Electric assist for bicycle
Boost your ride! Our ebikes have pedal-assist technology that gives you the power to go farther and faster—without breaking a sweat.
Ride like a superhero
With speeds up to 18 MPH, these custom pedal-assist ebikes give you the power to tackle bridges, shave time off your commute, and experience more neighborhoods in less time. Just start pedaling and the power kicks in.
How to ride
Unlock an ebike. Use the Citi Bike or Lyft app and look for the ⚡ symbol.
Feel the power. Pedal-assist technology automatically kicks in once you’re riding — no need to press a button. We keep things simple with a single gear.
Dock as usual. Park at any station in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Jersey City or Hoboken.
Price by the minute
Annual Members pay an extra 0.17/minute, capped at 3 for rides 45 minutes or less that enter or exit Manhattan.
Non-Members pay 0.26/minute.Reduced Fare Bike Share Members pay 0.06/minute.
Happy (and safe) riding!
We always recommend that you wear a helmet, brake gradually with both hands, and be cautious in traffic when riding an ebike.
Go for a ride today
To find a Citi Bike ebike, just download the Citi Bike mobile app, look for the ⚡ symbol on the map, and get ready to experience New York in a whole new way.
Learn more about the Citi Bike ebike
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Electric assist for bicycle
The use of electric-assist bicycles (“e-bikes”) has grown rapidly over the last 5 years. Modern e-bikes often look indistinguishable from a “regular” bike but have robust batteries and technology which are capable of sensing when a rider needs a helping hand over a hill, into a headwind, or accelerating from a stop. While e-bikes have existed for years, recent advances in technology have allowed batteries to become smaller, lighter, cheaper, and longer range, enhancing the usefulness, appeal, and affordability of these machines. E-bikes appeal to many types of people but particularly for those who use them as a tool to overcome limited physical fitness, for people running everyday errands who want to carry heavier loads, and for parents transporting children. In addition, several bike share systems have begun adding e-bikes to their fleet in Pioneer Valley, in the LimeBike network, and elsewhere around Massachusetts, enhancing the appeal of bikeshare for everyday riding.
Current E-Bike Laws in Massachusetts
As of August 10, 2022, the e-bike definition language was signed into law as amendments to the Transportation Bond Bill (H.5151 ) to include Class 1 and Class 2 definitions for e-bikes. This law went into effect 90 days from signing, on November 8, 2022.
CLASS 1: Bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches 20 mph, with an electric motor of 750 watts or less. CLASS 2: Bicycle equipped with a throttle-actuated motor that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches 20 mph, with an electric motor of 750 watts or less.
Note: MassBike will continue to advocate for a Class 3 definition in order to match MA law with federal definitions and statewide regulations set by the Department of Conservation of Recreation.
E-bike riders are afforded all the rights and privileges related to all bicycle riders, except that e-bikes are not allowed to be ridden on sidewalks.
Class 1 and Class 2 electric bicycles are not considered to be motorized bicycles as further defined in MA law, as such are allowed on bikeways and bike paths, however a local jurisdiction may regulate and prohibit their use, but only after a public notice and public hearing.
E-bikes are not allowed on natural surface trails (ie. mountain bike trails) unless otherwise permitted by a local jurisdiction.
The Previous Law
Before the e-bike definition amendment passed in the Transportation Bond Bill, there was no designation with which to regulate e-bikes. However a “motorized bicycle” is defined as having a helper motor with a cylinder capacity not exceeding fifty cubic centimeters, an automatic transmission, and which is capable of a maximum speed of no more than thirty miles per hour. Motorized bicycle riders must be licensed, and are prohibited from off-street pathways.
The lack of similar designation for e-bike riders left ambiguity in where electric bicycles should be ridden on paths, trails, and sidewalks.
Want to read more about e-bikes? Click here for our in depth FAQ.
