Despite engineers and mechanics working toward building cheaper lithium-ion batteries, electric bike prices continue to go up.
If a consumer is ready to spend thousands of dollars to get an electric bike, the electric bike should be able to last at least half a decade to make the investment worth it.
Fortunately, the motor of an electric bike is designed to be highly durable and can often outlive the electric bike’s frame, brakes, and battery.
How Long Do Electric Bike Motors Last?
An electric bike may look very similar to a sturdy and bigger traditional bike; however, the way it works, its technology, and its uses are very different.
The difference between the two bikes is brought by adding different electrical components.
The two main electrical components that not only are the main drivers of the electric bike’s high price but are also crucial for the e-bike’s function and performance are the electric motors and electric battery.
The electric motor of an electric bike is usually built inside the bike’s frame and cannot be removed and reattached.
In general, most electric bike motors can retain their quality and offer high performance for 10,000 miles and more. Usually, the electric motor can outlive the electric bike’s frame, battery, chains, brakes, etc.
Hence, it is common for an old and damaged electric bike to have a fully functional motor that can be removed from the bike’s frame and recycled to be reused in another electric bike.
Moreover, the long lifespan means that the electric bike owner does not have to worry about incurring frequent or any motor repair or replacement costs during the life of the electric bike.
Hence, the one-time investment in a well-reputed electric bike with a high-quality motor is almost always worth it.
Continue reading to learn how an electric bike’s motor works, why it can last such a long time, and why the electric battery dies way before the electric motor.
Moreover, the article will also shed light on what practices may cause the motor of an electric bike to sustain damage and stop working before its expected lifespan and how one can prevent it.
Let’s get started!
Also read, Do You Have to Pedal with an Electric Bike?
What is an Electric Bike’s Motor?
An electric bike is more expensive than standard-sized sedans due to the various electrical components that make up the bike.
The built-in electric motor of an electric bike is one of the key components that allow the rider to benefit from pedal assistance. The size and power of the motor depend on the kind of electric bike.
For instance, heavy and bulky electric bikes usually have larger and more powerful motors, while smaller and lighter electric bikes come with less powerful motors.
The most common electric bike motor types are 250-Watt, 500-Watt, 750-Watt, and 1000-Watt. Motors larger than 1000-Watts, such as 1500-Watts or 2000-Watts, usually have legal restrictions and cannot be used everywhere in the world.
For instance, many American states have strict limits on using high-wattage electric bikes. One can also use their high-power electric bike on private property in such states.
If the person tries to ride the high-power electric bike on public roads, they will receive a warning and a fine. Continued usage may also result in the electric bike getting confiscated.
The electric motor is responsible for controlling the speed of an electric bike. The larger an electric bike’s motor, the higher the e-bike’s top speed will be.
For better understanding, the table below demonstrates how the size of an electric bike’s motor impacts its maximum speed.
|Electric Bike Motor Size
|Top Speed of the Electric Bike
|15 to 20 miles per hour
|20 to 25 miles per hour
|25 to 28 miles per hour
|28 to 33 miles per hour
|30 to 38 miles per hour
|35 to 43 miles per hour
|45 to 53 miles per hour
Although a high-wattage electric motor, such as a 3000-Watt motor, can push a top speed of 53 miles, this is not always the case.
The electric bike’s battery charge, tire condition, the external weather, and the total weight on the electric bike will all affect the maximum speed an electric bike will be able to reach.
How Does an Electric Bike’s Motor Work?
The electric bike’s motor is positioned and designed to work with the other electrical components of an electric bike to provide pedal assistance, momentum, and speed to the rider.
Without a properly functioning electric motor, the electric bike will be nothing more than an expensive traditional bike that will depend completely on the rider’s pedaling motion.
This is how the motor works in a pedal-assist electric bike:
- The built-in motion sensors detect the pedaling motion as soon as the rider pedals their electric bike.
- The detected signals are passed onto the electric motor. This causes the electric bike to turn on automatically.
- The motor begins its function by discharging the electric battery of its stored chemical energy.
- The motor then converts the chemical energy to kinetic energy and heat as the by-product.
- The energy transmitters pick up the newly produced kinetic energy from the motor and pass it on to the electric bike’s tires.
- This allows the electric bike to gain speed and momentum, and the rider’s pedaling motion is assisted.
The rider can choose the pedal assistance level they want from the electric bike’s LCD touchscreen or switch the gears on the handlebars.
Most average-sized electric bikes with a 250 to 750-Watt motor come with three levels of pedal assistance. On the contrary, electric bikes with more powerful motors come with four or five levels of pedal assistance.
Suppose a rider wishes to ride on the first or lowest level of pedal assistance. In that case, the electric motor will only slightly discharge the e-bike’s battery to provide minimal kinetic energy.
