Electric bikes are here to stay. 

Versatile, practical, and just plain fun, there’s no surprise that e-bike uptake is on the rise with huge numbers expected to be bought in 2023.

As a leading online retailer of electric bikes in the UK - and avid riders ourselves - we field a lot of practical questions about this popular and eco-friendly mode of transport.

One of which is “are electric bikes loud?” This is an interesting question - and while “loudness” is somewhat subjective, in this blog we look more closely at the noise levels of electric bikes.

Are electric bikes loud?

From this author’s perspective, no. Electric bikes are not loud.

Now, this isn’t to say they’re entirely quiet either. Keep in mind that all bikes, electric or otherwise, are not silent.

As you travel, you will hear noise from the rotations of the chain, pedals, and of course the brakes and tyres. Of course, different bikes (models and styles) will have different noise levels - and don’t forget about levels of maintenance, too. This can be a factor in the amount of sound a bike makes.

The difference between an e-bike and a conventional bike is the motor. And yes, these motors are not silent. When ‘pedal assist’ kicks in, you’re going to hear it - as will others around you.

However, as electric bike technology has developed over the years, motors are increasingly quiet and you would have a hard time arguing that they were in fact noisy. 

From folding electric bikes to the wide range of other models in our online e-bike store, you will find that the e-bikes we sell are equipped with quality, quiet motors and are manufactured to the highest standards to ensure a smooth ride with minimal noise.

Different electric bike motors

In general, you’ll come across two types of electric bike motors: crank drive motors and hub motors.

Crank drive motors were first seen on electric bikes in the 1990s (yep - that’s right, electric bikes have been around longer than you might have imagined!)

A crank drive motor derives its energy from the crank part of the bicycle, between the two-foot pedals, which is where the activity of the pedals is converted into energy.

They’re a versatile choice of motor, and particularly impressive when it comes to hills. Lightweight and efficient, crank drive motors are not at all noisy. That said, they do have a tendency to become increasingly louder over time, so that is worth bearing in mind.

Hub motors are the other most frequently seen type of electric bike motor. 

As the name suggests, it is located on the wheel hub. As well as working nicely design-wise, there is a practical benefit to this positioning. The location of the motor also creates ease in performing simple repairs and also removing the motor itself without damaging or changing the structure of the bicycle. 

A hub motor will make a little more noise than a crank drive motor - but certainly, nothing to write home about.

How to quieten an electric bike

A motor is going to make a certain amount of sound, that’s a given. But if you feel the noise your e-bike’s motor is emitting is unusual or excessively loud, it’s worth speaking to a specialist to get it checked out.

As we have noted, no bike - electric or otherwise is noiseless. Where there are moving parts, there is always going to be noise.

If you are finding your bike is noisier than you would like you might need to consider carrying out some maintenance. We have actually put together a handy guide for looking after your e-bike which you can check out here.

Common culprits when it comes to noise are the brakes and the chain.

Squeaky breaks often result from dirt, oil and grease on the wheel rim (when using rim brakes), or as a result of the brake pad or rotor misalignment which may cause a squealing sound. 

In some cases, brakes may need replacing, but a bit of TLC is generally enough to deal with the noise. A regular cleaning routine is central to this - and you can buy specific disc break cleaning kits. If you’re at all unsure about how to look after your brakes, pop into your local bike shop.

When it comes to the chain, consistent squeaking could be caused by a couple of different issues, but each involves making sure moving parts are well-lubricated or greased. This should be your first port of call.

Find out if an electric bike is loud

Perhaps you’ve been eyeing up an electric bike online and aren’t sure if it is loud or not. 

Well, simply ask! 

At Eco Bike Co, our team is made up of e-bike specialists and we have close relationships with all the manufacturers we work with.

If you have a question about any aspect of one of the electric bikes on our website, including motor noise, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team by phone, email, or live chat. 

Head over to our contact page here.

Our range of electric bikes

We are hugely proud of the wide range and quality of the e-bikes that we sell online.

All the UK-based brands we work with can be considered best-in-class, and we are supremely confident that whichever bike you choose to purchase, you’re going to be delighted with the product. Indeed, don’t listen to us - check out our reviews.

As an authorised dealer for each of the top-of-the-range brands listed on our website, Eco Bike Co. are able to offer full manufacturer warranties on all our orders.

Check out our online shop today, featuring e-mountain bikes, folding e-bikes, and other classic models or visit our blog for more background and information.

We hope to hear from you soon.

Happy riding!

November 17, 2022