How do electric bikes work?

Let's get down to the basics...

An electric bike at its core is a regular push bike. They just rely on extra components that work together to allow it to operate; electric motor, battery, the sensor and the electric display. All of our electric bikes use pedal assist, this is where the motor is only activated when the pedals are already in motion. This allows the rider to still get a workout, but with an added boost to make their ride easier.

Three main components


There are different placements for an electric bike motor, each has its benefits; front hub, rear hub and mid-drive motor. You can find out more about each of these motors on our specific motors page.

The main aim of the motor is to control torque. The more advanced the electric motor, the more torque it offers. The more torque you have, the more power you can get out of the bike.


The battery on an electric bike can be located in varying places on the bike, often dependant on frame type and size. Each battery make, model and type means that they will need to charge for different times, an average charging time is five to six hours. Charging your battery is easy, just like a mobile phone you plug it into the wall!

We have plenty more information on electric bike batteries for you to read too.


The sensor on an electric bike is a highly important component. There are two types of sensor used on different ebikes; a speed sensor or torque sensor. The speed sensor immediately engages the motor once you begin pedalling which gives you the ride assistance.

The torque sensor is a little smarter, it responds with just a small amount of assistance to match your speed when you're moving. It's much more responsive and helps with speed and manoeuvres.

How do you use an electric bike?

All our Raleigh electric bikes are the pedal assist, meaning you are required to pedal for the electric assist to work. To use your electric bike you'll just need to cycle like normal, so get pedalling. Once you're pedalling use the display on your electric bike, which is often on the handlebars to turn on the power assist. You'll then have the assistance level choice which can be altered with the plus and minus buttons on your display or controller. As mentioned above, most Raleigh electric bikes have four assistance levels; eco, tour, sport and turbo.

How do electric bike components work together?

The key to any good electric bike is ensuring that all of the components work together. The battery, motor and display combination will provide all of the assistance required in a smooth ride. The battery provides power to the motor which powers the drivetrain to give you all of the assistance you require to tackle hills and long rides. The display allows you to control how much assistance is provided and what power is sent from the motor to the drivetrain.

Raleigh Electric Bikes | Electric Bikes Motor Systems
Raleigh Electric Bikes Maintenance

How to charge your electric bike

Charging an electric bike is super simple - just like a mobile phone or laptop, you'll just need to plug it into any wall outlet. Batteries can take from 2 to 8 hours to charge it's all dependent on the make and model of the battery. Raleigh bikes use either Emotion, TransX, Shimano and Bosch motor systems, each of these will have different battery types and sizes. You can find out more about these individually on our electric bike batteries page. Most of our electric bikes will last up to 1000 charge cycles.

What types of motors do Raleigh electric bikes have?

The Raleigh electric bike range uses a variety of motors including front wheel, rear & centre-mount motors from a range of manufacturers such as Bosch, Shimano, E-Motion & TransX. Front wheel motors are typically considered a more affordable option that provide good levels of power for getting around town and give steady assistance when climbing hills. Front wheel motors are used across our Raleigh Array range. Centre & rear mounted batteries are more common across the Raleigh range providing better performance and better handling. Rear mounted batteries such as on the Motus Tour low step provide better handling and traction due to the added weight at the rear of the bike, the rear mounted battery adds a smoother more natural feeling of acceleration and we think looks neater mounted to a rear pannier rack. Centre mount motors such as on our Strada and Mustang E range provide a greater level of power and are perfect for long, steep hills.

The Raleigh electric range uses a number of manufacturers to produce motors, depending on the needs and requirements of the rider. The Bosch system uses cutting edge components to create precise motor control and lower noise output than other motors. The Shimano steps system as featured on the Mustang and Strada E models uses Shimano the world leading supplier of bicycle components to integrate the motor with the gears to produce a quiet, powerful and efficient riding experience. E-Motion motor systems are used on the Raleigh Array range to create an affordable front motor system that provides 5 power levels plus a boost function to provide assistance on hills. The Stow-e-way foling Raleigh electric bike uses a TransX motor system as it is a compact and simple solution to be used on the go with the folding bike.

Is braking harder on an electric bike due to the added power?

Electric bikes are typically heavier than non-electric bikes so the added weight needs to be considered in stopping distance and safety. However there is no direct impact on how hard you have to use the brakes on electric brakes due to the power when compared to non-electric.

What type of batteries do Raleigh electric bikes use?

All Raleigh electric bikes use lithium-ion batteries, these are very popular among technologies and are often found in laptops and phones. They have many benefits, you can find out more about these batteries on our electric bikes batteries page.