Electric bikes’ batteries and motors help a rider pedal, which means they can cover greater distances.
An electric bike usually comes in two different types: pedal-assist and pedal-free throttle bikes. Both types have their respective advantages and disadvantages.
Can an Electric Bike Run Without Pedaling?
Yes, it absolutely can! However, not all electric bikes work this way. The most common type of electric bike is pedal-assist e-bikes.
These are the kind of electric bikes most manufacturing brands design due to their many benefits. Pedal-assist electric bikes depend on the rider’s pedaling motion to keep going.
Electric bikes that can run without a rider’s pedaling are called pedal-free throttle electric bikes. These bikes are similar to pedal-assist electric bikes except for the fact that they can move without a rider’s pedaling.
Continue reading to learn about the differences, similarities, advantages, and disadvantages of a pedal-free throttle electric bike versus a pedal-assist electric bike.
What is a Pedal-Free Throttle Electric Bike?
A pedal-free throttle electric bike may look like a regular electric bike but is actually more similar to a motorbike.
This electric bike does not depend on the rider’s pedaling motion and hence can move without any added physical effort.
Just like a motorbike, the rider has to press a button or turn a switch manually to turn on the electric motor.
The electric motor uses the stored chemical energy in the battery and converts it into kinetic energy.
The electric bike’s transmitter carries the created kinetic energy to the bike’s tires, and this way, the pedal-free throttle electric bike is able to move.
Moreover, the rider can adjust the electric bike’s power to go at different speeds and accelerations.
Since an electric motor does not depend on the rider’s pedaling, this kind of electric bike does not have a built-in electric sensor.
What is a Pedal-Assist Electric Bike?
The pedal-assist is the most common and sought-after type of electric bike available in the market. Unlike throttle electric bikes that are more like motorbikes, the pedal-assist e-bike is more similar to a traditional bike.
The only difference is the addition of different electrical components that allow it to move with added electrical assistance.
The main components of a pedal-assist electric bike that set it apart from traditional bikes include:
- An electric battery
- An electric motor
- An electric pedal-sensor
- A touchscreen display
- Connecting cable
Pedal-assist electric bikes require a rider’s non-stop pedaling motion to keep moving. When a rider starts to pedal, the electric pedal-sensor detects the motion and turns on the electric motor.
The electric motor uses the battery’s stored chemical energy to create kinetic energy, which is transmitted to the e-bike’s tires.
As a result, the rider’s pedaling motion is helped by electric energy, allowing them to ride with greater comfort and ease.
Different Levels of Electrical Assistance Offered by a Pedal-assist Electric Bike
The most common types of pedal-assist electric bikes usually come with three different modes of electrical assistance. The more luxurious and expensive electric bike brands come with almost five different modes.
A rider is able to choose their ideal level of electrical assistance according to their physical health, personal preference, and battery charge level.
If a rider either has a low level of battery charge or simply wishes to use greater physical effort, they can choose a lower level of electrical assistance.
This model relies heavily on the rider’s pedaling and hence the top speed will depend on the rider’s ability to pedal fast.
Moreover, a rider is able to reduce their battery consumption when using the lowest level of electrical assistance.
If a rider wishes to pedal moderately and enjoy the added electrical assistance as well, they can choose the medium-level mode. This level relies on the rider’s pedaling and the electrical assistance level equally.
The top speed of a pedal-assist electric bike on medium assistance mode will depend both on the level of battery charge and the rider’s pedaling ability.
Lastly, to ride an electric bike while exerting the minimum level of physical energy, one can choose the highest level of electrical assistance.
This level mainly relies on the e-bike’s battery charge and allows the commute to be leisurely and relaxing.
Moreover, since the rider’s pedaling is no longer the determining factor, an electric bike is able to go at the highest speed and cover the most distance on this level.
However, to continue using this level of electric assistance, the battery must be fully charged.
Electric bikes designed to go on more arduous trails have high levels of electrical assistance and bigger batteries.
For instance, the European brand Bosch makes pedal-assist electric mountain bikes that have four different levels of electrical assistance.
The table below shows a Bosch EMTB’s different electrical assistance levels. The data shown in the table is recorded for a flat surface ride.
|Bosch Electrical Assistance Modes
|Electrical Power Assistance
|Top Average Speeds
|1st Mode (Eco)
|The rider has to pedal fast nonstop
|2nd Mode (Tour)
|The rider does not have to pedal too fast
|3rd Mode (Sport)
|The rider has to pedal slowly
|4th Mode (Turbo)
|The rider has to pedal barely
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Pedal-free Throttle Electric Bike
- Just like any other electric bike, a throttle electric bike helps reduce an individual’s carbon footprint and aids in convenient commuting.
- Since electricity is much cheaper than fossil fuel around the world, riding a pedal-free throttle electric bike is far more cost-efficient than driving a car or using public transport.
- This kind of electric bike does not rely on rider’s pedaling motion and can simply keep going as long as the battery has charge. Hence, a rider is allowed to enjoy a leisurely soothing ride that requires minimal physical effort.
