Skip to main content

How Does an Electric Bike Work?

An electric system consists of a number of main components:

  • The battery: integrated into the luggage carrier or is integrated with the frame depending on the bike model, design or manufacturer.
  • The motor: built into the frame at the bottom bracket, rear hub or front hub depending on the bike model, design or manufacturer. 
  • The display: fitted on the handlebar.
  • Sensors: every electric system has a speed sensor, which as its name suggests, measures how fast the bike is being ridden. In addition, riding behavior is determined by a rotation sensor or a pedal force sensor depending on the model. The Impulse system in addition has a fourth sensor, namely the shift sensor. This sensor cuts out assistance for a quarter of a second while you are shifting which enables you to keep on pedaling while shifting.

Together the sensors determine the amount assistance provided by the motor based on your assistance level setting and the pedal force you are applying. You set the assistance level yourself using the handlebar grip control.

Which factors affect range/battery life?

Range is dependent on various factors. Thus, the speed at which you ride the bike will have a major impact. In addition to speed, there are order external factors that affect the range. The range advertised in our brochures and manuals is based on averages. Thus, it is assumed that the average rider weighs 160lbs, bikes on relatively flat terrain and shifts gears actively. Below are the leading factors that affect range:

  • Weight. The total weight of the bike, the rider and load will affect the range. So, the harder your electric bike motor works, the more power it will need from your battery, which will decrease your battery’s range as it is working harder than usual.

  • Gear-shifting behavior. Actively shifting gears increases the range. Just like a car, when setting off from a standstill, you should start in the lowest gear. Never start in the highest gear; this will adversely affect your range.

  • Type of sensor. Every electric bike is equipped with a rotation sensor or pedal force sensor. Rotational sensors provide assistance while pedaling.  The pedal force sensor amplifies your own effort whereas a rotation sensor only provides assistance while pedaling. Put another way, the rider will always get maximum assistance with a rotation sensor, which results in less range.

  • Road surface. The surface over which you are cycling has a substantial effect on your range. Thus, cycling along an unpaved road surface will reduce your range.
  • Weather. Cycling with a tailwind or into a headwind will increase or reduce your range. Temperature will also affect it. Thus, at extremely low temperatures (< o degrees) the battery is able to store less energy, which reduces the distance you can cycle.

  • Temperature. Batteries perform optimally at room temperature, between 55ºF and 70ºF. When riding in extreme weather, store and charge battery indoors before your ride.

  • Terrain. You can cycle further on flat terrain than in the hills. The magnitude of the impact will also depend on the type of electric system. Thus, a mid-mounted motor is better suited to hills due to the motor’s thermal stability vs a hub drive system.

  • Tire pressure. Having the right tire pressure is key in impacting your range. Keeping in mind what type of riding you normally do and adjusting your pressure accordingly will help your battery last as long as your route. It always a good idea to confirm tire pressure as part of a safety check before taking your bike out. Unlike cars, bicycle tires, any bicycle, and any brand, they will lose pressure over time, and they can lose it pretty quickly.