How to operate Ribble e-bikes

‘How to operate Ribble e-bikes’ is a step by step guide to getting your new Ribble e-bike up and running. Our aim is to simplify the instructions to make riding your new e-bike as easy as ….well riding a bike! In this guide, we’ll break down the X35+ motor system’s functions and features and touch on the companion app. All of which can only help to enhance your e-bike riding enjoyment.

The e-bike system

When we first considered branching out into the e-bike market, the brief was not simply to create a range of advanced e-bikes. Our aim was to create the lightest range of electric bikes in the world. To do this, we needed to consider carefully which propulsion system was best suited to helping us achieve this goal.

Did we choose a hub-mounted motor or a bottom bracket drive motor? Then, of course, you have to consider how the battery is mounted. Do we mount it internally for a full stealth build or do we make it accessible (though more unsightly) on the outside of the downtube?

Both have their advantages and disadvantages. The hub drive motor, for instance, is not as quite as powerful as the bb drive motor. However, it is lighter and won’t wear out the drivetrain components as quickly as the bb drive system. So, having decided on the hub drive motor, one system stood out above all others. This is the MAHLE X35 SmartBike System.

This advanced motor system was first conceived by a team of engineers and cycle enthusiasts at the German automotive giant MAHLE. If you’ve not heard of MAHLE before, they are pioneers in the use of environmentally friendly and energy-efficient technology in the motor industry.

But, what was it about this particular system that made us choose it over the others? In truth, there were many key factors that closely matched our vision for the e-bikes of the present and future;

  • The X35 motor system is light, powerful yet extremely compact. Weighing in at just 3.5kg for the ENTIRE system.
  • Combine this market-leading weight with a 250w motor and you have the perfect blend of power vs weight. A bike that’s so light that when the motor is disengaged it creates little drag and seamlessly blends into the background. Enabling you to ride the bike just like any traditional non-assisted bike.
  • The MAHLE X35 employs a slimline Panasonic battery that is fully enclosed within the downtube and gives our bikes their stealth looks. You’d be hard-pressed to know that they are e-bikes at all if you did not look VERY closely.

The magic button

Depending on which genre of cycling the bike is designed for, the control button can be found either on the top tube or on the handlebars.

Top Tube Button

This easy to use, multi-function button lets you access all of the functionality of the X35+ system when you’re out riding the bike. Literally, all you need for a pedal-assisted ride at your fingertips. The button itself is surrounded by an LED display that illuminates when the button is pressed. The display itself is used to indicate the selected power level, available battery level, and more. The button is used to:

  • Turn the system on/off.
  • Select the desired assistance level.
  • Display the available battery capacity.
  • Turn compatible lights on/off (if fitted).

Handlebar Mounted Control Unit

Certain models of electric bikes with flat handlebars will come equipped with a handlebar-mounted control unit in lieu of the top tube button. This unit has 3 distinct buttons that are used to control the motor system.

Turn the system On/Off

Where the instructions refer to a ‘short press this indicates one quick press of the button and then release.

Top Tube Button (iWoc One)

To turn the system on, short press the button and the LEDs will illuminate.

During the start-up procedure, the button will initially turn green to indicate everything is working correctly.

Once the start-up procedure finishes a single solid colour will be displayed. This colour indicates the amount of battery charge that is available to use.

To turn the pedal-assist system off, simply hold down the button for approximately 2 seconds. At which point the LEDs should turn white and then release.

Handlebar Mounted Button (iWoc Trio)

Short pressing Button C (middle button) turns the system on and a long press of this same button turns the system off.

Battery capacity

As mentioned briefly above, whenever the button is pressed the LED will always default back to display the current battery level. For added simplicity, the battery level is displayed using a traffic light-style system, albeit with the addition of the colour white.

This image depicts where the battery level is displayed on the handlebar mount and what each colour represents.
Same as above but this time with the top tube mounted button.
  • White: 75% of the battery or more remains
  • Green: 50-75%
  • Orange: 25-50%
  • Red: 15-25%
  • Slow Red Flash: 10-15%
  • Rapid Red Flash: Less than 10%

Assistance levels

The X35+ SmartBike system offers three levels of power assistance – minimum, mid and maximum. We would encourage you to try all three out and see which works for various terrain. For instance, if it is a less challenging climb, you may not need maximum assistance.

