Can you Pedal an Electric Bike Without the Battery?

Electric bikes have the potential to replace the use of personal cars and public transport for inner-city commutes. The e-bike’s battery helps the rider’s pedaling motion and provides great convenience.

At times, electric bike owners choose to ride their electric bikes without the battery for multiple different reasons.

They could be doing this to save some battery charge or get a good cardio workout. But can you pedal an electric bike without the battery?

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Can You Pedal an Electric Bike Without the Battery?

The answer to this question is yes. You can ride an electric bike without a battery. However, this is not the case for all kinds of electric bikes.

What Electric Bikes Can You Pedal without the Battery?

To cater to different needs and priorities, electric bike manufacturers have designed multiple different electric bikes that come with different features.

In general, all electric bikes can be categorized into two main types. One type which is more popular, easily available, and relatively cheaper is the pedal-assist electric bike.

On the other hand, the second type is called the pedal-free throttle electric bike. It is less easily available, relatively heavier and more expensive, and designed for a very specific clientele.

Pedal-assist electric bikes have built-in motion sensors that pick up on the rider’s pedaling motion.

These signals are passed to the electric bike’s motor, which, in turn, converts the battery’s stored chemical energy to kinetic energy. This allows the electric bike to gain speed.

On the other hand, as the name suggests, pedal-free throttle electric bikes do not have pedals and function more like electric motorbikes.

These electric bikes do not have any motion sensors or pedals, and instead, depend on the rider turning the motor on by themselves.

If one wishes to ride their electric bike without the battery, they can also do this on pedal-assist electric bikes.

Since pedal-free throttle electric bikes do not come with pedals, one cannot ride them without the battery.

Continue reading below to learn about how a person can ride their electric bike without the battery and is this action damaging to the electric bike’s different components.

Moreover, this article will talk about potential reasons why an individual might choose to ride their electric bike without a battery.

Read How Much Can an eBike Weigh?

How Can a Person Ride Their Electric Bike Without the Battery?

As explained above, riding an electric bike without its battery is only a possibility if the rider owns a pedal-assist electric bike.

In order to ride an electric bike without its battery, a rider can do the following:

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Detach or Remove the Battery

Detach or remove the electric bike’s battery from the electric bike. However, this is only possible for electric bikes that come with an externally installed detachable battery.

For instance, the Brompton Electric foldable electric bike comes with an easily removable battery which is designed to be carried in a detachable battery pouch.

For electric bikes that do not come with easily detachable batteries, this option is not possible and they can refer to the other options mentioned below.

Turn off the Power Supply

Turn off the battery’s power supply. Most electric bikes come with a built-in system or switch that allows a rider to turn off the battery.

Once the rider does this, the electric bike’s electric motor can no longer access the stored energy from the battery. 

As a result, the electric motor cannot offer any electrical assistance to the rider, and the electric bike works like a regular bicycle.

Read How to Protect Your Electric Bike in Cities?

Disconnect The Wire Connecting to the Circuit

For electric bikes that do not come with easily detachable electric batteries, riders do have one more option.

However, this option should only be practiced if the rider has sufficient knowledge about their electric bike’s electrical systems and the wiring.

In order to ride an electric bike without its battery, the rider can disconnect the wire that connects the electric bike’s electrical battery to the rest of the electrical circuit.

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It is important to know exactly which wires should be disconnected, and how to correctly reconnect the wiring to ensure that the battery is reconnected to the circuit when the rider wishes to use electrical assistance.

The main question to address in either of these scenarios is whether riding an electric bike without its battery is safe for the rider and the electric bike’s electrical components.

Read Do You Need Insurance for an Electric Bike?

How Does Riding an Electric Bike Without its Battery Affect the Rider and the Bike?

How Does Riding an Electric Bike Without the Battery Affect the Rider?

The rider’s safety is not reduced or affected in any way if they wish to ride their electric bike without the battery.

As a matter of fact, due to absence of any electrical assistance, only the top and average speed of the bike gets affected.

As a result, the rider’s safety is actually increased and the chances of losing control or crashing are reduced.

Moreover, the rider actually has to pedal to keep the bike moving, this is also a great form of cardio. 

Furthermore, it is important to know that riding an electric bike without its battery will be significantly more challenging than riding a traditional bike.

This difficulty is due to the electric bike being significantly heavier than a regular bike. The frame of some electric bikes are reinforced to make the bike’s body bulkier and stronger.

Not only does the steel significantly increase the electric bike’s weight, but it also ensures that the electric bike is able to handle the speeds it can achieve.

Moreover, the different electrical components will further add to the electric bike’s curb weight.

Not only does the rider have to maneuver the bike without any electrical assistance, but they also have to maintain control.

