Electric Bikes

How Do Electric
Bikes Work?

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:

The motor

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?

The battery

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!

Want to go more into depth on our electric bike batteries? Then this article will suit your needs.

The sensor

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.


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.