Another twist to throttle vs PAS ebikes....Comments wanted...

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Bare with me on this thread as it may not be exactly as you expect

Most ebikers have experienced some negativity or arrogance from spandexter road bikers and hard core mtn bikers that view ebikes as cheating. But I’m starting to sense the same kind of mindset from the ebike community towards throttle ebikes. As an example, a friend of mine recently took his Haibike Trekking model in for some service, he asked why none of the ebikes being sold had throttles. The owner of the store told him that he wanted his customers to experience riding a bike. I think these attitudes / opinions originate from the same foundation, and it even impacts how ebiker view mid drives vs hub drives and why so many ebikers even support limiting assist speeds (time is not money when you are just out for a leisure or fitness ride).

For probably 50 years bikes have been considered more about recreation, leisure, and/or fitness and not really about providing transportation. PAS systems incorporating torque, cadence, speed, and even gear sensors process inputs from these sensors to determine what assist the rider wants/needs. For over a 100 years the rider/driver of motorcycles and automobiles controlled assist via a throttle/pedal and that became synonymous with transportation.

I believe ebikes do have huge, mostly unrealized especially in North America, potential to provide fantastic human scale transportation. For that I believe a throttle-only assist control is the best option. It’s 100% variable, the rider determines the assist they want, it’s simple proven technology, etc. and the rider can still pedal to provide any additional drive power they wish to provide.

I would be interested in reading comments on the subject of throttle-only ebikes specific to human scale transportation (not how good a torque based PAS system is for mtn biking). I hope this makes sense.

Note: this is not intended to negative towards Pedal Assist Systems but more about the merits of a throttle when an ebike is purpose made for transportation / urban mobility.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
I use power when the wind is over 10 mph in my face, or my knee is having a bad day. I like throttle only. I ride unpowered most of my 30 mile trip, using power on the hills of the back road that allows me to stay off 55 mph flatter Hwy 3. I bought power assist after a 3.5 hour ride turned into 5.7 hours September 2018 when winds should have been below 7 mph, but for global warming. My pulse was >130 the whole day, too much exercise at 96 deg F. I don't want a scooter, riding 3.5 hours at pulse 120 twice a week has been great for my heart & makes my knees feel better. Mostly I can walk now due to endomorphine (read Dr Ken Cooper), but I could get stuck out there at the summer camp immobile & running out of food on a bad knee day with no phone service. I ride a geared hub motor that doesn't drag unpowered. Other trauma like a broken bone or organ attack are also possible out there at my age, 69. The throttle will get me out to phone service with minimal effort, without the costs of keeping a licensed insured car that has a 10 year life even if it only has 20000 miles on it. Desirable scooters & 4 wheelers are huge theft targets in this county, electric bicycles are not even noticed by the ignorant druggies.
The ebikeling PAS level 1 was too fast (11 mph) to ride in the 8" wide pavement outside the white line on Hwy 3, and the pedal would whack me in the back of the leg if I forgot to turn PAS off before winding the pedal backwards to line it up for takeoff. Acceleration in level 1 was 500 watts, too fast to use on my grass driveway for example. My sympathy to eveybody that lives in a nanny state like Massachusetts. Or Europe. 350 watts is not enough for carrying supplies on 15% grades: my gross weight is 330 lb with only 170 of that being me. If you have to use a mid-drive to get up hills, most of them (by sales volume) drag so badly they can't be ridden unpowered.
 
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poorplayer

Member
I have believed in the value of low-powered (i.e. below 30MPH) two-wheeled throttle transportation since I bought my first Puch moped in 1976.

Nostalgic.jpg

The motor was a two-stroke gas engine, and the pedals were pretty much useless. So naturally I used it in throttle mode exclusively. Since then I've owned a Yamaha Jazz, a Kymco People 125cc, and presently a Kymco Downtown 300i - all ICE scooters. I have since discovered ebikes, and now own a Surface 604 Rook and a Rad Mini. I'm also currently researching electric mopeds. In short, I'm all about the throttle, and all about two-wheeled transportation.

I guess I've always viewed two-wheeled transportation as just that - transportation. I never rode a bike for exercise or thrills. I always wanted to get somewhere with it. I think the throttle represents the best-use case for any kind of two-wheeled vehicle as transportation, and I would encourage anyone to view a throttle-equipped ebike primarily as transportation. I chose ebikes with throttles because I like the fact that hub motors drive the wheel, not the chain, and so continue to operate if the chain breaks.

