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The Electric Bike Basics: Electric Assist vs Throttle

Electric Assist or Throttle: Which is Better?

Depends on what you look for in an electric bicycle.

All e-bikes are built different. The power, range and speed change depending on make, model and battery type.

For starters, electric bikes generally have two distinctive systems:

Pedal assisted (also known as power-assisted):

Electric bikes designed to assist you during your ride. These types of e-bikes will supplement your pedaling so that you can climb hills easily and never worry about the ride back home. They are not meant to substitute pedaling.

Some pedal-assisted bikes come with a standard level of assistance that will initiate as soon as you start to pedal.

High-end electric bicycles normally allow you to determine the level of assistance. Most models have three level of assistance:

-Low: You feel the assist and it makes the ride smoother and slightly faster. Like riding a bike with a 'magical' push. You need to pedal at about the same rhythm as you would in a regular bike while putting less effort. Because of the pedaling, you are still getting to exercise.

-Medium: This moderate level of assistance is a good balance between pedaling and electric power. The assist makes the ride faster and even more effortless than the "low." You spend less time pedaling and more time enjoying the ride.

-High: Now you are going fast! The bike rides quickly and easy on the road with minimal pedaling or effort. This high level of power assistant is good when you want to ride quickly without arriving disheveled and dripping.

Some electric bikes have more levels, which minimizes the difference between each level of assist.

Full-Power (Throttle)

These types of e-bikes are designed to reduce or eliminate pedaling. They operate similar to scooter and motorcycles. A throttle allows you to just relax and enjoy the ride comfortably without getting tired or sweaty.

To ride a e-bike on full-power, you need to twist the throttle, just as you would a scooter or motorcycle.

Some throttle electric bikes have an ON/OFF feature to engage or disengage full-power.


Don't stress it too much. Most e-bikes now come with both systems.

Understanding the difference between electric assist and throttle will help you choose an electric bike that better fits you needs.

Let us know what you think and which side are you on.


The pedal assist is a great feature and until someone actually rides a bike with pedal assist, they don't understand how great an e-bike is.

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