Do You Have to Pedal an Electric Bike?

When I was recently buying a new electric bike one of the questions I wondered was whether or not they can move without me needing to pedal. So, I did some research on the topic to find what types of e-bikes can be used without pedaling.

So, do you need to pedal electric bikes? Whether or not you need to pedal an electric bike depends on the type of electric bike. If it is a pedal assist electric bike then it will be necessary for you to pedal in order for the bike to move. If it is a throttle assist electric bike then you will be able to move the electric bike without pedaling.

When buying a new electric bike many people want one that will be able to move without them needing to pedal. This can come with some problems though, in many areas these types of electric bikes will require you to have a license and these types of e-bikes can feel awkward to cycle. There is actually a lot to choosing the right electric bike for your needs.

Choosing an Electric Bike Based on Your Needs

There is a wide variety of electric bikes out there for you to choose from and a lot of the best ones will require you to pedal.

If you really don’t want to have to pedal then you are going to have to get a throttle assist electric bike. These types of electric bikes propel you forwards by having you twist on the throttle. The electric bike will have a motor attached to the front or the back wheel that will turn the wheels when you turn the throttle. The harder you turn the throttle the faster your electric bike will move and if you take your hand off the throttle then the electric bike will simply coast along.

Even though these types of electric bikes do not require that you pedal to move forward, you can still pedal if you want to. The bike will still function just like an ordinary bike does except with an electric motor attached. You can even cycle while using the electric motor at the same time, however, this can create a somewhat weird biking experience.

These types of electric bikes can also feel weird to cycle regularly, especially if the electric motor is attached to the front of the bike. If the motor is attached at the front then it will mean that the bike will have more weight towards the front of the bike than you are normally used and it can cause taking corners to be somewhat difficult.

The alternative to throttle assisted electric bikes are pedal assisted electric bikes. These types of electric bikes work by giving you an extra push while you pedal. They will either have the electric motor attached to the rear wheel or it will be located where you pedal. If the motor is located where you pedal then it will work by rotating the drivetrain like you normally would when you pedal.

These types of e-bikes are probably the most popular type of e-bikes for a number of reasons.

The first one being that you don’t always¬†need a license to use these types of e-bikes depending on the state.

The second, large, benefit of these types of e-bikes is that they will still give you a workout. Since these types of e-bikes work by assisting you as you peddle, you will still need to be putting in some effort to keep the bike moving. Additionally, they will come with a number of levels of assistance for you to choose from, which means that if you want to give yourself more of a workout you can select one of the lower settings, giving you more of a workout and if you’re tired you can select a higher setting.

Another benefit of these types of e-bikes is that they will often handle just like a normal bike. Since these types of e-bikes will often have the electric motor placed in the middle it means that the extra weight will be distributed more evenly which will result in a more natural feeling ride.

Depending on state laws they will normally limit power assisted electric bikes to 20 mph and some states have age requirements. When you reach 20 mph these types of electric bikes will usually stop providing assistance leaving you to pedal on your own.

Some electric bikes also can come in a hybrid form that will assist you as you pedal and can be used as a throttle electric bike.

Should You Cycle an Electric Bike the Same Way as a Normal Bike?

Even though the electric motor will push you along as you pedal on an electric bike the riding style that you should use will still be very similar to that of an ordinary bike. When you cycle an electric bike it will feel as if you have super strong legs as each time you push down on the pedals the electric motor will be giving you an extra push.

Despite that, there are some things that you should keep in mind when cycling an electric bike in order to maximize the distance that you will be able to get out of the electric battery.

When cycling an electric bike it is important that you are mindful of how you select the gears that you are using as this can have an impact on how much work the electric motor will need to do.

Selecting a lower gear will make things easier at lower speeds and higher gears are more appropriate at higher speeds. With that being the case it is important that you consider what is coming up ahead of you when cycling so that you can select the appropriate gear ahead of time.

Another thing to consider is that the battery will have to be putting in more work at higher speeds since the effort required when cycling increases exponentially as you speed up. With this being the case, in order to maximize how far your battery will take you, it would be worthwhile to select a lower assistance setting at higher speeds.

Are the Types of E-Bikes the Same as Normal Bikes?

The types of electric bikes that you can get are more or less the same as ordinary bikes, however, there are a number of key differences.

  • “Cruiser” e-bikes

These types of e-bikes are designed to be used for a leisurely cycle. They have handlebars that go slightly further back and out wider, they have wider wheels than usual, and they have a gap in the middle so that you can put your feet onto the pedals without having to raise your legs very high.

  • “Commuter” e-bikes

These are designed to be used on the road over slightly larger distances. If you cycle to work then this is probably the type of e-bike that you would want to consider. These e-bikes have thinner wheels like on normal e-bikes and they are designed to make you lean forward slightly in order to ride them.

  • “Mountain” e-bikes

These types of e-bikes are designed just like regular e-bikes are and can be used on or off-road. They are probably the most popular types of e-bikes and can come in dual suspension, hardtail or “fat tire” varieties.

  • “Fat Tire” e-bikes

These types of electric bikes are not something that you will find on an ordinary bike. They make use of the additional power that the electric motors provide by having bigger than usual tires that allow you to go through things such as sand, mud or snow.

Related Questions

How do you charge an electric bike? To charge an electric bike you simply take the battery out of the bay on the bike, turn it off, connect the provided charger into the battery and then plug the charger into the mains outlet.

How do you brake on an electric bike? You can brake on an electric bike in the exact same way that you would on an ordinary bike all you have to do is pull on the brake levels and the electric motor will stop and so will the wheels (hopefully).

Can electric bikes be used off road? Electric bikes can be used off-road. Ideally, the type of bike would be an electric mountain bike since these have been specifically designed to be able to be used off-road.


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