However, when it gets steep you may just need to crank up the power to keep pace with the group or conquer the climb. Of course, using a lower level of assistance or being judicious with the max assistance results in more range. The three power assistance levels are pre-set to offer you a set amount of power at each level.

When you first receive your Ribble e-bike we thoroughly recommend downloading the MAHLE companion app from the Apple Store or Android Play. Once you connect your bike to the app you are able to select 1 of 3 cycling modes. Each of which offers a slightly different power configuration for each resistance level.

However, if you feel that these pre-sets are not quite to your liking and you are reasonably tech-savvy, you can also customise the power that each level offers. You can find more detailed information about the companion app in our separate MAHLE app blog.

Selecting the level of assistance

You have turned the system on and the LEDs are now displaying a solid colour to indicate the amount of battery charge available to you. How do you then select an assistance level? It really is very simple and will quickly become second nature to you.

Top Tube Button

Short press the button to set the LEDs to flash. The colour of the flash indicates the assistance level currently selected.

However, if it flashes white then the motor will not provide any additional assistance.

Press again (whilst it is flashing) to advance to the first assistance level (Green).

Repeat the process described above to select level 2/Amber and level 3/Red.

To turn off power assistance, simply double press the button to cycle through the green, amber and red assistance levels and release the button once it flashes white.

If you wish to bypass the first 2 levels and go straight to full assist you can of course cycle straight through the levels. Simply press the button and once it starts to flash continue pressing until you reach the mode you desire.

Handlebar Control Unit (iWoc Trio)

Press Button A (top button) to change to the next level of assistance up to Level 3.

If pressed again the unit will vibrate twice to warn you that maximum assistance has been reached.

Press Button B (bottom button) to decrease the assistance level to the next level down until no assistance is provided.

If pressed again the unit will vibrate twice to let you know that no assistance is being offered.

Other Functions

Walk Assist

The handlebar-mounted control unit has a bonus feature that provides a little extra assistance if you need to push the bike. To activate ‘walk assist’ mode simply hold Button B for 1-second.

Other LED Colour Displays

If you regularly use the companion app, you may see other colours appear on the control buttons. Here’s a brief rundown of what these indicate:

Blue – If you have downloaded the companion app to your smart device and have previously connected to the bike the LED will display a Blue light to indicate that the bike and app are now connected.

Light Blue – If you are using the companion app and receive a notification on your phone the LEDs will briefly illuminate a Light Blue colour.

Pink – If the LED displays a solid pink colour, this means that the system has entered ‘safe’ mode. Contact our helpful and friendly customer service team for assistance.

Pink Flash – There is an error in the system. If you are connected to the app an error code will be displayed. Contact us for further assistance.

Pink flash/Coloured Flash – If the LED alternates between flashing pink and other colours this indicates the bike has entered ‘demo’ mode. The assistance will still work but only for approximately 50 miles. Contact us for further assistance.

Companion App

With your e-bike purchase, you have the option to link to the MAHLE SmartBike Systems companion app. The app raises interaction between bike and rider to a new level. It’s an invaluable tool that enables you to monitor the charging status and other key details of the bike in real-time. To learn more about the app and what it offers read our dedicated companion app blog here.

Frequently asked questions

What sort of range can I expect from the bike? There is any number of factors that can affect what range an e-bike can reach. Rider weight, fitness, route profile, tyre width/pressure and wind strength to name but a few. A rider of 90kg, over variable terrain, can expect an average distance of approximately 60 miles from full. An optional range extender is also available which extends the available range by up to 70%.

Do I need to pedal to ride this bike? Yes, our e-bikes are pedal-assisted and require rider input at all times. If you stop pedalling then the bike will also come to a stop.

Can I ride faster than 15mph? Yes, though the motor will only provide assistance up to 15mph, at which point (by law and as with all e-bikes in the UK) the assistance will cut out. If you drop below 15mph the motor will automatically re-engage but above 15mph it’s all down to you.

Do I need tax, insurance or a licence to ride the e-bikes? No, pedal-assisted electric bikes do not require you to hold a valid drivers licence, pay tax or take out insurance.

