

Do Electric Bikes Charge Themselves?

Some electric bikes are able to charge themselves when you pedal but this is not a blanket feature that covers all electric bikes. 

However, if you plan on using your electric bike  for long distances, switching modes  from power to pedal often, then an electric bike that recharges as you pedal can be a huge help.

This feature has yet to be rolled out amongst all e-bikes and the power return as you pedal is not a huge amount – don’t plan on completely recharging the battery all by yourself, you will end up pedaling for hours. 

How Far Can an Electric Bike Go on a Single Charge? 

Range is definitely something that also varies from e-bike to e-bike. While they all definitely outstrip regular bikes, the motor on an e-bike is a great help when it comes to cycling longer distances. 

E-bikes on average can range between 22-50 miles on a single charge, with some even reaching over 80 mile! However, this all depends on the make and model of the e-bike itself. Those with larger batteries and motors are sure to be able to push themselves further than those with smaller batteries and motors.

How To Ride An Electric Bike?

With all the additional batteries and motors, a lot of people may be apprehensive about riding an electric bike for the first time. So, let us show you a few hints and tips that will definitely help you out.

Can You Pedal on an Electric Bike?

Electric bikes require pedaling just like regular bikes as the motor is only meant to take over when the cyclist is feeling tired and needs support when making the final leg of their journey or when going uphill. 

So really, you can use an electric bike just like a regular bike but know that when you need a bit of extra power to help catch your breath, the option is there for you.

What is the Best Way for a Beginner to Ride an Electric Bike?

With all that in mind, how exactly can a beginner get to grips with using the additional features of an electric bike?

First, we recommend that you start slow and head somewhere private to try it out first. Start off with cycling and eventually, you will feel the power kick in.

There are different modes to an e-bike which works just like switching gears except when you switch, you are switching to power assistance mode. There is also a thumb throttle on the handlebar to help you kick up the power when you need it.

So really, as long as you know how to ride a bike, adapting to an electric bike will take no time at all. Just remember that you can use the throttle on the handlebar to up the power when you need to, and take care when using your electric bike in busy areas.

Beginners should start off slow and build up speed as they build their confidence over time.

Is it Difficult to Ride an Electric Bike? 

Riding an electric bike is just like riding a normal bike but the thing a lot of people are concerned about is the speed.

20 mph may not seem very fast when you’re in a car, but on a bike in built up city areas – then it feels a lot faster. It’s important to make sure that your reflexes are sharp if you want to travel that fast but if you don’t feel confident traveling at such speeds, you can always use less power and use your brakes to slow yourself down. 

It’s just like riding a normal bike but with less pedaling and faster speeds if you choose to travel that fast. 

Are Electric Bikes Bad? 

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Just like with everything new, questions have constantly been raised about electric bikes and if the positives weigh out the negatives. If you have any qualms about electric bikes and the way they work, then keep reading to see what has been said about the biggest issues surrounding electric bikes.

Are Electric Bikes Dangerous?

Due to the fact that electric bikes use motors to speed up and make the bikes more powerful, questions have been raised about their safety and if they pose a huge risk to pedestrians. 

While there are always risks involved when traveling through built up areas such as traffic and hazards, electric bikes are no more dangerous than regular bikes when ridden correctly. 

Cyclists who use electric bikes can not use the motor at all when traveling through busy areas and still should follow the same rules of the road as other cyclists.

Cyclists can use common sense to know when they can speed up but if there is an incident involving an electric bike, the fault is down to the cyclist’s carelessness or other parties involved. 

Are Electric Bikes Expensive?

Electric bikes feature a lot more equipment than a regular bike to make it more powerful, meaning that their cost will naturally be higher. 

However, the exact price varies due to factors like brand name, models, and the quality of the materials used. The average price for an electric bike ranges between $600 to $8000 so you have a lot of choice when it comes to buying an electric bike.

However, when compared to the average price of a bike which is around $600, there’s no denying that regular bikes are more affordable. 

It’s also important to remember that electric bikes may need repairs and replacement parts which can contribute to their overall cost. However, electric bikes were designed to make cycling more accessible so for those with limited mobility, this could be well worth the price. 

Are Electric Bikes Worth it? 

The whole reason why someone would want to buy an electric bike is because they are specifically designed to be an eco-friendly alternative to driving and to make cycling accessible to more people. 

An electric bike is worth it if you are stuck in rush hour inner city traffic or if you just love being outdoors but sometimes can get very tired in the middle of a ride.

It all comes down to your personal use – if you hardly ever cycle, then perhaps you would be better off renting an electric bike now and again instead. 


Electric bikes are great alternatives to driving around inner cities as they use a battery-powered motor to increase the bike’s speed and power going uphill while allowing the cyclist to put in minimal effort. 

A lot of beginners often feel confused about how an electric bike works but it’s very easy – it’s just like a regular bike but when you want a bit of aid from the motor, just use the throttle located on the handlebar to give yourself a boost. The motor will spin the chain to turn your bike’s wheels for you. 

It’s best to practice somewhere private first but once you get to grips with your electric bike, you will be breezing through city streets in no time. 

Derek Bruce
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