Thanks to Representative Natalie Blais (1st Franklin), the Transportation Bond Bill included a provision for 1M to establish a state rebate program to offset the cost of e-bikes with 500 rebates to consumers – and 750 rebates for low-income consumers. The bill directs the Department of Energy Resources to evaluate offering electric bicycle rebates at the point of sale through Massachusetts owned and operated bicycle retailers. This is a bond authorization that still needs to be included in the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) to be allocated, which is done by the Governor’s administration. Typically, the finance teams will begin this work early next year in 2023, with a plan released in late May or early June. Once the funding is included in the CIP, the grant program can be announced.
MassBike is advocating for the ability to apply the rebate retroactively, which is still in discussion.
Interested in e-bike rebates? You can elevate the issue by contacting your local State Representative and Senator to ask for their help making sure the CIP includes this rebate when finalized in 2023.
There is a bill in the House of Representatives, Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment Act or the E-BIKE Act, which would allow a refundable tax credit for 30% of the cost of a qualified electric bicycle. You can see the full bill here: H.R. 1019. E-Bike Act
Electric bicycles or electric–assist bicycles, commonly called e-bikes, are similar to standard bikes in appearance and operation but feature a small electric motor. The motor assists the rider by adding power to the wheels. Broadly speaking, e-bikes are either pedal-assist, meaning the motor is engaged by pedaling and cuts off at a designated top speed, or throttle-on-demand, with which the motor can propel the bike even if the rider is not pedaling.
It is the existence of a motor which explains why so many authorities at state and local levels struggle to classify these vehicles—whether as bicycles or as motorized vehicles like mopeds or motorcycles. How they are classified in turn informs how they are regulated. Among other restrictions, motorized vehicles (with the exception of personal mobility devices, such as electric wheelchairs) are often prohibited from shared use trails.
Although some in the cycling community approach the idea of a motor-powered bicycle with skepticism, these bikes are actually growing in popularity. Market research shows that sales of e-bikes in the United States totaled 65 million in 2016-17, a 95% increase over the previous 12 months. This growth is despite the high cost of e-bikes when compared to their traditional counterparts, which can serve as a deterrent to some potential users. But it’s not just individuals buying in: 1 in 4 bikes in Birmingham, Alabama’s bikeshare fleet are e-bikes, and dockless bikeshare providers have made e-bikes available to residents and visitors of several cities across the United States.
Proponents argue that with an e-bike, barriers to cycling such as hilly topography, long distances to destinations and the need to carry children or cargo—and the associated exertion and sweating—can be overcome. This enables people to make trips by bike that they might not have otherwise, substituting e-bikes in place of other modes, including cars.
There is no doubt that e-bikes are quieter and better for the environment than gas-powered vehicles. While there is debate about whether the health benefits of riding a pedal-assist bike are comparable to those from riding a conventional bike, e-bikes can act as a gateway to biking for sedentary or unconfident users.
Perhaps most significantly, e-bikes can grant people with physical limitations new recreation or transportation options. Indeed, the National Institute for Transportation and Communities’ (NITC) 2017-18 survey of e-bike owners indicates that the bikes not only appeal to the young and the able-bodied, but also to older riders and persons with disabilities, health issues or injuries who still wish to be able to bike for recreation.
E-bike related blogs:
Exploring America’s E-Bike Evolution
E-bikes have gained a solid foothold since emerging in the biking world over the past two decades, and their increased usage has sparked interest and questions in the trail community. This article examines the current policies and recommendations on e-bikes, the perceptions and concerns around them, and their potential benefits.
Trail Moments | Adventure for All: Advocating for Accessible Outdoor Spaces
People with disabilities also like a spectrum of experiences and—especially with all this new technology—are capable of a wide variety.
#TrailMoments with Albert Ting (@pootie_ting)
For me, the positive impact that going car-free has on air quality, reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions and decreasing traffic congestion far outweighs the benefits of owning a car.
Trail Moments | A Journey Along the Anacostia River Trail
As a longtime resident of Hyattsville, Maryland, I watched as the Anacostia River Trail (ART) was expanded and finally completed. It meanders along the Anacostia River from Bladensburg, Maryland, to D.C.’s Wharf area, about 12 miles one way. This is my favorite local trail—and it’s only 2 miles from my house!