How do I charge the battery? Simply plug the bike into a household socket using the supplied charger and cable. An optional range extender is also available which can be charged away from the bike. When connected to the bike it charges the main battery when assistance is not being provided. (When the bike is stationary or descending).

What type of battery is it? The system uses a 36V/250Wh Panasonic 18650GA-10S2/P Li-Ion battery which is hidden within the downtube of the frame.

How long does it take to charge the battery? From flat, the battery takes 3.5 hours to reach full capacity.

Do I need to/ Can I remove the battery to charge? No, the slimline battery is mounted within the downtube and is not easily accessible. To do so you would have to remove the bottom bracket and crankset. Instead, a port located just above the bottom bracket provides easy access to charge the battery. (the optional range extender is mounted in place of a bottle cage and can easily be removed and charged away from the bike if there’s no socket close by.

Is the battery and /or motor replaceable? Yes, the battery is removable through the bottom bracket and the motor is also easy to replace.

How will I know how much battery charge remains? The top-tube mounted button indicates battery life at a glance via a simple traffic light system. White means it is at full capacity; progressing down through Green, Amber and Red to indicate a maximum of 25% remaining. A companion app is also available to download which displays such details on any smartphone.

What is the life expectancy of the battery? The battery has a life expectancy of around 500 charge cycles. One charge cycle is equal to charging the battery from 0 to 100% once, 80-100% 5 times or 25 to 100% 3 times.

Can I ride this in the wet? The bike and hub driven motor drive system components are IP54 rated so are protected against splashing but not full immersion.

What electronic drive system does it use? Ribble e-bikes are built around the Ebikemotion X35+ 36V/250W M1 Motor System.

Can I alter the assistance levels provided by the motor system? Yes, you can cycle through 3 different assistance modes (which can be configured further in the companion app), or choose to have the motor turned off completely; all at the press of a single button.

How does the motor work? The motor is a pedal-assist system (pedelec), a sensor detects the pedalling rhythm and provides assistance based on the assistance level selected.

Is the motor restricted to 15mph here in the US? Currently, we are unable to ship e-bikes to the US due to stringent regulations surrounding Li-Ion batteries.

Is the amount of assistance supplied by each individual assistance level configurable? Yes, by default each motor map is set to 100%. You can adjust these motor maps in the Ebikemotion app so that the motor limits the amount of available power based on a percentage of the 250W max output.

How does the range extender connect/fit? The optional range extender is supplied with its own bottle cage-style bracket. This cage replaces the bottle cage situated on the seat tube of the bike. A cable then exits the bottom of the battery and plugs into the charging port on the bike which is situated just above the bottom bracket.


Want to learn how to get the most out of your electric bike battery? Read caring for your electric bike to find our top tips for maximising battery life.


Find out which bikes won big in Bike of the Year awards 2020/201. Find them here.


The lightest range of e-bikes currently available today. Just what sets these award-winning bikes apart from the rest? Find out here.

53 Comments
  1. To get the most from the range extender the instructions you have supplied show that it is best to plug the extender lead into the bike via the charging port on the BB. While the rubber sealing flap appears to do a reasonable job of keeping water out of the post when closed, when the range extender is plugged in there seems to be little in the way of water resistance. So how safe is it to use the range extender in the rain, please?

  2. Are there recommended bike shops in the south of Ireland to service the electric bike??

  3. I live in the US and want to buy a e-SLR for my wife who is 5ft 1in tall. I’m concerned that the X-Small my not fit her. Any advice? Also, I did not see the range extender listed as an option when I was building her bike. Are they still available and at what price? I saw in the Q&A that the range extender will only charge the main battery when the bike is stationary. I thought you could use both batteries to get a longer distance on the bike. Am I misinterpreting what the “range extender” does? Please explain. I’m looking for a solution in which my wife could join me on my 100-150km rides.