This is important. as a simple accident or crash can lead to expensive repairs and high component replacement costs.

A helpful tip for someone who wishes to occasionally enjoy an electric bike ride without its battery is to purchase a relatively lightweight electric bike.

Some great examples of such electric bikes include the foldable electric bikes by Brompton Electric and slim electric bikes by Gazelle.

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The table below summarizes the average weights of the different electric bike components that give the electric bike its structural strength and relatively heavier weight.

Name of the Different Electric Bike ComponentsAverage Weight of the Component
Electric Bike’s Body or Frame30 to 50 Lbs.
Electric Bike’s Battery7 to 12 Lbs.
Electric Bike’s Motor8 to 11 Lbs.

Moreover, apart from the electric bike’s weight, an electric bike without a battery will be harder to pedal due to the e-bike’s motor resistance.

To reduce the effect of motor resistance, one should invest in an electric bike that comes with a hub drive.

Read How Do I Pick an Electric Bike Conversion Kit?

How Does Riding an Electric Bike Without the Battery Affect the Bike Itself?

If a rider rides their electric bike on a flat battery or a fully depleted battery with no charge, the action will damage the motor.

This is because the pedaling motion will continue to send signals to the motor, triggering it to use the battery to push the bike forward.

Without any stored chemical energy to use, the motor will take all the strain of this action. This can lead to expensive repair or replacement costs. 

Hence, if a rider wishes to ride their electric bike without the battery, or if their battery has run out of charge, they should completely detach or remove the electric battery before continuing to pedal.

Doing so protects the electric bike’s components from damage and protects the rider against having to incur any expensive motor repair or replacement costs.

Why Do People Choose to Ride Their Electric Bikes Without the Battery?

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To Save Battery Charge

At times, people will choose to turn off or detach their electric bike’s battery to minimize its usage and keep it charged for as long as possible.

This is usually done when the person either has not fully charged their electric bike’s battery before riding it or if they know that the distance they have to cover is longer than the battery’s range.

If your bike hasn’t been appropriately charged before you head out, this is a great way to save range and ensure that you’re able to use the bike’s pedal-assist feature if you start to get tired.

After all, if you’re heading to work, the last thing you want to do is show up drenched in sweat just because you were pedaling for so long.

They can turn off their electric bike’s battery and pedal more while they are still fresh and have the energy to do so.

Once they have covered a fair distance, they can switch on or reattach the battery and continue their journey with added electrical assistance.  

Read Can You Charge an Electric Bike with Solar Panels?

When Their Battery Runs Out of Juice

At times, people have no choice but to pedal their electric bikes without any electrical assistance from the battery. This happens when their electric bikes run out of charge during a journey.

Although doing so can save them from being stranded, the action of pedaling an electric bike with a discharged battery can cause irreversible damage to the bike’s motor.

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When Practicing How to Ride an Electric Bike for the First Time

Riding an electric bike for the first time can be overwhelming for some people. Just the thought of having to balance a bike that can move without their help is daunting, and many people struggle with the weight of such bikes.

This usually happens because an electric bike is significantly heavier than a regular bike and requires more practice to ride.

Hence, some people choose to turn off or detach the electric bike while they practice to get used to controlling and pedaling this kind of bike. 

Doing so will allow them a chance to build strength to handle a heavy electric bike, while ensuring that they’re safe at all times.

Read Can You Overcharge an Electric Bike Battery?

To Get a Good Cardio and Leg Workout

Some people turn off or detach their electric bike’s batteries to get a good cardio workout and tone their leg muscles.

Using a pedal-assist electric bike for this purpose instead of a traditional bike is more beneficial as the electric bike’s weight and motor resistance make pedaling more challenging. 

When the Electric Bike’s Battery is Not Working

Some people may have no choice but to ride their electric bikes without the battery’s added assistance when their electric bike’s batteries are no longer functioning properly and require a repair or replacement.

Can you pedal an electric bike without the battery
Can you pedal an electric bike without the battery

Final Thoughts on Pedaling an Electric Bike Without the Battery

Some people may say that pedaling an electric bike without using its battery kills the purpose of having an expensive electric bike in the first place.

While it may be true if a rider decides to always pedal without the battery, this is not always the case.

Many people choose to keep their electric bike batteries turned off when they first start learning how to ride and balance a heavy electric bike.

Moreover, people who wish to not miss out on the beneficial leg cardio workout just because they have an electric bike tend to keep it’s battery-powered off for multiple hours at times.

Furthermore, if a rider does not have enough battery charging to offer electrical assistance for the entire journey, it is good to know that one can still have the option to pedal their electric bike to reach home.

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