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Pedal Assist Vs. Throttle E-Bikes: Everything You Need To Know

If you’re thinking about buying an e-bike, you’ve most likely run into terms such as “pedal-assist” and “throttle”. Both can offer you a convenient way to get from A to B, but they are actually quite different. So, what do you need to know when it comes to these two e-bike mechanisms?

Pedal-assist helps only when you’re pedaling the bike, while the throttle can be operated without pedaling. Class 1 bikes only have pedal-assist, while Class 2 and 3 also have a throttle. Most throttle bikes have pedal-assist as well, but not all pedal-assist bikes have a throttle.

What does riding while using these two systems mean for you? Do people have a preference for one over the other? And what would that preference usually be based on? We’ll walk through the answers to those questions and more; just read on!

What’s The Difference Between Throttle and Pedal Assist?

A cheerful senior couple man and woman enjoying freedom with electric bicycle

What many people don’t know about e-bikes is that they don’t only come in different types, but also with different drive styles . There are two systems to know about; throttle power and pedal assist. So what are the differences between these two? What exactly do you need to know?

Pedal-assist feeds power from the motor to the wheels only while you’re pedaling. Throttle is more like what you think of when you consider a motorized bike- you turn on the throttle, and the bike moves automatically.

The distinction between these two systems has a big influence on the kinds of e-bikes available. First off, most areas have laws regulating how fast certain e-bikes are allowed to go. For example, in the U.S, there is a class categorization system that regulates how fast e-bikes using both throttle and pedal-assist can be.

This difference also plays a big role in how you ride. If you’re looking for the easiest way to get from A to B, you’ll probably want to go for a full-throttle bike. But if you’re looking to use your e-bike for getting more exercise, pedal-assist will be a better choice.

How Does Pedal Assist Work on an E-Bike?

Pedal-assist, also known as “pedelec”, is a mode on your e-bike that gives power to the pedals, but only when you’re moving them. This means you don’t quite get a fully motorized experience but rather just a little extra push when you ride.

Pedal-assist is great if you’re used to riding regular bikes, as this method doesn’t deviate too much from a traditional non-motorized bike. Many pedal-assist bikes work with different levels of resistance. This means you can easily adjust how much assistance you want on the fly.

Here are a few of those modes:

  • Low — This will give you the least amount of assistance. This is a great choice for riders looking to go the distance with a little help.
  • Medium — If you’re looking to get a little more help with the pedaling, you can go for the medium setting. You’ll still be providing about half the power needed.
  • High — Sometimes, you just need more assistance. This can be incredibly useful at the end of a long ride or when going uphill. In these cases, the high assist mode is perfect.

Is Pedal Assist Better Than Throttle?

Black electrical bike fat tire folding 20 inch wheels

Alright, so by this point, we clearly know the difference between pedal assist and throttle power. Now if you’re reading this and wondering which is the best, read on.

While throttle offers more of a motorbike-style ride, plenty of people still opt for pedal assist. At the end of the day, it’s a matter of preference and your purpose for riding. Let’s look at a few examples.


First, let’s talk about pedal assist. If you are used to riding a conventional non-electric bike and still want to get a good workout in, using pedal assist will be the better choice.

It can give you the extra juice you need to push you a few more miles on your ride. It’s also great for older riders, or those looking to get back into exercising after taking a break. Since you have the extra help, it makes riding much easier and comfortable.


When it comes to throttle mode, it’s great for things like commuting. If you’re riding your bike for transportation, it can give you an added layer of convenience.

Think about it; you don’t want to be the person who gets to work every day sweaty and gross. Even if you have a change of clothes, you’re still going to be sitting around with dried sweat on your skin.

Throttle bikes take a lot of the headache out of commuting. Since batteries can last quite a while, you may not even need to pedal once to get to and from your destination. Just keep in mind that if the battery does end up dying, you’ll be left pedaling your heavy e-bike home.

Do All Pedal-Assist Bikes Have a Throttle?

When it comes to throttle, not all bikes offer this. Certain local laws and regulations can make buying a throttle-only e-bike a little more difficult. So, how can you know which is the right choice for you? How do you know how to spot a bike that only has throttle or only pedal-assist?

Most throttle bikes will also feature pedal assist. But not all pedal-assist bikes will feature throttle. Always check the manufacturer’s specifications before making any purchases.

But still, there are many bikes on the market that will offer both riding styles. A bike like this Sailnovo E-Bike (on Amazon) offers the best of both worlds. It’s becoming more common for manufacturers to offer both riding styles as it’s not too hard to include both in the software package that powers the motor. You’re more likely to run into a pedal-assist-only bike rather than a throttle-only bike.

This is due to the regulations regarding e-bike we touched on earlier. To offer higher speeds, manufacturers can often only provide pedal-assist for the e-bike to be legally classified as an e-bike.

Do All Throttle Bikes Also Have Pedal-Assist?

In the case of throttle e-bikes, what do you need to know if you want to ride with pedal-assist? Are you going to be stuck with only the throttle to power your cruiser, or do you always have the option of using pedal assist?

For the most part, as we mentioned, a lot of throttle bikes will also offer pedal-assist. It’s easy for manufacturers to include the feature without needing to add much more in terms of components. Plus it’s a great selling point for riders who want the choice of either.

Do You Need Throttle on an E-Bike?

To operate in pedal-assist mode, you don’t need throttle power at all. Pedal-assist is almost automatic, meaning you don’t need to do much more than move the pedals to get things working. Of course, you’ll want to set the motor mode, which can be done in a few ways.

When operating a bike in throttle mode, you need to use the throttle to power the bike. It’s the main control that helps you operate the motor of your bike. Without it, well, you won’t have anything to control.

With pedal-assist, however, you don’t need a throttle. For bikes with only pedal-assist, you may only have a LED control module to keep track of which mode you’re in.

Can You Convert a Pedal Assist Only Bike to Throttle?

If you’ve got a bike with only pedal-assist, you’ve probably wondered at some point whether or not you can modify a few things and set up a throttle mode. So, can you? If you can, what do you have to consider before doing so?

You can convert some types of pedal-assist motors to throttle. But it’s going to depend mainly on the type of motor you have. Some European-style motors can’t be modified in this way. Another factor is the controller; you’ll need to have access to the controller and the ability to connect a new throttle.

Something you must consider before doing anything is that by tinkering with the engine you may be breaching your warranty. You could even be breaking the law if your area has strict regulations regarding e-bikes and their usage.

Make sure to do your own research on the particular type of e-bike motor you have and your local laws before proceeding. You’ll also need to source a throttle that works with your bike. If all these things are in place, then why not give it a go!

Domeny Internetowe

Monday 25th of April 2022

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