Throttle or no throttle. That is the question

Nexus

New Member
Region
USA
I am new to E bikes and EBR. Have been reading a lot of posts on the site and doing a lot of research on so many E bikes.
When it comes to throttle or no throttle and why some manufacturers decided not to put a throttle on is puzzling to me.
There was a time when I would never think of in a E bike. It's like cheating but I had both my knees replaced recently and
this puts me back in the game again. Personally I would prefer throttle in case my knees give out for whatever reason.
But the new Fuell is a class 3 28 mpg with no throttle and a Enviolo Aurora Limited class 2 20 mpg has a throttle why.
It seems to me you took yourself out of sales. If you did put a throttle on the owner who doesn't want to use it
wouldn't bother them. Somebody needs to enlighten me a little on the subject
 

jabberwocky

Well-Known Member
In the US, most states have adopted the 3 class model where class 1&3 are pedal only (limited to 20 & 28 respectively), and class 2 is pedal+throttle (limited to 20). Manufacturers have for the most part followed that. For most of the country, if you want a legal bike with a throttle you're looking at class 2s which are limited to 20mph. If you're fine with being in a legal grey area, some manufacturers have decided that class 3s can have throttle as long as it cuts at 20 (which is almost certainly not strictly following the law, but your odds of actually being hassled for it are probably extremely low). Or you can just look at the various chinese imports that follow no rules at all and can get something with throttle that basically goes as fast as your heart/pocketbook can handle.
 

ElevenAD

Well-Known Member
i ride Online China Rockets exclusively lol, i have 3 of them! 2 will throttle above 30mph and my cruiser will throttle to 28mph, so far ihave only been stopped twice,both times the police wanted to know where they could buy the bike lol, this may change one day but as Jabberwocky said, for now i dont think the current laws are strictly enforced.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
I am new to E bikes and EBR. Have been reading a lot of posts on the site and doing a lot of research on so many E bikes.
When it comes to throttle or no throttle and why some manufacturers decided not to put a throttle on is puzzling to me.
There was a time when I would never think of in a E bike. It's like cheating but I had both my knees replaced recently and
this puts me back in the game again. Personally I would prefer throttle in case my knees give out for whatever reason.
But the new Fuell is a class 3 28 mpg with no throttle and a Enviolo Aurora Limited class 2 20 mpg has a throttle why.
It seems to me you took yourself out of sales. If you did put a throttle on the owner who doesn't want to use it
wouldn't bother them. Somebody needs to enlighten me a little on the subject
I think it was Ravi (owner of Zen Ebikes) mentioned this on EBR (correct me if I'm wrong, I think it was Ravi, but it could have been somebody else)

Anyways, I totally get that, what's the point of NOT adding throttle, especially when it's a cheap and easy thing to add, and not having throttle can be a deal breaker to many ebikers, so why not add throttle?

What Ravi said was that, some manufactures, especially Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, Kona, Norco, Rocky Mountain, etc... are first and foremost, bicycle companies.
They do NOT want to be perceived as motorcycle companies. (or high speed throttle activated motorized electric cycle company)
Their "ebikes" are first and foremost, bicycles. Not throttle powered motor vehicles.

This is exactly why those bicycle companies do not (generally) produce high speed ebikes and ebikes with throttle.

Other ebike companies on the other hand, like Juiced, Biktrix, WattWagons, Luna Cycles, Sondors, Rize, etc.. are very well identified themselves as high speed ebike companies.
They are NOT bicycle companies, they are ebike companies.
Many Ebike companies never produced bicycles. They only produce ebikes.
 
Last edited:

Gordon71

Active Member
Even though I only use it for a second or two to get rolling from a stop when I'm in a higher gear I would not want to be without it. That would be very true if my chain were to break during a ride however unlikely. The only time it's a pain is when I ride trails where it's restricted. That too is minor as I just unplug it before getting on the trail.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
The Euro bike makers have no throttles because they are illegal in Europe. Their lobbyists helped implement the USA Class 1, and CLass 3 systems which are pedal assist only. Class 2 is of course both pedal and throttle. Current importers of chinese bikes have been re-defining class 3 as throttle to 20 mph, PAS to 28 mph, which is not really true to the definition, but what do I care. All my bikes have throttles,

I think most people would like to have a throttle and use it as desired.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
They do NOT was to be perceived as motorcycle companies. (or high speed throttle activated motorized electric cycle company)
Their "ebikes" are forest and foremost, bicycles. Not throttle powered motor vehicles.