    Mike

  4. When the motor is disengaged it does not create zero drag. The electric motor is not frictionless. Mahle have confirmed this. A bike equiped with the Mahle X35 hub motor does not freewheel like a normal bike. From experience, there is noticeable drag when the motor is not engaged ie when the motor is switched off and above 15pmh (UK). Mahle say the friction should decrease with use.
    James Fitzpatrick

  5. I have a CGR al E, set up for road use. It is fitted with the Pro Carbon wheels, with 28mm Mavic UST tyres. Does any body have any advice re. tyre pressures. I’m riding a size small bike, weigh 70kg and commute daily a round trip of 30 miles a day on pretty grippy & rough Cornish lanes. The ride feels pretty harsh, even with a carbon seat post and Brookes cambium saddle upgrade.
    Any advice would be appreciated,
    Thank you, Terry

  6. What is the cost of a replacement battery,?
    500 charges is only 18 months,,that’s not very long life….

  7. Hi
    Is it best to leave the system turned on even if you are going downhill for a period of time or is it best to keep turning the system on and off as you require.
    I have a sl e which is fantastic but a couple of times having turned the system on and off a few times the system went into pink flashing mode. Would like to know your thoughts.

    Regards

    Jeff Homer

  8. I have a Ribble SLE purchased one year ago and have already had a replacement battery, all fine. I must say this bike delivers the goods and are very happy with it although I have just read an article by Alan Grey pointing out that the battery gives the rider of 90kg an average of 60 to 80 miles when using maximum assist mode. When I charge my SLE I only register 50 miles and have never ever registered 60 miles. All my three battery levels are 100 per cent. Can you please let me know if I am doing anything wrong or is there a further problem with the battery.

  9. I disagree with the comment about drag. If you can notice it’s only because mechanically there has to be something. In other words it’s in your head and Mahle is probably correct now that they have planted the seed it could get better it probably will.

  10. by the way, the battery in mine delivers 60ish miles max and I’m only 145 lbs. but I do live at the foot of the white mountains, mostly hilly.

  11. On Drag. Ive got an orbea with the same mahle motor. Put the bike on a stand and turn pedals to get rear wheel rotating, then stop turning pedals. Back wheel slows as if a brake is engaged. Turn unit on (without pedaling) and rear wheel turns as it should. Id say alot of friction without motor on, which is a worry if out riding too far and you lose battery power. But as long as battery has power its great.

  12. Hi,
    Thanks for leaving your comment, it is true that you feel some slight drag when the system is new but over time this will gradually reduce as the motor and wheel beds in completely. Regards
    Team Ribble

  13. Hi Peter,
    Thanks for getting in touch, as a direct to consumer brand we do not any affiliations with any local bike shops. If it is just a general service of the brakes/gears etc then any respectable local bike shop/mechanic will be able to carry out the service. The e-bike system itself should not require any attention.
    Regards
    Team Ribble

  14. The manual says I should be able to plug my charger into the range extender and leave it to charge both batteries. This has never happened on my bike. In fact I have to charge both batteries separately which is a real pain

  15. I think I might need a new battery for my Ribble endurance. If I change it myself will it integrate with the control system on my bike without any software adjustment please

  16. Hi Alan,
    Thanks for getting in touch, if you have any query relating to an existing bike and require support you should get in touch with our customer service team who can then put you in touch with our technical advisors who can assist you with your query.
    Best Regards
    Team Ribble

  17. I’ve finally had a long first ride on my new SLe.
    My first comment addressing some of the above is that if the motor is switched off, there is a lot of drag so hope this does reduce in time.
    All good once I got to grips with the workings BUT, and this is very important and can’t believe someone hasn’t brought it up, if you are colour blind like I am, this is completely useless.
    I would love a simple display on the handlebars.
    Apart from having your phone, can you develop a small Bluetooth widget that connects to the bike showing this info?
    Nothing flash that your gonna charge £300 for, £50 yes!!!
    Love your thoughts
    But, love the bike

  18. Can you advise where the electrical / motor system can be repaired? The motor has completely stopped working (unfortunately an accident where the bike fell in a canal briefly) and ass theres no response from it at all I’m hoping I can get this repaired somewhere…..please help!

  19. Hi Simon,
    Thanks for getting in touch and we’re sorry to hear of the incident with your e-bike. Unfortunately, the components that make up the X35 system are not protected against full immersion and it is likely that the entire X35 system may need replacing. I have asked our customer service team to reach out to you and they will be in touch shortly.
    Best Regards
    [email protected]

  20. Do any of your bikes use the IWOC Trio controller? I have a concern that changing down a level with the IWOC One controller seems quite convoluted, i.e. needing to switch off assistance then press the button until reaching to the required level.

