HIBOY US:21 Apr, 2023

All You Must Know On How Do Electric Bikes Work

Table of content

How do electric bike work

What Is an Electric Bike?

Electric bikes are the innovation to ease the biking process. For the unversed, What is an electric bike can be explained as a regular-looking bike, but with one equipped with an electric motor and battery to help you assist with pedaling faster to cover a long way. They are flexible, easy to operate, and environment-friendly. 

Electric bikes offer various designs and styles to keep you fit and healthy such as mountain bikes, cargo bikes, folding bikes, etc. Even if the battery runs out, you can still pedal to ride your way. 

How Does an Electric Bike Work? 

So since electric bikes are user-friendly and environmentally friendly, you must be interested to know how does an electric bike work?

The ebikes rest their mechanism on three essential components: battery, motor, and sensor. So let's dive into these components to help you answer how do ebikes work. 

1. The Battery

How do electric bikes work? It is the most common question, as ebikes are lightweight yet capable of going at high speeds. Well, the foremost factor contributing to its working mechanism is its battery. 

Battery size affects battery life, and wattage, voltage, and amp-hours play a crucial factor in the power generation to last it long. The ebike battery powers the motor. 

Nowadays, ebike batteries have reduced significantly in size but increased power after converting to lithium from lead-acid cores (earlier). But they still play a prominent role in your bike's weight. 


2. The Motor

Motors, too, are critical in the mechanism of electric bikes as they boost the rider's ability to ride. Although, Pedal Assist helps you put less effort into pedaling. But if the pedals tire you out, you can switch to throttle to assist you in going a long way ahead. Once you stop pedaling or reach your bike's max motor assist speed (preset), the pedal assist function stops automatically. 

The motor changes the bike's electric power to mechanical work. While general ebikes have rear-hub motors to improve traction and handling for better control as it connects with the gears. Premium and expensive ebikes generally have motors near the bike's center and are attached to the frame. 

3. The Sensor

The sensors contribute significantly to making your bike work smoothly and prevent them from going too fast. Sensors help monitor the bike's speed and direct the motor when to turn on or off the throttle or pedal assist. It also measures the bike's speed or torque. Though both are similar, the speed sensor senses how fast you can travel, while the torque sensor monitors how hard you pedal. As the harder the pedals, the faster the speeds. 

Do You Still Require to Pedal an Electric Bike?

Each state and city has its own laws and regulations for electric bikes. So before investing in one, be thorough about the rules and regulations to adhere to the legal policies. For instance, different categories of classes were introduced for the use of ebikes according to local laws. 

Ebikes are generally classified into different categories based on their operations: Pedal only, Pedal Assist (Electric Assist), or Electric only. The states may alter some information within the three classes, but the majority of them are similar.  

Class 1 Electric Bike: Pedal Only 

Class 1 ebikes provide motor assistance only when you pedal. And once you reach 20 mph, it will stop doing so. This electric bike is great for bike paths, lanes, roads, or any place for conventional biking. It is lightweight, making it efficient for gentle terrains and light city or suburban riding and light touring.

Class 2 Electric Bike: Pedal Assist (Electric Assist)

Class 2 electric bikes come with throttle assistance to enhance your bike's speed even without pedaling, similar to motorcycles. But it doesn't assist you further upon reaching 20 mph. Throttle enables you to adjust the speed while you ride, explore the never visited paths, or take the ride on weekends for leisure. Class 2 ebike riders can use the paths meant for cyclists. 

Class 3 Electric Bike: Electric Only

Class 3 ebikes are similar to class 1 and class 2 ebikes but have a speedometer instead of a throttle that assists the bike until it reaches 28 mph, making it an excellent choice for commuters and countryside tours. These ebikes reach high speeds in no time, and steep climbs or long distances pose no challenges. However, its high acceleration requires riders to wear helmets and is restricted on bike paths. 

Ebike classifications help you know the difference between ebikes of different classes and decide which one will suit you the best with the throttle, pedal assistance, and max speed. It also assists you in knowing where and how you can ride one. 

How Fast Can an Electric Bike Go?  

Besides knowing how do electric bikes work, you must also know that they are capable of traveling at fast speeds. But that does not give you the liberty to travel at such high speeds. Instead, you must comply with the speed limit in your state and ensure not to go beyond them to avoid any legal consequences. 

In the US, the speed limits of Class 1 ebikes and Class 2 ebikes are limited to 20 mph or 32km/h, whereas Class 3 ebikes are limited to 28 mph or 45km/h.

This table clearly illustrates the different classes of ebikes and their features.

Class 1 Ebike

Class 2 Ebike

Class 3 Ebike

Pedal Assistance 




Throttle Assistance




Maximum Motor Assisted Speed (MPH)

20 MPH

Or 32 km/h

20 MPH

Or 32 km/h

28 MPH 

Or 45 km/h

You can unlock speed and make your ebike faster with some simple tricks: changing the speed limiter, motor, tire pressure, air resistance, changing your riding posture, and more.

The Bottom Line

So do you still have any doubts left about What is an ebike? We have given you insights into this modern technology, its classification into different categories, and how do ebikes work. It solely depends on your needs and personal requirements to decide which class of ebike will suit you the best. Apart from contributing to a healthy life and pollution-free environment, it adds fun to your daily commutes and weekend touring.