What is the Difference between Electric Bike And Pedal Assist

What is the Difference Between Electric Bike And Pedal Assist

An electric bike is propelled by an electric motor, while a pedal-assist bike provides assistance to the rider while they are pedaling. Electric bikes are powered solely by the motor and do not require any effort from the rider, whereas pedal assist bikes require some level of pedaling from the rider to activate the motor.

Electric bikes are suitable for those who prefer a more effortless and convenient mode of transportation, while pedal assist bikes are ideal for riders who want a boost while still having the option to pedal for exercise. Both types of bikes offer a greener alternative to traditional modes of transportation and are gaining popularity for their environmental and health benefits.

1. Motor Type

When it comes to electric bikes and pedal-assist bikes, one of the key differences lies in the motor type. The motor power greatly influences the performance and capabilities of the bike, making it an essential factor to consider when making a choice.

Hub Motor

Hub motors are the most common type of motor found in electric bikes and pedal-assist bikes. They are integrated into the bike’s hub, either in the front or rear wheel. These motors provide a direct drive system, offering a smooth and quiet ride. They are typically easier to maintain and repair, making them a popular choice for many riders.

Mid-drive Motor

Mid-drive motors are situated in the bike’s bottom bracket, offering a more balanced weight distribution and a lower center of gravity. This placement makes the bike more stable and easier to handle, especially when climbing steep inclines. Additionally, mid-drive motors leverage the bike’s gear system, optimizing efficiency and power delivery.

Credit: eco-move.co.uk

2. Power Source

Electric bikes and pedal-assist bikes differ in their power source. Electric bikes rely solely on an electric motor for propulsion, while pedal-assist bikes require human pedaling along with motor assistance. This distinction affects the level of effort required from the rider and the overall riding experience.

When it comes to electric bikes and pedal-assist bikes, one of the key differences lies in their respective power sources. Let’s delve deeper into this aspect to understand how each type gets its energy and delivers the desired assistance.

2.1 Battery

Electric bikes, as the name suggests, rely on a battery as their primary power source. These bikes are equipped with a rechargeable battery pack that supplies electricity to the motor to propel the bike forward. The battery is typically located on the frame or integrated within it, ensuring convenient access for charging purposes. The battery pack used in electric bikes is usually detachable, allowing users to easily remove it for charging indoors.

This feature provides the advantage of charging the battery in a more controlled environment, especially during unfavorable weather conditions or when security concerns arise. These batteries often come with charging ports and indicators to simplify the charging process. Electric bike batteries vary in terms of their capacity and range. The capacity is measured in watt-hours (Wh), which determines the amount of energy the battery can store. A higher capacity generally translates to a longer battery life and extended range. However, it is important to note that other factors such as the rider’s weight, terrain conditions, and assist level can influence the overall range of an electric bike.

2.2 Pedaling

In contrast, pedal-assist bikes, also known as e-bikes, supplement the rider’s pedaling efforts with an electric motor. Rather than solely relying on a battery-powered motor like electric bikes, pedal-assist bikes require the rider to pedal in order to activate the motor assistance. When a rider begins to pedal, sensors on the e-bike detect the pedaling motion and subsequently engage the motor, providing an additional boost that varies based on the selected assist level. This assist level can typically be adjusted using a control panel or buttons on the handlebars, allowing riders to customize the level of assistance they receive from the motor.

Pedal-assist bikes offer a more interactive riding experience, as they require the rider to actively contribute to the propulsion of the bike. This makes them a popular choice for individuals who still want to engage in physical activity while enjoying the benefits of electric assistance. Furthermore, the pedal-assist mechanism helps conserve battery power, as the motor only activates when the rider is actively pedaling. 

3. Speed And Range

Electric bikes are capable of reaching higher speeds compared to pedal-assist bikes. They typically have a range of 20-50 miles on a single charge, whereas pedal-assist bikes rely on the rider’s input for power, with a range of 25-75 miles.

The difference lies in the level of motor assistance and the resulting distance covered.

When choosing between an electric bike and a pedal-assist bike, one of the significant factors to consider is their speed and range. Let’s delve into these aspects further and explore the key differences between the two options.

3.1 Maximum Speed

Electric bikes are renowned for their ability to reach higher speeds compared to pedal-assist bikes. With a powerful motor providing instant acceleration, electric bikes can easily zip along roads and trails, making them ideal for those seeking a faster ride. Their maximum speed often varies depending on the model, but most electric bikes have a top speed of around 20 to 28 mph. In contrast, pedal-assist bikes rely solely on human power, albeit with a little boost. These bikes enhance your pedaling efforts with a motor-powered assist, allowing you to ride at a faster pace. However, since the motor solely assists your pedaling motion, the maximum speed of pedal-assist bikes is typically lower than that of electric bikes. Most pedal-assist bikes can reach speeds of around 15 to 20 mph.

