People usually lump eBikes into the same category as regular motorcycles. While there are some similarities, the main difference is that you do need to pedal on an eBike – just like a regular bike.
However, the added electric assistance, smoother momentum, and higher speed make all the difference, especially when you compare eBikes to their more-traditional counterparts.
Whether you want to make a quick trip to a friend’s house, run errands, or simply leisurely ride around town to clear your mind, an electric bike will almost always be an excellent mode of transportation.
Not only will the rider benefit from the fantastic cardio exercise, but they will also be able to reach their destination quickly.
Do You Have to Pedal with an Electric Bike?
Many consumers worldwide who have not experienced riding an electric bike assume that this modern bicycle type is the same as an electric scooter or a motorbike.
However, in reality, the common electric bikes we see most abundantly on the roads have been designed and built on the same blueprint as a traditional bike.
Both the electric bike and the traditional bike have two tires, a bar handle to steer the bike, brakes, gears, and a pair of pedals with one on either side of the bike.
As a result, people riding an electric bike will have to pedal the bike to get the bike to move in the first place and have it pick up speed. Without consistent pedaling, the electric bike will come to a halt.
The only real difference that sets apart the modern-day electric bike from the traditional bike is the addition of the following components:
- An electric battery
- An electric motor
- Electric motion sensors
- Energy transmitter
- LCD display screen
- Regenerative braking system
- Connective wiring to complete the circuit
Hence, although the electric bike is certainly different from a traditional bike in terms of its technological advancements and mechanisms, it is also very similar.
Continue reading this article to learn how the unique mechanisms and technology of some electric bikes directly depend on the rider’s pedaling motion.
Moreover, this article will also shed light on whether all electric bikes need to be pedaled. Also, are there any electric bikes available in the market that do not have this limitation?
Read Can you Pedal an Electric Bike Without the Battery?
How Does Pedaling in an Electric Bike Work?
The electric bikes that depend on a rider’s pedaling motion and speed are called pedal assist electric bikes. These electric bikes are designed to be the most similar to traditional bikes.
The addition of electrical assistance in the pedal-assist electric bikes allows the rider to increase or decrease their pedaling speed according to the level of electrical assistance they choose.
Most pedal assist electric bikes come with three levels of electrical assistance, each allowing the rider to select a different level of electrical energy to give them a bit of assistance while they pedal.
Riders who wish to physically pedal their pedal-assist electric bikes more and are looking for a good cardio exercise usually choose the first level or mode of electrical assistance.
This level offers the minimum amount of electrical energy to be used to assist the rider’s pedaling or affect the rider’s speed.
Riders who wish to moderately pedal their electric bikes without getting too tired usually opt for the second level of electrical assistance.
This level allows more electrical energy to be converted to kinetic energy, which is then used to help the electric bike pick up speed, thus making it easier for the rider to pedal.
As a result, the pedal assist electric bike can pick up speed without requiring the rider to pedal faster and harder.
Moreover, riders who wish to put in the least amount of physical effort and prefer to enjoy a fast electric bike ride while barely pedaling go for the third or final level of electrical assistance.
This level allows the maximum amount of electrical energy to get converted into kinetic energy, which eventually increases the electric bike’s speed to its maximum limit while barely requiring any physical pedaling.
Riding the pedal assist electric bike on the third level or mode of electrical assistance allows the rider to reach their distance in less time.
However, it also results in the battery depleting more quickly.
To better understand how an eBike converts electricity into motion, this is how the mechanism of a pedal assist electric bike is designed to work:
- When a rider begins to pedal their electric bike, the built-in motion sensors pick on the rider’s pedaling motion. These sensors then signal the electric motor, triggering it to start working.
- The electric bike’s electric motor uses the battery’s stored chemical energy, which it then converts to kinetic energy.
- The newly created kinetic energy is transported to the tires of this kind of eBike via the energy transmitters.
- As a result, the additional kinetic energy allows the electric bike to pick up speed without requiring the rider to pedal more aggressively.
Read How Do Electric Bikes Without Pedals Work?
Do all Electric Bikes Need to be Pedaled?
In this era, the typical consumer is more vocal and has greater purchasing power than ever seen before in the history of commerce and consumerism.
Hence, all products that are crafted or engineered are designed primarily to cater to different kinds of consumer needs.
As a result, electric bike designers and manufacturers have been able to design and create different types of electric bikes to fulfill the needs of different consumers.
The most common type of electric bike that can be found abundantly across the globe is the pedal assist electric bike, and these bikes cannot function without the rider’s pedaling motion.
However, not all electric bikes are designed to depend on the rider’s pedaling motion and physical effort.
For consumers who wish to enjoy a high-speed ride, with uninterrupted motion, without having to pedal the electric bike physically, e-bike designers and manufacturers have created the pedal-less throttle electric bike.
These electric bikes may or may not come with a set of pedals, and their motion or speed does not directly depend on the rider’s pedaling motion.
How Do Pedal Less Electric Bikes Differ from Pedal Assist Electric Bikes?
One major difference that immediately helps a consumer identify whether the electric bike is a pedal assist electric bike or a pedal-less throttle electric bike is the presence or absence of riding pedals.
While pedal assist electric bikes will always come with a pedal on either side, just like a traditional bike, this is not always the case with pedal-less throttle electric bikes.
