23 July 2023

Cadence Vs. Torque Sensors: Which E-Bike Sensor is Right for You?


Cadence Vs. Torque Sensors: Which E-Bike Sensor is Right for You?

Are you considering purchasing an e-bike, but confused about which sensor technology to choose? The two types of sensors available are cadence and torque sensors. Each sensor has its advantages and disadvantages, and knowing which will meet your needs will help you make the best choice. In this post, we will provide an overview of each sensor's definition, and functioning, and determine which one is the best fit for you.

Cadence Sensor vs. Torque Sensor

The importance of choosing the correct sensor doesn't just boil down to what the technology itself offers or how it works.

Having the incorrect sensor can drastically change your riding style, it's paramount for the rider to know the kind of riding experience either type of sensor offers.

A cadence sensor is a device that measures the pedal speed and frequency of the rider's pedaling. It activates electric power even with minimal pedal movement, which means that the rider can ride the e-bike with lower effort.

In contrast, a torque sensor measures the force applied by the rider to the pedals and provides electric assistance based on the rider's effort. The torque sensor technology ensures a smoother ride on complex terrain and a power ratio that matches the rider's effort.

Advantages of Torque Sensor

One of the advantages of the torque sensor is its lower latency period, meaning that the electric assistance is immediate, making it ideal for riders who need an immediate power boost.

It also provides a smoother ride, requiring less effort from the rider, especially on complex terrain. Additionally, the power ratio increases based on the rider's effort, providing a more personalized riding experience.

The torque sensor is also the best option for those who want the feel of a natural, traditional bike, and not something like a moped.

Lastly, the torque sensor conserves battery life, meaning the battery can last for a more extended period, making it ideal for long rides.

Disadvantages of Torque Sensor

One disadvantage of the torque sensor is that it requires constant rider effort to receive electric power. Additionally, it is the costlier option of the two sensors, and repairing it may be challenging.

Advantages of Cadence Sensor

The cadence sensor has a low activation speed, meaning that even minimal pedal movement can activate electric power, making it a good fit for riders who have difficulty pedaling.

It is also the more affordable option of the two sensors, making it accessible to riders who are budget-conscious.

With the cadence sensor, the bike also feels more modernized. What I mean by that is it feels closer to a scooter or a moped than a traditional bike.

Disadvantages of Torque Sensor

The significant disadvantage of the cadence sensor is that it provides less electric power than the torque sensor. This means that it may be challenging to ride on steep terrain or long distances.

Which Sensor to Choose?

The choice of which e-bike sensor to choose depends on the rider's priorities.

If the rider wants to conserve battery life, have immediate assistance when riding, need a more effortless ride, and want a higher power ratio based on effort, then the torque sensor is the best option.

If the natural feeling of riding a traditional bike is something that is important to the rider, torque sensor is also the way to go.

However, if the rider is looking for a more affordable option, easy to repair, and activates electric power easily, then the cadence sensor is the ideal choice.

You could always just combine them and get the best of both worlds. It's possible to make a hybrid sensor using custom controllers, but that requires you to be a little more tech savvy.

If your controller is designed specifically for a cadence sensor, it won't be able to take in the torque sensor inputs, however if you have a controller that can do torque inputs and work fine without any pedal assist, there might be a way to create a hybrid.

Belt drive


In conclusion, both sensors have advantages and disadvantages. Understanding which one is suitable for you will depend on your preferences and priorities. 

Consider the factors mentioned above, including terrains, power ratio, battery conservation, and cost-effectiveness, to make an informed decision.

But if I must, I would say if you're a fan of the regular bike feel, go for the torque sensor, if you're looking for something more automated get the cadence sensor.

Selecting the perfect e-bike sensor will ensure a pleasant and seamless riding experience.

About the author

The Electric-Biking Contributor Team consists a dedicated team of professional athletes and enthusiasts of electric bikes. We have several members in a team that are real experts in the electric bike battery field and electric bike maintenance. Each of our contributors has owned their electric bike for a minimum of 2–4 years.

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