  21. Hi Alec,
    Thanks for getting in touch, The iWoc trio is currently only compatible with bikes equipped with flat handlebars which makes it incompatible with practically our entire range of e-bikes except for the Hybrid AL e & Step-Through. The top tube mounted iWoc One is pretty intuitive as it only takes 1 press to start it flashing to display the current assist level and then you press it again while flashing to change to the next level. Best Regards [email protected]

  22. How do I remove the back wheel on a CGR AL e? There’s a cable that goes to the hub motor. Is simply a case of pulling the connector apart?

  23. Hi Abrar,
    Thanks for getting in touch. Yes, you simply unclip the 2 parts of the cable at the connector and then use an 8mm Allen key to remove both sides of the axle bolts. You can view a video of how to remove and refit your e-bikes wheel here. Please take extra care to line up the connector correctly when plugging the cable back in. If you misalign it, you may break one of the pins.
    Best Regards
    [email protected]
    Team Ribble

  24. I have ordered a CGR AL e and would like to know whether I can connect it to my Garmin 1030?

  25. Hi Keith,
    Thanks for getting in touch, the EBM X35+ system is fully compatible with Garmin computers via Bluetooth and Ant+ connectivity.
    Best Regards
    [email protected]

  26. I have an e-bike in order. When I ordered I was told not to go through water like a Ford as the charging point would be damaged.
    Is it ok in the rain & can do you have to be careful when washing the bike?

  27. Hi Brian, Thanks for getting in touch,
    The information you have received is correct as the e-bike components should never be fully immersed in water. In the FAQ’s of all of our e-bike pages, we state that the components are IP57 rated which means they are protected from splash, but not from immersion. Nor should you use a pressure washer a hosepipe on a pressurised setting. You can ride the bike in the rain, but as with most things in cycling, it’s best to exercise the sharpest too that we all possess, good old fashioned common sense. If the roads are absolutely flooded with lots of standing water then you run the risk of water getting into the system. Not that most of us would want to head out in those conditions anyway! But in general use and when caught out by rain showers you should experience no issues. It may also be worth your time reading this blog which shares our tips for prolonging the batteries efficiency throughout its lifespan.
    Best Regards
    [email protected]

  28. my AL e has no drag when the motor is switched off, but when turning it on and not selecting assistance (green, amber or red,) ie white, there seems to be some assistance when pedalling.
    Is this normal?

  29. hi
    my ebike is not working
    the battery is charged and the light comes on but the there is no assistance
    tried the wheel in another elec bike and its works
    any suggestions??

  30. Hi John,
    Thanks for getting in touch, I have to admit that I have not heard of this before. I’ve sent a request through to our virtual mechanics to see if a) they have encountered this before and b) what the resolution was. I will then either respond myself or they may wish to contact you directly. Either way, we will be in touch via email ASAP.
    Best Regards
    [email protected]

  31. Hi John,
    Thanks for getting in touch, when you first push the button, do the LED’s flash white and then return to a solid white colour? Or do they flash any other colour before becoming solid white?
    Best Regards
    Team Ribble

  32. Hi,
    Thanks for getting in touch,
    I have forwarded your details to the aftersales team who will assist you with resolving any issue you may be experiencing.
    Best Regards
    Team Ribble

  33. Hi,
    Thanks for getting in touch,
    Your details have been passed on to the aftersales team who will be in touch to help assist you.
    Best Regards
    Team Ribble

  34. Using the power button.
    Your guide says that with the start up procedure we turn the power on and the LED flashes then goes to a solid colour to indicate battery level. Then we have to press again to activate assistance level 1. With our bikes, as soon as we start up, the LED flashes green then blue then goes white and power assistance 1 is on immediately. This means that we can only switch on when we want power assistance, is this correct?

