Throttle and pedal assist are two different methods for powering an electric bike.

A throttle allows the rider to control the amount of power being delivered to the electric motor by turning a thumb throttle or twisting a grip on the handlebars. This is similar to the throttle on a gasoline-powered motorcycle or scooter. With a throttle, the rider can control the speed and power of the electric bike without having to pedal.

Pedal assist, on the other hand, provides a boost to the rider's pedaling power. The electric motor is activated by the rider's pedaling and provides a boost to the rider's own power. The amount of assist can usually be adjusted using a control panel on the handlebars. With pedal assist, the rider still has to pedal, but the electric motor helps to make pedaling easier and more efficient.

Throttle Assist Advantages

The throttle on an electric bike
An example of a throttle e-bike

Throttle assist on an electric bike can provide several advantages.

Improved Speed Control 

A throttle allows you to adjust your speed more precisely, rather than relying on pedaling alone. This is useful when riding on hilly terrain, where the added power of the electric motor can help you maintain a consistent speed.

Increased Convenience

With a throttle, you don't have to pedal to get the bike moving. This helps riders who may have limited mobility or difficulty pedaling.

Safety Benefits

In some cases, a throttle can make it easier to get out of a dangerous situation, such as when you need to quickly accelerate to avoid a collision.

Better Rider Experience for Some

Some riders simply prefer the convenience and control that a throttle provides, and find it to be a more enjoyable way to ride an electric bike.

Pedal Assist Advantages

Pedal assist on an electric bike, also known as a pedal-assist system or a torque sensor, can provide several advantages.

Improved Energy Efficiency

With a pedal-assist system, the electric motor only provides assistance when you are pedaling. This can help to extend the range of the electric bike, as the motor is only used when it is needed.

An Enhanced Ride

Pedal assist can provide a more natural riding experience, as the motor only provides assistance when you are pedaling. It feels more like a traditional bike, rather than a motorized vehicle.

Easier to Control

Pedal assist can help to make riding an electric bike safer, as the rider is still in control of the speed and acceleration of the bike. This is magnified when riding on crowded roads or in areas with pedestrians.

Increased Workout

With pedal assist, you still have to pedal to get the bike moving, which can provide a low-impact workout. This can be especially beneficial for riders who are looking for a way to exercise that is easy on the joints.

Local Rules

Pedal Assist electric bikes are allowed in almost all places while throttles are often subject to much more stringent regulations.

Making your Decision

Both throttle and pedal assist have their own advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, the choice between throttle and pedal assist will depend on the rider's preferences and needs.