On this level, the electric bike’s speed and momentum primarily depend on the rider’s ability to pedal the bike.
However, if the rider wishes to ride their electric bike on the fifth or highest level of pedal-assistance, the motor will work aggressively. It will discharge the battery and create kinetic energy at a higher rate.
On this level, the electric bike’s speed and momentum are majorly dependent on the motor’s ability to provide pedal assistance. The rider usually is only required to pedal very gently and instead focus on balancing the high-speed electric bike ride.
If there is a fault in the motor, the rider will not be able to benefit from the pedal assistance despite having a fully recharged battery.
As a result, the rider will get tired and have to pedal a lot to reach their destination on time. However, fortunately, the chances of this happening are relatively low.
As mentioned above, electric bike motors are the most resilient and durable electrical components and usually retain their quality and performance even after the electric bike is no longer usable.
Continue reading to learn what makes an electric bike’s motor so resilient and long-lasting.
What Makes an Electric Bike’s Motor So Long-Lasting?
The chances of an electric bike’s battery sustaining damage and requiring repair or replacement are significantly higher than what you can expect with the motor.
This is because the motor is positioned and designed in a way that it rarely overheats and doesn’t find itself under a lot of stress.
Unlike the electric bike’s battery that is usually installed under the e-bike’s crossbar, the motor is present near the rear tire of the electric bike.
Hence, no matter how much weight is on the bike, all the weight (and the stress of pulling it along) is put on the electric bike’s battery, not it’s motor.
The excessive weight causes the battery to discharge more quickly, which damages it by reducing the amount of electricity it can store.
On the contrary, due to the electric motor’s placement, it remains unaffected by the weights and is able to retain its quality and performance for much longer.
Moreover, an electric bike’s mechanism works such that the electric motor does not have to remain on at all times.
Instead, it will only automatically turn on when the rider begins to pedal their electric bike and will turn off as soon as the pedaling stops.
This way, the motor is never overworked, doesn’t overheat (for the most part), and remains as good as new and fully functional for many years.
The main purpose of the motor is to supplement the rider’s pedaling, not move the electric bike for them.
Hence, since the rider is working alongside the motor to move the electric bike, the motor is never worked or pushed beyond its limits.
On the contrary, an electric bike’s battery and brakes have to deal with a lot more in comparison and usually die during the electric bike’s expected life.
Since the electric motor is usually fully functional even after the electric bike is no longer in a good riding condition, the motor can be removed from the electric bike and reused to provide power to another device.
However, if, due to certain riding practices or an electric bike accident, the motor is damaged and stops performing, investing in motor repairs or replacements is significantly less expensive than battery repairs and replacements.
Practices that Can Damage an Electric Bike’s Motor
Although an electric bike’s motor is highly resilient and can retain its performance for more than 10,000 miles, certain riding practices can still cause some damage that may shorten its average lifespan.
Some of these riding practices are as follows:
- If the rider frequently rides on the highest level of pedal assistance without switching to a smaller gear, the motor has to work non-stop to provide the energy required to move the bike.
- This especially becomes a problem when the rider rides up a steep slope on the highest level of pedal assistance.
- As a result, the electric motor gets overworked and can overheat. If repeated frequently, the rubber bank inside the motor can melt and break, causing the motor to stop working.
- If the rider carries excessive weight on the electric bike, although the battery will take the most damage, the motor may also get affected.
- This happens because the motor has to work more to provide more kinetic energy to pull the electric bike along with its weight while maintaining a high speed.
- If the rider deliberately rides over difficult terrains and steep slopes, the motor may get overworked and sustain some damage.
Moreover, other incidents can also lead to the electric bike’s motor breaking down even when it is not the rider’s fault.
For instance, if another vehicle hits the electric bike from the back, the rear tire and the motor may get damaged. This will result in a motor repair or replacement.
An electric bike can be a fantastic accessory for inner and intercity travels.
However, an electric bike will be nothing more than a high-priced bulky traditional bicycle without a fully functioning electric motor.
Fortunately, the motor is positioned and designed to be highly durable and retain its performance and quality for more than 10,000 miles.
However, to make sure nothing causes the motor to break down prematurely, one should follow the following tips:
- Always switch between different modes of pedal assistance and refrain from riding only at the highest level.
- Switch to a lower level of pedal assistance when climbing steep slopes.
- Allow the motor to cool down after a long bike ride.
- Refrain from carrying excessively heavy weight while traveling at high speeds frequently.
You may like the following electric bike articles:
- How Fast is a 3000-Watt Electric Bike?
- Can You Convert a Regular Bike to an Electric Bike?
- How Fast is a 1500 Watts Electric Bike?
- Can I Get an Electric Bike on the Cycle to Work Scheme?
- How To Lock An Electric Bike
- Electric Bikes for Women
My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars & Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.