This is exactly why those bicycle companies do not (generally) produce high speed ebikes and ebikes with throttle.
I think this was at one time 100% correct, with the added concern to the bottom line: These companies want to make products they can sell worldwide and the USA is an island unto itself in terms of its acceptance of throttles and higher power.

I said "at one time". Anyone who has been using an ebike for a period of years has seen it happen: The outright hostility from the bicycle industry - as well as people who come and go past you on the street - has gone away completely, or at the least has diminished dramatically. As public acceptance of ebikes has grown - as ebikes become the product that consumers want - manufacturers have warmed up to them. Considerably. This trend will continue.

NONE of this discussion addresses what the consumer wants. Which is a throttle. Throttles and motors are things cyclists hate. But ebike riders are not cyclists by and large, and ebikes themselves are very different animals from bicycles despite the resemblance.

Lets not forget that 100 years ago cyclists who used a derailleur instead of toughing it out on the hills with a single gear were regarded as weak and unwelcome to the sport. Races banned them and yes it was called cheating. But the derailleur was a leap forward in technology that was embraced by the bicycle rider. An irresistible force met an unwilling - but in the end movable - object. The motor and the throttle are on the same path towards mass acceptance, and the world is only the better for it.

Get a throttle. You'll find good use for it.
 

jabberwocky

Well-Known Member
Coming from traditional cycling, I personally have zero desire for a throttle. There are also places where throttles are probably never going to be accepted (mountainbiking trails, for example). I agree that hostility from traditional cyclists towards ebikes has greatly diminished; I primarily ride with non-e cyclists and its gone from being a weird thing that people aren't comfortable with to most people not giving it a second thought (and several friends have bought ebikes for themselves or SOs).
 

EMGX

Well-Known Member
I've seen an amazing increase in ebikes around here in just the last few months. On some routes that I rarely have seen ebikes in the past they now predominate by far. Yesterday my wife and I did a hilly ride where an old historic road doesn't allow car traffic. Many riders were out and only a few had traditional non assist bikes. At first my wife didn't want a throttle for her bike but I'm going to add one today. She needs help getting started on inclines before the PAS kicks in, yes she is often in too high a gear when she stops.
 

sc00ter

Active Member
My 2cents on the throttle/no throttle. I would never own a ebike without a throttle. I rarely use the throttle on its own but I like knowing that the few times I'll use it, its there. And all this speed related talk you hear of? Trust me on this, 20mph is fast enough on most ebikes. Buy a lower priced brand to test the waters, like a Rad Power (I have one) just to get out there. Within a year you'll know what you want next IF you replace it.
 

Gordon71

Active Member
There's a nice set of trails near where I live. Gravel surface,about 8' wide with lots of hills and curves. At the several entrances to the trails there is a sigh that reads "20MPH no class 2or3 Ebikes allowed." I simply unplug the throttle on my Rad Rover before entering which converts it to class 1. Now I've never been challenged or even seen a LEO on any of the trails but if I did I would most emphatically point out that 20MPH is too fast anywhere on those trails. If there is ever an accident it sure won't be the result of the type of bike being used but the foolishly high speed limit that can be achieved by any bike made whether it has a motor or not.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
I'm a Viet Nam era vet, and there are days when my knees hurt so badly I don't want to pedal at all. 90% of the time I pedal unpowered as my heart/lungs need the exercise. But I can't predict the bad days, so I require a throttle. Sometimes I twisted my knee out at my summer camp, at which I have a limited supply of food. I have to come home, bad knee or not. I don't keep a running car. Also, throttles are useful for blasting away from dogs that want a taste of my ankle.
As Indiana believes in bike trails only for capital residents, I ride on the road where throttles are definitely not banned. There is a very convenient abandoned rail line paralleling most of my route to camp, now growing trash trees & houses.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Will we ever get 'real' throttles? You know, the ones that actually control power to the transmission rather than just turn power on or off.
Well, the BBSHD does this now. I was just commenting on throttle response in a thread this morning. Stock, it feels just like an on/off switch.

When I put a Cyclone on my old Stump FSR, its throttle was variable. Can't get much more basic than a Cyclone. It had a 60a controller so if it was on/off you'd sure know it :D I guess it depends on what you are riding and what the manufacturer gave you?
Coming from traditional cycling, I personally have zero desire for a throttle.
Same here. Lifetime of daily analog commuter/utility/weekend cycling. But awhile back a couple of heart attacks took it away from me. I used the 'e' in 'ebike' to get it back. When I started out, I treated an ebike as a whole new blank-slate system, and the throttle was a necessary part of rehab, pretty much like how @indianajo described his situation. Now its just another tool in the bag that I use when I feel like it. I think thats going to be a common viewpoint in the general marketplace.
 

