EHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS OF TORQUE vs ROTATIONAL SENSORS

wings02

Member
I just purchased a bike from RIDE1UP. It is their new “Limited model”. The reason I chose this bike was the idea that it had a torque sensor system. Although I do not have a great deal of experience riding
e-bikes, I have read a lot of literature and watched many videos comparing the two types of pedal assist systems. Most reviews in literature said the torque sensing system gives a more natural ride. One reference compared it to having a superpower feeling when peddling fast and the motor kicks in. I have taken the bike out a few times and can attest to that sensation when I start to pedal harder. My concern is that at lower speeds The torque system seems to give you more of a pulse sensation of the motor turning on and off in accordance to pedal pressure.
I would like to get options from members who have experience in riding E-Bikes,which system, ( rotation vs torque sensor) gives the rider a smoother, more uniform ride while pedaling.
Thank you for your input!
 

CityExplorer

Active Member
... My concern is that at lower speeds The torque system seems to give you more of a pulse sensation of the motor turning on and off in accordance to pedal pressure.
I would like to get options from members who have experience in riding E-Bikes,which system, ( rotation vs torque sensor) gives the rider a smoother, more uniform ride while pedaling.
Thank you for your input!
See this Thread:


I would say this is likely a limitation of the Motor Controller and not directly tied to the sensor type. It his more common for early simple cadence sensors to have this type of behavior, but based on the thread I pointed to it looks like the LMT may not have smooth power ramping from the controller.

Personally I think both sensor types are good and I like both if they have good controller and good software and are connected with a drivetrain with the correct gear range.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
To answer this question you have to understand that there are 2 types of PAS systems. The difference between them is built in to the controller software.

The first is based on how much power is allowed to the motor. It's going to supply 5 different progressively higher levels of power that will not change no matter how fast the bike is going.

The second type of PAS is based on the speed of the bike - and this type is the root of a lot of evils you hear complaints about. It allows progressively higher speeds based on the PAS level set. For instance, if your PAS 1 is set for 12mph and you want to ride 8, that's going to be a challenge. The only way you can do that is with the throttle, or stopping and starting your pedaling - creating kind of a jerky ride (stop, start, stop, start with an average speed of 8 mph)

With the first type, you can set it to PAS 1 and the amount of power to the motor will be so low you can easily go 8 mph if desired, or 6, or 10! You can go 15mph by putting enough of your own power into it, and the power to the motor will not change. If you want more assist, increase the PAS setting.

Point being, there's a night and day difference in the 2 types of commonly seen PAS systems.

The torque sensor plan is a vast improvement over the second, speed based PAS, but I think that the first type PAS, based on the amount of power available to the motor, might give an open mind on the PAS sensor vs. torque sensor argument some food for thought.....

You CANNOT judge all available PAS systems equally. They're far from it.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
To answer this question you have to understand that there are 2 types of PAS systems. The difference between them is built in to the controller software.

The first is based on how much power is allowed to the motor. It's going to supply 5 different progressively higher levels of power that will not change no matter how fast the bike is going.

The second type of PAS is based on the speed of the bike - and this type is the root of a lot of evils you hear complaints about. It allows progressively higher speeds based on the PAS level set. For instance, if your PAS 1 is set for 12mph and you want to ride 8, that's going to be a challenge. The only way you can do that is with the throttle, or stopping and starting your pedaling - creating kind of a jerky ride (stop, start, stop, start with an average speed of 8 mph)

With the first type, you can set it to PAS 1 and the amount of power to the motor will be so low you can easily go 8 mph if desired, or 6, or 10! You can go 15mph by putting enough of your own power into it, and the power to the motor will not change. If you want more assist, increase the PAS setting.

Point being, there's a night and day difference in the 2 types of commonly seen PAS systems.

The torque sensor plan is a vast improvement over the second, speed based PAS, but I think that the first type PAS, based on the amount of power available to the motor, might give an open mind on the PAS sensor vs. torque sensor argument some food for thought.....

You CANNOT judge all available PAS systems equally. They're far from it.
What do you mean by first type and second type?

I'm assuming you meant the first type as in torque sensor and second type as in cadence sensor?
 
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Timpo

Well-Known Member
@AHicks

Also, I thought the way cadence sensor was by limiting the power, not the speed.

For example, let's say you have 5 levels of assist. (cadence sensored)

Level 1 will give 100W of assist, regardless of speed.
Level 2 will give 200W of assist, regardless of speed.
Level 3 will... and so on.

Not

Level 1 will give 500W of assist til 10mph
Level 2 will give 500W of assist til 15mph
Level 3 will give... and so on.

I say this because when I lift up my bike (cadence sensored), it will spin up to the top speed, regardless of assist level.
But when I ride it, I can feel the power difference in assist.
I am only speaking from an example from my particular bike, so I could be totally wrong.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
Also, about OP's description of "switch on & off" pulsation movement at low speed..