I think the real significance of the ebike is that it provides both reliable transportation in addition to providing exercise, which I think is a breakthrough in human-scale transportation. So my take is this: if what you want is thrills, chills, and excitement on the trails and off-roads of the USA, go for a mid-drive motor. If you want reliable, dependable, non-polluting and fuel-efficient transportation, go with a throttle. And tell the spandexters that you are NOT out getting exercise; you're just out getting from Point A to Point B with the most humanly efficient form of transportation available. Take the "fitness" argument right out of the equation altogether. They don't have to know you're getting some (or as much) exercise as you want or need.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
I have believed in the value of low-powered (i.e. below 30MPH) two-wheeled throttle transportation since I bought my first Puch moped in 1976.

View attachment 34444

The motor was a two-stroke gas engine, and the pedals were pretty much useless. So naturally I used it in throttle mode exclusively. Since then I've owned a Yamaha Jazz, a Kymco People 125cc, and presently a Kymco Downtown 300i - all ICE scooters.
Gas scooters are noisy and the 2 stroke ones stink. Also most of the poorly maintained blatting screaming gas scooters stink that are ridden around here in minimum wage city. My geared hub motor bike is silent unless I turn the motor on up a hill, then about 70 db. Music is my hobby; I still have my high frequency hearing to 14 khz at age 69, and wish to maintain good hearing.
The emissions caused by my bike battery charger are at a coal plant 3 counties away. If is anything like the one in Madison IN I've ridden by, it doesn't stink.
 
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vincent

Well-Known Member
Good points Ken

I am a big fan of throttles and ride mostly for exercise and fun, personally like to have PAS and throttle

and believe the ebikes with both are much better

I also tend to get better mileage per battery on a throttle only ebike
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I have believed in the value of low-powered (i.e. below 30MPH) two-wheeled throttle transportation since I bought my first Puch moped in 1976.

View attachment 34444

The motor was a two-stroke gas engine, and the pedals were pretty much useless. So naturally I used it in throttle mode exclusively. Since then I've owned a Yamaha Jazz, a Kymco People 125cc, and presently a Kymco Downtown 300i - all ICE scooters. I have since discovered ebikes, and now own a Surface 604 Rook and a Rad Mini. I'm also currently researching electric mopeds. In short, I'm all about the throttle, and all about two-wheeled transportation.

I guess I've always viewed two-wheeled transportation as just that - transportation. I never rode a bike for exercise or thrills. I always wanted to get somewhere with it. I think the throttle represents the best-use case for any kind of two-wheeled vehicle as transportation, and I would encourage anyone to view a throttle-equipped ebike primarily as transportation. I chose ebikes with throttles because I like the fact that hub motors drive the wheel, not the chain, and so continue to operate if the chain breaks.

I think the real significance of the ebike is that it provides both reliable transportation in addition to providing exercise, which I think is a breakthrough in human-scale transportation. So my take is this: if what you want is thrills, chills, and excitement on the trails and off-roads of the USA, go for a mid-drive motor. If you want reliable, dependable, non-polluting and fuel-efficient transportation, go with a throttle. And tell the spandexters that you are NOT out getting exercise; you're just out getting from Point A to Point B with the most humanly efficient form of transportation available. Take the "fitness" argument right out of the equation altogether. They don't have to know you're getting some (or as much) exercise as you want or need.
This is exactly the type of insight I hoped to get back. Hopefully others understand the "transportation" purpose and the merits of a throttle for that purpose.
 

vincent

Well-Known Member
I totally understand what you’re saying and agree

And probably/hopefully over the next 10 years thinking will shift that way
 

ebikemom

Administrator
Staff member
Pedego lobbied hard for throttles to be included in US ebiking laws because of the importance of throttles to older riders and riders with disabilities. This created the distinction between "class 1" ebikes with no throttle and "class 2" ebikes that have a throttle, I believe. Pedego learned from its customers how important the throttle is in extending cycling to a broader range of riders.

Ebiking is all about assistive technology for everyone who can ride a bike (or trike).

