Electric Bikes Without Pedals: What You Need To Know
Ebikes are an increasingly popular alternative to cars, and for good reason. They’re an affordable means of transport, balance exercise with speedy travel, allow you to avoid traffic during your commute, and are good for the environment to boot. It’s no surprise that the popularity of ebikes has skyrocketed as of late, with many in the US and beyond looking to get their hands on one.
While getting an ebike of your own is certainly a good idea, it pays to know a bit about them before parting with your money. There’s a lot that goes into ebikes, from how to recharge an ebike’s battery, to the topic of this article – ebikes without pedals. There are many different kinds of ebike, each very similar, but different enough to make them suitable for some and unsuitable for others. To make sure you get the right ebike for you, knowing the difference between an ebike that sports pedals and one that doesn’t is essential.
What is an ebike with no pedals?
A bike without any pedals is a pretty novel concept, admittedly, but it’s exactly as it sounds. Some ebikes drop pedals, and typically a few other parts, such as chains, and leave only the motor for propulsion. In doing so, the ebike is a little lighter than its counterparts, and is used primarily by people who want a pleasant ride to wherever they want to go. If you’re looking to get some exercise, going throttle-only is probably not the best idea.
Also Read: How Far Can You Go on an Ebike on One Charge?
Ebikes with no pedals, usually called throttle-only ebikes, are controlled only by the throttle. In this sense, they are quite similar to traditional motorbikes, where twisting the throttle will get more or less power out of the motor. As such, they are entirely dependent on the battery for movement, which greatly decreases the range compared to other types of ebike. As a side note, throttle-only ebikes are not as common in Europe as they are in the US. In Europe, ebikes are more heavily regulated, greatly limiting the capabilities of throttle-only ebikes. The same is true for some states in the US, and other countries in other parts of the world. If you’re considering getting a throttle-only ebike, you should take a look at your area’s legislation first.
Ebikes with pedal assist
Most ebikes have a blend of pedal and motor. Unlike a throttle-only ebike, the motor is activated by pedaling. The higher the level of pedal assist you use, the more responsibility is placed on the motor. This kind of ebike is much more versatile than a throttle-only, as it allows riders to enjoy a relaxing ride, or prioritize exercise. With a low level of pedal assist, you can also greatly extend the range of your ebike, since the motor is working less and draining less energy as a result. The improved battery efficiency will result in you paying less for a recharge, and pedal-assisted ebikes are subject to less stringent legislation, making them the more convenient option of the two.
Also Read: How To Make an Ebike Faster
Advantages to buying an ebike with no pedals
Although the inherent disadvantages of throttle-only ebikes have caused some riders to steer clear of them, there is still plenty of reason to use one. They have a few key advantages that other kinds of ebike can’t match, making them perfect for certain riders. When deciding what kind of ebike to buy, consider these advantages of ebikes without pedal assist:
- Easy to ride – The biggest reason to use an ebike without pedal assist is that they are easy to hop on and get going. You don’t need to know anything specific beforehand, save for the route you’ll take, they don’t require much maintenance, and you don’t have to be physically fit either. Better yet, you’ll easily be able to keep pace with other riders, even if they’re fairly strong pedalers.
- Better motor control – Since pedal assist ebikes require the use of pedals to get the motor going, you’ll need to put in a bit of effort during your ride, whether you want to or not. With a throttle, you have much more control over how much pedaling you’ll have to do, from a little bit of assistance to a laid-back ride.
- Easier on rough terrain – Since you won’t be pedaling, you’ll have a much easier time riding over rough terrain. You’ll be able to adjust the throttle at your leisure, allowing you to coast over whatever terrain you find yourself on, making difficult hill starts a thing of the past.
Disadvantages to buying an ebike with no pedals
Although there are plenty of reasons to ride an ebike without pedal assist, this kind of ebike does have a few drawbacks. Before you make a purchase, it’s best to consider the following:
- Local regulations – As we mentioned earlier, a serious drawback for throttle ebikes is legislation. Some areas place heavy regulations on throttle-only ebikes, making whatever you can get your hands on legally ineffective for what you’d want it to do. What’s more, you can expect fines for failing to keep to the rules and regulations in place. Before buying an ebike with no pedals, you should check your area’s regulations, or just stick to ebikes with pedal assist.
- Increased battery usage – Unlike ebikes with pedal assist, you’ll be using the motor all throughout your ride. This means you’ll be draining the battery at a faster rate than with other ebikes, making recharges more frequent.
- Decreased range – Following on from the above, a battery that drains faster means less range for your ebike, which can be a dealbreaker depending on what you want it for. If you have a long commute to work and no nearby recharge points, you might find that some throttle-only ebikes simply aren’t suitable. On long-range biking trips, you’ll be stopping more frequently to recharge, or you’ll need to bring equipment that can keep you going for longer, such as portable solar panels.
The bottom line
Ebikes without pedals certainly fall under the category of niche. It’s for this reason that most riders prefer to stick with a pedal-assist ebike, but it doesn’t mean they should be counted out completely. If you want a leisurely ride, don’t mind dropping the exercise aspect of cycling, and your local area allows it, then you might find ebikes without pedals right up your alley. If the answer to any of these is no, then you’re probably best off with a pedal-assist ebike, or a hybrid that blends the two.