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Electric bikes are growing in popularity, and with good reason. The technology has improved greatly over the last year or two, and with far longer battery lives, improved build quality, and more interesting designs, e-bikes now represent one-quarter of all bike sales in the US alone. That is quite a staggering increase from just a few years ago.

So, e-bikes are becoming way more appreciated, with most people in agreement that e-bikes are an accepted method of transport for both work and play. However, there is some confusion as to which type of e-bike might be the best choice for your own individual circumstance; throttle or pedal assist.

Throttle Vs Pedal Assist - Which Is Best?

Choosing the right mode of biking can be quite tricky, especially if you're new to the world of e-bikes. Unless that is, you are armed with the right information. To that end, we have put together a jargon-free article without clutter or confusion to help you decide which is the better option; e-bike pedal assist vs throttle.

Pedal assist and throttle are the two most popular modes of operation for e-bikes, but they do function differently, and each has its own set of pros and cons. To help you make the decision process a little easier, let's take a closer look at both types and see which one is the best fit for you. But first, let us address the basics: what exactly are throttle assist and peddle assist?

What Is Pedal Assist? 

Pedal-assist electric bikes are a combination of battery and pedal-powered. Basically, the two work together to offer a power-supported pedal. They have gained popularity in countries where cycling is a common mode of transportation especially.

Despite the common misconception, a pedal-assist e-bike is not necessarily heavy, at least in comparison to the older models. Having said that, you may feel extra weight when the pedal function is turned off.

Riding a pedal-assist e-bike at the top power support level can give riders a truly wonderfully ‘free’ feeling as they fly along at a reasonable speed with very little effort. However, it is important to be cautious and aware of potential injuries, especially in harsh weather conditions, of course.

Also, with a pedal assist, climbing uphill is also made much easier, even with low pedal support from the e-bike. Speed is also no issue on the flats. In Canada and the US, pedal assists are classified into two main groups, consisting of ‘group one’ and ‘group three.’ Class one electric bikes have a maximum speed of 20 mph, while class three electric bikes have a maximum speed of 28 mph - surprisingly quick, you might agree!

What About Throttle? 

Continuing with the theme of electric pedal assist vs throttle, the main feature that sets throttle apart from pedal-assist bikes is, obviously, the throttle mechanism. In a similar fashion to a motorbike, the throttle is typically situated on the handlebars or the grip and is used to directly power up the motor to the top speed - all without requiring any pedaling. Just twist the throttle, and off you go.

Throttle e-bikes are particularly useful when riders may be lagging in energy somewhat, allowing riders to easily get up to suitable speed without the need for pedaling - although the option to pedal is there, should the ride want it. 

Throttle e-bikes are also divided into different classes; Class one throttle e-bikes generally have a top speed of 20 mph, while their class two counterparts have a top speed of 20 mph but also include a pedal-assist feature. Class three throttle e-bikes have a top speed of 28 mph and can only be ridden on designated bicycle lanes or streets, as they are almost (but not quite) in the same ballpark as small engine scooters.

Pedal Assist Vs Throttle - Which Is The Safest?

There has been an ongoing debate over which type of e-bike is safer when it comes to throttle vs pedal assist. As you might expect, there is no clear-cut answer, as both modes have their own unique set of features and benefits. Pedal-assist e-bikes can typically operate at a higher speed than throttle e-bikes, although the difference in speed is not significant enough to be an overwhelmingly clear factor in terms of overall rider safety.

Basically, you can view this question with one simple, common sense thought in mind: the safety of the ride depends on the rider and how they choose to handle the bike when they are out and about. Whether you are using a pedal-assist or throttle e-bike, you will probably ride at your preferred speed anyway, with or without assistance from the motor. To that end, the safety rate of both modes is negligible and probably about the same.

One thing to take into consideration is that electric bikes are built with a maximum speed limit, which is often a reflection of local regulations. They can be extremely different from country to country or, in America, state to state. Considering this maximum speed, there isn't really any difference in terms of pedal assist vs throttle e-bike. 

Pedal Assist vs Throttle Pros & Cons 

Again, the question *which type is the best* is highly subjective, depending on your own personal preferences. If we take a look at the pros and cons of both throttle and pedal assist, you might find it a little easier to decide which type of e-bike is better suited for you as a rider. Let's take a look at the good and bad of both, starting with pedal assist. 

Pros of Pedal Assist E-bikes

The most obvious benefit of a pedal assist is that they offer extra help when pedaling. With this type of e-bike, the motor only kicks in when the rider is pedaling, which results in a more natural and engaging ride style for most people. 

Pedal assist delivers a smooth and enjoyable ride, with the added benefit of having a longer battery life than most throttle e-bikes. This makes them the perfect e-bike for longer journeys in particular. Pedal assist e-bikes are also more environmentally friendly, as they encourage physical activity (and let's be honest, most of us need more of that) while also reducing carbon emissions.

Cons of Pedal Assist E-bikes

One of the main drawbacks of pedal-assist e-bikes is that they can often be more expensive than regular throttle e-bikes, at least in most cases. Whether you define this as a negative, however, depends entirely on your breathing room, financially.

They require more effort to use because the rider has to keep pedaling to keep the motor running, but then that is the whole point of a pedal assist, really.

If you are not a fan of exercise or have restricted mobility, pedal-assist e-bikes may not be the best option for you as they do require some effort. For many people, that is the whole point, though!

Pros of Throttle E-bikes

Throttle e-bikes are a fantastic option for those who want to unwind and enjoy the ride because they are simple to use and demand little physical exertion. They are often less expensive than pedal-assist e-bikes and ideal for short journeys and quick errands. With a throttle e-bike, you may also quickly increase your pace without exerting much effort when you need it.

Cons of Throttle E-bikes

Due to the constant power use, one of the main drawbacks of throttle e-bikes is that they have a shorter battery life than pedal-assist e-bikes. They may also be less environmentally friendly because they don't encourage exercise or physical activity. 

Throttle e-bikes are less suited for longer journeys and more tough terrain because they can be hefty and challenging to handle - off-road biking requires something more light to ‘throw around’ trails, and in that regard, a more weighty throttle assist isn't ideal. They are getting lighter, however, as innovation moves forward.

Wrap-Up

Choosing between a throttle e-bike and a pedal-assist e-bike isn't a particularly complicated process and depends entirely on your specific needs and preferences. Both types of e-bikes have their pros and cons, but really, the decision process revolves around one simple truth; are you looking for an effortless ride or something with a little more input required?

Those of you who are looking to expend a little energy without breaking a sweat too much will be better suited to pedal assist. On the other hand, those who are looking for something completely effortless will want to consider a throttle assist. It really is as simple as that! 

Ultimately, the best e-bike for you depends on your personal preferences and how you plan to use it. Whether you choose a throttle e-bike or a pedal-assist e-bike, make sure to invest in a quality bike that meets your needs and is built to last.

If you're interested in checking out our full range of e-bikes, head over to the Fiido store, which includes both throttle and pedal assist, so you can find the perfect fit for you. 

Happy biking!

Experience