Electric Bike Modes: Pedal Assist vs. Throttle

By Ella | 07 May 2022 | 1 Comments
Is it better to have a pedal-assist control e-bike, a throttle, or a model with both? The answer here may be subjective. It depends on the type of cyclist you are and your preferred riding style. Let’s figure it out together.
What Do Throttle and Pedal Assist Mean?
An e-bike is powered by a motor to gain forward momentum. To engage the motor, there are two controlling modes: pedal-assist mode & throttle mode. The process of throttle control e-bikes is similar to the likes of motorcycles or electric scooters. When you twist the handlebar device or push the thumb throttle button, the throttle works and the motor will be activated. Then the bike can go forward automatically. On the contrary, a pedal-assist e-bike is propelled by the pedals. As you pedal the bike, the pedal-assist sensor mounted on the bottom bracket or pedal crank arm can be triggered to let the motor generate power. It should be noted that the pedal-assist system (PAS) works only when you are pedaling.

To better classify, a bicycle that is only equipped with pedal assist offers a maximum speed of 20 mph is a class 1 e-bike. A bicycle that is only equipped with pedal assist offers a maximum speed of 28 mph is a class 3 e-bike. A bicycle that is equipped with pedal assist and throttle offers a maximum speed of 20 mph is a class 2 e-bike.
Which is Best for You: Throttle or Pedal Assist? 
Typically, most throttles can be modified by the handlebar or thumb button. The e-bike with good modifications can be sped up little by little, avoiding a quick burst with twisting or pushing the throttle. Benefits of a good throttle include:

1. Make biking safe and easy to control: The throttle control mode requires no special skills for riding. Simply control the throttle, and the bike will go forward or stop quickly.
2. Ride uphill easily without having to pedal first.
3. Able to get a quick acceleration to cross the intersections. 

Therefore, the throttle is more helpful when you are waiting at a stoplight or are exhausted from pedaling. By contrast, the pedal-assist e-bike is best for those who prefer traditional bikes. It will not exhaust you and ensure you a more natural feeling of riding while doing a workout. Additionally, there are 2 different types of PAS you may know of: the cadence sensor and the torque sensor. The cadence sensors are similar to speedometers. They measure the cadence of pedaling and change the speed output from the motor accordingly. As for the torque sensor system, it functions to measure the torque when pedaling. If the amount of torque being created matches the amount of energy needed to cruise, accelerate, or climb hills, the bicycle will run smoothly. Now in the e-bike industry, the most common one is the cadence sensor system. You are more likely to find an e-bike model with an excellent cadence sensor.  
To sum up, if you do not want an e-bike for exercise and you enjoy sitting still, the throttle is the best match for you. If you love to do a little workout in every ride, the pedal assist is for you. If you are still hesitating, you could get a class 2 e-bike with throttle and pedal assist modes. Then you can enjoy the best of both worlds.


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