Pedal-less throttle electric bikes may or may not come with a set of pedals; however, regardless, their motion is not dependent on the rider’s pedaling motion.
This means that even if the pedal-less throttle electric bike has a set of pedals, the electric bike can still gain mobility and speed without requiring the rider to pedal.
The rider can either save the battery charging and pedal the electric bike or rest their feet on the pedal and ride the electric bike like an e-scooter.
The second type of pedal-less throttle electric bike does not have any pedals on either of its sides and only has a set of footrests.
This pedal-less throttle electric bike is much more similar to an electric motorbike than a traditional bike, as the rider does not have the option to pedal.
Whether the pedal-less throttle electric bikes come with a set of pedals or not, their mechanisms, features, and targeted consumers are different from that of the pedal-assist electric bike.
The common differences between a pedal assist and a pedal-less throttle electric bike are as follows:
- While a pedal assist electric bike’s mobility is directly dependent on the rider’s pedaling motion, this is not the case for pedal-less throttle electric bikes.
- Since the pedal assist electric bikes depend on the rider’s pedaling, their top speeds are usually lesser than that of the pedal-less throttle electric bike.
- Most pedal-assist electric bikes can usually go up to a maximum of 20 to 28 miles per hour speed, while common pedal-less throttle electrics can go up to 35 to 40 miles per hour.
- Due to lower top speeds, the pedal assist electric is generally safer and more suitable for young, old, physically challenged, injured, or inexperienced riders.
- Pedal assist electric bikes allow their riders to benefit from a leg workout and burn off some calories, while riders on pedal-less throttle electric bikes may not have this benefit.
- Unlike pedal assist electric bikes that are designed to be safe and easily controllable, the pedal-less throttle electric bikes are designed to cater to a different kind of consumer group.
- Riders who wish to experience uninterrupted momentums, prefer to ride at higher speeds, and want to experience a more challenging and thrilling ride usually go for pedal-less throttle electric bikes.
- Pedal assist electric bikes are more easily available and relatively cheaper than most pedal-less throttle electric bikes.
- While most pedal-assist electric bikes come with aluminum alloy frames, pedal-less throttle electric bikes are designed to have stronger and more rigid steel frames. The stronger frames along with thicker and bulkier tires, are designed to maintain performance and withstand the influence of electricity at higher speeds.
Read Can an Electric Bike Run Without Pedaling?
Pros of Having a Pedal Assist Electric Bike
- Cheaper than most other electric bikes.
- Lighter in weight and hence easier to transport than pedal-assist electric bikes.
- Physical pedaling allows the rider to benefit from a leg workout and shed some extra weight.
- Pedal assist electric bikes reduce an individual’s dependence on gasoline-powered personal cars or public transport, hence contributing to a sustainable environment.
- Owning the electric bike allows a person to reduce their average transportation costs as the cost of recharging the electric bike is lesser than refueling a gasoline-powered car.
- Pedaling the electric bike allows the rider to save battery charge, which they can eventually use when they get tired or wish to ride at higher speeds.
- The costs of recharging, running, or maintaining a pedal assist electric bike are relatively less than for other types of electric bikes.
- Pedal assist electric bikes help reduce road traffic.
Cons of Having a Pedal Assist Electric Bike
- Riders cannot go very fast.
- Consistent pedaling can make a person tired and sweaty. This especially becomes a problem when the person is riding to work or to an important meeting.
- The low top speeds may result in a person reaching late for work or school.
Pros of Having a Pedal-less Throttle Electric Bike
- The pedal-less throttle electric bikes are stronger and bulkier; hence, they can carry heavier riders.
- The pedal-less throttle electric bikes allow riders to go at higher speeds. As a result, people can get to work or school on time.
- Since pedal-less throttle electric bikes do not depend on pedaling, a person can reach their destination without having to break a sweat.
- The pedal-less throttle electric bikes reduce an individual’s dependency on gasoline-powered personal cars or public transport, hence contributing to environmental sustainability. These bikes are especially beneficial when a person has to travel long distances.
- Owning these electric bikes allows a person to reduce their average transportation costs.
- The pedal-less throttle electric bikes help reduce road traffic.
Cons of Having a Pedal-less Throttle Electric Bike
- Due to their high-top speeds, pedal-less throttle electric bikes are banned in some American states and countries.
- Many countries require an official license for the use of a pedal-less throttle electric bike.
- Riding a pedal-less throttle electric bike is often risky and dangerous for young and inexperienced riders.
- The heavy weight of the pedal-less throttle electric bikes can affect their rideability, and can make their transportability more challenging.
- Since the rider cannot pedal these electric bikes to preserve some battery charging, the average costs associated with owning and using a pedal-less throttle electric bike are usually higher.
Although most electric bikes require pedaling just like traditional bikes to remain mobile and gain speed, this is not always the case.
Owning a pedal-less throttle electric bike allows a rider to enjoy a fast and uninterrupted riding momentum without worrying about physically pedaling the electric bike.
While pedal assist and pedal-less throttle electric bikes offer unique advantages and disadvantages, choosing the right type of electric bike comes down to the consumer’s personal needs and preferences.
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- How Long Do Bosch Electric Bike Batteries Last?
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- How Often to Service Electric Bike
- How Far Can a 500-Watt Electric Bike Go on One Charge?
- What is the Fastest Electric Bike You Can Buy?
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.