  35. Hi,
    Thanks for getting in touch. That’s a good point that you raise and maybe I should really add ‘or whatever assistance mode the bike was in when you switched it off’. This may be the crux of the issue that you are encountering. You see, if you always switch the bike off whilst it is in a specific assistance mode then when you switch it back on it should automatically be in the same assistance sitting that you left it in. Before you turn it off, try cycling through to the maximum assistance (red) and then double press again to turn the assistance off completely. It should then be in ‘neutral’ when you activate it once again.
    Best Regards
    Team Ribble

  36. Hi Ian,
    Thanks for getting in touch and what a great question. From memory, you are the first person to ask this, certainly in reference to the blogs. This article explains far better than I ever could how such technology certainly exists but is simply not feasible for e-bikes.
    Best Regards
    Team Ribble

  37. “Yes, by default each motor map is set to 100%. You can adjust these motor maps in the Ebikemotion app so that the motor limits the amount of available power based on a percentage of 250W max output. The map takes its reference points off 5, 10,15,20 and 25km/h speed points.”
    Can you explain the last sentence above please. I was assuming that if I set (map) green to 50% then the motor would deliver 50% of its maximum power at all speeds up to the point when it fades out. This last sentence suggests something else will happen but isn’t clear about what. If my assumption is correct then what does the sentence mean?

  38. Hi Steve,
    Thanks for getting in touch and please ignore the sentence about the speed points. That piece of text does not actually belong to that FAQ but is instead intended to allow for even more advanced motor mapping. I’ve deleted that last sentence of text to avoid confusion in future. You can find more information about this on page 60 of the ebikemotion manual.
    Best Regards
    Team Ribble

  39. Hi
    I have just collected my Al e gravel bike from the store. My issue is that the motor appears to be offering a lot of resistance when in power mode on a climb. I will make 6-8 revolutions with assistance and then resistance is felt which goes away as I continue to pedal, only to return again shortly afterwards (repeat) . I was in Sports mode and going up a hill. There does not seem to be an issue on flat ground. Could you help please?
    Regards

  40. Hi Mark,
    Thanks for getting in touch, all technical assistance enquiries are best directed to our aftersales team. Therefore, I’ve forwarded your message to them so that they can get in touch with you directly.
    Best Regards
    [email protected]

  41. Hi – like many others I am slightly confused about the drag of the X35, most of my riding will be above the 15mph limit on flat and slight rises, so will this drag be *at all* noticeable over my non-e road bikes ?

    I understand there is a difference between “motor on” and “motor off” in the answers/advice above and that Mahle say drag will improve as the motor beds in – but how does this tally to the controls ?

    Does “White – assistance off” mean “motor off” from the drag point of view, or does white mean “motor is on but no assistance therefore no drag” ?

    Finally, what if on a long ride the battery runs out – will this mean I will experience the drag thus making that last bit of the ride actually the *worst* to pedal ?

    Apols for many questions, but these are I think quite important details for those of us looking to replace our current road bikes with an e option! Many thanks

  42. Hi Richard,
    Thanks for getting in touch. We’re more than happy to answer any queries you have and hopefully set your mind at ease. To answer your questions:
    1. Will you notice any drag when riding over 15mph? The only ‘drag’ you would feel in such instances is the additional weight of the e-bike over an existing non-assisted bike. Because the motor is in the rear hub you will feel a slight weight at the rear of the bike when climbing shallow slopes or on the flats when the assistance is deactivated.
    2. There’s little residual drag from the motor itself, as it is fully disengaged when over 15mph. Like any new component though, frequent use will quickly cause the motor to bed in and cause any perceived drag to disappear in short order, though even from new it is barely perceptible at all.
    3. There are 3 assistance levels, if you cycled through them, they would appear as green, amber then red. If you then further pressed the control button it would flash white. This indicates that the motor will no longer provide any assistance but the X35+ SmartBike System is still switched on. Simply holding down the control button for 2 seconds turns off the motor and e-bike system completely.
    4. Again as above, once the bike has been used a few times the motor will have ‘bedded in’ and will cause no noticeable drag.
    I hope this helps
    [email protected]

  43. Many thanks Alan -that clears up a few basic things, so all good, and understood re extra weight in and of itself.

    Have searched internet and have yet to come across anyone doing structured side by side tests on the freewheel smoothness/time of an X25 and a no-e road bike – that would be a useful thing to have available to put to rest all the drag questions like mine!

  44. Hi Richard,
    That’s a pretty solid suggestion, to be honest. I wonder why it’s never been carried out by the cycling press/review pages before?
    Best Regards
    [email protected]

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