Classification of E-bikes
The bike industry has developed a three-tier classification system for e-bikes to clearly delineate them from other motorized vehicles. This system is based on the power source and maximum assisted speed of the bicycle.
Class I e-bikes are those in which the motor provides a boost only when a rider is pedaling. The boost cuts out at 20 miles per hour (mph), and the rider must rely on their own muscle power to go any faster than that.
Class II e-bikes are those in which the throttle can be switched to provide a boost up to a maximum assisted speed of 20 mph, without any pedaling required. The boost cuts out at 20 mph, and the rider must rely on their own muscle power to go any faster than that.
Class III e-bikes are pedal-assist like Class I’s, except they have a maximum assisted speed of 28 mph. They are also equipped with a speedometer.
Typically, where e-bikes have been allowed off-road on multiuse trails, they have been Class I’s and Class II’s, and are subject to the same rules and regulations that govern other cyclists.
Regulation of E-bikes
Federal regulation of e-bikes is the responsibility of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which regulates the manufacture, initial sale and recall of low-speed e-bikes with a maximum speed of 20 mph under throttle. Critically, CPSC regulation of e-bikes does not include their usage.
According to the CPSC, a low-speed e-bike is defined as a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 horsepower), whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 mph.
Electric bikes which do not meet this low-speed definition may be subject to other regulations at the federal, state and local level, such as those governing mopeds, scooters or motorcycles.
The National Conference of State Legislatures provides a primer of the state laws relating to e-bikes. From that data:
- 31 states and the District of Columbia have a law defining e-bikes. In most cases, the bikes are considered distinct from motorized vehicles.
- 19 states gave no definition of e-bikes and are likely to classify them as motorized vehicles, typically with all the licensing and registration requirements implied therein. Since motorized vehicles are typically not allowed on multiuse trails, this precludes their use on these facilities, as well as in bike lanes and on sidewalks.
- Some states have instituted age restrictions on the use of e-bikes. And some states mandate helmet use while others do not.
E-bikes on Multiuse Trails
In Colorado, state law classifies e-bikes as bicycles, a default used across the state unless the local jurisdiction wishes to make its own regulations. In 2014, following this change to state policy, the City of Boulder introduced a year-long pilot program in which Class I and II e-bikes were allowed on certain hard-surface trails to investigate the behavior of e-bike users and whether they were compatible with other non-motorized uses. During the pilot, the City collected safety data on reported collisions and close-calls involving e-bikes on these trails. They also conducted outreach to solicit public opinion and educate the public about the study.
The City found that there were few e-cyclists among the population of trail users, and there were no reports of bike collisions during the study period. Confident about the safety of e-bikes, the City of Boulder adopted a rule allowing their use on paved trails within the city while banning them from trails in designated open-space areas. The city website hosts a downloadable map of all trails on which e-bikes can be used. In addition, the City partners with a local trail advocacy group to educate users on trail etiquette.
The Boulder approach inspired other cities to attempt their own e-bikes-on-trails pilot programs:
Park City, Utah. performed their pilot in 2015, limiting Class I and II e-bikes to paved trails wider than eight feet within city limits. The City added signage at trailheads to indicate where e-bikes were allowed or prohibited. The pilot included a data-collection component, with the City performing trail counts, field observations, intercept surveys and speed counts, as well as reviewing police reports; and an outreach-and-education component using traditional media, a dedicated website and an online survey. Today, the City allows e-bikes on all paved multiuse trails, as well as on soft-surface trails wider than five feet with a 15-mph speed limit for all users. A map of trails where e-bikes are permitted is available on the city website.
In addition, Park City introduced Summit Bike Share in 2017, a bikeshare with exclusively pedal-assist e-bikes, available to be rented by residents 18 years and older.
