What, exactly, is an electric bike? The term “electric bike” conjures up images of motorcycles or scooters. In actuality, an electric bike is something completely different.
To get a picture of an electric bike, imagine a basic bicycle. Just add a battery, small motor and a controller, and you have an electric bike.
How does an electric bike function?
An electric bike still functions the same way as a standard bike; it can be pedaled and handled like any other bicycle you have used. The difference comes from the motor. The power behind the bike is meant to assist human power, not replace it completely. For example, if you pedal at 10 mph on a regular bike, you could get up to 20 mph using the same effort on an e-bike along with the motor. And using the motor makes hills as easy to bicycle as flat terrain.
The power can be activated by the controller and gives you that extra little push to go faster. When the power is released, the bike coasts by itself, just as it would if you pedaled really hard and then lifted your feet. Electric bikes brake like standard bikes, most often with the brake lever located on the handle.
Most e-bike systems offer a multi-speed controller. However some are a simple on and off type of switch. Some types will not offer power from the motor unless you are already pedaling.
Electric bicycles can be either purpose-built or adaptive. Purpose-built are made specifically to be an electric bike, whereas an adaptive e-bike starts off as a regular bike and gets a motor system added to it. Both types are easy to use and offer easy accelerating and assisted hill climbing.
Though you may think of a motorcycle-type of bike when you hear “electric bicycle,” an e-bike is something completely different and new. The motor on an electric bike does not seek to replace pedaling; it is used to enhance it.