You should try a current generation Ride1Up cadence sensor bike that lets you program the number of assit levels, and even better, allows you to program the power percentage of each assist level. No one has those problems on these Ride1Up bikes if they know how to use them. You can get as much exercise as you need - and definitely NOT just along for the ride. I'm not sure if you were just riding a shhit ass bike or didn't know how to use it.
Because the number of controllers that are using poorly written software are in the vast majority presently, those of us with pretty decent, especially the fully adjustable, cadence PAS systems are always going to be trying to explain that not all cadence type PAS systems are fixed/preassigned speed based (junk).
This is all about the software run internally in the controller. The good vs. bad cadence based hardware is identical!
My hope is, as the industry matures, customers will not allow the mfg's to get away with this mickey mouse software, and demand the much more sophisticated stuff that actually works...
For this fat old man, it's not so much about the ability to "clown pedal" as it is to have a choice in how much resistance there is. If you want to clown pedal at a certain speed, turn up the PAS to allow that. If you want to contribute a little more than what you would be while clown pedaling, turn the PAS down! Simple. No rocket science involved. Decent cadence based PAS CAN work really well (like the one in the BBSxx mid drives for instance - completely adjustable)!