Pedal-assist and throttle are the two main ways e-bikes can be operated, with each having its advantages and disadvantages depending on your needs. Both are the two basic types of electronic bike assist options on most e-bikes these days. It’s essential to understand the difference between them so you can choose the right one for your commute or exercise routine. The main difference lies in how much power you have over the bike’s motion, but other factors are to consider.
To begin with, both throttle and pedal-assist e-bikes are electric-assist bicycles that give you extra power when you need it. This article will explain the differences between the two and help you decide which style is right for you.
Understanding the differences between throttle and pedal-assist
Electric bikes with throttle assist, sometimes called twist or throttle, operate at higher speeds (up to 28 mph) where pedaling isn’t as much of a factor. These bikes are easier to ride at faster speeds, making them great for commuting. Bikers who commute long distances on these e-bikes appreciate their pedal-assist feature; it saves them energy and gives them more power when going up hills or against wind resistance. Riders also appreciate that they can use throttle assist in tandem with pedal assist in taking a break from pedaling while traveling downhill or against headwinds. For those looking to ride longer distances, throttles offer less strain on your knees than pedaling continuously. If you want to get into electric biking without spending too much money, then throttles are an excellent choice because they don’t require any special skills or training like some other types of electric bikes do. Electric bike kits with throttle control generally start around $500-$600. The most popular brands include Currie Technologies, Rad Power Bikes, and Yamaha.
How pedal assist works
When you pedal and kick in, the motor senses deliver whatever boost level you’ve selected. The more pedaling, the more power it provides—up to a maximum level. It also cuts out when you stop pedaling, which prevents it from freewheeling down hills at high speeds or on technical terrain. Having any e-bike means you still have to work for your ride—pedaling when it feels natural and enjoying a little extra boost if you’re feeling tired or weak or want to build up some speed on your commute.
How throttle works
Electric bikes have three classes of speed control built-in: pedal assist, throttle, and brake. With throttle, you can select how fast you want to go on your bike; with pedal assist, it’s how hard you want to work, and with brake, it’s how fast or slow you want to stop. You only need one hand to operate all of these controls, which makes using them a lot easier. For example, if you decide to accelerate on a bike with throttle control, all you need is your right hand. You push your thumb forward until you reach the desired speed, at which point you let go of your thumb to maintain that speed without having to apply constant pressure on any controls such as pedals or brakes.
How does throttle differ from pedal assist?
There is no way to control when you reach maximum speed when using a throttle. You can determine when you want your bike to start delivering maximum power with pedal assist. This will allow you to avoid accidentally speeding up while on a flat surface or going downhill. Depending on your cycling needs, pedal-assist can also make hills easier. When riding a bike without pedal assist on an incline, riders often have to shift their weight back and forth between their legs to maintain balance—especially at higher speeds. Riders typically don’t have to do that with pedal assist since they can push themselves with power any time they need it.
Many e-bike models offer three levels of pedal assistance: low (for casual cruising), medium (for regular road use), and high (for tackling steep hills). So if you live in a hilly area, having one of these bikes could be extremely helpful.
Why choose pedal assist over throttle?
Throttle and pedal-assist are both great, but pedal-assist has a few more perks. For starters, if you want to move faster than your current riding speed, you’ll need to add power manually. With pedal assist, all you have to do is start pedaling. Pretty sweet. Also, a pedal-assist will be ideal if you want to travel long distances with minimal effort (and sweat). With throttle, it’s harder to know how much assistance will be available in those moments when pushing yourself becomes tiring.
When to use each system
First, let’s cover how each system works. The first, throttle assist, is activated with a lever near your left grip. It’s pretty simple—in fact, many people ride their e-bike on just throttle mode alone (which offers power assistance only when you pedal). So why wouldn’t you want to use it all of the time? You could be doing more harm than good by using it. With throttle assist, every time you push on your pedals—even if just a little bit—your motor kicks in without any resistance from you at all.
How they can both work together
Both throttle and pedal-assist e-bikes can work well together if you live in a hilly area or want extra power while pedaling up an incline. When you kick your motor into gear, it will give you an extra boost—allowing you to reach that hilltop without breaking a sweat. If pedal assist is too much power, switch over to throttle mode or adjust your settings so that it feels comfortable. However, keep in mind that using throttle can dramatically increase your range—sometimes by double what it would be otherwise. Be sure to wear reflective clothing at night since e-bike motors are considered human-powered vehicles under federal law.
Bottom line - which system is best?
While throttle assist systems may seem simpler, they can be more hassle than they’re worth. An electric bike uses a twist and goes throttle – as you twist it forward, it will automatically start. These are good if you don’t want to deal with gears. They also tend to have better battery life and longer ranges when compared to pedal assist. We suggest pedal-assist instead of throttle if you want more control over your e-bike experience.