In Seattle, Washington, five trails were chosen to be part of the trial period for Class I and II e-bikes in response to the city’s hilly topography, availability of dockless bikeshare e-bikes and changes to state law allowing e-bikes on multiuse paths. The program began in August 2018 and ran for one year; as of November 2019, the pilot results were under review. Seattle Parks and Seattle Police will collaborate on the enforcement of trail rules, which may include a speed limit of 15 mph.
Some cities have allowed e-bikes on their multiuse trails without first running a pilot program. Boise, Idaho, revised its bicycle laws in 2017 to allow Class I and II e-bikes to be operated on streets, bike lanes, sidewalks and on the Boise River Greenbelt. For the mountain biking trails in the Boise Foothills, only persons with mobility impairments are allowed to use e-bikes.
Earlier that same year, the City of Tempe, Arizona, adopted an ordinance which, among other things, permitted use of e-bikes on multiuse trails at a top speed of 20 mph. E-bikes must yield to pedestrians and equestrians and slow to 5 mph when passing. Riders must also be 16 or older, and riders between 16-18 have to wear helmets.
The influx of dockless bikeshares and electric scooters inspired Scottsdale. Arizona, to mull over the parking and operating codes for these vehicles. As of December 2018, Class 1 and 2 bikes, as well as e-scooters, are allowed on shared use trails.
The state of Arizona officially adopted the three-tier classification system for e-bikes in January 2019. The new law also allows e-bikes with a top speed on 20 mph to be used on any trails statewide, with flexibility for local authorities to decide whether to restrict or allow e-bikes on trails within their own footprints.
Safety, Speed and User Conflicts
The prevailing concern about allowing e-bikes on trails is the question of safety—particularly related to speed. The perception is that motor-assisted riders will race down trails, making them dangerous and unpleasant for other types of users.
However, a study conducted in Switzerland showed that while average speeds of cyclists on e-bikes were higher than those using traditional bikes (14 mph vs. 8.7 mph), the top speed of most e-bike users was usually well below 20 mph.
over, the issue of speeding is not peculiar to e-bikes. Many a trail user can attest to being startled by cyclists blowing past them at unsafe speeds.
User conflicts are an unfortunate but expected reality of multiuse trails, where a variety of user types share a fairly constrained space. As with other types of user conflicts, maintaining safety on a trail is often better accomplished by enforcing proper behavior rather than strictly regulating the equipment used. If e-bikes are allowed on a trail, they should conform to the existing rules of the trail and norms of trail etiquette including :
- Maintain safe speeds. Heed all posted speed limits.
- Keep right, pass left and call out as you do.
- Yield to pedestrians. equestrian users and other slower trail users.
Electric Bike Modes: Throttle vs Pedal Assist (Pedelec)
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Understanding E-Bike Propulsion Methods and Which is Right for You
Depending on their designation, e-bikes and their motors work in two ways: they can either make your level of pedaling effort easier, or completely take over and simply carry you along for the ride.
When you’re considering which type of e-bike to purchase, it’s important to think about which of these methods the bike offers, the environment(s) you’ll be riding in, and your own abilities and preferences. In this article, the writers here at Electric Bike Report will help you to understand the pros and cons of throttle vs pedal assist electric bikes, and help you to determine which is best for you!
Defining E-Bike Throttle and Pedal Assist Terms
Before we get into the differences between throttle and pedal assist and how they relate to you, let’s define those terms more clearly:
- Throttle: a handlebar-mounted device that can engage (and sometimes adjust) power output from the bike’s motor. Electric bikes with throttles can be completely self-propelled, since throttles tell their motors to dispense power without the need for any pedal motion or input from the rider.
- Pedal Assist: the standard method of operation for e-bikes. As the term suggests, this method of motor engagement requires the bike’s rider to move the pedals, though depending on the bike’s gearing, type of motor, and type of sensor, the rider may or may not need to actually be engaged with the drivetrain.
- Pedelec: This term is a synonym for pedal assist, and is an abbreviation derived from the words “pedal electric cycle.”