My local big LBS also does not carry ebikes with throttles. I also asked about it and got a similar response. They basically have decided only to serve a segment of the ebike population, who does not want or need a throttle. Because of their stance, we did not buy bikes there, because I wanted throttles due to the extreme hilliness of our surroundings.

The throttle is super handy when coming upon sudden hills, for example, and when starting on a hill. I also have occasional knee issues, and the throttle is fabulous because it allows me to start without any knee pain. I have no knee pain when pedaling.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
I don't want/need a throttle but harbor no antagonism to them. Strangely, at the very first e-bike store I visited back in 2016, the owner was extremely antagonistic to e-bikes without throttles (he had a bad hip). He told me he just couldn't understand how e-bike manufacturers would choose not to build in a throttle and he encouraged me to avoid any shop that mainly sold throttle-less mid-drives. I just kind of went along with his rant then went shopping elsewhere.

I do read a lot of throttle advocates here giving advice to newbie shoppers that the throttle is useful for starting from a stop at intersections. But I find that my Bosch mid-drives (particularly the CX motor) are powerful enough to act like a throttle with the only difference being that I have to provide some of the input. I can accelerate very fast from a stop, assuming I'm in the proper gear and have a ready pedal-position. So I don't really buy the argument that throttles are that much better than mid-drive throttle-less bikes for that sudden burst of acceleration.

Another big argument I've read in these forums for the throttle is the chain-break issue. I buy that argument but I think the risks can be mitigated through good practices. I've been paranoid of breaking a chain on a commute, thanks to these forums, therefore I've really tried to hone my shifting skills such that I am not shifting under load and, as well, I inspect the chain regularly (and will replace early as preventative maintenance). So this argument for a throttle I think is a good one but the risks can be mitigated with good practices and some good mechanical skills if you're a mountain bike rider that ventures into the hinterlands. And now that I have written this, I will probably break a chain on my commute to work tomorrow so I reserve the right to become a throttle advocate at a later date.

And with that last statement made, I do suffer some knee pain already at the young age of almost 54. Thus, I can see the possibility of needing more assistance, at some point in the future, in order to keep riding. Thus I would never advocate for any kind of throttle ban or disparage them in any way. If one would keep me riding then I would be the first to request a throttle.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
I'm of the belief that a PAS system, along with a throttle control compliment each other really well. I'm failing to understand why, given the option, one would go with a bike that did not include both systems.

The throttle for it's ability to give you full power right now, and the PAS to allow a setting for your speed of preference while pedaling with the amount of effort you're willing to contribute. With PAS, there is no requirement that you be working your butt off to maintain a legal speed.

"Ghost" pedaling requires little effort on the part of the rider, and with the PAS level set appropriately for wind, grade, and surface conditions, will allow you any speed the bike is able to achieve. If you want to go faster and further, put some effort into it!
 

Figs

Active Member
Another one of those “issues” that I just don’t get. If you want a throttle get one. If you don’t want one then buy an eBike without one. Your choice as a consumer is your business, and not my concern. I like my throttle to get the bike rolling from a stop, so I have a throttle. I simply cannot comprehend why anyone would be concerned about that. If someone actually looks down on me because of it, then I have to assume they are extremely shallow as a person.
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
My $.02

First off, many e-bikes with throttles also do pedal assist. So it is not one or the other. So the subject title of this thread is a kind of category error.

Second, in Europe e-bikes with throttles are rare to nonexistent, yet many people who are differently abled seem to get around fine on e-bikes without any trouble. So I am at least a wee bit skeptical about that argument with respect to throttles.

Third, and more ominously, we in the United States need to keep in mind that the overall regulatory status of e-bikes is at best somewhat confused. Even in states with reasonable model legislation answering the question of where you can legally ride your e-bike can at times be more than a bit complicated. If we are minimally self-honest it is easy to understand why -- an e-bike seems to occupy a weird no-mans-land between a motor vehicle and a strictly human-propelled one. I think a reasonable argument can be made that a pedal-assist only e-bike with a restricted maximum speed should be treated as a bicycle. E-bikes equipped with throttles on the other hand are problematic. We already had vehicles which used both pedal input, a motor, and had a throttle -- we call them mopeds. My own guess is I can see a future where the price of legal acceptance of e-bikes is that e-bikes with throttles have to go away.

