Electric Bike Modes: Throttle vs Pedal Assist

Electric Bike Modes: Throttle vs Pedal Assist

Electric bikes have proven to be a fun and eco-friendly alternative to the daily commute or just a way to get more outdoor physical activity. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced cyclist, there is an e-bike that’s suitable for your needs.

Choosing the right ebike for your needs can be challenging. There are different classifications, frame types, wheel sizes, and electric bike modes. In this article, we are discussing the difference between the two most popular modes: the pedal assist and throttle. The differences between the two are quite subtle but can make a big difference to your daily commute.

Electric Bike Modes: Throttle vs Pedal Assist (PEDELEC)

The electric-assist on different models of e-bikes is activated in different ways. Some e-bikes come with either pedal-assist or thumb throttle, but only a few come with both modes. At the end of this article, you should have an idea which kind of throttle may be the best for you.

Throttle Mode

The throttle mode operates in the same way that a motorcycle or scooter does. By engaging the throttle, you propel the bike forward without having to pedal. With most throttles, you can control how much power is produced.

There are several throttle modes available in electric bikes, ranging from thumb throttle to full twist throttle.

Different Types of Throttles on Electric Bikes

  • Half-grip Twist
    This works similarly to a motorbike or scooter in that it is triggered by twisting the throttle. It is the most common electric bike throttle. The rider must simply crank the throttle to accelerate the bike.
  • Thumb Throttle
    These are designed to be easy to use. Engaging the motor is as simple as pushing a button. Some feature numerous buttons to control the speed of the bike, while others just have an on and off switch.

Different types of throttles function differently, depending on how it is engaged. It’s important to know if the throttle you choose can be activated while the bike is stationary or only as you start to pedal.

Some throttles can only be used while pedaling to avoid injury if the user unintentionally engages it while stationary. This is useful for avoiding accidents during those first few moments on your ebike when you’re still getting used to it.

Some bikes will allow you to use the throttle even when the bike is stationary. They believe that this offers a much easier way than start from a stop without the typical hard pedaling at startup. With this type of throttle, you can lift your feet, hit the throttle, and go.

Pedal Assist Mode

Pedelec or pedal-assist only gives power when you start to pedal. With this mode on, you are always in control of how much power you want to pedal. This is especially good for those who have never ridden a Pedelec bike before as it’s an easy transition from a regular kick-pedal bike. It feels just like a normal bike except with a little help from the motor to get you up those hills.

There are different levels of assistance, depending on how much effort you want to exert during your ride. Pedal-assist may vary from low to high settings or 4 to 5 modes of assistance, depending on the e-bike.

Using the lowest setting will give you a little electric assist, making you feel like you are exercising or riding a regular bike. While the highest setting gives you a bigger boost of power, getting you to your destination much quicker without breaking a sweat.

Pedal Assist Types

  • Torque Sensor
    Measures the amount of power you are putting into the pedals, increasing or decreasing the assist based on your pedaling power. The torque sensor systems give a more intuitive feel because it emulates your pedal power well. This is recommended for those looking for the advanced cycling feel. The greater effort, the greater assist.
  • Cadence Sensor
    It provides assistance when the bike cranks are turning. It relies on the level assist you have selected and is not affected by the actual pedal power. This is ideal for those who want to recreationally use ebikes. It is especially useful for those with some physical limitations because it can be turned up or down without additional rider effort.

The Combination: Throttle & Pedal Assist Mode

Some e-bikes are equipped with both throttle and pedal assist modes, like our Cruiser Bike. You can operate on pedal assist and get an additional boost by engaging the throttle. While some e-bikes have both modes but have to be switched between them as they can’t be used at the same time.

Which Mode Should You Choose?

Choosing the right electric bike mode depends on your needs and how you would use your ebike.

Choose a throttle electric bike if you want to enjoy cruising around with little to no effort.

Consider pedal assist if you enjoy the feel of a traditional bike and wish to ride with a bit more power.

If you want to enjoy your ride no matter what or can’t decide between the two modes, get a bike with pedal assist and a throttle that can be used at any time. Enjoy either system on the fly your way.

We hope this article helped you with choosing the right ebike for your needs. If you’re still hesitant about owning an e-bike, we have 11 reasons why you should be stoked about electric bikes.

If you want to know more about the Cruiser Bike, send us a message or call our office today at 833-266-4432 and we’ll answer any questions you have about electric bikes.

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Does the cruiser bike have cadence sensor?


Can the throttle assist be temporarily removed easily when certain state parks or city’s require only class one e bikes allowed

Ed Moreno

We are absolutely sold on the bike…and so are family and friends who have seen and ridden it. Our 8 yr old grandson has ridden it twice now. He says, “Grandpa, I need one more my size.” :) We really like this dual feature of both throttle and pedal assist. This is one of the best purchase we have ever made and THE best bike purchase for sure.

Ervin Witmer

I love my boogie bike with both types of powered assist. It makes it much more controllable on my narrow neighborhood streets here by the Bay. My question is in coming to a stop. Because the bike is heavy, when I stop I have to touch the ground, and feel like I am drilling my knee joint, bone on bone. I do turn the pedal assist off before I get to where I want to stop, but it still seems very brutal. Any techniques for a low impact dismount?


We have both! Yes, you get a full printed manual with our bike.

Dean DuMez

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