How Does an eBike Work?

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

If you’re buying an eBike instead of a regular bicycle, a motorcycle, or even a car, you might want to know how an eBike works. This article discusses just that – eBikes, and we will answer the question ”how does an ebike work”.

The Three Main Components – Motor, Battery, & Sensors

The most important thing for you to know is that eBikes have three main components that allow them to function in the way they do. Let’s take a quick look at these three main components.

The Battery

Perhaps the most essential component of any eBike is the battery. eBikes are powered by electricity, which means that they need a power bank. With eBikes, this usually takes the form of a lithium-ion battery. Batteries other than lithium-ion can be used, but it’s not all that common.

The battery is the power source of the eBike, and without a battery, it can’t move. The battery is what provides the motor with power. Depending on the size and quality of the battery and the eBike’s operational modes, a single charge should be able to go for up to 50 miles. Moreover, decent eBike batteries should fully charge within about 6 hours.

The Motor

The most essential component of an eBike is, of course, the motor. The motor is what makes the fuel, which is electricity stored by the battery and converts it into motion. A set of gears and pulleys transfer the motion from the motor to the gearbox or drivetrain. Thus, the motor is what converts energy into movement or power.

With that being said, eBike motors are usually not that powerful, but more than enough to propel the bike and a person sitting on it. E-bikes can have three types of motors, including front hub, rear hub, and mid-drive motors. Therefore, before buying an eBike, it is recommended that you do some research on this front.

How many watts does the motor have (more watts means more power), and how much torque does it produce? Weaker eBike motors usually top out at 250 or 300 watts, whereas the more powerful models can go up to 500 or even 600 watts (or more in some cases). Thus, the motor’s power is directly related to how fast the eBike can travel.

How Does an eBike Work

The Sensors

The third vital component of the eBike is the sensor(s). Sensors are used to determine speed, battery life, and whether the motor turns on during the pedal-assist mode. There are two types of eBike sensors, including speed and torque sensors. Before shopping, we recommend doing more research on this.

Throttle Only, Pedal Assist, and Pedal Only

The other thing is that eBikes usually have either two or three working modes. So, let’s explain each of these modes.

The throttle-only mode can be found on most if not all eBike. As the name implies, this mode uses only the battery for propulsion.

The pedal-assist mode means that you are propelled forward by a mix of the motor and your own power. As the name implies, this mode uses the motor and the pedals.

The pedal-only mode is when you only use the pedals, just like on a standard bike. Some eBikes may have this operational mode, and others may not.

Benefits of an E-bike Over a Combustion Engine

A small side note we want to take a quick look at is why eBikes are so beneficial, especially when compared to a gas-powered bike.

  • It costs much less money to charge up an eBike battery than filling a gas tank
  • An eBike won’t leave you smelling like gas fumes like a gas-powered bike will
  • Ebikes are much quieter and create much less noise pollution
  • Of course, eBikes are far more environmentally friendly than anything that is powered by a combustion engine


As you can see, eBikes are pretty simple. They have a battery that powers the motor, which creates motion, which, by using a drivetrain, causes the wheels to move. So it’s about as straightforward as it gets.

Special offer for our visitors

Get your Free Bike Guide

We will never send you spam. By signing up for this you agree with our privacy policy and to receive regular updates via email in regards to industry news and promotions