Sarah Ronaldson

How does an e-bike work?

E-bikes have taken the world by storm, offering an efficient and eco-friendly alternative to traditional bicycles. Among the various types of electric bikes, pedal-assist e-bikes stand out as a popular choice for riders seeking a seamless blend of human-powered pedalling and electric assistance. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the inner workings of pedal-assist e-bikes, unravelling the magic behind their smooth and efficient rides.

The Basics: What is Pedal Assist?

Pedal assist, sometimes referred to as “pedelec” (pedal electric cycle), is a technology that increases a rider’s pedal power with aid of an electric motor. Unlike throttle-controlled e-bikes, where a twist of the wrist activates the motor, pedal-assist systems simply require the rider to pedal to engage the electric assistance. This creates a more natural and intuitive riding experience, closely resembling traditional cycling.

Check out the Terravision Touring e-bike

image how does an e-bike work

The Components: Breaking It Down

Pedal Sensors: At the heart of a pedal-assist e-bike is a sensor or sensors strategically placed near the pedals. These sensors detect the rotational movement of the pedals and transmit signals to the bike’s control unit.
Control Unit: The brain of the e-bike, the control unit processes the signals from the pedal sensors and determines the level of assistance required. Riders can often customize these assistance levels based on their preferences and the terrain they’re traversing.
Motor: The electric motor is the powerhouse of the pedal-assist system. Located either in the hub of the wheel or near the bike’s bottom bracket, it provides extra torque when the rider pedals, making uphill climbs and long journeys more manageable.
Battery: To keep the motor running, pedal-assist e-bikes are equipped with rechargeable batteries. These batteries vary in size and capacity, affecting the bike’s range. Modern e-bikes often feature removable batteries for convenient charging.

image e-bike touring

How It Works in Action: Riding a Pedal-Assist E-Bike

Imagine you’re on a pedal-assist e-bike adventure. As you start pedalling, the sensors detect your motion and send signals to the control unit. Based on your chosen assistance level, the control unit activates the electric motor, seamlessly adding power to your pedalling efforts.

On flat terrain, you might opt for a lower assistance level, but as you encounter a challenging hill, you can effortlessly switch to a higher level, feeling the motor’s boost as you conquer the incline. The beauty of pedal assist lies in its ability to adapt to your needs, offering support when necessary, without completely taking over.

Benefits of Pedal Assist E-Bikes

Extended Range: Pedal-assist systems enhance your pedalling power, allowing you to cover greater distances with less effort.
Fitness and Fun: E-bikes encourage physical activity while providing an enjoyable riding experience. Pedal-assist systems make cycling accessible to a broader range of fitness levels.
Sustainable Transportation: By combining human power with electric assistance, pedal-assist e-bikes offer an eco-friendly mode of transportation, reducing the reliance on fossil fuels.
Pedal-assist e-bikes represent a harmonious marriage of human effort and electric innovation. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or a beginner, these bikes open up a world of possibilities, making cycling more accessible and enjoyable for riders of all levels. So, hop on, start pedalling, and let the electric magic propel you to new heights of cycling adventure!


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