How Does an Electric Bike Work?

March 13, 2024


Electric bicycles have become a popular form of transportation that is both environmentally friendly and efficient. Their working principle is based on technology that converts electricity into mechanical energy.


This article will explore in detail how the core components of an electric bicycle such as the battery, motor, and controller work together to provide users with a convenient and sustainable travel option.

What is an Electric Bike?

Electric bikes, also known as e-bikes, are bicycles equipped with an integrated electric motor that provides propulsion. It provides convenient and environmentally friendly travel for traditional bicycles and motorized transportation. 

Electric bikes come in a variety of designs, including urban commuter bikes, mountain bikes, and folding bikes, to suit different riding styles. 

What are the Parts of an Electric Bicycle?

Electric bicycles are composed of multiple parts, usually including the following:

MotorTypes include hub motors (integrated in the wheel) and mid-drive motors (near the chassis), enhancing power transmission and weight distribution.
BatteryMounted on the frame or integrated into the downtube, usually lithium-ion batteries with high energy density and lightweight properties.
Braking SystemIncludes rim brakes, disc brakes, and hydraulic brakes, ensuring effective stopping power at high speeds.
Variable GearsAdjustable gears that allow riders to modify the level of assistance based on terrain, aiding in smoother transitions in speed and incline.
LED DisplayShows real-time information such as speed, distance traveled, remaining battery power, and selected assist level.
Integrated LightsEnhance visibility in low-light conditions or at night, increasing safety by illuminating the path and making the rider more visible to others.
Cargo CapacitySome models include features like racks or baskets for transporting goods or personal items, adding practicality.

Electric bicycles are usually composed of the above parts and provide a versatile mode of transportation for riders with different lifestyles.

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How Do Electric Bikes Work?


Electric bicycles combine human pedaling power with electric motor assistance to provide riders with an efficient and environmentally friendly mode of transportation.

Power Assist Integrated

Central to e-bike operation is the seamless integration of human pedaling force with electric motor assistance. When the rider pedals, the motor detects torque input, cadence and speed, using sensors to calculate and activate assist based on the rider's pedaling force.

Electric bike Accelerator

An e-bike's throttle function allows the rider to engage the motor for propulsion without pedaling. It provides instant acceleration and relieves rider fatigue on steep slopes or during long rides.

Electric bike Motor

An e-bike’s motor is the driving force behind its propulsion capabilities. It can be mounted in the center of the bicycle frame or integrated into the rear wheel hub, and the motor can use electricity from the battery to generate power to propel the bicycle forward. 

When a rider pedals or hits the gas pedal, the motor effectively converts electrical energy into kinetic energy, propelling the e-bike forward for them.

Electric bike Battery

The main feature of an e-bike is that it relies on rechargeable batteries to store and provide the energy needed to run the motor. When in use, electricity generated by the battery powers the motor, propelling the bike forward while minimizing physical exertion on the rider. 

The use of lithium-ion batteries further increases efficiency due to their high energy density and lightweight composition.

Electric bike Variable Power

E-bikes often feature variable power levels, allowing riders to adjust assist settings based on the conditions of their riding environment. Different power modes can be selected via the controls or LED display to suit different terrains, inclines, or desired workout intensity.

How do Electric Bikes Charge

E-bikes are charged using a charger that plugs into a standard power socket, charging time may depend on the capacity of the battery and the output of the charger, it usually takes 3 to 6 hours to fully charge an e-bike battery. The following is the basic method for charging a charger:

  • If the battery is removable, you can remove it from the bike. Otherwise, you will connect the charger directly to the bike with the battery installed.
  • Connect the charger to the battery or bike's charging port.
  • Plug the other end of the charger into an electrical outlet.

Be sure to use the charger that came with your e-bike or one recommended by the manufacturer to ensure safety and battery life. Most e-bikes have an indicator that shows when the battery is fully charged.

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How to Choose the Right Electric Bike?

electric bike

There are a variety of bikes on the market to choose from, and you can choose the right electric bike for you by looking at the following factors.

Usage requirements: First, clarify the purpose of purchasing an electric bicycle, such as whether it is used for daily commuting, leisure riding, or transporting goods. This will help you determine what type of bike you need.

Battery and Range: The battery is one of the most important components of an e-bike. Check the brand and capacity of the battery, which will directly affect the range of the bike. Generally speaking, the larger the battery capacity, the stronger the battery life.

Motor performance: Mid-mounted motors generally offer better balance and efficiency, while hub motors are simple to install and less expensive. The higher the power, the better the bike's climbing ability and top speed will generally be.

Frame material and design: The frame material of electric bicycles is usually aluminum alloy or carbon fiber. Aluminum alloys are heavier but less expensive, while carbon fiber is light and strong but expensive.

Safety performance: When riding at night or in low-visibility conditions, you should check whether the bicycle's safety equipment such as braking system, lights and reflectors are complete to ensure that they can provide adequate safety protection.

Comfort and adjustability: Consider how comfortable the seat and handles are and whether they are adjustable. A bike that fits your body type will make the riding experience more enjoyable.

Brand and warranty: Choose a reputable brand such as NAKTO, with reliable quality and better after-sales service.

Price and Budget: Determine your budget range; e-bike prices range widely, from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars.

Test ride experience: If possible, test ride a few bikes. This allows you to intuitively feel the performance and comfort of different bicycles, helping you make a choice that is more suitable for you.

How do I operate the bike?

There are several key steps involved in operating a bicycle. Here are a few steps on how to operate a bicycle:

1. Preparation: Make sure the bike is in good working order. Check brakes, tires, and gears. Adjust the seat and handlebars to suit your height and comfort. The height of the seat should be such that your feet can touch the ground when you sit down.

2. Mounting the Bike: Stand on the left side of the bike. Hold the handlebars and apply the brakes to stabilize the bike. Swing your right leg over the back of the bike for proper fit.

3. Start riding: Sit on the seat and place your feet on the pedals. Release the brake and depress the pedal with one foot to start moving. Swing your right leg over the rear of the bike to mount it properly.

4. Steering direction: Use the handlebars to steer the bike. Turn them in the direction you want to go. When turning, slow down appropriately and lean slightly while maintaining balance.

5. Apply the brakes: To slow down or stop, squeeze the brake lever gently but firmly. Most bicycles have front and rear brakes, operated by left-hand and right-hand levers respectively. Unless it's an emergency, avoid slamming on the brakes suddenly to prevent skidding.

6. Shifting: If your bike has gears, use them to adjust to the terrain. Change to a lower gear when going uphill and a higher gear when going flat or going downhill. Shift gears while pedaling lightly to avoid damaging your bike's gear system.

7. Dismounting: Slowing down and stopping the bike by applying the brakes. Once stopped, dismount by crossing your right leg over the back of the bike. Secure your bike if it is left unattended.

NOTE: When riding an e-bike in traffic or on rough terrain, you should keep yourself safe by wearing a helmet and appropriate safety gear (such as gloves and reflective clothing). If you are new to cycling or returning to cycling after a long time, practice in a safe environment.


In summary, this article provides an understanding of how e-bikes work, which reveals the seamless integration of human pedaling power with electric motor assistance, providing a practical and environmentally friendly mode of transportation. 

The innovative components and functions of electric bicycles can meet different riding needs and provide us with more convenient travel solutions.

Related reading: How fast can an electric bike go?

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