Right now, biking has become one of the most thrill-seeking adventure sports which are widely popular around the country. And rightfully so since riding a bike over the hill or through a rough alley simply offers you an unmatched experience without having to invest a fortune. All you will need is the perfect bike that suits your style and you are good to go.
And this might be the perfect time to get your hands on one since there is a lot of variety available on the market thanks to the various brands which are dedicated to offering the best electric bikes to ever see the light of the day.
But just like every other vehicle or motorcycle, more choice brings more confusion, even when you are buying a simple electric bike. There is simply a wide range of features that you will find on bikes these days, all of which seems to be a loss to lose out on.
Apart from the technical specifications, you would also want some form of assistance on your bike for ease of transportation. And for that, these bikes offer 2 options which are pedal assist and throttle. So today, we are going to talk about both options in detail and try to find out which one seems to be the right choice for you.
But before we compare these options, let us first try to understand what pedal assist and throttle are and how they work on an e-bike.
What is a Pedal Assist?
Pedal assist is a feature most commonly found on almost all electric bikes these days that helps riders to pedal with much less effort while still providing a pretty hefty workout on rough roads. With a pedal-assist electric bike, the motor assists the pedals when the rider rides the bike. The motor does not operate independently but only when the rider is pedaling.
The amount of assistance the motor provides varies depending on the settings of the pedal assist system you choose. Riders can manually adjust the level of assistance through a control unit provided on the handlebars. So, you can adjust the pedal assistance as per your needs, or depending on the track you are riding on.
Many pedal assist bikes also use sensors to detect when the rider is pedaling and to provide power to the motor accordingly. There are two types of sensors commonly used in pedal-assist electric bikes: Cadence and Torque.
Cadence sensors are the simpler of the two and are more common on entry-level electric bikes. These sensors detect when the rider is pedaling and provide a fixed amount of assistance to the motor. Torque sensors, on the other hand, are more advanced and are found on premium-end electric bikes. These sensors measure the amount of force applied to the pedals by the rider and assist the motor based on the level of force.
Construction And Working of Pedal Assist
The pedal assist system typically consists of three components, a motor, a battery, and a sensor. The motor is usually located in the bike’s frame or wheel hub and is powered by a dedicated battery. The sensor detects the rider’s pedaling motion and sends a signal to the motor to provide pedaling assistance.
When the rider pedals, the sensor detects the movement and sends a signal to the motor to assist. The motor then increases the power output and assists the rider in increasing the bike speed.
The battery powers the motor and is rechargeable in most cases. The range of an e-bike varies depending on the battery capacity and the amount of assistance used. Some e-bikes can travel up to 50 miles on a single charge, while others may have a range of only 20 miles.
Pros And Cons
While pedal-assisted e-bikes are highly popular these days, you should be aware of a few pros and cons of this system which will certainly help you with your decision.
- Pedal-assisted bikes are very easy to use and there is pretty much no learning curve apart from learning to ride the bike itself.
- While some assistance is provided, pedal-assisted bikes still need considerable effort to ride, making them a healthier choice for an active rider.
- E-bikes that offer pedal-assisted riding are relatively cheaper.
- These bikes can also be a great choice for those wishing to gain slight assistance on a rough track.
- Depending on the model you are going for, you may find some pedal-assisted bikes with a lot of customization options which are more expensive than a throttle e-bike
- The acceleration available with a pedal-assisted bike is lower, and it takes some time to gain a decent speed with these bikes.
- As the overall speed is based on your peddling efforts, you won’t be able to actively control the bike’s speed as conveniently as a throttle bike.
What is a Throttle?
Unlike pedal-assisted e-bikes, throttle-supported e-bikes are much closer to an actual motorcycle as it comes with a twist-throttle mechanism to control the speed and acceleration of the bike. Throttle e-bikes allow the rider to control the electric motor with a simple twist of the throttle grip on the handlebars, much like a motorcycle or a scooter. However, you can still choose to use the pedals of the bike for an authentic bike riding experience.
Throttle e-bikes are also powered by a rechargeable battery and an electric motor that is usually located in the rear hub or the bottom section of the bike. When the rider twists the throttle, the electric motor is engaged, providing power to the rear wheel. This makes it easier for the rider to accelerate over steep hills, or ride at higher speeds without having to pedal as hard, or sometimes without pedaling at all.
Throttle e-bikes typically range between 20 to 50 miles, depending on the model and the battery powering the unit. Also, some external factors can affect the mileage of a throttle e-bike such as terrain, rider weight, riding conditions, and much more. They can be charged using a standard wall outlet and these bikes usually need 3 to 6 hours to fully charge.
