Lifestyle image of a group of friends riding their Super73 ebikes.

Pedal Assist Vs. Throttle: How Are They Different?

If you’ve been thoroughly researching your electric bikes, you’re familiar with the finer points of how they work: either the electric motor assists you as you pedal, or you control how much assistance you get from it with a throttle. 
Electric Bike Battery Charging Guide And Tips Reading Pedal Assist Vs. Throttle: How Are They Different? 5 minutes Next Electric Bike Helmets And Safety

What's The Difference Between Pedal Assist & Throttle

If you’ve been thoroughly researching your electric bikes, you’re familiar with the finer points of how they work: either the electric motor assists you as you pedal, or you control how much assistance you get from it with a throttle. 

But there’s much more about ebike pedal assist that you should know if you’re going to make an informed decision when it comes time to buy.

What Are the Different Modes in an Electric Bike?

Electric bike modes are probably most clearly explained with a little primer on the three classes of ebikes: 

  • Class 1: pedal-actuated assist up to 20 mph

  • Class 2: pedal-actuated or throttle-actuated assist up to 20 mph

  • Class 3: pedal-actuated assist up to 28 mph

These three classes are legally mandated, and manufacturers must ensure their bikes comply with these limitations. With that in mind, there are many state and local variations on these themes that can make a big difference when you’re having a roadside chat with Johnny Law, so it’s best to make sure before you ride.

You can be your own best friend by learning your local statutes and cycling responsibly on paths where pedestrians are present.

What Is Pedal Assist and Throttle in an Electric Bike?

The difference between ebike pedal assist and ebike throttle assist is pretty simple. 

In the case of a pedal-assist design, a cadence sensor is installed near the bottom bracket (where the cranks attach). This device tracks how many revolutions per minute your cranks are turning. If you’re pedaling, the cadence sensor picks up this motion and activates the electric motor, giving you motor assist.

But in a throttle-actuated design, it’s a little more like a motorcycle. You don’t have to pedal to access your electric motor’s power. All you need to do is add a little pressure to the throttle with your thumb, and you’ll get as much or as little assistance as you like. 

The beauty of either system is that it’s like riding a bike, only better.

What Is the Difference Between the Two? Are There Pros and Cons to Each?

Like with those aforementioned electric bike modes, there are pros and cons.

Pedal pros include:

  • It’s like riding a bike

  • There’s absolutely no learning curve

  • It’s usually less expensive

Pedal cons are:

  • Limited speed and range

  • Fewer features (like quality suspension)

Throttle pros include:

  • It’s like riding an electric motorcycle

  • More refined control through the throttle

Throttle cons are:

  • Usually more expensive

  • Sometimes prohibited from bike paths where pedestrians are present

It’s important to know if throttle-assisted ebikes are allowed where you intend to ride one. But since Super73 is an innovative manufacturer, there is another, more flexible approach, and it gives you many options. Read on to learn more.

How to Decide Between Pedal-Assist or Throttle on an Electric Bike

You might be thinking that it comes down to how fast you’d like to go because if you absolutely must be able to cruise at 28 mph, then you must ride a Class 3 ebike. 

But not so fast.

Take the Super73 R Series, for instance. With Super73’s Multi-Class Ride Modes, you can set up the bike in Class 1, Class 2, or Class 3 mode. It all depends on what you need for the situation. 

But that’s not all — because Super73’s Multi-Class Ride Modes also allow you to unlock Off-Road Mode and accelerate beyond the 28 mph on-road limit. Your top speed will vary depending on conditions and rider weight.

So whether you prefer the ebike throttle method or pedaling your way to ebike perfection — the choice is yours with Super73. 

Other Considerations

Since an electrically assisted bike allows you to ride farther and faster than you normally would on your own, certain things are pretty clear when you think about it. 

It’s a great idea to wear a helmet on an ebike, and it’s also critical that the bike has head and tail lights since, on city streets at least, this type of bike can move at or above the speed of traffic.

You’ll also want to consider a model with quality suspension of some kind, at least upfront. Bumps and surface imperfections in the road that aren’t that big of a deal on an analog bike will matter more on an ebike. That also means making sure the saddle is a little more substantial.

Thankfully, Super73 bikes have all those bases covered and more.

Super73: The Best Choice

Whether pedal or throttle-actuated motor assist is best for you, Super73 has a ton of different models, colors, and options to choose from. Check out our website and our FAQ, and whatever else you do, have fun!