All Electric Vehicles

Electric Bicycle Motor: How exactly do they Work?

A lot of people want to know about the electric bicycle motor. Electric bicycles are becoming extremely popular these days because they offer a helping hand to cyclists allowing them to still enjoy a quiet cycle and take in the scenery without the backbreaking sweaty work.

The motors make cycling just as trouble-free as the professionals make it look!

What types are there?

An electric bicycle motor can be found on all electric bicycles or can also be fitted onto a regular bike. There are:
    Electric Bicycle Motor
  • Hub motors, which means the motor is in the centre (as the hub) of the wheel (front/back) which means it has no chain or belt joining the wheel and the motor so thereís no loss of power through the transmission.
  • Chain drive, which means there is another extra chain joining the motor to the wheel.
  • Belt drive, means there is a belt joining the motor to the wheel.
  • Friction drive, which uses two other wheels attached to the engine to turn the main wheel. This type isnít really recommended though if you plan on using the bike a lot as the roller or the tyre usually wears out in a few hundred miles.
  • Also friction drive can be inefficient as friction causes heat which is energy loss.
  • Crank drive, which puts power through the back gear system.
  • This is typically recommended for people who have to deal with extremely steep hills but is generally more expensive.

Electric Bicycle MotorHub motors are the motors that you will see the most often. They are popular with the manufacturers as there is no transmission system to install and are more efficient because of it. They are also used in most electric bicycle kits for converting your regular bike as you just have to replace the rear tyre to install the motor.

A lot of bikes have the same gears as a usual bike with the power from the pedalling changing with the gears.

Almost all of the motors are brushless DC motors, which pretty much makes them AC. They are a sort of hybrid between the simple DC motor and the AC motor. They are brushless but not as sophisticated as the AC motor. Having no brushes means itís not a wearing motor so it lasts for a long time, which makes it much more reliable.

Are they powerful?

Legally in Europe an electric bicycle motor must not have a top assisted speed of over 25km/h and a max power of 250W. But these engines can be a lot more powerful than that if you want them to be!

The top range I have seen most electric bikes claim is 60 miles but this is on a flat which is where most people wouldnít bother using the motor and some claims can be pretty sketchy! I would make sure your bike can get over 20 miles minimum but the range really depends more on the battery.

Most bikes are electric assist or pedelec which means you have to pedal to get the most power out of them which is great because it really stops you getting too lazy! Some however have a throttle and are called E-bikes. Some you can even switch between pedelec and E-bike and are called hybrids.

Are they heavy?

Electric Bicycle Motor Yes they are obviously going to be much heavier than your regular bike because thereís a lot more in there. However this doesnít matter all that much as the power that you get from the motor more than makes up for it.

Itís nowhere near as heavy as a motorbike or a scooter where if it leans too much to the side you can feel it falling over! They are not too big so their not an eyesore and the biggest change to the look would be the battery pack.

Overall I canít stress enough how fun and useful you will find an electric bike if you make an effort to use it. Itís genuinely very handy and if you enjoy cycling, (or even if you donít) it will truly put a smile on your face!

Back from Electric Bicycle Motor to Electric Bicycles

Back from Electric Bicycle Motor to All Electric Vehicles Homepage.

Electric Bicycle Articles

Electric Mountain Bikes
Hardcore electric bicycles that are capable of climbing the steepest and roughest terrain.

Green Machines Electric Bicycles
The Electric Bicycles available from Green Machines in Dublin.

Bookmark and Share

Follow AllElectricEvan on Twitter


Check out my "Dream Garage" page - and see the hottest electric cars, motorbikes, hybrids and more. Also you can let me know what you would put in YOUR electric vehicle dream garage!
Cut through the promises and the hype - go to the "Electric Cars For Sale" page - and see which cars are available now AND scheduled for production over the next 3 years.

Leave a Comment

I have been writing my opinions here on the site since 2008 trying to find the perfect electric vehicle. However I would always like to read your thoughts on all-electric vehicles and comments about the site so........

If you have a moment (and a Facebook account), please click here to leave a comment about

You can also leave comments about any page at the bottom of each page.

+1 All-Electric-Vehicles

Page red arrow  
Site red arrow

Like this page?

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below. Copyright © 2008-2011.