Understanding E-bike Modes: Pedal-Assisted Vs. Throttle

December 21, 2022

E-bikes are becoming increasingly popular among those looking for a fun and efficient way to get around town! Whether you're new to the e-bike scene or an experienced enthusiast, it can be hard deciding whether pedal assistance or throttle support is best suited for your needs.

It's worth taking time out of your day to weigh up each option before making this important decision - after all, having the right bike makes any ride that much more enjoyable!

In this post, we offer a detailed comparison between the two to help you make an informed decision when it comes down to pedal-assist vs throttle electric bikes!

throttle assist vs pedal assist

Pedal-assisted vs. Throttle E-bikes

Pedal-assist Mode

Pedal-assist or pedelec mode works by activating motor assistance only when you’re pedaling (Class 1 and 2 ebikes, learn more about these classes here). For those accustomed to riding a regular bike, this mode offers a more intuitive feel compared to the throttle mode.

The pedal-assist mode also allows you to focus on the pedaling and not worry about holding the throttle in position to get the motor assistance. Considering that you also inject some energy to propel the bike, pedal-assist mode tends to deliver more battery range compared to throttle mode.

Note that the pedal-assist mode can offer various levels of assistance, starting from low to medium and finally high assistance. You’ll find some e-bikes with up to 5 pedal-assist mode settings.

Throttle Mode

The throttle mode works in the same way as a scooter or motorcycle. By pressing the throttle, the motor is engaged and propels the bike forward. This is similar to pressing the gas pedal when driving a car.

The benefit of having a throttle on your bike is that it allows you to just “kickback” and enjoy the ride without lifting a finger. Most throttles can also provide assistance between low and high power which the rider can adjust as required.

Most e-bikes in the U.S come with the throttle feature, although some countries consider it a hazard and don’t allow such on their bikes; only pedal-assist!

Pedal-assist and Throttle Mode

Some electric bikes combine both the pedal-assist and throttle modes! This allows you to get some assistance from the motor by pedaling but also enables you to increase this when you twist the throttle. 


Differences Between Pedal-assist and Throttle E-bikes

Electric bikes are revolutionizing the way we ride. Powered by a stored battery, they give us an incredible range on each of their two main modes - pedal-assist and throttle mode.

The difference? With pedal-assisted biking, you get to enjoy some help from the motor while still feeling like it's all in your own power; whereas with throttle mode pumping out full force, E-biking seems more effortless than ever!

Depending on the level of assistance required, you will use less motor assistance using a lower level of pedal assist , the higher the pedal assistance required the more motor power (and therefore battery usage) is required. 

On the other hand, pressing the throttle on an e-bike signals the battery to activate the motor almost immediately, flooding it with electric power. Given that the motor power is used exclusively to propel the bike, a higher percentage of stored energy from the battery is spent.

Furthermore, some bikes have a full-throttle function with an “on or off” switch. This means you are unable to control the amount of electricity used to drive the bike, reducing the range you get from the battery on a single charge.

throttle assist controller

Throttle assist controller

Pedal-assisted bikes provide an extra bonus when you're out on the road - regenerative braking or regenerative pedaling. This ingenious feature enables your battery to recharge while you pedal without electric assistance, and also generate power through its brakes.

In the end, pedal-assisted e-bikes are more energy conserving while throttle e-bikes tend to burn through the stored energy a lot faster! If you were to fit a 12V lithium-ion battery on a full-throttle bike, you’ll typically get around 22-40 miles of range. 

Use the same battery on a pedal-assisted e-bike and the range will extend to around 55 miles, although this may be affected by some factors like the nature of the terrain and pedal-assist setting. 

Fortunately, it is quite rare that you’ll be commuting for more than 20 miles on your e-bike, and this leaves you with enough time to recharge the battery back to 100% capacity when you get back home. 

However, this could mean something entirely different when you’re using the e-bike for outdoor adventures that may continue for more than 20 miles.

For a full-throttle bike, it may mean that you either carry an extra battery or pause your journey constantly to recharge the battery!

Benefits of Pedal-assisted E-bikes

Make cycling even easier on yourself with pedal-assisted bikes. These special bicycles come equipped with regenerative braking and pedaling, allotting you the added bonus of powering your battery while coasting or pushing down on the brakes. 

With this innovative feature, biking around town is smoother than ever before.

Longer Range

Enjoy the freedom that pedal-assisted electric bikes bring. Whether you are navigating a challenging incline or simply coasting along flat roads, these innovative machines provide just the right amount of support to help get you where you need to go without exhausting your energy - and with minimal charging sessions to.

Cruise in control, selecting how much assistance from the motor is best suited for whatever terrain lies ahead.

Great for Exercising

Electric bikes with pedal-assistance are the perfect way to make sure you get in shape, while avoiding physical exhaustion and potential injury.