The torque sensor may be able to detect very specific torque, for example, it can demand 14W of power, 33W, 145W, 542W, to the controller and be very specific to the rider's input.

However, even if sensors are good, the controller may not.
I have had similar feeling.. when the battery was low, it did give pulsation movement (switch on-off kind of feeling) when the battery was about to die.

Isn't that what sine-wave controllers are good for? It's supposed to give more smooth feeling? I could be completely wrong so if anyone could chime in that would be great. 🤔
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Timpo, re-read this slowly -

"The first (type PAS) is based on how much power is allowed to the motor. It's going to supply 5 different progressively higher levels of power that will not change no matter how fast the bike is going.

The second type of PAS is based on the speed of the bike - and this type is the root of a lot of evils you hear complaints about. It allows progressively higher speeds based on the PAS level set. For instance, if your PAS 1 is set for 12mph and you want to ride 8, that's going to be a challenge. The only way you can do that is with the throttle, or stopping and starting your pedaling - creating kind of a jerky ride (stop, start, stop, start with an average speed of 8 mph) "

THEN,
there are the torque sensors. Those sense how far the crank is displaced when pedaling, telling it how hard you are pushing on the pedal(s), which is translated (through the controller software) to how much power is allowed to the motor. The further the crank is displaced, the more power you get. If the crank has no pressure on it, you coast.

My point was you can't compare just the junk (second type) PAS software you get with inexpensive controllers to a torque sensing system. It's like saying all hub motors are the same....... and we both know better than that.

I think the reason the torque sensors are so popular is because they meter out the amount of power available to the motor. This would be very similar to how the better PAS system software works as well, because it does the same thing (meters power). It's only when comparing these 2 systems you get a fair comparison (PAS vs. torque sensing). My thoughts anyway. -Al
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Also, about OP's description of "switch on & off" pulsation movement at low speed..

The torque sensor may be able to detect very specific torque, for example, it can demand 14W of power, 33W, 145W, 542W, to the controller and be very specific to the rider's input.

However, even if sensors are good, the controller may not.
I have had similar feeling.. when the battery was low, it did give pulsation movement (switch on-off kind of feeling) when the battery was about to die.

Isn't that what sine-wave controllers are good for? It's supposed to give more smooth feeling? I could be completely wrong so if anyone could chime in that would be great. 🤔
Regarding "sine wave" this is a very high frequency that would have nothing to do with the MUCH lower frequencies involved with pedaling a bike.
 

Sierratim

Well-Known Member
My concern is that at lower speeds The torque system seems to give you more of a pulse sensation of the motor turning on and off in accordance to pedal pressure.
I initially felt this on my Specialized Vado 5 as well. It's equipped with torque and cadence sensors and is in general very smooth from start to finish. I found that the motor pulse sensation was due to having the assist level set to high for the riding conditions. The motor would try to deliver the higher power I had set, but then back off when my pedal pressure (torque) didn't keep up. By selecting a higher gear or backing off on the assist level the motor pulsing would go away. After a year I don't even think about it anymore. I guess I'm better at picking the right gear/assist level now.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
I initially felt this on my Specialized Vado 5 as well. It's equipped with torque and cadence sensors and is in general very smooth from start to finish. I found that the motor pulse sensation was due to having the assist level set to high for the riding conditions. The motor would try to deliver the higher power I had set, but then back off when my pedal pressure (torque) didn't keep up. By selecting a higher gear or backing off on the assist level the motor pulsing would go away. After a year I don't even think about it anymore. I guess I'm better at picking the right gear/assist level now.
The kind of stuff you figure out after riding the bike for a few weeks under varying conditions!
 

wings02

Member
I emailed Ride1UP yesterday expressing my concerns about the Torque sensing system they used in their new Limited model e-bike. I am going to post their response in this post. This is in no way being disrespectful to them. On the contrary, I found their response to be very informative and to the point. It is as follows;

“The torque sensor isn't a problem that we are working on any solution for. This is the nature of the BB torque sensor equipped with a 100nm hub motor. With mid-drives the acceleration is going to feel different naturally, and with cadence+troque combo bikes it's going to feel different as well. This is a BB torque sensor only ebike. The BB torque sensor is more expensive than the dropout torque sensor (used by companies like juiced for example) and requires less maintenance and is less finicky. However, with a torque only option, it will take some getting used to. It's taken me weeks to get familiar and accustomed to applying the exact amount of power/torque I am looking for. It's definitely a different system, but it's not one that we plan on changing to be honest. It's designed to operate in this way. The only real option to smooth out your motor application w/ a hub motor torque combo is to add a cadence sensor as well. To me, you might as well just use a cadence sensor only at that point. I've ridden the 'torque+cadence' combos a bit, but they operate mostly like a cadence sensor.
Hope this explains the setup a little. We will post a pro con of each model ASAP to our site, to assist in informing buyers of what they are getting into before ordering”
 

GenXrider

Member
The RideUP1 LMT'D has a torque sensor based PAS, the other Ride1UP bikes have a cadence sensor based PAS, which provides 9 different assist levels when using the 1-9 assist settings, and of course there's 0/none assist as well. These are based on power levels, not speed. This is from the 500 series LCD manual:

1593613129076.png


After reading feedback from owners about the torque sensor based PAS on different bikes, I'm leaning more towards a cadence based PAS for my next bike.

