Best Throttle Electric Bikes With Pedal Assist | Time For An Insane Upgrade?

By Chris Wilson


Are you looking for a throttle e-bike with pedal assist that is powerful enough to conquer steep gradients? People often believe that throttle-activated e-bikes are unable to generate enough torque to climb inclines, this isn't entirely true.

Editor's 1st Choice

RadRunner 1

Overall Rating:

  • Payload Capacity: 300 lb (136 kg)
  • Motor: 750W
  • Throttle: Twist
  • Range of 45+miles
  • 48V, 14 Ah
    Lithium-ion Battery

Editor's 2nd Choice

LEVEL Step-Through Commuter Ebike

Overall Rating:

  • Payload Capacity: 300 lb (136 kg)
  • Motor: 750W
  • Throttle: Thumb
  • Range of 40+ miles
  • 48V, 14 Ah (672Wh) Lithium-ion Battery

Editor's 3rd Choice

Ranger R1 Electric City Bike

Overall Rating:

  • Payload Capacity: 264 lb (120 kg)
  • Motor: 500W
  • Throttle: Half-Twist
  • Range of 35-60 Miles
  • 48V, 13 Ah Lithium-ion Battery

Quality throttle with pedal assist e-bikes perform as well as — maybe even better than — Pedelecs only ebikes under almost any condition. Their motors are adapted to generate more hill-climbing power and they are equipped with longer-lasting batteries (some even have extra battery packs attached to their frames).

In this post, I'll explain what a throttle e-bike is and list some of the best throttle-activated electric bikes with pedal assist on the market today. A pedal-assist only electric bike is great, but, cruising without pedaling, transporting heavy loads on your ebike without having to strain your knees?

Now that's a different kind of cool!

Twist Grip Throttle

Photo created by radpowerbikes

What Does Throttle Do on an E-bike

A throttle engages an e-bike's motor. Unlike pedal assist systems that provide electric power only when they're pedaled, throttle-activated systems can be propelled by simply pushing or twisting a lever.

How Does a Throttle Work on an Electric Bike

To understand how an e-bike's throttle works, we'll first outline the differences between a pedal-assist system and a throttle-assist system.

Pedal-assist and Throttle

How Does a Pedal-assist Electric Bike Work

In a PAS, the motor is activated by the rider's pedaling. As the rider pedals, a torque or cadence sensor picks up "activity" signals and sends them to the e-bike's controller. The controller then releases enough power from the battery to the motor to boost the rider's input.

How Does a Throttle Assisted System Work

In a throttle-assist system, the rider does not need to pedal. There is an almost seamless connection between the throttle and the electric motor such that the former engages the latter on demand.

So, when a rider engages the throttle, it sends signals to the e-bike's controller which then channels power from the battery to the motor.

Best Throttle Electric Bikes With Pedal Assist | Time For An Insane Upgrade? 1

How Do You Throttle an Electric Bike

The three most common types of throttles on electric bikes are thumb, twist, and half-twist.

Thumb throttles, like twist and half-twist throttles, are located on e-bike handlebars.

To activate a thumb throttle all the rider needs to do is push and hold on to it. This will propel the bike up to speeds of 20 miles per hour or more.

E-bike twist & half-twist throttles work like traditional motorcycle throttles; you twist them to push the e-bike forward. The only difference is that half-twist throttles only cover half of the handlebar end.

Are Throttle Electric Bikes Legal

In some regions, (countries in the E.U and some states in the U.S & Australia) throttle-only electric bikes are prohibited from riding on public roads, trails, parks, and bicycle lanes.

Class 2 Ebike

Photo created by radpowerbikes

Throttle-only e-bikes limit riders' options. If you must ride a throttle e-bike, make sure it's a Class 2 electric bike (an e-bike with throttle and pedal-assist functionality) so you're at lower risk of getting into trouble with law enforcement in your area.

These days almost every electric bike comes with a throttle-assist function. They are either hybrid Class 1/Class 2 or Class 2/Class 3; hell, some electric bikes, like the Juiced Hyperscorpion, can operate as Class 1, 2 & 3 e-bikes.

And that's not all. The Juiced Hyperscorpion also has a racetrack mode that allows the ebike to exceed speeds of 28 mph. Make sure you familiarize yourself with electric bicycle laws in your area before purchasing an e-bike.

Do Specialized E-bikes Have Throttle

No. Specialized manufacturers only pedal-assist electric bicycles. Maybe sometime in the future, they might consider adding throttle-assist functionality to their e-bikes.