Catalyzt

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I have two bikes, one with throttle, one without, both low power. I feel like the throttle on the Hilltopper / Trek 930 kit bike IS more than an on/off switch-- it has maybe three different settings, almost nothing, something and everything. For that bike, given the low-powered hub motor, I like that it's not an on/off switch-- on the long hills, I can back off a bit to rest the motor and battery without going totally without assistance.

On the Moto, which is a torque sensing pedalec, I'm surprised that I don't miss the throttle more. When I bought it, I really considered it a compromise not having it, I had a budget and I really wanted to stick to it, but I don't miss it, and I ride the Moto a lot more than the Trek. The first week I had the Moto, I considered returning it because it felt so weird and underpowered, I wasn't sure it was delivering any assistance at all. Now I totally feel the power, even in ECO, and I'm crazy about it.

I definitely think there should be a disability exemption for Class II at a minimum. If you've had a heart attack, bad knees, doctor's note, 20 MPH + throttle should be good anywhere a Class 1 can go.
 

theemartymac

Well-Known Member
On the Moto, which is a torque sensing pedalec, I'm surprised that I don't miss the throttle more. When I bought it, I really considered it a compromise not having it, I had a budget and I really wanted to stick to it, but I don't miss it, and I ride the Moto a lot more than the Trek. The first week I had the Moto, I considered returning it because it felt so weird and underpowered, I wasn't sure it was delivering any assistance at all. Now I totally feel the power, even in ECO, and I'm crazy about it.
I just mapped a new profile on my Ultra mid-drive (With torque sensor), and suddenly I'm finding I do not need the throttle very much - if ever - anymore. Using the Frey Smooth profile, it just meets my needs perfectly, and I often ride fast and hard with lots of assist. If I'm feeling lazy, high PAS results in good moderate power delivery with basically just enough effort to turn the cranks (similar to how the cadence sensor works), and full juice with only moderate pedal effort.

I also have a cadence hub bike, and the throttle is still useful there, as I need to compensate for the weaker hub on the approach to a big climb or to minimize the need to switch PAS settings on the fly. But even hub bikes are commonly getting torque sensors now.

But as Torque sensors (or their eventual successors) are refined, I can see how throttles on most bikes could be largely redundant outside of those with physical limitations, or simply wanting a "scooter" mode.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
I just mapped a new profile on my Ultra mid-drive (With torque sensor), and suddenly I'm finding I do not need the throttle very much - if ever - anymore. Using the Frey Smooth profile, it just meets my needs perfectly, and I often ride fast and hard with lots of assist. If I'm feeling lazy, high PAS results in good moderate power delivery with basically just enough effort to turn the cranks (similar to how the cadence sensor works), and full juice with only moderate pedal effort.

I also have a cadence hub bike, and the throttle is still useful there, as I need to compensate for the weaker hub on the approach to a big climb or to minimize the need to switch PAS settings on the fly. But even hub bikes are commonly getting torque sensors now.

But as Torque sensors (or their eventual successors) are refined, I can see how throttles on most bikes could be largely redundant outside of those with physical limitations, or simply wanting a "scooter" mode.
I'd agree if it were not for the fact the throttles are so darn handy when first getting the bike moving. That, and they often leave you with the ability to remain mobile enough to get yourself home after an "unfortunate incident" (might be an injury, or a drive line issue (jammed chain on a hub drive for instance).
 

Brockrock

Member
Region
USA
Personally I would prefer throttle in case my knees give out for whatever reason.
I think this part of you question answers your question in many ways. The eBike revolution is allowing so many individuals to get into - or back into - cycling, and this includes folks who are older and/or folks with prior injuries or other physical limitations. As such, the option of using a throttle if needed is very convenient, or, one can use whatever PAS mode they feel comfortable with in order to maintain a knee friendly cadence. My eBike (Aventon Level) has both throttle (max 20 mph) and PAS (max 28mph). I rarely to almost never use the throttle, and prefer PAS level 2 for comfortably riding at about 15mph or so. The throttle is there though, and if I had a knee issue, or a cramping issue, or a drive-train issue, I could use it in a pinch.
 

fauconnier

Member
Region
Canada
It's difficult to synchronize all PAS when riding in group. I always use my Bafang proportional throttle.