With this type of e-bike, it is easy for cyclists to ride further distances without having their endurance worn away quickly; conserving energy so that they can have longer sessions on the bike.

Additionally, there is much less strain put on muscles and joints when using a Pedelec bicycle compared traditional cycling - meaning your body will always be ready for that next workout!

Cost-friendly

Depending on where you reside in the country, the average cost of charging a lithium-ion battery ranges anywhere between $0.10 to 0.20! If you use your bike to commute to work on weekdays, it means you only get to spend around $1 per week. 

This is almost half of what it will cost you if you chose to use a throttle driven e-bike that burns through the conserved energy quickly. It is also a tiny fraction of the up to $80 per week on average that you’ll cough up to purchase gasoline for your car if your daily commute is 150 miles long.

A More Natural Ride

If you're looking to take the plunge into electric biking, a PA (pedal assist) system offers an effortless ride that mimics traditional cycling. There won't be any nasty surprises like with throttle bikes - no sudden jerks or jolts here! Instead, it activates as soon as your pedaling begins for comfortable and smooth acceleration every time.

Regenerative Braking

Maximize your cycling range with regenerative braking. This unique feature found in some pedal-assisted e-bicycles helps to preserve and build up battery energy when you brake, giving you the power to travel longer distances. With a simple press of the brakes, this incredible system will recharge itself - and then giving you an extra boost when you need it later on in your journey.

Cons of Pedal-assisted E-bikes

PA systems can be a disadvantage when you find yourself in hilly terrain during the course of your commute. If the slope is too steep, you will have a hard time clearing it without putting enough pedaling effort because the motor assistance is only as good as the effort you put in.

Benefits of Throttle E-bikes

red throttle controller

Best for Climbs

Conquer difficult terrain with ease by taking advantage of the power offered by throttle e-bikes. With just one press, a burst of energy is sent to your wheels allowing you to take on any hilly challenge without worry or fatigue. Experience an instantaneous acceleration and thrilling adventure as soon as you hit go.

Stress-free Riding

If you're short on energy or are dealing with an injury, a throttle e-bike is the way to go. With this type of bike, all it takes to get going is a simple twist of the handle and away you ride - no pedaling required.

So if your body needs some rest but your mind still wants adventure, grab hold of one these powerhouses for fast transportation without expending any extra effort.

Cons of Throttle E-bikes

Reduced Range

The main disadvantage of using a throttle electric bike is that it burns through the battery power quickly. This limits the amount of time you can spend on your bike and forces you to charge the battery more frequently, which is not good for the health of the battery.

Takes Time to Get Used to

If you’ve never ridden a motorbike before, then it will take you some time to get acclimated to the sudden surge of power that kicks in when you twist the throttle. This can also put you in danger when you’re in traffic if you are not familiar with throttle power.

Legislation

In some countries, throttle e-bikes are considered to be in the same class as motorbikes and mopeds. This means you won’t get the same privileges accorded to normal and PA bikes, plus you’ll need to get a special license to ride it in public areas.

Higher Maintenance Costs

If you're the kind of person who enjoys an instant torque on tough climbs, throttle e-bikes may seem like a great option.

However, battery efficiency won't be in your favor with this choice - as compared to PAS bikes, batteries tend not to last as long and need more frequent charging cycles which can reduce its maximum capacity over time. 

And unfortunately for riders looking for longer shelf life from their bike's motor performance; even though it starts off strong at first due to that robustness factor provided by throttles...it might start needing replacing sooner than expected!


Pedal-assisted Vs. Throttle E-bikes: Which One Should You Choose?

When it comes to selecting the right electric bike, there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Pedal assist bikes (PAS) boast added power and enhanced control that makes them perfect for more challenging terrain and longer rides – making them ideal for commuters looking to make their journeys effortless yet enjoyable. 

Meanwhile throttle eBikes are great if you don’t want a strenuous ride or need extra support on hills; plus they offer an easy way of getting around town in record time with minimal physical exertion. Ultimately, each rider should choose based upon the specific needs related to purpose and preference.

On the other hand, pedal-assisted electric bikes will be better suited for cyclists who like to spend more time on the bikes, as well as get a longer lifespan from your bike. If you’re a beginner, hobbyist, or leisure rider, then PAS will serve you much better!


Final Thoughts

Now that you know the difference between pedal-assisted and throttle electric bikes, it shouldn’t be too hard to choose from the two options. The most important aspect to consider is your own specific requirements and the terrain you will be riding on.

About the author

Emma was born and raised in the UK, studied in Amsterdam (where she discovered her passion for biking), and is currently living in Ohio. Her main passion is cycling, that's why she is always looking for an amazing new e-bike to make her journey even more unforgettable!

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