How Do Electric
An electric bike works a bit differently to a regular push bike. Here we explain these differences and answer some frequently asked questions.
Down to the Basics
At its core, an electric bike is a regular push bike. They just rely on extra components that work together to allow it to operate; an electric motor, the 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. In the next column we will explain how the main components of an electric bike work.
The Three Main Components
As stated before, an electric bike relies on components that work together and allow it to operate. An electric bike has 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. Simple, right?
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, Suntour, 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 were used across our previous Raleigh Array range. 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 incorporates motors from a number of manufacturers, depending on the needs and requirements of the rider and bike model. 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 now discontinued Mustang and Strada E models used 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 previous model 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 folding 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.
The battery on an electric bike can be located in varying places on the bike, often dependent 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!
The sensor on an electric bike is a highly important component. There are two types of sensor used on different e-bikes; a speed sensor or a 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.
The Components Working 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.
So, now that we know the main components, how do you use an electric bike? All our Raleigh electric bikes have 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. Most Raleigh electric bikes have four assistance levels; Eco, Tour, Sport and Turbo.
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. Any assistance provided by the motor is cut out as soon as you stop pedalling.
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; the time it takes is 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.