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 blog, we’ll explain what the various light colours mean, how to select assistance levels and touch upon the companion app which can only help to enhance your e-bike riding experience.

The e-bike system

When it came to designing our range of pedal-assisted electric bikes (pedelecs) one of the most important decisions facing the design team was which motor system to choose. There are many different systems on the market, those that mount the motor in the rear wheel and those that have it mounted within the bottom bracket. Then, of course, you have to think about how the battery is mounted. Do we mount it internally for a full stealth build or do we make it accessible on the outside of the downtube?

Thankfully, one system stood out above all others, the Ebikemotion X35 Smart System. This advanced 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 efficient technology in the motor industry. But, what made us choose this system above all others? In truth, there were many key factors that closely matched our vision for the e-bikes of the present and future ;

  • The system is light, very light, at only 3.5kgs for the entire system this allowed us to create the lightest range of e-bikes in the world.
  • Combine this weight with a 250w motor and you have the perfect blend of power vs weight. A bike light enough 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-electric bike.
  • The ebikemotion X35 uses a slimline Panasonic battery fully enclosed within the downtube which 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

Situated on the top tube is the control button for the entire system. This easy to use, multi-function button lets you control everything you need when you’re out riding the bike. Literally, all you need for a pedal-assisted ride, at the touch of a button! The button itself is surrounded by LED’s, when you press the button the LED’s illuminate in different colours to display various features. The button itself is used to;

  • Turn the system on/off.
  • Select the desired assistance level.
  • Display the battery capacity remaining.

Turn On/Off

A Ribble Hybrid AL e with easy to use, top-tube mounted, control button and a smartphone utilising the companion app.

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

To turn the system on, short press the button and the LED’s 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 LED’s should turn white and then release.

Battery capacity

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

A simple traffic light system helps you to easily ascertain how much battery capacity is available.
  • White – 75% capacity or more remaining.
  • Green – 50-75%
  • Orange – 25-50%
  • Red – 15-25%
  • Slow Red Flash – 10-15%
  • Rapid Red Flash – Less than 10%

Assistance levels

The bike has 3 levels of power assistance, Assist 1, 2 and 3 with 3 being the most powerful. We would encourage you to try all 3 out and see which you prefer and when you feel you would need to select one instead of the others. For instance, if it is a less challenging climb you may not feel like you need the full gas of maximum assist and are happier with Level 1 or 2 and this, of course, also extends the range.

The 3 power assistance levels are pre-set to offer you a set amount of power at each level. From new each level is set to offer 100% of power which is displayed as a percentage of the 250w total output of the system. If you feel that these 3 pre-sets are not quite to your liking and you are reasonably tech-savvy you can adjust the power range offered by each level by way of a simple sliding bar chart (as per image below). All you have to do is download the Ebikemotion app from Apple Store or Android Play and adjust the motor setup in the settings menu. Much more information about the app can be located in our separate ebikemotion app blog.

Selecting the power assist level

You have turned the system on and the LED is now displaying a solid colour indicating the amount of battery charge available to you. How do you activate the assistance? It really is very simple and will quickly become second nature to you;

One short press causes the LED to flash, the colour of the flash indicates which level of assist you currently have selected. If it flashes white then the system is not currently providing any assistance.

To activate Assist Level 1, short press the button again whilst the LED is flashing and it will start to flash green. The LED will continue to flash green before defaulting back to displaying the remaining battery charge.

To activate Assist Level 2, short press the button so that it starts to flash and then quickly press again, the LED will now flash orange.

For Assist Level 3 (full assist) simply repeat the double press and the LED will flash red.

To fully disengage all power assistance, simply double press the button until the LED 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.

Other colours

If you regularly use the companion app you will see other colours appear on the buttons LED’s. Very rarely other colours may be displayed, here’s a brief rundown of what they indicate;

Blue – If you have downloaded the companion app and have previously connected to the bike the LED will display a Blue light to indicate they are connected whenever you turn the system on.

Light Blue – If you are using the companion app whilst out riding and receive a notification through your phone the light will briefly turn light blue.

Pink – 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 more 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

Ebikemotion also provides a companion app that turns your phone into a smart GPS system with the added benefit linking directly to the bike. The app displays such information as battery charge remaining, assistance level distance you can travel on current assistance mode and much more. To learn more about the app and what it offers read our blog here.

Frequently asked questions

What sort of range can I expect from the bike? The range is dependant upon a number of factors including rider weight, route profile and temperature. A rider of 90kg, over variable terrain, can expect an average distance of approximately 60 miles (an optional range extender is also available which adds another 70% of total battery capacity, effectively almost doubling the total range available).

Do I need to pedal to ride this bike? Yes, our e-bikes are pedal-assisted which require rider input at all times.

Can I ride faster than 15mph? Yes, 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 the bike is stationary.

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

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 be easily removed and charged away from the bike if a socket is not conveniently situated close to the bike).

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 colour code. 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.

Can I ride this in the wet? The bike and hub driven motor drive system are all fully weatherproof so can be ridden in all weather conditions.

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, 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? All e-bikes shipped to the US are supplied with a drive system that allows for the higher speed limit before the motor disengages and include a US-style charger.

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 250W max output. The map takes its reference points off 5, 10,15,20 and 25km/h speed points.

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 exits the bottom of the battery and plugs into the charging port on the bike which is situated just above the bottom bracket.

  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.


  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.


    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

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