Are throttles the devil?

fxr3

Active Member
I ride a regular bike and my wife rides a PAS Haibike. I really like ebikes and will buy one for myself at some point. I do think that, in general, people that go from riding a regular bike to an ebike tend to favor PAS bikes since pedaling is what they are used to and what seems normal while riding a bike. Bikes with throttles, particular those that can exceed 20 mph really are different from regular bikes or speed limited PAS bikes. Obviously, a regular bike or PAS bike can exceed 20 mph, but the rider or gravity has to provide the ability to do so. In my many years of riding, I've found very few recreational riders (other than those in a paceline) who can exceed 20 mph for any substantial distance other than down a big hill.

I don't think there is anything wrong with throttles. They are particularly useful for folks that need them or who are unfamiliar with the shifting required on a PAS bike, but I'm not surprised that bikes with throttles (or a speed limiter of 28 mph) are placed in a separate legal classification in some jurisdictions.

My guess is that the California classification system is likely to be adopted nationally over the next 10 years or so as ebikes become more prevalent. And think that is a good thing for all stakeholders in cycling world, whether they use an ebike or not, from a safety point of view.

In my opinion, to claim that a throttle equipped bike that can exceed 25 or 30 mph, should be treated the same as regular bike or a speed limited PAS bike on anything other than a public street ignores the reality that while public streets are built for higher speed traffic, MUP, bike trails, single track, etc are simply not. Having someone whizz by a walker, a little kid on a bike or another cyclist at 30 mph on a bike path is, in my opinion, simply unsafe. A throttle makes it easier maintain higher speeds for longer distances, which is the essence of the safety issue.
As for the no harm/no foul stakeholder thing of classing the 28mph bikes off paths- you might see it differently if you owned a 28 before laws or were a dealer sitting on a bunch of 28's after law was put n place.
 

fxr3

Active Member
If anybody thinks of it from all sides- the non bikers will only benefit if, say 20% of cars on overcrowded roads are replaced by bicycles, but even then, it puts bikes on shoulders and that's always a hassle for cars. The guy who wants to commute, help general car traffic by removing himself from the mix- needs to do it at as high a speed as possible- 28mph.
If he can do it on path instead of shoulder- all the better....... maybe when percentage is high enough- municipalities realize by creating designated bike only paths- that pretty much is the ultimate goal for everyone IMO.
 

fxr3

Active Member
For the mountain biker who fought so hard to gain access to hiking trails- I agree with no motorized bicycles on mountain bike paths. That debate will quickly flair up and likely end with no bikes on hiking paths. Electric bikes should ride in areas dirt bikes are allowed, out of respect for mountain bikers who have succeeded in being allowed to share trails with hikers. IMO
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
That quote sounds perfect. Have you ever driven over speed limit? I didn't say I roll up and down bike path at 28mph.
Ask a young family with stroller and youngster dragging behind on tricycle what they think of new law allowing electric bikes to zip up and down path at 20mph.
I bought my 28mph bike before laws were written, and ride at speeds that are safe for everyone. I am a good example of why ebikes are not bad. In any 28 vs 20mph factory bike I can think of- the 20mph is the more powerful of the two.
Can you tell the difference between st1 platinum and st1 elite? Haibike full seven 45 or full seven 20mph? If everybody self polices as you suggest, why are their cops at all?
If I had to choose now after the fact, I probably would choose the legal 20mph bike. My normal ride to beach was 9 miles one way. 3 miles were heavenly multiuse paths and the other six were bike lanes. By keeping my speed below 20 on paths and way lower as situation dictated, yea, I'm going to break that law. In fact, in Ventura, CA, the path has multiple signs stating "no motorized bicycles". Would you not ride on the path at all or would you ride responsibly and low key enough to enjoy that nice car free path?
Too big a straw man for me to want to take the time to burn down. My comment wasn't an attack. My only point was, if one was to willfully take a 28 mph ebike where it was prohibited by law and someone got hurt, it wouldn't matter to the police, judge or the damaged plaintiff's attorney if the rider was going 3 mph. It didn't belong there. My car belongs on any public roadway.

The vast majority of laws work because most don't want to deal with the hassle or cost of getting caught breaking them.
 

fxr3

Active Member
I think that's what I said. I thought about worst case scenario, and knowingly broke the law to enjoy traffic free ebiking. I'm willing to take the consequences of my actions.
 

Joe Remi

Active Member
Am I sleeping through something? Where is the throttle bashing? From the lycra crowd or just reactions to the very few?
There's a guy at Bike Forum that keeps invading threads with his "no throttles" manifesto..I think they finally banned him. I have a Haibike with PAS and a Luna-built BBS02 folder with PAS and throttle. I like both.
 

Lost

Active Member
I'm about to build (convert a 20 year old hybrid that I have had since new) a mid drive bafang 750 watt bbs02. Instead of a throttle, I am going to put a push button for max power, as I find that's all I ever used the throttle for, mostly just launching.
 