It should be noted that, in order to be classified as electric bicycles, all e-bikes must have operable pedals. As such, most e-bikes function through pedal assist, with some having additional throttles – though it is still possible to have a throttle-controlled motor mounted to an otherwise non-electric bicycle with a standard drivetrain.
Many e-bikes, like the Aventon Aventure 2, offer both throttle and pedal assistance for a range of applications in different environments.
E-bike Class System
At least in the US, e-bikes are separated into three classes or categories. This class system plays a significant role in regulating their legal use in specific areas or on specific paths. Their placement within this system is determined by the methods through which they employ their motors, as well as their maximum motor-assisted speeds.
This system, and much of the legislation related to it, exists largely thanks to the incredible, thoughtful, and intelligent folks at People for Bikes. Their work has helped to create a structure for the governance, safety, and consistency of e-bikes, in addition to promoting them as beneficial to the well-being of all. If you can’t tell, we’re big fans!
Let’s take a look at how throttle vs pedal assist ties into this 3-class system.
A Class 1 e-bike has a motor that provides assistance only when its rider is pedaling, and is limited to motor-assisted speeds of 20 miles per hour. These e-bikes are capable of going faster than 20 mph, but only on human power beyond that point. These e-bikes do NOT have throttles.
Class 2 e-bikes ARE equipped with throttles, and do not require human input to be propelled (though most do also offer pedal assistance). E-bikes in this category are still limited to motor-assisted speeds of 20 miles per hour.
Sometimes known as S-Pedelecs or Speed Pedelecs (primarily in Europe), Class 3 e-bikes offer pedal assistance up to a maximum of 28 miles per hour. Additionally, Class 3 e-bikes are required to be equipped with a speedometer. Like Class 1 e-bikes, these can still be pedaled faster than their motor-assisted speeds, but only with human power.
Class 3 e-bikes can ALSO be categorized as Class 2 e-bikes if they feature a throttle that is limited to 20 miles per hour.
Thumb-operated throttle levers, such as this one on the Evelo Omega, are typically the most commonly-used variety.
Any e-bike that differs from the descriptions above falls into the “Unclassified” category. This could be for a number of reasons, such as including a throttle that reaches speeds above 20 miles per hour, or being equipped with a motor with nominal output beyond 750 Watts.
While laws and regulations still vary widely, e-bikes within this category are often only legal off-road or on private property without a license and registration.
Throttle Specifics, Pros, and Cons
As we established, an e-bike throttle is a control mounted on the handlebars that can control the motor. Throttles come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with differing degrees of functionality between them.
Most often, electric bike throttles come in two styles: either twist throttles or throttle levers. Twist throttles usually take up a portion of one of the handlebar grips, and are activated by rotating that portion (usually backward, for safety). Alternatively, throttle levers are a separate unit typically mounted next to one of the grips, and operated by thumb. We have occasionally seen button-style throttles as well, though these are less common.
E-bike throttles can apply their power in a couple of different ways. So-called “modular” throttles are adjustable, and apply more power and speed as they are twisted further, or their levers are depressed more. Others, usually the boost-button-style (but sometimes twist or lever-operated), function more like an on/off switch and apply power in an all-or-nothing fashion.
Additionally, throttles can sometimes be tied in with a bike’s electronic pedal assist system – we’ll cover more about that shortly – to set maximum throttle speeds below 20 miles per hour, if desired. This is a feature that we generally like to see, since keeping a twist throttle turned halfway or a throttle lever partially pushed down for a long period of time can be challenging.
Throttles are typically seen on bikes with rear-hub motors, though they do occasionally appear alongside mid-drives.
Some electric bike throttles come in the form of a twist throttle, like this one on the Lectric XPremium.
Pros of E-Bike Throttle Use
- Since throttle engagement does not require pedaling, it places no strain on the knees and thighs. This makes electric bikes with throttles great for older folks or anyone with medical conditions that affect pedaling ability.
- For cyclists who frequently find themselves in high-traffic environments, throttles can allow for swift startups that bring the bike up to speed quickly. This means keeping up with traffic more easily, and passing more safely through intersections.
