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What is an electric bicycle?

An electric bicycle or an e-bike, as it is commonly called, is a bicycle that has a built in electric motor that enables its propulsion. Simply add a battery, an electric motor and a controller (that starts the power and manages the electric components) to a traditional bike and you have an electric cycle. The basic functions of pedaling, speeding and riding are very similar to the classic bikes.

Just like other regular bikes, e-bikes also come with a variety of frames to suit the different sizes of riders and for different styles of riding. Some brands give a more relaxed upright ride; others are designed for more sporty and active rides.

Anatomy of an e-bike


Some of the e-bikes come with a motor fixed on the side that pulls the rear wheel. Others come with an internal motor that is fixed in the hub of the rear or front wheel itself. In the later, the look of the bike is more streamline and compacted. The motors come with different power ratings; 200W to 700W, depending on the purpose it will be used for, the rider must pick the appropriate one.


Electric bikes (like the Summit 36V Electric Mountain Bicycle shown in the picture above) usually come with a nickel metal hydride battery, a lead acid battery or a lithium ion one. In some models you can choose which battery you wish to use, but others come with specific battery requirements.


It is this that lets the rider regulate and operate the electric components of the cycle. It is mostly located on the cycles handlebar making it is easy to use. The controllers come in two major styles; throttle based and pedal activated. The former works through a throttle mechanism; the rider simply presses or pulls back the throttle to get the electric assistance. Some e-bikes simply require the rider to activate the throttle and then ride without pedaling. Other may need gentle pedaling to activate the throttle. This helps protect the battery life and give a better electric range too.

The ones that are pedal activated require the rider to press down on the pedal to get the electric assistance; these don’t have a throttle. The controller on these bikes helps the rider to regulate the amount of electric assistance he or she receives on the pedal, he can choose from zero to a great deal.

The functioning of an e-bike is much just like a regular cycle but has electric components that make it easier to ride, use and even maintain. It is different from a motorcycle because it still requires human power to pedal. So if ease and comfort are what you are looking for this is the bike for you.

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