Understanding Electric Bike Modes

Depending on the control of their motor, the division of electric bikes is into two broad categories. There is a wide variety of electric bikes with varying electrical assist activation modes, which makes choosing the best rather confusing. Learning about the different pedal assist and throttle types is therefore considerably important.

Throttle mode
This mode operates in the same way motorcycles or scooters do. The motor provides power whenever you engage the throttle, propelling you and the bike forward. The throttle mode allows riders to either pedal or just enjoy the ride. Most accelerators allow fine tuning between low and full power.

Electric bikes feature several different types of throttles including:
The half grip twist throttle: When it comes to electric bikes, this is the most common type of throttle. In the same way as a motorcycle, twisting engages the throttle.

The thumb throttle: Using the thumb to push the paddle forward engages this type of throttle.

The push button throttle: This type of throttle is basically an on and off switch. As such, adjusting between low and full power is impossible.

Pedal-assist mode
The pedal-assist mode, also known as pedelec, provides power only when the rider pedals, resulting in a comparatively more intuitive feel. In comparison, the pedal-assist mode gives more range since riders have to pedal. Pedal-assist e-bikes have varying levels of assistance such as low, medium, and high assist, each of which provides different benefits.

There are several different pedal-assist types currently available including the cadence sensor and torque sensor systems.Torque sensor pedal-assist system: Measures the amount of power a rider puts into the pedals, increasing or reducing the electric assist based on the power exerted. The torque sensor system accurately emulates a rider’s pedal power. As such, it usually has quite an intuitive feel. The installation of this system is mostly on relatively more expensive e-bikes, and it is typically on the rear drop out, bottom bracket, or rear hub motor.

Cadence sensor pedal-assist system: Provides support when the cranks of the electric bike turn. As opposed to the torque sensor system, this system only provides support based on the selected level and does not increase or decrease the assistance based on pedal power. A cadence sensor pedal-assist system will also provide the same degree of assistance regardless of whether a rider is pedaling very hard or very lightly.

The combination
Some electric bikes feature both the pedal assist and throttle modes, which means that by twisting the throttle, riders can get an additional boost even while operating the e-bike in the pedal assist mode. However, some e-bikes feature both modes that cannot be used simultaneously.

Choosing the best mode depends on your specific need and personal preferences. More resources are available at Scooteretti if you would like to learn more.