Convert Pedal Assist to Throttle

How to Convert Pedal Assist to Throttle

If your Pedelec's controller has a cable for throttle, all you have to do is connect an aftermarket throttle.

However, if your controller doesn't, you're going to have to swap it out and replace it with one that supports a throttle connection. Even if you find a controller that supports a throttle connection, you still have to make sure it's a good fit for your e-bike.

Converting a pedelec to a fully electric, throttle-activated bicycle requires technical skill. Contrary to what you might have seen on YouTube, the process isn't easy.

It involves messing with the bike's electronic components. One wrong connection and your e-bike components could start acting up.

So, unless you're familiar with electronics, you should never try to convert your pedal-assist e-bike to throttle assist.

Bafang Mid-drive Motor

Photo created by bafangusadirect

Can a Mid-drive Electric Bike Have a Throttle?

Yes. A mid-drive e-bike, like a hub-drive electric bike, is a bicycle that is equipped with a motor that converts electric power to mechanical power.

Mid-motors work just like hub-motors. Just because they are positioned in-between the bike's cranks and integrate with the bike's chain-drive doesn't mean they have to be pedaled to generate power.

A motor, or engine, converts one form of energy to another, and mid-drive motors aren't any different.

According to Bicycling.com's article on the mechanics of the e-bike motors; in a mid-drive system, the motor spins a shaft connected to the chainring.

The chain then transfers that mechanical energy to the wheels. It's pretty much the same way hub motors work: just remove the shaft and the chainring and replace them with spokes.

Throttle Control Systems

Photo created by bosch

What really separates a pedal-assist e-bike and a throttle-activated electric bike is the way the rider interacts with the motor. Their control systems determine how their motors react to riders' commands or activities.

A pedelec's controller needs to receive signals from activity sensors positioned in between the bike's cranks and the frame before it can release power from the battery to the motor. A throttle-assist e-bike modulates the motor once the rider engages the throttle.

What Is the best e bikes with throttle and pedal assist

The best throttle electric bike for you is one that meets up to your riding needs. However, there are a few "general" features you might want to look out for when scrolling through e-bike product pages.

Editor's 1st Choice

RadRunner 1

Overall Rating:

  • Payload Capacity: 300 lb (136 kg)
  • Motor: 750W
  • Throttle: Twist
  • Range of 45+miles
  • 48V, 14 Ah
    Lithium-ion Battery

Editor's 2nd Choice

LEVEL Step-Through Commuter Ebike

Overall Rating:

  • Payload Capacity: 300 lb (136 kg)
  • Motor: 750W
  • Throttle: Thumb
  • Range of 40+ miles
  • 48V, 14 Ah (672Wh) Lithium-ion Battery

Editor's 3rd Choice

Ranger R1 Electric City Bike

Overall Rating:

  • Payload Capacity: 264 lb (120 kg)
  • Motor: 500W
  • Throttle: Half-Twist
  • Range of 35-60 Miles
  • 48V, 13 Ah Lithium-ion Battery

1) Long-lasting Battery

Throttling drains an e-bike's battery faster. For optimal riding range, you want to look for a throttle e-bike with, at least, a 10-Ah battery pack.

2) Powerful Motor

A 250-Watt throttle e-bike will perform just fine on flat grounds. However, unless the ebike is equipped with a mid-motor, climbing up steep hills will be very difficult.

Since the legal limit for Class 2 e-bike motors in the U.S is 750W, consider getting yourself an electric bike powerful enough to overcome any form of resistance.

3) Pedal-assist Functionality

Throttle-only ebikes limit your riding to select areas. However, if your throttle e-bike has a pedal-assist function, you'll be able to ride almost everywhere normal bikes are allowed.

Bonus

Ranger R1 Safety Buttons

Photo created by turboant

Some e-bikes, like Turboant's Ranger R1, have throttle locks (or throttle safety buttons). These prevent you from accelerating your e-bike accidentally.

As you know, e-bike throttles are located on their handlebars increasing the likelihood of riders accidentally engaging them. A throttle lock gives you more control of your e-bike and also ensures better safety while riding.

About the author 

Chris Wilson

Chris Wilson, long time fan of personal electric transportation. Chris is not easily impressed when it comes to the latest technologies, however, when he is, nothing can stop him from wanting to share his knowledge with our readers here at ElectricRideLab.com