The technology behind electric bikes

Whether you’re an avid biker or only just getting into the cycling game, you may have come across the novel concept of the electric bike.

And, like everyone else who learns about this state-of-the-art piece of engineering, you’re probably wondering how exactly this electric take on a vehicle as old as time works.

Not to worry, it’s not as complicated as it sounds, which is why I’ve gone ahead and set out all the technical details you need to wrap your head around the engineering behind electric bikes.

Battery-assisted cycling

Electric bikes stand out from the average 2-wheeled mode of transportation by being assisted by batteries.

By using portable energy thanks to modern light & compact batteries, electric bikes enable battery-assisted cycling.

The batteries

Most electric bikes will typically be fitted with batteries that are compact in size and light in weight to increase cycling efficiency without slowing you down. These batteries will generally have an output between 350-500W of power and will typically be lithium-ion batteries due to their lightweight design. Batteries of this kind will supply you with a maximum speed of around 16-32km/h and a range of roughly 16-64km.

Electric motor

As the 'electric' part of electric bike suggests, these modes of transportation rely on compact electric motors. These will typically be inbuilt in the hub of either the front or back wheel, though may also be fitted into the bike's center.

Sensor monitoring

You won't always need your cycling to be battery-assisted, which is why your electric bike needs to be equipped with sensors to detect when to switch those powerful batteries into action.

The sensors will measure your speed, cadence, and torque input to ultimately calculate when your cycling journey needs to be assisted by batteries. Once the sensors have detected a need for such assistance, the inbuilt battery pack will release power to charge electromagnets in your electric bike's motor.

When power is released, your cycling experience will be augmented, which means you'll be able to conquer obstacles more easily and travel less strenuously.

Brakes

The best electric bikes use an innovative type of brakes. These rely on a technology called 'regenerative breaking', which allows the spinning wheels to turn the bike's motor in reverse and recharge the batteries as you go downhill. While this technology is not as practical on electric bikes as it is on electric cars or trains, it sure is an impressive display of ingenious engineering!

Frame

An electric bike needs to be as light as possible to allow for as much travel as possible. This is because the heavier the frame is, the quicker you'll have to recharge the batteries. Because of this, electric bikes are typically manufactured out of a lightweight aluminium alloy to help you get the most use out of battery-assisted riding.

With this informative explanation having hopefully helped you understand the technology behind electric bikes, it’s time to start your search for the ideal electric bike and hit the road!

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