2024 Riders Guide to eBikes: Hardware and Technology

Electric (ebikes) bikes are quickly taking Australia by storm, whether it’s for daily commuting or exploring our beautiful landscapes. What makes an ebike so versatile and efficient? Here is the technology behind e-bikes, to give you a better understanding of the key components that make them tick.

The Main Bits of Hardware

The Bike itself

A bike, also known as a bicycle, consisting of the following main components such as a frame, seat, pedals, wheels / tyres, handlebars, and a chain connected to gears.

The Electric Motor

Found in all e-bikes, the electric motor is the driving force that differentiates them from traditional bicycles. Located either in the hub of the wheel (front or rear) or the centre of the bike (known as the mid-drive), the motor provides the extra push to make your ride easier. Mid-drive motors, gaining popularity due to their ability to provide balanced weight distribution and better torque, make tackling tough terrains like uphills a breezy task.

A Rechargeable (lithium) Battery 

Arguably one of the most vital components of an ebike, the rechargeable lithium battery essentially powers the electric motor. They are typically lithium-ion, a type of rechargeable battery with a pretty long lifespan. The battery’s capacity significantly impacts the e-bike’s range, determining how far you can ride before needing a recharge.

A Controller and Display

The controller is the central unit that directs the e-bike’s operations. Communicating between the motor and the battery, the controller regulates the amount of power transferred from the battery to the motor based on the rider’s need.

It’s like the brain of the e-bike, determining speed and power output, and ensuring everything runs smoothly.  is the interface where you can interact with the e-bike system. It allows you to choose your assist level, check your speed, monitor battery level, and sometimes even connect to your smartphone for additional features.

Additional Systems and Tech

Pedal-Assist System (PAS)

Most e-bikes come with a pedal-assist system (PAS) that measures your pedalling and adds the right amount of motor assistance. Typically, there are several levels of assistance to choose from, letting you customise how much help you want from the e-bike. Some advanced systems even have a torque sensor that determines assistance level based on how hard you’re pedalling, giving a more natural and intuitive riding experience. 

Drive System

Incorporating the pedals, chain (or belt in some cases), and gears, the drivetrain is a vital mechanical system that translates you the human power into motion, with the electric motor adding extra power when it’s needed. 

Regenerative Braking (optional)

Although not standard in all e-bikes, some models feature regenerative braking, an innovative concept borrowed from electric cars. Essentially, it allows the e-bike to recapture some energy during braking or downhill rides and feed it back into the battery, extending your ride’s potential range.