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8 Essential Components of Every Electric Bike

8 Essential Components of Every Electric Bike

Understanding how your electric bike works is critical for safety. Plus, if you’re planning to install an e-bike kit yourself, learning all the components can make your work much easier. From crank arms to speed sensors, read on to discover the eight essential components of every electric bike.

Battery

Lithium ion is the go-to choice for e-bike batteries. They can go for hours without needing to charge, and they last for years before you need to pick up a new one.

Motor

The motor is the powerhouse of your e-bike system. It takes the electrical energy from your battery and converts it into the mechanical power needed to propel your bike. You may find this critical component in a few places, but it’s most often located in your front or rear wheel.

Controller

No, the controller doesn’t turn your electric bike into an RC vehicle (although that would be something to see). Your battery pack produces DC voltage, but your motor requires a three-phase alternating current. The controller converts the energy, and it also continuously changes the voltage to your motor based on your throttle and pedal sensors.

Throttle

The throttle is like a gas pedal, except you activate it with your hands. Whether you have a twist-grip or thumb throttle, this component allows you to regulate how much power you get from the motor. While it’s the motor doing the work, you’ll likely associate the zippy speeds you enjoy with the throttle.

Speed Sensor

The throttle isn’t your only option for achieving speed. The speed sensor checks the rate of your pedaling and gives you motor assistance accordingly—the faster you pedal, the more assistance you’ll receive. This is an excellent, intuitive system because it allows you to set the pace just as you would on a standard bike.

Brakes

Electric brakes are very similar to the brakes on a standard bicycle. They’ll still use friction on your brake pads to slow you down, but they have a second crucial function, too. Electric brakes shut off your motor. If your motor kept working while you applied the brakes, you could cause severe damage to your entire e-bike system!

Monitoring Display

Depending on your e-bike, this display can range from a rudimentary one that shows only your speed to a high-tech interface that tells you how far you’ve traveled, your average speed, and more. Some displays can even control your LED lights with the push of a touchscreen button!

The good news is many displays are interchangeable. That means you can start with a simple one and upgrade along the way.

Lights

LED lights aren’t always included on an e-bike or in a conversion kit. That said, this is an essential component that you should strongly consider installing. If you’re planning to take your bike out at night or you think you might want to someday, get LED lights.

Riding an e-bike at night isn’t the same as riding a standard bicycle. E-bikes can travel 30 miles per hour, so lights are crucial for ensuring the safety of yourself and others.

Using a Conversion Kit

While you can buy an electric bike outright, they’re quite the investment. If you like the sound of an e-bike but aren’t as wild about the price tag, you should consider a conversion kit. With a complete e-bike kit, you can turn the bicycle you already have into an electric one! Depending on the kit, you’ll either get everything listed above or a critical subset.

Some kits may exclude a battery or LED lights, so you can pick the options most suited to your needs (there are a lot of different batteries out there).

How To Convert Your Bike

Converting your bicycle is as simple as following the instructions that come along with your kit, but if you’re on the fence about buying a kit, here’s what you’ve got ahead of you:

  • Remove the wheels
    • Taking off the front wheel is a simple process, but the back wheel is connected to the chain. This is an easy procedure, but you should plan to get your hands dirty!
  • (Potentially) Replace your pedal arm
    • If you opt for a pedal-assisted e-bike kit, you might need to replace your pedal arms. Your conversion kit will dictate whether or not this step is important.
  • Install the tire on your new wheel
    • Your new bike wheel has an electric hub, so you’ll want to remove the tire from your old wheel and install it on the new one. Let the air out of the tire on the old wheel, then remove the tire and inner tube. Place the inner tube over your new wheel, the tire over that, and inflate!
  • Install the new wheel
    • Keep your cables from the electric hub to the rear wheel on the left side, and the cables from the electric hub to your front wheel on the right side. Once both wheels are on, test out your pedals by hand to make sure everything is working.
  • Install the controller
    • Attach the controller somewhere that all the cables can reach.
  • Determine the battery’s location
    • Figure out where the battery is going on the bike. Some batteries are bottle-type, which go where your water bottle holder is, and others are rack batteries. You’ll need to install a rack to hold the battery.
  • Install the display
    • Remove your old brake levers (but not gear shifters) and attach the display to your handlebars. Use the cables to wire up your display.
  • Install the brake levers
    • Replace the old brake levers with the new ones included in your kit. Connect the brakes to your system.
  • Check all your connections
    • Check your kit’s installation manual to confirm you’ve connected all the cables where they need to go.
  • Mount your battery and test
    • Connect your battery to the system and run the system! Check to see if the throttle turns on the wheel’s power and test the brakes to confirm that they cut off that power.

Now that you know the eight essential components of every electric bike, install your e-bike kit and get ready to zip around your town!

8 Essential Components of Every Electric Bike
by Ebike Essentials