Fourth, and kind of related to the third paragraph, is that in my discussions with acoustic cyclists the major thing that makes my e-bike "okay" to them is that you have to pedal. I've let quite a few people try out my e-bikes to get an idea of what they really are about. I'll contrast this with the fact that this summer there have been a growing number of tourists on e-bikes, many of whom are using them as scooters. This isn't helping peaceful relations with the acoustic bike community. I know it isn't fair that we are being held responsible for how others behave, but life isn't fair.
 
Throttles are as right as rain and sunshine. Due to disability my Pedego has never been peddled once. I exercise daily, and have never used my bikes for exercise because they have always been a form of pleasure for me. I also use it to haul groceries, and gear on longer expeditions.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
When I ride my e-bikes, I get a pass for being an old geezer. Heck, young ladies hold the door for me these days, and the cashier at Home Depot gets on the intercom to call for help so I don't drop dead on her watch loading bags of mulch into my car. Of course, no one ever comes. We get some side looks from passing riders when we ride the folders, because no one rides folders. However, I've not noticed any snarkiness.

Now I would feel uncomfortable riding my bike w.o pedaling. Ghost pedaling doesn't work for me either. The fun of biking is some physical effort, wind in your face, the snick-snick of a well tuned derailleur, and lots of nature to look at.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
I rode my BBS01 for over a year without a throttle, and have ridden it for another year with a throttle, I like being able to ride with or without as needed. If I had a torque sensor or could ride on flat land in wide traffic lanes exclusively I probably wouldn’t miss it, but along my urban hilly routes I do find with a cadence sensor a throttle is useful just on take off to get going up hill in stop-go traffic, particularly when loaded down or towing. I’ve also come to appreciate a throttle for riding in narrow confined areas and low speed maneuvering, particularly for keeping balance when passing pedestrians on bridge side paths at walking pace, or when filtering past stopped traffic approaching an intersection to prevent a pedal strike against a curbstone.
 
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Toomanycats

Active Member
I love my PAS ebike, but I can see where a throttle could come in handy at times. Like starting, or getting across an intersection. I’m trying to get my fiancé on an ebike so that he can share my adventures, but he’s a little intimidated, and I think he’ll only consider a bike with throttle assist in addition to pedaling. If that’s what it takes....
 

Toomanycats

Active Member
I don't want/need a throttle but harbor no antagonism to them. Strangely, at the very first e-bike store I visited back in 2016, the owner was extremely antagonistic to e-bikes without throttles (he had a bad hip). He told me he just couldn't understand how e-bike manufacturers would choose not to build in a throttle and he encouraged me to avoid any shop that mainly sold throttle-less mid-drives. I just kind of went along with his rant then went shopping elsewhere.

I do read a lot of throttle advocates here giving advice to newbie shoppers that the throttle is useful for starting from a stop at intersections. But I find that my Bosch mid-drives (particularly the CX motor) are powerful enough to act like a throttle with the only difference being that I have to provide some of the input. I can accelerate very fast from a stop, assuming I'm in the proper gear and have a ready pedal-position. So I don't really buy the argument that throttles are that much better than mid-drive throttle-less bikes for that sudden burst of acceleration.

Another big argument I've read in these forums for the throttle is the chain-break issue. I buy that argument but I think the risks can be mitigated through good practices. I've been paranoid of breaking a chain on a commute, thanks to these forums, therefore I've really tried to hone my shifting skills such that I am not shifting under load and, as well, I inspect the chain regularly (and will replace early as preventative maintenance). So this argument for a throttle I think is a good one but the risks can be mitigated with good practices and some good mechanical skills if you're a mountain bike rider that ventures into the hinterlands. And now that I have written this, I will probably break a chain on my commute to work tomorrow so I reserve the right to become a throttle advocate at a later date.

And with that last statement made, I do suffer some knee pain already at the young age of almost 54. Thus, I can see the possibility of needing more assistance, at some point in the future, in order to keep riding. Thus I would never advocate for any kind of throttle ban or disparage them in any way. If one would keep me riding then I would be the first to request a throttle.
I agree about the Bosch Motor. I have the Performance Line speed motor. Forget and leave it in sport or turbo after climbing and you get what I can only describe as a good sized shove. Like you were a little kid and mom or dad pushed the back of your bike to get you started.