Thanks to Wings02 and LumpyDog on the LMT'D feedback.

https://electricbikereview.com/forums/threads/review-new-lmtd-new-owners-perspective.35049
 

Sierratim

Well-Known Member
The RideUP1 LMT'D has a torque sensor based PAS, the other Ride1UP bikes have a cadence sensor based PAS, which provides 9 different assist levels when using the 1-9 assist settings, and of course there's 0/none assist as well. These are based on power levels, not speed. This is from the 500 series LCD manual:

View attachment 57401

After reading feedback from owners about the torque sensor based PAS on different bikes, I'm leaning more towards a cadence based PAS for my next bike.

Thanks to Wings02 and LumpyDog on the LMT'D feedback.

https://electricbikereview.com/forums/threads/review-new-lmtd-new-owners-perspective.35049
I've read a post or 2 where riders were concerned that the lowest cadence assist power level was too much for them. The only way for them to ride slower was to pedal intermittently...YRMV
 

GenXrider

Member
I've read a post or 2 where riders were concerned that the lowest cadence assist power level was too much for them. The only way for them to ride slower was to pedal intermittently...YRMV
That might have been my posts as I've posted about wanting to dial in a lower PAS so that I have to pedal harder and get more exercise to go about 15 mph or possibly even slower as I do on my standard bike. So, pedaling intermittently would not achieve that goal of wanting more exercise. But, it looks like the Ride1UP has a lower range that works well for that. I read that the Aventon (Pace or Level), for example, had more power in its lowest level, which might be more than I would like. I get by with my standard bike fine on flat roads to maintain a good heart rate but would really like the assist on the hills, which are exhausting.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
I've read a post or 2 where riders were concerned that the lowest cadence assist power level was too much for them. The only way for them to ride slower was to pedal intermittently...YRMV
This is completely typical of a SPEED based cadence PAS - the second type I mentioned in the notes above (see notes 3 and 7).

It is NOT typical of ALL cadence PAS systems, as many cadence PAS systems are based on power - much the same as the torque sensor systems. With the power based cadence PAS, you can go as slow as you want - to the point it's hard to keep your balance, as the motor is generally being fed less than 100 watts when in PAS 1. That may sound like a lot, but when you consider the controller is using 50 of those watts for it's own internal housekeeping, and providing 50 or less to the motor, you begin to see what's really happening.

This, vs. the mickey mouse speed based cadence PAS being told you want to go 12 mph or so in PAS 1, and heading right for that as soon as you start pedaling..... Not even in the same league......
 
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GenXrider

Member
Here are a couple examples of bikes that look like they provide too much assist in the lowest PAS level.

In this post, it's mentioned that the Aventon Level and Pace 500 accelerate to 12 mph on PAS 1
https://electricbikereview.com/foru...or-2020-aventon-level-sinch.31520/post-248126

In this post, the Aventon Pace 350 speed is stated to be 10 mph in PAS 1. Rounding off?
https://electricbikereview.com/forums/threads/aventon-pace-350-vs-rize-city.33348/post-269297

In this post, the Aventon Pace 500 speed is stated to be 11-12 mph in PAS 1.
https://electricbikereview.com/forums/threads/50nm-mid-drive-vs-50nm-hub-drive.34726/post-289144

While speed is mentioned in those posts about the Aventon bikes, I don't know if the speed mentioned is just the result of a given power at stated PAS level on a flat road or if it's giving pedal assistance based up to that specific speed threshold. As stated, it appears to imply it's actually limiting assist at a specific speed. The Ride1UP cadence sensor PAS is based on a percentage of power based on what the above chart shows, plus I think I read some specific user feedback about the Ride1UP assist in PAS 1/9 being less than the Aventon in 1/5, although I was unable to find my reference for that now.

And as I tried to clarify in my previous post, I'm not interested in going as slow as I can so that it's difficult to keep balance or have to pedal intermittently, but rather, it's a matter having a low enough PAS power so that I can pedal continuously, keeping my heart rate between 130 and 160 most of the time as I do on my standard bike, and ride roughly 15 mph on flat roads. This will minimize battery draw when I don't need much assist while still giving me good exercise. Since I made those first posts on that, the feedback I've gotten was that this shouldn't be an issue with the Rize or Ride1UP bikes.
 
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