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Pedal Assist vs. Throttle

Pedal Assist vs. Throttle

Pedal assist vs throttle - what's the difference? Check out our guide to decide which is best for you

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There’s no question that riding electric makes life a bit smoother. The ease of knowing you have a boost of power on hand at all times, even when you’re not feeling like pedaling can make the day-to-day more efficient and enjoyable. Obviously, there are so many ways to ride and places to go, it’s hard to generalize, but more often than not we see that electric bikes give us more time and energy. Which at the end of the day, is a win for everyone, which is what we are here for! There are more and more advancements in the electric bike space; however, we see the most common question for new and seasoned riders is the difference and preference between pedal assist vs. throttle. So we decided to break down the ins and outs of both for you to refer to so you can be fully equipped with all the knowledge to decide what's the best way to ride for you.  In order to get the e-bike to deliver power through the motor, you either have to use some kind of handlebar device ( aka throttle) or you have to pedal. Either option is going to be getting you powered, which is what we want (obviously!), but they both offer subtle differences that are valuable to consider. Let’s dive in throttle vs. pedal assist…let’s go! 

Electric Bike Throttle - Overview 

The throttle is what lives on your handlebar, what might make your bike fly out from under you when you get off the handlebars if you’re not careful (definitely speaking from experience). The way it operates on an e-bike is essentially the same way it functions on that of a scooter or motorcycle. When you engage the throttle, it provides the motor power and propels the bike forward. Most electric bikes have a grip shift style throttle, and we use this model with a new silicone grip that ensures you stay safe while pulling or twisting the throttle. Some models utilize a “boost” button feature to get a lot of power all at once that overrides anything in pedal assist mode. The biggest difference outlined so far between electric bike pedal assist vs. throttle is how you are powered. While the throttle may offer more robust acceleration, depending on your preference, the ease of pedal assist can offer a more controlled and connected way to ride and get around. Ultimately it is important to evaluate what you need an e-bike for and what makes the most sense for your life. 

Another important consideration is the legalities associated with throttle bikes. In the US throttles that operate apart from the pedal system are legal and are found on class 2 and class 3 e-bikes. However in Europe and the UK throttles are typically illegal on e-bikes are require proper paperwork, taxes, number plates, helmets, and insurance. If you are outside of the US, this may be the biggest dividing factor between a pedal assist vs. a throttle e-bike. 

The overarching pluses of throttles are speed, making commuting or adventuring faster, and being able to maneuver out of traffic with precision. However, if not ridden with awareness, the battery can drain faster. 

Pedal Assist - Overview 

Pedal-assist mode is efficient and comfortable, providing power solely when you are pedaling. 

Most bikes will have several power levels for assistance, which essentially means you can decide based on where you're going and how you’re feeling how much power you want your e-bike to give you. With lower support, you’ll feel a slight noticeable push, whereas at the highest levels you’ll be zipping up the steepest hills with not the slightest sweat. Both modes are great whether you’re running low on energy or simply don’t want to arrive sweaty to your destination. 

We see pedal assist as the go-to way to cruise. This reliable and dependable mode will get you there quickly, while still allowing you to enjoy the process of getting there. It can be hard to really outline the core differences between pedal assist vs. throttle because they are both rather unique. But with that being said, pedal assist has a specific classification in the US and Canada that could affect how you ride. If an e-bike is a pedal assist only (ie with no throttle at all) then it will either be a class 1 or class 3 e-bike, depending on whether the electric assist ceases at around 20 mph or 28 mph (the latter being limited sometimes to public roads rather than slower moving paths) Another helpful note is that an e-bike may be described as both class 2 and class 3, whereby the throttle powers the machine up to 20mph, and from 20-28mph you can only use pedal assist. Essentially this means a class 2 e-bike may or may not have pedal assist but it will always have some kind of throttle which will power the bike on its own. 

All in all pedal assist is a great option if you are used to riding a normal bike! It’s a bit more intuitive than a throttle system where you have to consider pedaling and holding the throttle in a certain position at the same time. In terms of efficiency between pedal assist vs. throttle, it’s not much of a competition! Pedal assist offers long-term power and optimal usage of the motor and battery with your pedaling. The downside? You’re not going to be equipped with that instant acceleration that can shave off minutes of being late or winding through  traffic

Pedal Assist vs. Throttle E-bike 

It’s not a simple comparison at all. These are two valuable and seemingly incomparable ways to ride. However, as we’ve outlined, this is an overview of the pros and cons of the major differences in functionality and rideability. We aim to have this best equip you with the awareness to determine what best fits you. If you're looking for a daily driver to get you around fast without effort, throttle. If you’re looking for a very approachable bike-like ride with a great battery range, pedal-assist. Our suggestion? Visit our showroom in Venice for a test ride to get a feel for both. Let’s get you cruising!