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Over the last few years, the popularity of e-bikes has been increasing rapidly, which is more than traditional bikes. The main reason for this popularity is that they are easy to ride, reliable, affordable, and can be used for regular commutes. 

Like motorcycles, electric bikes come with a set of keys that make people curious: do electric bikes need keys to operate? Typically, some electric bikes require keys to ride the bike, along with locking and unlocking the battery. While some other electric bikes require only locking and unlocking the battery. 

To get more in-depth details in this regard, keep reading the entire context.

Do Electric Bikes Need Keys to Operate?

Electric bikes usually contain a motor, battery, controller, and switches. The motor gets power from a removable battery. Whenever the motor gets power, it helps the rider’s paddling, quickly rotating the wheel.

Basically, a switch is responsible for getting power to the motor, which is designed with a lock-key system. When you insert the right key and rotate a bit, the controller gets power, which allows you to run the motor.

Without the right key, you can’t start your bike’s motor. So, if you lose your bike key, you will fall into serious trouble. In that case, knowing how to start an electric bike without a key will help you to overcome the situation.

However, some electric bikes are not integrated with any keyholes but instead have a switch. These electric bikes only require you to press the switch to start the bike. For that, there is a chance anyone can easily ride your bike with the assistance paddle without your presence.

What Else Are The Keys E-Bikes Used For?

Apart from operating the e-bikes, keys are used to lock and unlock the battery installed in the bike’s frame. Some bikes come with more than two keys; one is to operate the bike, and the other is for locking and unlocking the battery. 

Besides, when you need to charge or replace the battery, you have first to unlock the battery with the right key. Otherwise, you can’t take away your electric bike battery. 

This also helps to prevent your bike’s battery from being stolen. This is because lithium-ion batteries on e-bikes are the most vulnerable to stealing. In that case, the locking system will completely shield it from thieves.

Can I Ride My Electric Bike Without A Key?

Electric bikes don’t require a key to ride. Without the key, you won’t get the paddle assistant. This is because the motor in an electric bike gets powered by a battery that is operated using a throttle switch. 

Without the right key, you can’t operate the bike’s throttle switch. So, you are not able to get pedal assistance while riding this bike. However, you can still ride your e-bike by paddling. The sole difference is that you will not get additional power from the motor while paddling.

However, riding an electric bike without motor support, you may feel heavier when cycling. That’s why we will let you know some techniques to start an electric bike without keys in this context.  

What To Do If I Lose My Electric Bike’s Keys? 

Most electric bikes usually come with multiple keys, minimum of two keys. So, if you lose one key, find the other key to start your bike. In that case, you can first make some duplicates of your bike keys. 

If you somehow lose a key, the duplicate keys will help you to ride your bike. To duplicate your bike keys, you can take help from the manufacturer or a bike store in your local area. 

On the other hand, changing your electric bike key can be challenging. This is because each key is unique to each switch or battery compartment. Besides, they are serialized to that particular make and model of electric bike. 

In that case, you can buy a replacement of your bike key component from the manufacturer. Although this may be costly, you can ride your bike again with paddle assistance.

How To Operate An Electric Bike Without Keys?

The main purpose of electric bike keys is to connect the battery and supply power to the motor. You can connect your battery to the motor manually without a key. 

Here we have discussed some techniques to operate your e-bike without a key. Remember, these techniques should be applied only in emergency situations.

Connect Wires Manually

Key is usually used in an electric bike to complete the circuit between the motor and the battery. So, if you lose your keys, connecting the wires manually will help to complete the circuit. In that case, you have to find out the right wires first that need connecting. 

The ignition wires are usually found where the key-lock system is placed. Once you reach the correct wires, you have to clip and connect them. If the circuit is completed properly, your bike will start.

Remove The Battery

One of the safest methods to start your e-bike if you lose the key is to remove the battery. It will assist to prevent any damage to the battery and your bike. Once you remove the battery from your e-bike, you can ride your bike like a traditional bike. Without the battery, the motor will not get any power to assist your paddling. As a result, you may have to peddle a little faster to ride the bike.

Use a Shim

Using a shim is another easy way to start your e-bike without a key. It actually is a small wedge or strip made of wood or metal that can be inserted into the key-lock system on your bike. 

This technique is a pretty cheap and safe way to operate your bike without any keys. You can make a strip cutting an aluminum drink bottle. Cut the plain metal so it gets the suitable shape that you need. After that, put the shim into your bike’s lock-key system and twist it to operate.

Use A Screwdriver

A screwdriver can be used as a secondary key to operate your electric bike. You will just need a screwdriver that has an appropriately shaped tip like your key. In that case, you can use a smaller flat-headed screwdriver, which is suitable for most electric bike lock-key systems. Once you find the screwdriver, you have to carefully insert the screwdriver’s tip into your bike’s locking system and try to start the bike.

Use A Plastic Pen

Last but not least, you can use a plastic pen to start an electric bike without a key. This method is quite risky, so it is advised not to employ it until you have already applied the above method. 

To apply this method, you have first to find a plastic pen and remove the ink tube and the nib. After that, place it over an open fire to melt it. You should be careful that you don’t melt the pen entirely, just the one part. 

Once the pen melts, insert the pen into the keyhole. Wait until the melted part gets cold and changes integrity. After that, try to turn it slowly to operate the electric bike.


Old electric bikes are usually operated with a switch, but modern bikes are integrated with a lock-key system. Keys are actually used to operate the bike as well as lock and unlock the battery in the bike’s frame. 

You will also find some electric bikes that come with a single key to lock and unlock the battery only. These bikes are operated only by a switch. 

However, if you lose your bike’s keys, don’t worry. Following the techniques discussed above, you can easily operate your bike without a key. Another good thing is that you can still use your electric bike like a traditional bike without keys.