Ebike Pedal Assist Vs Ebike Throttle (Top Tips)

Comparing Throttle and Pedal Assist is one of the most challenging things when deciding to own an electric bike.

In fact, this confusion may be useful because when thinking about it, you will need to determine your needs, which is a good thing because identifying your needs is the first step to getting an electric bike that is right for you.

The second thing in my opinion that is considered useful is that you will learn what is the difference between throttle and pedal-assist.

That is why I decided to write this post as a practical comparison between the Throttle and the Pedal assist especially as I personally owned electric bikes with the two systems.

The first step in the practical comparison we do here is to find out how the assistance systems on the electric bike are evolving and we will know this by taking a look at the history of the development of these systems.

How did Ebike Pedal Assist & Ebike Throttle develop over the years?

The electric bike assistance systems went through four stages until they reached what we are now.

we will discuss these stages in this section.

1-The first stage – Ebike with throttle only.

At the beginning of the manufacture of electric bicycles, the goal of adding the motor was to completely abolish the use of the pedal so that the bicycle could move without effort from the cyclist, so the first stage was to manufacture the bicycle by adding only throttle.

This means that when the throttle is used, the signal is given to the controller to pass an electric current from the battery to the motor to start the movement.

But the manufacturers noted that this design is a small motorcycle, which hides the identity of the bike and also hides the real fun when riding the bike, so they move to the second stage.

2-The Second stage – Ebike with Cadence Sensing Pedal Assist.

This stage was a slight change in the way of riding the electric bike. this change was the installation of a cadence sensor.

the function of the cadence sensor is that when you use the pedal, it senses the movement and moves the electric bike by moving the motor.

You can think at this point that they moved the throttle to the pedal without any other details.

The disadvantage of this stage was that there was no sense of the extent of the torque that the cyclist puts in when using the pedal.

That is why the transition to the third stage was necessary.

3-The Third Stage – Adding Torque sensor to Pedal- Assist.

In my personal opinion, this stage was the biggest reason for the popularity of electric bikes now.

Because at this stage a torque sensor has been added to the pedal, which means that the bike has become smart enough to understand how the cyclist uses the pedal and what power is required from the motor.

With the addition of this sensor, riding an electric bike has become more enjoyable and practical as well.

But what was missing at this stage was the information about the speed of the bike with the use of the pedal and the miles traveled and the rest of the information that appears on the screen of the electric bike.

That is why it was necessary to add this information, which has already happened in the fourth stage.

4-The fourth Stage- Adding Speed Sensor To Pedal- Assist.

The fourth stage is a complementary stage to the third stage, in which a speed sensor has been added, which measures the speed of the bike when using the pedal and also gives much information about the bike while riding such as battery charging levels & numbers of traveled miles.

Summarize the stages of development of the assistance systems in electric bicycles.

The electric bike assistance system has evolved from the use of the throttle, then the cadence sensor, then the torque sensor, and finally the addition of the speed sensor.

With the development of electric bikes, the development of their speed was necessary, so over the years, electric bikes were classified in terms of speed into 3 classes

Let’s have a quick look at 3 classes of electric bike.

Electric Bike Classes.

1- Class 1.

Class 1 means that the bike has Pedal-Assist only and has a top speed of 20 miles per hour.

This class can be ridden in almost all places designated for regular bikes and is legally allowed in all states and Europe.

2-Class 2.

Class 2 means that the bike has a throttle and also a pedal assist, and the maximum speed is 20 miles per hour.

This class has some restrictions on places to ride, such as the mountain bike trail.

3-Class 3.

Class 3 has a pedal-assist bike or throttle, but it contains all the types of sensors we mentioned earlier (cadence – torque-speed) and the maximum speed is 28 miles per hour.

This type is legally allowed in most states, but in Europe, there are a few countries that allow this type.

This type is a good alternative if you want to use the bike as an alternative to the car for daily commuting.

Ebike Pedal Assist Vs Ebike Throttle- A Practical Look.

In this part of the post, we will try to take a realistic look at the difference between Throttle and Pedal Assist In practical terms, I mean what you would feel when riding a throttle or pedal-assist bike.

1- Efforts.

The first factor in comparison is the effort you will make while using the throttle and while using Pedal Assist.

When comparing, you may say that using the throttle, it does not require any effort, and therefore this point is in favor of the throttle, and this may be true in theory, but in practice, the matter is different!

Let me explain to you: You will put your feet on the pedal anyway, and when you know that the pedal assist gives you 300% of the force you apply to the pedal, it means that with little effort you will get the same movement from the electric bike.

So if you think of this point as a point of separation, it practically does not differ much.

2- The level of intelligence of the two types.

What is meant by the amount of intelligence between the two types is the ability of the bike to understand the way you ride the bike.

This point will be in favor of Pedal Assist (especially if it is a Class 3) because it contains several types of sensors that give different signals to the bike to give you the required power, whether it is a torque or speed sensor or even a Cadence.

In the case of a throttle, it will only give power based on the use of different levels of throttle, which is considered impractical.

Imagine yourself hitting the throttle while you are on an incline without pedaling, the bike will not give you any extra effort and you will have to use the pedal in the end.

Unlike the pedal assist, which will sense the force of your pressure on the pedal and provide you with additional strength.

3- Speed.

As for the speed factor, the matter is different because it depends on many factors, but in general, the probability of getting a higher speed than the bike will be in favor of the pedal-assist, because in the end, it depends on your ability to pedal, but in the bikes with your throttle only, the speed expected to be obtained will be less.

This is clearly seen in the speed difference between Class 2 and Class 3.

4- Riding on City Road.

One of the factors we should look at is riding a bike in the city and which of the two would be more suitable.

In fact, this point will be in favor of electric bikes that have a throttle, especially if you live in a crowded city with many signals and intersections.

But it should be noted here that bicycles with a pedal assist are not bad at this point from a practical point of view

tested two of my bikes and the difference of about two seconds in favor of the bike with Throttle

It is practically almost the same!

5- Managing Ebike power.

One of the practical factors that will affect your experience using a Throttle or Pedal Assist electric bike is the importance of managing the force coming out from the ebike.

In the case of throttle: you must intervene in order to control the power of the bike because the bike does not understand your speed needs.

In the case of Pedal Assist: the bike is smart enough to regulate the force coming out of the bike according to your needs while riding.

Now that we know the most important practical points in the comparison between throttle and pedal assist, from which it is clear that the differences are not huge.

Let us share with you who should get ebike with the throttle or PAS

Who Should Get an Ebike with throttle activated?

As a general rule, bicycles with throttle are recommended for the elderly and people who have a disability that prevents them from using the pedal, as well as for people who live in crowded areas and cycle on a daily basis.

This is because this category will need a greater amount of rest while riding a bike

Who Should Get an Ebike with Pedal-Assist?

As a general rule, electric bikes with a pedal assist are recommended for all people, except for elderly people and those with a physical disability that prevents them from using the pedal for long periods.


In order to summarize this article in specific points, let us put them in the form of a table so that things are more clear.

 Pedal AssistThrottle
Effortsefforts requiredNo Efforts required
The level of intelligenceSmartBasic
SpeedCan get more speedLimited to Ebike capability
Riding on City RoadSuitable with some time limitationsSuitable
Managing Ebike powerManaging power automaticallyRequired power management control from the cyclist
PAS VS Throttle

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