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How to operate Ribble e-bikes

April 29, 2022

'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 carefully consider which propulsion system was best suited to helping us achieve this goal.

Did we go for a hub-mounted motor or a mid-drive (bottom bracket) drive motor? Then, of course, there's the battery to consider. 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 systems have their advantages and disadvantages. The hub drive motor, is not quite as powerful as a mid-drive. However, it is often 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 was the MAHLE SmartBike System X35+ drive 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 and powerful yet extremely compact. Weighing in at just 3.5 kg for the ENTIRE system.
  • Combine this market-leading weight with a 250 watt motor and you have the perfect blend of power and weight. A bike that's so light you can ride it without assistance and it feels little different to a non-assisted model. The X35 creates little drag and seamlessly blends into the background.
  • MAHLE X35 uses a slimline Panasonic battery that is fully enclosed within the frame's downtube and gives our bikes their clean, stealth-like 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).

Left: Top tube mounted control unit. Right: Handlebar-mounted Trio control unit

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.

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