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how electric bikes work

The e-bike is an efficient and economical alternative to more expensive vehicles. In some places, having a form of transportation is essential. Considering how expensive even a used car can be, a lot of people are looking for less expensive alternatives in urban areas.

Motorcycles can save some people a fortune on not only the initial purchase but on gas as well. However, even a reliable motorcycle can be rather expensive. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly transportation option, consider using an e-bike. 


What is an E-Bike?

An e-bike is a bicycle with an electric motor. You might be thinking “that just sounds like a motorcycle.” 

Think of the e-bike as the motorcycle’s little brother. E-bikes aren’t nearly as powerful as motorcycles, and they look more like a traditional bike. In fact, it’s entirely possible to turn a regular bike into an e-bike. Did you know that? 


Can I Turn My Bike into an E-Bike?

Stated by Relax and Ride Bikes, turning your bike into an e-bike starts with choosing a conversion kit. E-bike conversion kits come with electric motors and everything that you need to install them by yourself. Once the conversion kit is installed, your old bike will be a newly transformed e-bike. 

E-bike conversion kits come in a wide range of variations. Some of the electric motors are so small and silent that they’re nearly unnoticeable. Others are larger and more obvious, but provide more power and quicker acceleration.

If you’re curious in learning more about how the e-bike conversion process works, check out this article by Men’s Journal. If you’re interested in turning your old bike into an e-bike, this article has a great list of their recommended e-bike conversion kits.


E-Bike Modes: Pedal Assist vs Throttle

There are two primary modes when it comes to e-bikes: pedal-assist mode and throttle mode. Some e -bikes offer both options so you can get the best of both worlds while others may only have one. Each mode works a bit differently, so let’s briefly break both of them down. 

Pedal Assist Mode

Of the two modes we’re discussing, pedal-assist provides a more traditional cycling experience in many opinions. When an e-bike’s motor is in pedal-assist mode, it only provides power when you pedal. 

Because the electric motor only uses power when you pedal, it tends to make the motor’s charge last longer. However, pedal-assist mode typically won’t provide the user with as much power as throttle mode.

This mode demands a bit more involvement from the user than throttle mode. However, those looking for an experience similar to that provided by a regular bike are in luck! Pedal-assist mode gives your regular, everyday bike ride a little boost. 

If you like higher speeds or need more assistance when biking, pedal-assist may not be the answer for you. 


    • Provides an experience similar to a regular bike; easier for transitioning into e-bikes
    • More energy-efficient


    • Not as powerful as throttle mode
    • Require more work from the rider

Throttle Mode

If you’re looking for an e-bike that doesn’t make you work quite as much, you’ll probably prefer one with throttle mode. 

As the name implies, e-bikes with throttle mode come with a manual throttle. You can use that throttle to supply power to your electric motor at any time, causing your e-bike to accelerate quickly. 

Every e-bike’s throttle mode is slightly different. Some provide just enough power to assist with a bike ride while others won’t require any effort on the user’s end at all. 


    • Usually more powerful than the pedal-assist mode
    • Requires less work from the rider


    • Less energy-efficient than throttle mode
    • Higher chance of malfunction

Which Mode Should I Use?

There’s no wrong mode to use! It just depends on your preference. If you want a more energy-efficient mode of transportation, go with the pedal-assist mode. If you’re more concerned with power and convenience, give throttle mode a try. 

If you want to learn more about these two e-bike modes before making a decision, check out this article from Electric Bike Report. They go into great detail describing how each mode works and the advantages and disadvantages that come with each. 

 ebike explanation

E-Bikes Pros and Cons

Now that we’ve discussed e-bikes, what they are, their different modes, and how they work, let’s sum up everything we’ve talked about. If you’re still debating whether or not the e-bike is for you, consider the pros and cons of the e-bike compared to other vehicles.


    • Less expensive than cars, trucks, or motorcycles
    • They don’t require you to spend money on gas
    • More powerful than a bike
    • More convenient than a bike in urban areas
    • Laws in most locations won’t require you to use a license
    • Laws in most places won’t require that you have insurance


    • Won’t protect the rider from injury as well as a car will
    • Not as powerful as traditional vehicles
    • If you live in an area with severe weather there may be limited months out of the year you can use this mode of transportation

Most of the e-bike’s advantages are economical and environmentally driven. These electric bikes can save people a lot of money on the initial purchase, insurance, gas, and licensing fees. They are also a great alternative for reducing your carbon emissions. 


E-Bikes Explained

Hopefully, we’ve shed some light on the e-bike phenomenon. Now that you know what an e-bike is, hopefully, you’ve come closer to making a decision about your next vehicle investment. 

If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to take your transportation game to the next level or interested in finding easy ways you can lower your carbon footprint, the e-bike might be the vehicle for you!

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