Pedal Assist (Pedelec) Mode
What is e-Bike pedal assist mode? Pedal assist, also referred to as pedelec, is a mode that provides power only when you are pedaling. If you are used to riding a traditional bike, the pedal assist mode has a more intuitive feel compared to the throttle mode.
The pedal assist mode is also nice because you can focus purely on your pedaling and you don’t have to hold the throttle in a certain position.
Since you have to pedal, the pedal assist mode will generally give you more range when compared to the throttle mode.
A lot of pedal assist bikes have different levels of assistance, for example: low, medium, or high assist. Please note that more and more e-bikes have 1- 5 pedal assist settings.
1-2 = you are feeling pretty good on the bike. Low assist provides a little electric assist while you provide more pedal power and get more of a workout.
3-4 = you have a nice tailwind everywhere you go. Medium pedal assist can be a nice balance of your pedal power and the motor power.
5 pedal assist = you feel like superman! High pedal assist is when you want to get somewhere quickly and with minimal effort. This could be useful if you want to get to work without sweating too much. On the way home you could use the low pedal assist to workout the stress of the day.
This is the display of the Eskute Voyager Electric Mountain Bike. The pedal assist settings can be adjusted up or down using the + or–buttons on the left side of the display. In this picture the pedal assist is set to the level 2; see the right side of the display.
There are a few different pedal assist types on the market; the torque sensor and the cadence sensor systems.
The torque sensor pedal assist systems measure the amount of power you are putting into the pedals and it will increase or decrease the electric assist based on your pedaling power.
The torque sensor systems have a very intuitive ride feel because they emulate your pedal power very well. They are also generally found on the more expensive e-bikes or e-bike kits.
The torque sensors are generally found in the bottom bracket, rear drop out, or in the rear hub motor.
This is the TMM4 torque sensor on the inside of the rear dropout of the Easy Motion Neo Jumper electric mountain bike.
The cadence sensor pedal assist systems provide assistance when the cranks of the bike are turning.
Compared to the torque sensor system, the cadence sensor will just provide the assist based purely on the level assist you have selected and it will not increase or decrease the assist based on your actual pedal power. You could be pedaling very lightly or very hard and it will provide the same level of assist.
This is the cadence sensor at the cranks of the Pedego City Commuter electric bike.
Which sensor works the best for you?
If you want to have a very intuitive ride feel, an e-Bike with a torque sensor is a good choice for you!
If there’s no ups and downs in your commuting, an e-Bike with a cadence sensor works for you.
I hope this helps in understanding the different sensors of electric bike assist mode.
I recommend that you visit your local electric bike dealer to try the torque sensor and cadence sensor for yourself to see which one fits your riding style.
If you already have an electric bike, which sensor do you prefer and why? Please leave your comments below.