Nutella

Active Member
Agree, but many of us carry around a "worse case scenario" thing. "What if I run over some kid on bike path when I'm on my st2"? No problem on st1.
Fortunately, those odds are long shot enough, I ride the bike paths on st2 without a thought. Getting a ticket for it is even more remote.

For sure, the class restrictions are also there to cover the butts of the city in the case of an accident.
 

tomjasz

Well-Known Member
I'm about to build (convert a 20 year old hybrid that I have had since new) a mid drive bafang 750 watt bbs02. Instead of a throttle, I am going to put a push button for max power, as I find that's all I ever used the throttle for, mostly just launching.
Just remember the BBS02 likes to run at max RPM, don't take off without shifting down to a reasonable gear. As you would if pedaling.
I apologize if that's obvious. But many a motor has been cooked by rising it like a scooter.
 

Joe Remi

Active Member
Just remember the BBS02 likes to run at max RPM, don't take off without shifting down to a reasonable gear. As you would if pedaling.
I apologize if that's obvious. But many a motor has been cooked by rising it like a scooter.
I definitely DON'T think it's obvious, and anyone who owns one of these systems needs to be reminded to downshift and use the pedals as well as throttle when crawling around at stop/start speeds.

I started with a torque-sensing mid-drive sans throttle, and still ride the BBS02 most of the time as if it didn't have the button. I mostly use throttle for occasional bursts to a hit a higher top speed than my leg speed will create. It's a nice backup in emergency situations.
 

tomjasz

Well-Known Member
Thanks Joe. I didn't want to insult someone who knows. I keep hearing about the plastic gear ail as being an inherent problem when what I and 4 resellers see is untrained users. MOST of the time. Even then it's rarer than some forums would have people believe. IMNSHO. <wink>
 

Lost

Active Member
I'm loving the bbso2 though! It was an easy project done in an afternoon. Compared to the Rover I bought first, it is a total different experience. Much lighter, much more "bike like", and much more powerful. The BBS02 came from luna with higher wattage available, about 1100 watts using my rover battery, and 1300 watts on a 52 volt battery. Not having a suspension relegates it to smooth roads only, but sure seems more efficient I'll know after a few trips in each for some data points. It uses a 48tooth chainring, and yes, I have to remember to "downshift" when coming up to a stop.
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
Am I sleeping through something? Where is the throttle bashing? From the lycra crowd or just reactions to the very few?

Not mine but a quote from another e bike forum in defense of throttle use.

"Throttle:it's not a 4 letter word! Over and over here, I see the off hand dismissal of a throttle on an ebike as totally unacceptable, even from those who ride ebikes but somehow think their PAS systems are "purer." You tell me, who's the biggest *****, a guy with his thumb throttle barely cracked who's pedaling his ass off, or a LEVO (type) rider with his trick PAS torque sensing system on max power? The BBSHD has the cadence sensor and the thumb throttle, simple, works great, and readily available, cheap also.

Before I get slammed for bringing this throttle thing up (and I will....that's cool) you non ebikers realize that having one does not mean you don't pedal, right? It seems like having one means you don't, ever, and I know you love to insinuate that every chance you get, BS! When I ride my steep and rocky trails around here (relax, fully compliant and legal) the thumb throttle is the way to augment any power assist I feel the need for, and I sure as hell don't apologize for it. The reason I go into the subject, is if you are looking for a "LEVO like" e assist system, with no throttle, because you think it's somehow more purer and makes you more a real mountain biker, fine, but after a couple thousand miles of trail riding I am keeping my 10 level cadence sensed PAS system AND my thumb throttle. Get ready to spend the big bucks on a factory bike, to answer your question."
 

tomjasz

Well-Known Member
That horse is dead already, stop beating it!
I'm sorry, what dont you understand!? Thats not a criticism of throttles, thats a fact with those models of mid drives. Buyers use them without shifting at stops and throttle away in seventh gear and burn up thier motors. Fact. Not a eead horse. Those mid drives need to be ridden like bicycle, not scooters. Get it? See the post above yours where Lost gets what you missed. All good when you stop and understand.
 

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
Shall we dovetail the two thoughts, folks? I think we're all in agreement here. A throttle is a nice convenience, one just needs to use it judiciously :D Who knows, maybe there's a bit of throttle envy by those who bark loudly about those who ride ebikes with throttles.
 
I'm sorry, what dont you understand!? Thats not a criticism of throttles, thats a fact with those models of mid drives. Buyers use them without shifting at stops and throttle away in seventh gear and burn up thier motors. Fact. Not a eead horse. Those mid drives need to be ridden like bicycle, not scooters. Get it? See the post above yours where Lost gets what you missed. All good when you stop and understand.
Just saying that you were starting to sound like a recording and maybe you should let that thought go for now. Try not to get so defensive and jump down my throat for making an observation.