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How does an electric bike work?

The motor

There are three key components that differentiate an e-bike from a normal bike. The first is the motor, and there are three main motor positions on an e-bike, which are dependent on function and preferred riding styles.

A front hub motor fits into the centre of the front wheel. Because the drive is in the front wheel, where your steering is, it provides the feel of a front wheel drive car.

Then there is the rear hub motor, which you’ll find on mid-range models. “It’s more sophisticated because it has to interact with the gears and the other parts at the rear of the bike,” says Hunt. And being placed at the rear, this motor improves traction, giving riders a better grip on road surfaces.

At the top end of the range is the central drive motor, mounted into the frame. “It takes your motion through the pedals and adds to that and directs all that energy through the drive system,” says Hunt, “and being under your centre of balance and low on the bike, it doesn’t affect your stability – it makes it feel a lot more like a normal bike. We at Green Hybrid Bikes use rear wheel brushless motor because it give more control to the rider.

The sensor

The second key component on an e-bike is the sensor, which can be one of two types. A speed sensor automatically engages the motor once you begin pedal to provide assistance to your ride. “As you start to move off, it senses that movement and it kicks in and you can feel it kicking in,” says Hunt, “providing you with an on-off feeling.”

In contrast, the torque sensor is more intuitive, responding with just a small amount of assistance to match your speed when moving through slow traffic. “But if you hit the open road and increase your speed, it recognises you’re putting in more effort and increases the amount of power,” says Hunt. “It really helps with speed manoeuvres and cornering.”

The battery

The third key e-bike component is the power in the throne – the battery. This can be located in the luggage rack or low down on the frame, providing a more natural weight distribution in the bike.

The battery generally charges in five to six hours, is easy to replace, and many riders carry a spare for cycling longer distances.

When it comes to maintenance, Hunt recommends regular e-cyclists should get a service every three to six months, and once a year for more infrequent users. “At Green hybrid Bikes we’d look for the same maintenance issues as with an ordinary bike – gears, brakes, the frame and handlebars. In terms of the electrical components, we do a full strip down. We’ll take out the connecting leads, clean them and re-grease them to ensure there’s no water ingress. We’ll do a battery check, to confirm it still has charging capability, and a standard visual check to ensure all the components are working properly.”

Why not book a trial ride on an e-bike for free at Green Hybrid Bikes Today