Electric bike throttles can give riders a quick boost to climb a hill, cross a large intersection, or catch up with a faster riding companion. The throttle can also be a safety feature, helping relatively older cyclists ensure they have the energy to make it home after a long ride. And throttles work very well in combination with a pedal assist or pedelecs system.
“There are so many features about the Delta that I love,” said Steve Brown, an EVELO Electric Bicycle customer in a video testimonial. “It actually has a throttle on it, so you can start off as smooth as you want. If you’re at a stop on a hill, you don’t have to worry about trying to get going pedaling. You can use that feature to get you started.”
Many modern electric bikes, like the Delta described above, have both a throttle and a pedal assist system. This configuration is great for commuters and recreational cyclists since it lets the rider control the motor either indirectly by pedaling or directly when the throttle is applied.
Electric Bike Motors
An electric motor is an ebike’s defining feature. It is the thing that separates it from a conventional bicycle or tricycle, and in all cases, the motor’s purpose is to propel the bike forward, augmenting its human-powered mechanical drive system.
For a recreational rider like Mr. Brown, who was 61 years old when his testimonial was filmed in 2018, the motor makes riding more enjoyable.
There is a “group ride that goes out every Saturday morning,” Brown said. “We go about 25 miles, and those guys, for the most part, are fast. So having an electric bike allows me to keep up with them. …They are amazed that a mountain bike like the EVELO Delta does such a great job.”
Similarly, a bicycle commuter riding ten or 15 miles a morning, can arrive at work without breaking a sweat with the motor’s help.
But there is more than one way to apply the motor’s power. Riders can get assistance pedaling or directly engage the motor with a throttle. Let’s consider how both of these systems work with the bike’s electronics.
How Pedal Assist Systems Work
A pedelecs or pedal-assist system uses sensors to measure pedal cadence, pedal torque, rear wheel speed, or some combination of these to provide an electric boost proportional to the rider’s effort.
The relative level of pedal assistance can be adjusted. For example, most EVELO bikes offer six levels of pedal assist from zero (no help) to five. But in each case, it is still the rider’s pedaling that determines the amount of assistance given.
“They do a Georgia Century Ride here where they actually close Georgia 400 down, which is a major expressway. …You get to choose from a nine-mile ride, a 22-mile ride, a 45-mile ride, a 62-mile ride, or a hundred-mile ride, and I did the 62-mile ride on the Delta and still had battery juice left over because I did a lot of the work myself because I wanted a really good workout,” said Brown in his EVELO testimonial.
Brown set the relative level of assistance he wanted the electric bike to provide, and in return, the pedal-assist system generated proportional power to help him reach his goal.
The Added Benefits of Electric Bike Throttles
A throttle controls an electric bike’s motor directly. Rather than monitoring how fast or hard a rider is pedaling, the throttle system is engaged with a simple press of a button. It provides instant power on demand.
“Power-on-demand bikes tend to offer an especially wide range of riding options since riders can choose precisely if and when the motor kicks in, as well as how much power it provides when it is in use. Cyclists using this type of bike can go anywhere from fully human-powered pedaling to fully motor-powered riding, and anywhere in between. For this reason, power-on-demand bikes generally give riders more control over their riding experience than any other type of electric bike,” according to “The Complete Electric Bike Buyer’s Guide.”
“Perfectly straddling the worlds of conventional bicycles and motorized vehicles, power-on-demand bikes are an ideal option for those who want the best of both worlds. They are very often the electric bike of choice for people who are looking for a way to ease into cycling, or who are interested in a way to control and gradually increase or decrease their level of physical exercise while riding. Power-on-demand bikes are also great for the all-around generalist, making it possible to go on a physically strenuous bike ride one day and then a quick and easy commute the next, all on a single vehicle.”