- Since the rider does not have to pedal to gain speed, the electric bike can go at higher speeds and reach destinations in lesser times.
- These electric bikes do not depend on a person’s physical ability to pedal and hence can allow a wide variety of physically incapable individuals to enjoy the many benefits of an electric vehicle. This helps such individuals gain some independence and helps boost their psychological health.
- These electric bikes are ideal for individuals who have to travel larger distances.
- Since throttle electric bikes heavily depend on battery usage, they usually hit higher speeds. As a result, many countries restrict their usage or limit their top speeds.
- Due to their motors attached to their front or above their rear wheels, it is often harder to maintain balance on these electric bikes.
- These electric bikes usually come with bigger battery packs and hence are usually heavier and harder to handle.
- Like all electric bikes, throttle electric bikes are very expensive and not affordable for everyone.
- The more a rider depends on an electric bikes’ battery, the more often it has to be recharged. With more charging cycles in lesser time, the battery’s total lifespan is shortened.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Pedal-assist Electric Bike
- Just like any other electric bike, a pedal-assist electric bike helps reduce an individual’s carbon footprint, helps reduce global emissions, and aids in convenient commuting.
- Since electricity is much cheaper than fossil fuel around the world, riding a pedal-assist electric bike is far more cost-efficient than driving a car or using public transport.
- Since pedal-assist electric bikes depend on a rider’s pedaling motion to keep going, they give their riders some physical activity. According to e-bike experts, riding a pedal-assist electric bike every day can result in a significant level of calories burned. This cardiovascular workout is excellent for losing weight, toning the muscles, improving the heart’s health, and reducing blood cholesterol levels.
- Usually, older or physically incapable people do not get to engage in a lot of physical activities and are deprived of a good cardio workout. Since a pedal-assist e-bike uses electrical assistance to aid the rider’s pedaling, many older and physically incapable people can ride these bikes with greater ease. This not only allows them convenient transportation but helps them stay active.
- Most modern electric bikes now come with lithium-ion batteries which are more energy-efficient but also more sensitive. When a person fully depends on the battery’s charge, the added stress reduces the battery’s capacity and lifespan. As a result, the battery needs to be replaced earlier. On the other hand, having the option to pedal reduces the dependency and stress on the e-bike’s battery. As a result, the battery’s quality, capacity, range, and total lifespan are protected.
- Studies conducted by researchers have proved a strong link between riding a bike and good psychological health. A pedal-assist electric bike allows a calm and therapeutic bike ride and helps release a person’s happy hormones without wearing them out.
- Since a pedal-assist electric bike has a well-centered electric motor and a well-controlled speed, this form of transportation is very safe.
- The added electrical assistance allows the pedal-assist electric bike to have a much higher top speed than a traditional bike.
- Nearly all countries permit the use of a pedal-assist electric bike and there are fewer speed-limiting restrictions.
- No country requires a license or legal paperwork to ride a pedal-assist electric bike. As a result, individuals of all ages can enjoy the many benefits of this electric vehicle.
- Like all electric bikes, a pedal-assist electric bike is far more expensive than a traditional bike.
- Since this electric bike depends on a rider’s pedaling motion and battery to keep going, if the battery dies, the rider will not be able to continue their journey.
The Difference and Similarities Between a Pedal-Free Throttle and a Pedal-assist Electric Bike
- Both kinds of electrical bikes need a chemical battery and an electric motor to keep functioning.
- Both kinds of electrical bikes rely on their battery charge to keep running.
- Both kinds of electric bikes are significantly more expensive than traditional bikes.
- A pedal-assist electric bike can go up to a top speed of 28 to 30 miles per hour. On the other hand, a pedal-free throttle electric bike usually can go to a top speed of 18 to 20 miles per hour. This speed difference is not because of their unique manufacturing; rather, it is because of the legal limits of most countries. Many countries only permit the use of a pedal-assist electric bike and prohibit a throttle electric bike from going too fast.
- A pedal-free throttle electric bike usually has the motor adjusted in the front of the bike. This often disturbs the electric bike’s center of gravity and makes balancing hard for novice riders. On the other hand, a pedal-assist electric bike motor is usually in the middle of the bike and is easier to balance.
A pedal-free throttle electric bike is designed to run without depending on a rider’s pedaling motion. This feature allows the ride to be extremely relaxing and not exhausting at all.
On the other hand, a pedal-assist electric bike may depend on a rider’s pedaling but also allows them a chance to get physically active.
It all comes down to a consumer’s preferences and physical health when they have to choose between either of the e-bikes. However, an electric bike can run without pedaling, provided you get the right type.
Related electric bike articles:
- How Much Weight Can an Electric Bike Pull?
- Why Electric Bikes Are So Expensive?
- How Many Calories Do You Burn on an Electric Bike?
- Do Electric Bikes Need To Be Registered?
- How Much Electricity is Used to Charge an Electric Bike?
- What Size Electric Bike Do I Need?
- Which Electric Bike Has the Longest Range?
My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars & Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.