Are you wondering if it is necessary to pedal e-bikes? It is logical to assume that an e-bike doesn’t require pedaling, but this is not always the case.
Electric bikes with a throttle can be operated without pedaling. Electric bikes have three modes: pedal assist (adds power while pedaling), throttle (applies power without pedaling) or a combination of pedal assist with a throttle. My favorite is a combination. Remember this when shopping for an eBike, sometimes it isn’t clear what mode options are on the eBike.
This article covers all the instances in which you must pedal an e-bike.
A throttle-controlled e-bike activates via a handgrip or thumb throttle on the handlebar. The rider can control the bike’s speed by turning the throttle, regardless of whether they are pedaling. It allows the rider to ride the bike without pedaling, similar to a moped or scooter.
A pedal-assist e-bike is activated by pedaling. The electric motor assists the rider while they are pedaling. Usually, you can adjust the level of assistance the engine provides to low, medium, or high using a controller on the handlebar.
The rider can also completely turn off the pedal assist and ride like a traditional bicycle.
In summary, a throttle-controlled e-bike allows the rider to control the speed without pedaling. In contrast, a pedal-assist e-bike requires pedaling to activate the motor’s assistance.
It’s essential to check your local regulations before using an e-bike with a throttle. Some countries or local laws may require pedaling for an e-bike to be considered a bicycle, not a motorcycle.
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- What is “Pedal Assist? Let me explain it in this article. 👉 What is Pedal Assist and How Does it Work?
If an e-bike comes with a throttle, it allows the rider to control its speed without pedaling. However, in most cases, it is recommended to pedal along with the motor’s assistance to maintain the battery life.
When using a throttle on a very steep road, it might be necessary to pedal to help the bike get over the hill, although some e-bikes could go uphill without problems. But if that happens, you do not have to pedal too hard.
Several e-bikes are available on the market, each with unique features and designs. Some have more powerful motors, for example, allowing the rider the freedom of not pedaling at all. Although, that’s now an electric motorbike, now isn’t it?
Some of the most common types of e-bikes include:
- Pedal-Assist E-Bikes: These e-bikes have a motor that assists the rider while pedaling. You can adjust the aid level to low, medium, or high.
- Throttle-controlled E-bikes: These e-bikes have a handgrip or thumb throttle on the handlebar that controls the bike’s speed, regardless of whether the rider is pedaling.
- Folding E-bikes: These e-bikes are easily collapsible, making them convenient for transportation and storage.
- Cargo E-bikes: These e-bikes transport cargo like a courier; they have a larger frame and carry more weight than other e-bikes.
- Mountain E-bikes: These e-bikes are great off-road use machines, with features such as suspension, knobby tires, and a powerful motor.
- Road E-bikes: By design, these e-bikes are for on-road use, with lightweight frames, narrow tires, and a more efficient motor.
- Fat tire E-bikes: These e-bikes have extra-wide tires that provide more stability and traction on rough terrain.
- Step-through E-bikes: These e-bikes have a lower-top tube, making it easier to get on and off.
The top speed of an e-bike without pedaling depends on the motor’s power and design. Most e-bikes have a top speed of 20-28 mph (32-45 km/h) when using the electric motor alone.
However, some high-performance e-bikes can reach up to 45 mph (ca. 72 km/h) or even more. Local laws can also limit the speed; it’s essential to check your local regulations before using an e-bike.
Yes, it is possible to turn off the pedal assist on an e-bike. Most e-bikes have a controller that allows the rider to adjust the level of assistance the motor provides.
The level of assistance can typically be adjusted to low, medium, high, or turned off completely.
When the pedal assist is off, the rider must pedal the bike without the electric motor’s assistance. Some e-bikes have a “walk assist” feature that allows the rider to use the electric motor to walk the bike when it is too heavy to push.
RIDE e MTB Pro Tip: With eBikes growing in popularity learning all the terms and definitions can be a bit overwhelming. Let me help with this comprehensive glossary. 👉 eBike Glossary
When you pedal an e-bike, the movement of the pedals DOES NOT generate electricity to charge the battery.
Some e-bikes use a system called regenerative braking, which captures some energy generated when the rider applies the brakes and uses it to charge the battery. It is a common way to recharge the battery while riding an e-bike.
It is possible to go uphill on an e-bike without pedaling. However, the amount you’ll have to work depends on the power of the motor and the design of the bike, as well as the steepness of the hill. You might have to pedal some if the bike is not powerful enough. Generally, e-bikes are equipped with a motor that assists the rider while pedaling, and this assistance can help the rider climb hills with less effort.
Check out this article if your interested in hills 👉 Can an eBike Climb Steep Hills
The amount of electricity an e-bike uses depends on several factors, such as the motor’s power, the level of assistance used, the terrain, and the rider’s weight. On average, an e-bike can travel between 20–50 miles (32-80 km) per charge, with the cost to charge the battery typically ranging from a few cents to a dollar or so.
On average, most e-bikes can travel between 20–50 miles (32-80 km) per charge when using the electric motor alone. However, high-performance e-bikes with larger batteries can travel up to 100 miles (ca. 161 km) per charge.
- Cybergyebikes,“ FAQ,” https://www.cynergyebikes.com/about-ebikes-s/117.htm#:~:, last accessed January 26, 2023
- Electrek.co,“ The truth: How far can an electric bicycle really go on a single charge?,” https://electrek.co/2020/06/12/how-far-can-an-electric-bicycle-really-go-on-a-charge/, last accessed January 26, 2023
- Electric Biking, “Will an Electric Bike Charge as You Pedal?”, https://electric-biking.com/will-an-electric-bike-charge-as-you-pedal/, last accessed January 26, 2023
- History Computer, “Guide to e-Bikes: How They Work, Different Types, and Road vs Mountain,” https://history-computer.com/e-bikes-guide/, last accessed January 26, 2023
- Wikipedia, “Electric bikes,”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_bicycle, last accessed January 26, 2023