3.2 Range Per Charge

Another crucial consideration when comparing electric bikes and pedal-assist bikes is their range per charge. The range refers to the distance you can travel on a single battery charge before needing to recharge. Electric bikes tend to have a longer range per charge as they rely on a larger battery. This means you can cover more ground without worrying about running out of power. On average, electric bikes offer a range of around 40 to 60 miles per charge.

However, keep in mind that the range can vary depending on factors such as the terrain, rider weight, and level of pedal assistance used. On the other hand, pedal-assist bikes have a slightly shorter range per charge. Since these bikes utilize a smaller battery, their range typically falls in the range of 20 to 40 miles per charge. Despite the shorter range, pedal-assist bikes are still suitable for daily commuting or recreational rides that don’t require extensive distances.

Credit: m.youtube.com

4. Pedaling Experience

E-bikes and pedal assist bikes offer different pedaling experiences, which can significantly impact the rider’s control and physical exertion.

4.1 Throttle Control

Throttle control is a distinctive feature of electric bikes, allowing riders to engage the motor without pedaling. This feature provides instant acceleration and can be likened to the throttle on a motorcycle, offering a more passive pedaling experience.

4.2 Pedal Assist

Pedal assist, on the other hand, requires the rider to pedal in order for the motor to provide assistance. The level of assistance can usually be adjusted, making it a more interactive and physically engaging experience compared to throttle-controlled electric bikes.

5. Legal Considerations

Electric bikes and pedal assist bikes have a key difference. Electric bikes are powered solely by a motor, while pedal assist bikes provide assistance to the rider’s pedaling.

Understanding the legal aspects of electric bikes and pedal-assist bicycles is crucial before you hit the road. Different regulations apply to each type, and being aware of them will help ensure you stay within the law and avoid any potential legal issues. In this section, we will explore the specific laws governing electric bikes and pedal-assist bikes, providing you with the knowledge you need to ride safely and legally.

5.1 Electric Bike Laws

Electric bikes, also known as e-bikes, have gained popularity in recent years due to their convenience and environmentally friendly nature. However, it is important to note that there are specific laws that govern the use of electric bikes, especially in public spaces. These regulations are in place to ensure the safety of riders and those around them.

Here are some key points to keep in mind regarding electric bike laws:

  1. The classification of an electric bike may vary depending on your location. In general, e-bikes are classified as Class 1, Class 2, or Class 3. Each class has specific speed limits and power restrictions.
  2. Class 1 e-bikes provide assistance only when you pedal and have a maximum speed of 20 mph.
  3. Class 2 e-bikes have a throttle that can be used to propel the bike without pedaling. The maximum speed for Class 2 e-bikes is also 20 mph.
  4. Class 3 e-bikes are similar to Class 1, but they can reach a higher maximum speed of 28 mph.
  5. Electric bikes are typically allowed on roads, bike lanes, and multi-use paths. However, they may be prohibited on certain trails and pedestrian-only areas. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the specific regulations in your area.

5.2 Pedal Assist Laws

Pedal assist bikes, also known as e-bikes or electric bicycles, are another popular option for eco-friendly transportation. Unlike electric bikes, pedal assist bikes offer assistance based on the rider’s pedaling input. They are equipped with a motor that amplifies the power generated by pedaling, making it easier to cycle longer distances or tackle hilly terrain.

Here are some essential pedal assist laws to be aware of:

  • Just like electric bikes, pedal-assist bikes are subject to classification based on their power and speed capabilities.
  • Some jurisdictions may treat pedal-assist bikes as regular bicycles, allowing them on all bike paths, lanes, and roads. However, specific rules and speed limits may still apply.
  • Other areas may have separate regulations for pedal-assist bikes, with certain restrictions on speed or power output.
  • It is important to understand and adhere to the specific laws governing pedal assist bikes in your region to ensure you are riding safely and legally.

Frequently Asked Questions For What Is The Difference Between Electric Bike And Pedal Assist

What Is An Electric Bike?

An electric bike, also known as an e-bike, is a bicycle that is powered by an electric motor. It provides pedal assistance to the rider, making it easier to travel long distances or tackle uphill routes with minimal effort.

How Does An Electric Bike Work?

Electric bikes work by combining the power of a conventional bike with the assistance of an electric motor. The motor is typically activated when the rider pedals, providing additional power to the wheels. The level of assistance can be adjusted, allowing riders to choose how much help they need.

What Is Pedal Assist?

Pedal assist, also known as pedelec, is a feature in electric bikes that provides assistance to the rider while they pedal. The motor kicks in as soon as the rider starts pedaling, making pedaling easier and more enjoyable. The level of assistance can be adjusted to suit the rider’s preferences.


Electric bikes and pedal-assist bikes each offer unique benefits for different riders. Understanding the differences can help you make an informed decision when choosing the right option for your needs. Whether it’s the convenience of motorized assistance or the added exercise of pedaling, both types of bikes have something to offer.

Keep in mind your specific preferences and goals when weighing your options.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Exit mobile version