One of the key features of a throttle e-bike is its simplicity. These bikes require very little effort from the rider, making them the perfect choice for people who want to commute or run errands without putting in much effort. They can also be a good option for people with limited mobility or strength, especially old folks who simply want to enjoy a peaceful bike ride.
How Does a Throttle Work?
Throttle e-bikes are quite similar to pedal-assisted e-bikes in terms of construction, making them appear almost identical in design. So without checking the specifications, it would be hard to tell which is which.
However, you will notice a throttle unit on the handlebar instead of a control unit which operates similarly to that of a scooter. The key component, in this case, is the power source which is usually a rechargeable battery of large capacity.
Apart from that, you will also notice the motor engagement mechanism on throttle e-bikes which sends a signal to the motor to increase or decrease the RPM based on the throttling input. The motor provides power to the rear wheel through a chain or a hub, depending on the design of the e-bike model. This allows the rider to accelerate, climb hills, or ride at higher speeds without pedaling as hard or at all.
A lot of premium throttle e-bikes also have multiple riding modes such as low, medium, and high, that allow the rider to personalize the amount of assistance provided by the motor. Some e-bikes may also have a detached mode, where the motor is completely disengaged and the bike operates like any other regular bike. Apart from that, Throttle e-bikes usually also come with multiple safety features such as front and rear lights, bells, and powerful brakes to control the speed.
Pros And Cons
Just like a pedal-assisted e-bike, a throttle e-bike also has its fair share of advantages and limitations which you need to know before you make a choice. While some of these features might be ideal for you, a lot of users lean towards the other options because of some limitations.
- Throttle e-bikes are comparatively a lot easier to ride and in most cases, the rider won’t have to put in the effort at all, allowing them to use the bike as a compact scooter.
- The speed and acceleration available with throttle bikes are much better as these factors are not dependent on the user’s efforts.
- These bikes are a great choice for regular commutes such as to and from work where you would want a peaceful traveling experience instead of a workout.
- However, less exercise is also one of the downfalls of getting a throttle e-bike. Therefore, a lot of health-conscious riders tend to go with a pedal-assisted e-bike.
- Due to the motor draining more power from the motor, throttle e-bikes also tend to have a shorter range.
- In a lot of regions, there are legal restrictions on a throttle bike, especially on the models which manage to deliver similar acceleration as a scooter.
- As these bikes are not that similar to a traditional bike, you will find it slightly difficult to learn and get used to it.
Differences Between Pedal Assist and Throttle
Now that you know what both of these options have to offer, you can now easily pick up a bike that suits your needs the best. But before we move on to our suggestion, let us take a quick recap of what we have learned about throttle and pedal-assisted e-bikes and how these bikes differ in terms of some crucial aspects. Once you check out this direct comparison, you can easily decide which of these models is more suitable for your needs.
|Factors||Pedal Assisted e-Bike||Throttle e-Bike|
|Ease of Use||Easier to learn||Slightly difficult to learn and control|
|Riding Efforts||Need more effort to ride||Need lesser, and in some cases, no effort to ride|
|Speed and Acceleration||Relatively lower speed and acceleration||Relatively faster speed and acceleration|
|Costing||These bikes are usually cheaper, depending on the model||These bikes are usually more expensive, especially ones with a higher range.|
|Riding Experience||A better option for thrill-seeking adventurous riders||More suitable for those with limited mobility and older folks|
|Health Concerns||A much healthier choice||Not as rewarding as a normal e-bike|
|Suitable Applications||Suitable for adventure rides, offroading, hill-climbing, etc||Suitable for routine commutes and long-distance journeys|
|Legal Restriction||Treated as a normal bike almost everywhere without any restrictions||Treated as a motorized vehicle in most regions without necessary restrictions|
|Safety||A much safer choice as it is close to a regular bike||Should only be used with a proper safety kit|
Choosing between a throttle e-bike and a pedal-assist e-bike depends on your specific needs, preferences, and how you are going to use the bike. For example, if you are going to use the bike daily for your routine commute, then a throttle-assisted bike might be the ideal choice for you. On the other hand, if you need an electric bike instead of a regular offroading or a mountain bike for a thrilling ride, then you should go with a pedal-assisted option. These bikes usually have a much longer range, and you will feel the effort and fatigue after a long ride. Another factor that plays an important role here is safety, where pedal-assisted e-bikes also have an upper hand. Overall, throttle bikes are cheaper scooters, whereas pedal-assisted e-bikes are a much more advanced version of a regular bike, making it a better choice for a lot of riders.