- If used on a Class 2 or 3 e-bike, throttle use allows riders to work less when encountering hills or headwinds, or to simply take a rest when needed.
Cons of E-Bike Throttle Use
- Because the motor is the only thing powering the bike when the throttle is engaged, prolonged use can drain the battery much faster than when using pedal assist.
- With throttles that are not tied into the bike’s pedal assist system, their speed may be difficult to keep consistent over extended periods of time.
- When used with rear hub motors, throttles have fixed gearing that cannot be adjusted to suit the intensity of the rider’s environment.
Whether using an e-bike with a mid-drive motor or a hub motor, the bike’s pedal assist system (or PAS) will govern the amount of assistance the motor provides when pedaling. Generally speaking, this allows for an efficient system that divides the amount of work required to move the bike between the motor and the rider.
Pedal assist electric bikes typically offer multiple stages of assistance; most commonly between 3 and 5. The lowest settings are usually the most efficient and require less power from the battery, but this means that more human power is required to move the bike. Conversely, high PAS settings draw more power from the battery, but also require less pedal power as the motor dispenses a greater amount of assistance.
Depending on the size of the motor, the type of motor, and the PAS setting, using pedal assistance extends the limits of what a person can do on a bike. This can be as little as an additional 15-20% of what a rider is capable of, or it can skyrocket up to beyond 300%. This is what makes e-bikes so much fun!
Class 1 pedal assist electric bikes like the FLX Babymaker II do not include a throttle, and many are able to maintain a traditional non-electric bike feel.
Let’s quickly examine the types of motors, the different sensors they use to know how and when to provide pedal assistance, and how these things impact a bike’s feel.
As their name suggests, these are motors mounted in the center of either the front or rear wheel. Rear-hub motors are most common, and typically produce a feeling of being pushed from behind, though the intensity of this feeling differs depending on the motor’s size / power level. Due to their positioning, the amount of rider input that is needed with hub motors varies greatly, though this is related to the type of sensor they use – we’ll go over that soon. For those who want to learn more, check out our complete guide to hub motor brands.
Mid-drives are placed within a bike’s bottom bracket, and as such are tied directly in with its drivetrain through the cranks. These types of motors typically feature a much more natural ride feel much closer to that of a non-electric bike. They also tend to require a greater degree of rider input, which makes them typically more efficient than hub motors. Again, this depends on many factors, including their sensors. We go into more detail about this type of motor in our complete guide to e-bike mid-drive motors.
Cadence sensors, which are mostly found on hub motors, typically use a series of magnets or an optical system to detect pedal motion, and direct the motor to dispense power in tandem with the speed of crank rotation (rotations per minute, or RPMs). The PAS settings on a system with cadence sensors commonly set a “top speed” within each level that can be maintained with or without engagement with the drivetrain. As long as the pedals move, the motor supplies power.
Mid-drive motors with torque sensors, such as this one on the Quietkat Rubicon, commonly offer a much more natural and responsive pedal assist feel than a hub motor with a cadence sensor.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are torque sensors, which detect how much pressure the rider is applying to the bike’s pedals – essentially, how hard they are working – and tell the motor to supply power to compensate. In these cases, a bike’s PAS settings dictate how much power is dispensed with each pedal stroke. This results in a more natural and responsive pedal assist feel that pairs nicely with the sensation provided by a mid-drive motor, so it is no surprise that torque sensors are commonly used with motors of this type. That said, the technology is becoming more common on hub motors.
Pros of Pedal Assist
- On e-bikes with motors that have well-tuned sensors, using pedal assist feels intuitive and nearly identical to riding a non-electric bike. This makes riding an e-bike an easy and fun skill to learn!
- Using pedal assistance can provide a great workout and all of the health benefits that come with it!
- When compared to throttle use, pedal assist is typically more efficient, meaning that it requires less battery power and can allow a bike to travel farther.
- Considering that most e-bikes have more than a single speed, pedal assist can take advantage of both a bike’s gearing and PAS to adapt its feel to its environment.
