There are many different types of e-bikes available to consumers these days. There are lightweight foldable e-bikes, step-thru e-bikes, fat tire e-bikes, commuter e-bikes, pedal-assist e-bikes, and throttle-only e-bikes, just to name a few. It can be difficult to understand the differences that set them apart from one another, but we’re here to help.
Today we are going to cover key characteristics associated with pedal assist electric bikes and the situations in which they excel. Pedal-assist electric bikes have become the talk of the town almost everywhere you go. But due to their traditional styling and functionality, you may not even know you are looking at one while it is riding in front of you. Let’s explore this unique riding experience.
What is a Pedal Assist E-bike?
As the name implies, pedal-assist electric bikes are bikes outfitted with a battery and motor that provide assistance to the rider while he or she is pedaling. Pedal-assist e-bikes are different than throttle-only e-bikes, which only give power when the throttle trigger or handle is used. Pedal assist electric bikes may have a throttle, but it is an add-on feature in addition to pedal-assist.
Some pedal assist e-bikes use a greasy chain that can come loose or catch on your clothing, while other electric bicycles use belt drive or shaft drive systems that are cleaner and longer lasting.
How Does Pedal Assist Work?
Pedal assist works in a few different ways. Typically, these bikes will have levels from zero to three or zero to five, which can be manually chosen by the rider. The higher the number, the more assistance is provided by the motor. If zero is chosen, the bike will not give any extra power while the rider pedals. It will operate just like a traditional bike from years ago. But with pedal-assist, the minute a rider starts pedaling, the bike’s help kicks in.
Some bikes, such as the Honbike U4, use riding modes instead of a range of numbers. The pedal-assist modes in this type of bike are Eco, City, and Sport. Eco provides the least amount of additional power but the longest range, while Sport provides the most power but the shortest battery range. This is why you will see e-bikes give a range for the distance the e-bike can travel. It will depend on the pedal-assist level chosen by the rider and other characteristics of the rider, such as weight or wind resistance. City mode is a balance between the two and is often used in urban situations due to its name.
At 15.5mph, you will receive no additional assistance from the Honbike U4’s motor. This is different from bike to bike and often depends on the regulations that the manufacturer is attempting to follow. For example, many European laws, such as those in Germany, require the bike to provide no assistance past 25km/h. In the U.S., 20 mph is the top cut-off point according to the law for pedal-assist e-bikes to provide additional power while still remaining Class 1 or 2 e-bikes.
What are the Core Benefits of Pedal Assist?
The benefits of pedal-assist might not be obvious at first, but they are numerous. By choosing the level or riding mode, one can customize their workout and level of effort needed to cruise. The look of the rider on the electric bike while pedaling will seem natural and not arouse any thought from onlookers. Another benefit of pedal-assist is that riding is simply easier. Tough hills are a breeze with the added input from the bike’s motor.
Some bikes even come with built-in gyroscopes, which help detect when you are starting from an upward position, such as on a hill, and adds a little extra power automatically when the rider starts pedaling.
Who Should Use a Pedal-Assist E-bike?
Anyone looking for optionality in their ride should consider a pedal-assist electric bike. At the top of the list are commuters traveling to and from work each day. They likely do not want to arrive sweaty and disheveled from a difficult ride, so assistance from the electric motor should greatly improve their experience.
Those riders looking for the confidence to tackle big hills or tough terrain will also benefit from a pedal-assist system. Any rider looking for a fun or novel way to explore their city or town will love it. Senior riders especially like the convenience of pedal-assist as it decreases the difficulties inherent to riding in old age. For example, an old knee injury may come back to haunt you on a regular bike after a long ride, but thanks to pedal-assist, if any pain is experienced, a high level of pedal-assist can be chosen to lessen the strain. Of course, do not ride if you experience any prolonged feelings of pain or discomfort, no matter your confidence.
Where are Pedal-Assist E-bikes Useful?
Pedal assist e-bikes stand out in the city and urban environments where bike lanes and city streets allow the rider to flow quickly. Anywhere where long commutes are present can be improved by this type of bike. Lastly, taking an e-bike with pedal assist on vacation will ensure you are full of energy to tackle each day and can explore to your heart’s content. Riding up and down the beach sidewalk or boardwalk will let you take in the view without breaking a sweat.
Of all these benefits and use cases, perhaps the best feature is also the most inspiring – which is the empowerment you can get on the bike no matter the weather or your level of fatigue. Never again worry about a distance or elevation with a pedal-assist e-bike. By providing power to the rider as they pedal, these e-bikes have become a fan favorite for commuters, vacationers, and seniors looking to stay competitive and ride efficiently. By customizing the level of manual effort, you want to exert, the choice is in your hands, literally.
Once you start pedaling with the power of a pedal-assist e-bike, you won’t ever want to stop!