Many cyclists claim that riding an e-bike is easier than riding a normal mountain bike. However, even though e-bikes have a battery and a motor, you’ll still notice them pedaling hard anytime you pass them on the road. What is the point of riding an electric bike if you still have to pedal? Do electric bikes even go without pedaling?
Pedaling is an option on all electric bicycles, just like it is on traditional bicycles; but, depending on the model of electric bicycle, you may not need to pedal at all. Pedal-assist system is applied into the majority of electric bicycles currently available on the market. To ride one of these, you will need to continue to pedal, albeit with less effort than you would need to put in on a traditional bicycle. You won’t need to exert your whole effort because the motor will give you loads of assistance while you pedal, just like what the name suggests. High-end electric bikes, on the other hand, include a finger-activated throttle that allows the motor to take over once the e-bike is moving. If you choose an electric bicycle that has a throttle, you won’t have to pedal at all—except when you’re going uphill or when you’re trying to save power.
As previously mentioned, some types of e-bikes do not require any pedaling at all. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to riding a pedal assist bike vs a bike with a throttle. Let’s get started!
How Does the Pedal-Assist System Work?
Pedal-assist, which is also known as pedelec, is a mode that only provides power when you are actually pedaling the bicycle. It’s the most distinguishing characteristic of an e-bike and what differentiates it from a standard bicycle. As you ride, an electric motor kicks in to boost the power that you generate by pedaling. The goal is to significantly make the process of pedaling easier.
Various levels of pedal assistance are available on electric bikes. You have the option of selecting a high level of assistance, which will make your rides quite easy. Alternatively, if you want your ride to be more of a workout, you can choose a lower pedal assist level.
A cadence sensor is included into the drivetrain of a pedal assist bike. This sensor monitors the rider’s pedaling speed and keeps track of how many times the pedals have turned while you are pedaling. It then sends a signal to the electric motor, telling it how much assistance to provide you based on the level of assistance that you have chosen.
Pros of Pedal-Assist E-Bike
- Pedal-assist e-bikes are wonderful for both one’s physical and general wellness.
- Pedal assistance enables riders to cover significantly greater distances.
- When opposed to an e-bike with a throttle, an electric bicycle with pedal-assist has a feel that is more intuitive. It is an excellent choice for riders who desire the option of help while still maintaining the experience of riding a conventional bicycle.
- Because both human power and electrical power are fed through the rear gear hub or derailleur of the pedal-assist e-bike, the available effort is multiplied more effectively over a wider range of speeds than it is with throttle-only machines. This makes the pedal-assist e-bike the best machine for climbing really steep slopes majority of the time.
- The battery life of an electric bicycle can be extended by using a pedal-assist system. With the ability to decide how much assistance you require, you can use the lowest assist setting to save battery life.
Cons of Pedal-Assist E-Bike
- A pedal-assist e-bike does not have the same quick acceleration as a throttle machine. This means it’s not recommended for inexperienced cyclists or those passing through towns or cities with a lot of traffic.
How Does a Throttle Work?
When the motor has the full throttle feature, it can be activated by using either the thumb throttle or the twist throttle. Whether or not you pedal, it will provide you the power you need to keep going. It enables you to pedal from a state of rest without exerting any force of your own. A switch can be twisted or pressed by the rider in order to directly engage the motor. It simulates the feeling of increasing your speed by pressing the accelerator pedal just like a motor vehicle.
The most important thing to keep in mind, though, is that having a throttle gives you the option to either pedal or sit back and enjoy a “free” ride! You may hear the phrase modulation used in throttles, which just refers to how gradually and smoothly you can apply throttle power; good modulation refers to the power that you can increase a little bit at a time, and poor modulation means that it comes on rapidly in something of a burst. Most throttles can be fine-tuned like a volume dial between low and full power.
Pros of Using E-bike with Throttle
- Great choice for country roads or handling busy traffic since you can pull clear of traffic quickly and easily at intersections and lights.
- It is the ideal system for those who have medical conditions that make pedal exercise difficult, as well as for people who aren’t quite as fit as those who use it because it has the option to ride without pedaling.
- Ideal for cyclists looking for a leisurely trip.
Cons of Using E-bike with Throttle
- It is not recommended for cyclists who wish to maintain an active lifestyle.
- In traffic, low-quality throttles with weak modulation might be difficult to master.
- The battery range of the throttle e-bike is limited.
- Some electric bicycles that have a throttle are not considered electric bicycles by the law; rather, they are categorized as electric MOPEDS, the same category as gasoline-powered MOPEDS. This means that you will be required to have insurance, registration, and a license to operate an electric bicycle. You are required by law to also wear a helmet at all times. In addition to this, you can’t ride some e-bike with throttle on a cycle lane; rather, you have to use the carriageway of the main road.
Throttle vs. Pedal-Assist: Which is Best for Me?
It depends; as we have already discussed in the section that compares the benefits and drawbacks of throttle control and pedal-assist, there are notable distinctions between the two. Those who have trouble pedaling for any reason will find throttle e-bike to be really helpful. On the other hand, pedal-assist e-bike are better for those who prefer a regular biking experience.
Here are a few helpful questions to ask yourself about your requirements:
- What terrain am I biking on?
- How long do I intend to ride?
- What am I going to do with my bike?
- Where can I go riding?
Are There E-bikes with Throttle and Pedal-Assist?
The pedal assist feature is often included on most electric bicycles with throttles. Because of this, you are free to ride your electric bicycle in whatever manner you see fit. You can either totally turn off the motor and pedal the bike like any other bicycle, or you can pedal with the assistance of the motor or not pedal at all and only operate the throttle.
Typical electric bike systems will include a number of various assistance levels, each of which may be chosen by pressing a button that is often located on the handlebar or the top tube of the bicycle. This gives you the ability to select the level of power you want the motor to provide. Since increasing the amount of assistance decreases the range, it’s prudent to keep the greatest amount of assistance for uphills and turn it down when it’s not required.
You also have the option of entirely turning off the motor and riding without any assistance. Despite the fact that the majority of systems offer no resistance when they are turned off, this can be a bit of an effort due to the weight of the motor and the battery. There are some e-bikes that come with a Boost or Turbo button that, when held down, will give you an additional push.
You can use the throttle system if you want to take it easy and just enjoy the journey instead of pedaling. When you need a break from cycling or are in heavy traffic, this is the perfect option.
What Good Does Pedaling Do?
When traveling uphill or using the motor without pedaling, the battery will deplete much more quickly. Because of the increased amount of energy required to propel a heavy load, the battery will discharge more quickly for heavy riders. This means that while there are electric bicycles that do not require you to pedal at all, not pedaling will result in a speedier discharge of the battery compared to when pedaling is being done.
Consider the battery motor to be a helpful assistant in your activities when riding an e-bike. Try to pedal as much as possible. Pedaling when riding an electric bike will help prevent the battery from running out sooner than it’s meant to, will get you there more quickly, and will also enable you to travel further.