Cons of E-Bike Throttle Use
- Using only pedal assist when starting can be much slower than throttle use, making city rides a bit more difficult.
- Depending on the motor and the type of sensor it uses, the bike’s motor responsiveness can vary greatly.
- Managing a bike’s gearing and PAS setting can take some effort and practice to master.
Where to Go Next
We hope that you have found this article helpful! When you’re considering the differences between a pedal assist electric bike and an electric bike with a throttle, you’re really only scratching the surface of what makes them unique.
If you’re interested in learning more, we recommend taking a look at our Buyer’s Guide to Electric Bikes and learning about these mistakes to avoid when shopping for electric bikes.
Happy researching and riding!
Комментарии и мнения владельцев
I have a Shimano-assisted ICE Adventure trike with torque-actuated crank motor which works well at only 250W. My objective is exercise and freshly polluted air, so I only use the assist when I have to, say road crossings and hills I can’t handle. When I hit the 3rd assist level (3 clicks of the proverbial button), the boost is more than sufficient, so I don’t need a throttle. The range is supposedly over 100 miles on assist 1, although I have never used more than 2 bars of juice on the usual rides around Ohio or Florida. My only gripe is that the front gearing is not sufficient for me to avoid the assist more. For some reason, the designers eliminated all but one sprocket on the front (I’d like to know why). My wife (80yr-old) has an aluminum Greenspeed X7 that is light and had 30 gears. I was able to maintain that bike at 12-15 mph for 15 miles without too much stress, but she needed help, so I installed a hubmotor kit (Burley) from Electric Bike Outfitters. Aside from some issues wrt the 16 inch wheels, it works as designed. The problem is that the design could use some help. I had to sacrifice the smallest front sprocket to get the pedal assist magnet disk on the Shimano Hollotech crank set. There is no torque sensor (which I am looking to correct (maybe with Juiced Bike or GRIN parts). The upshot is that I had to program in the lowest limits on current and voltage to tone things down so that there is sufficient pedal power required to get some exercise on assist 1. Assist 2 is sort of marginal, and for all intents and purposes levels 3-5 are just cruise levels. It only takes minimal cadence of 15rpm to get full power out of the motor. On the other hand, the throttle kicks in promptly and my wife can zoom across roads safely, hooting with glee. For someone who has yet to buy, I would recommend looking at GRIN. Buy something with 20-26″ rear wheels and decide whether you want to limit the mechanical gears to 10 and get a crank (mid-drive) motor with torque control. In order to install a torque sensor, either the sensor has to have room and design to be installed on the drive side of the rear wheel (axle strain measurement) or inside (or on) the bottom bracket crank (crank strain measurement). I believe GRIN has an electronics system that can handle pedal rotation and torque signals at the same time, plus provide for throttle. The display (that I have seen) provides a lot on info, but it is only a thing that an engineer could love.
PS. Your heading for the section detailing the cons of pedal assist systems is incorrect – bit of a glaring miss for the editor!!
Why don’t they just put torque sensors on all the bikes, it would be safer. Smoother transaction. cadence gives you a sudden lurch, a cheap unsafe design!
I still loved my old 21spd mountain bike converted to front hub electric drive, throttle only, with a regenerative capacity if you pressed the button, for braking and recharging the battery. It was direct drive, the ECU ran everything from Hill climbing to flat out commuting and it was quick off the mark in traffic, and I had all 21 gears to play with to add to its versatility. Flat out with me pedalling in top cog as hard as I could, 40kmh was possible with a range of about 55km at that speed.
I’ve recently forked out for a road bike (Scott Addict 30) and have had a Pedelec for about 7yrs. It’s a proper pedelec that keeps me pushing hard from start to stop – and I love it. Often strapped for time and I want to go somewhere fast – the pedelec is my preferred choice for that. However, a road bike is something I’m growing into, and will make increasingly more use of it. To get fitter quicker, I need to get off the pedelec and onto the Scott, I’ll be there soon but I suspect it won’t be a straight swap because the pedelec is simply so much fun on and off road.