Pedal Assist and Full Throttle on Electric Bikes

March 22, 2019
Pedal Assist and Full Throttle on Electric Bikes

Hey guys, Dustin here; CEO of SixThreeZero. I want to talk to you today about the differences between a pedal assist Electric Bike and a full throttle Electric Bike. So, let's get into it.

The term, pedal assist, basically means that the motor will only engage or help you when you're pedaling. So, there are basically two types of motors that exist, or one motor can do both. So, pedal assist means that, as I said, the motor will only engage when you are pedaling.

Full throttle means that, essentially, if you engage the motor, either with a twist throttle or thumb throttle, that motor will power you with or without you pedaling. So, that's really the biggest difference.

Now, another major difference is going to be the top speed. If you're using the pedal assist you're going to be able to hit way higher top speeds than you would on full throttle. And that's just basically because you're going to be using your power, plus the motor's power, to get the bike moving. And so, generally speaking, while in the U.S., it's only by law your bike can only go max 20 miles an hour in full throttle mode, and 28 miles an hour in the pedal assist mode. That's for eBikes only.

Now, obviously, a normal bicycle without a motor, there are lots of people out there that can power their bike beyond 28 miles an hour with just under their own power. So, that's essentially the biggest difference, is that the pedal assist is going to require the writer to pedal, and full throttle, it requires no pedaling at all.

Now, some other benefits of the pedal assist versus the full throttle. If you're using your motor more in pedal assist, it's going to prolong the life of both the battery and the motor. If you're constantly using your bike in full throttle mode, you're going to be putting a lot more strain on the motor, especially if you're riding up hilly conditions, very steep hills, or lots of hills, or going long distances. Basically, just the more torque that you're putting on that motor on a consistent basis, is going to wear down that motor quicker.

Now, not to say you can't service the motor, and try to prolong it and maintain it, just generally speaking, like a car, if you're running that motor more or putting more stress on it, there's things that can just go wrong over time.

Now, same is true of the battery. If you're running your eBike in pedal assist mode more, you're going to prolong the life of that battery, especially on your ride. So, let's say that you want to go 25 miles, and you want to be guaranteed to have at least power to help power the pedal assist, if you run the bike only in pedal assist mode, you're not putting as much strain on the battery during that time, so it's going to drain a lot slower, because the motor's getting power from your pedaling.

Whereas, if you're running it in full throttle, the battery's going to need a lot more juice to power you, especially depending on, like I said, hills, but also weather conditions. If it's very windy outside, and there's a lot of restraint against the rider, it's going to require the battery to use more juice, the motor to use more power. Also, the height and weight of the rider. It's really hard to say how long batteries will last because it's so dependent on the rider weight. Somebody who's 120 pounds, the battery's going to last much longer than someone who's 250 pounds. Just requires a lot more power, a lot more energy to power someone that's a little bit heavier.

So, my suggestion would be, if you are going longer distances, use the pedal assist mode as much as possible. It's going to leave your power for a longer period of time. If you're just out for a short jaunt, and you want to make sure you use full power, and you don't want to pedal at all, then it's great for those short trips. As long as you're okay, maybe the battery will die during your ride.

So, those are the major differences between pedal assist and full throttle. Check out our Electric Bikes on the Electric Bikes page on the top navigation. And don't forget, enter your height and weight into our body fit to see if our bikes will fit you. Get a thumbs up, thumbs down. If you get a thumbs down, please reach out, we could help you find a bike that fits you. And please, if you have any additional questions, don't hesitate to reach out 310-982-2877 by phone, or by email, We want to make sure we help find the right bike for you.

Now, I'm sure there are things I didn't fully cover, or perhaps some things remain unclear. So let's jump into frequently asked questions. Readers type in these questions online, so here are the answers.

How pedal assist works?

Good question! It helps bikers move faster and pedal more easily. You can turn it on and off. When it is on, you pick the level of assistance you want. The feeling is kind of like you are being pushed as you ride.

Most electric bikes give you low, medium or high assistance (some bikes have more modes than these three). Low equals about 30% of the power you put in, while medium equals 60%. High is 100%. On high, you essentially get twice the power, going 200% instead of the 100% you were previously. So, low is 130%, and medium is 160%.

What is a pedal assist bike?

It is one of the modes on electric bikes (also called e-bikes). The bicycle motor contributes some of the power that gets you moving, and it is a huge help on hilly, windy or long rides.

Do you still need to pedal an electric bike?

Not with all electric bikes. Some let you ride without pedaling. That's if you are in North America. Europe does things differently, requiring that you have to pedal. In any case, pedaling really enhances the biking experience. It even helps you climb hills better. In fact, hills are a lot easier to ascend with the combination of foot power and motor power. If you try to go up a hill on the throttle alone (with no pedal power of your own), you put the bike under quite a bit of strain. The trip takes longer. Other benefits of pedaling include extended battery life and extended motor life. It's great for your health, too!

What does pedal assist mean?

On a basic level, it means you have an electric bike, and your riding experience is more fun. E-bikes have built-in electric motors, but the bikes look and handle like a traditional bike. Most of the parts are the same, too. Pedal assist is not meant to replace pedaling with your feet. Rather, it is a way to help you get through trouble spots better. Get over hills and through winds more easily without depleting your energy. People also love it because they can pay more attention to their surroundings. That's one reason senior citizens really like pedal assist.

What if I want pedal only on my electric bike?

You can do that! Pedal assist is an on/off mode. Press a button turn it off. When you are on pedal only, the experience of riding your e-bike is the same as if you rode a regular bike.

How do you operate pedal assist?

The handlebars have an on/off button. Press "on" to turn on pedal assist, and press the button multiple times to get the low/medium/high setting you want.

How fast can I go with pedal assist?

You can go up to 28 miles per hour with Class 3 bikes. If you travel faster than that, the pedal assist reduces its power until you are at 28 mph. Remember that it is possible to turn off pedal assist, so do that if you would like to go faster than 28 mph.

Can I get a full throttle bike?

Many e-bikes have a full throttle mode. However, the law restricts how fast you can go to 20 mph. Riding in full throttle drains the battery faster and leads to more wear and tear on the motor. You'll need to get your bike serviced more often if you use full throttle a lot. If it's windy or you are going up a steep incline, the throttle comes under even more strain.

Remember to check out our electric bikes. Enter your height and weight to see which of our bikes fit you.

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