Video: How Electric Bike Throttles and Pedal Assist Work

Video: How Electric Bike Throttles and Pedal Assist Work

Electric bikes add the power of a motor to your pedaling and make commuting, recreational riding, or getting back in shape easy and a lot of fun.

Two of an electric bike’s most important systems are pedal assist and throttle. Each of these is designed to help a rider decide how much he or she wants to pedal, effectively “flattening” hilly terrain and letting them get the ride they want or need.

In this video, Alex demonstrates the throttle and pedal-assist systems on the EVELO Delta X electric bike. We’ve transcribed the video so you can watch it or follow along in this text.

How Electric Bike Throttles and Pedal Assist Work Transcript

Hey, folks. Alex here with EVELO Electric Bicycles. We’re just out today with our Delta X model. We wanted to show you the difference between pedal assistance and throttle. Let’s go for a ride.

The Delta X’s throttle is a thumb trigger positioned near the left-hand grip.

Starting & Climbing with the Throttle

Start off by taking a look at this throttle here. It’s on the left-hand side, and you can see it’s a really smooth action. You press it with your thumb there. Really smooth, really easy to press, and that’s going to give you few different things. It’s going to give you power on demand, so as you’re riding you can press that at any time.

An electric bike’s throttle can give you the power to climb a steep hill.

So if you’re looking to go up a steeper hill, and you don’t really want to pedal, you can press [the throttle]. Or if you’re just on flat ground, and you want to stop pedaling, you can press that as well. The throttle will also override the pedal assist level. So let’s say you’re going up a steep hill, and it’s a little steeper than you thought… You can just press that throttle, and it’s going to give you an additional boost of power there.

Pedal Assistance Levels & Display

The level of assistance the motor provides can be adjusted with the plus and minus buttons.

The pedal assist is really going to be the main feature here, and you have the two buttons. You have a plus and minus button here on the left-hand side, and we can cut over to the display panel, and you’ll see that number zero at the bottom there. Let’s see if we can get a better look at it. That’s going to go one through five, and that’s going to control the level of power you’re going to get out of the motor.

The level of pedal assistance (1 to 5 on the Delta X) is shown on the electric bike’s display.

So realistically, level zero is nothing. It just rides like a regular bicycle. Levels one, two, and three are going to give you a good amount of assistance. You’re definitely going to notice it. These are the levels you’re going to want to spend the most time in when you’re riding on regular terrain. It’s going to get you the best mileage out of the bike, and then when we’re talking four and five, that’s when you’re looking for some get up and go, looking for a little more power, or also tackling a steeper hill.

So that’s the display panel. You have a bunch of other features on this as well.

Pedal Assist & Throttle Together

The electric bike’s pedal-assist system and throttle work together to give you control over your ride. You get to decide how much or how little you pedal and when.

 You can see I kind of start out with the throttle, and then pedal a little bit, and then take my thumb off the throttle, so you can mix and match. You can use the throttle, not pedal. You can pedal, not use the throttle. Or you can press the throttle, and it’s going to give you a little boost while you’re pedaling as well.

So you can mix and match all that stuff. There’s definitely a little bit of a learning curve. Everybody has a slightly different style on how they like to use that throttle or the pedal assist. With throttle only now on the highest gear, and you can see we’re moving pretty good at just over 20 miles an hour. The Delta X definitely has some power and some speed.

Alex gets the Delta X electric bike up to 20 miles per hour using the ebike’s throttle.

Just coming to a quick stop on the bike path here. I’m going to show you how that throttle functions from a stop. Again, we’ve got that [throttle] right on the left-hand side. I’m just going to press this here, and off we go.

Alex demonstrated starting the Delta X from a stop with the throttle. For a variety of reasons not all electric bikes throttle from a dead stop, but the Delta X does have this feature.

So you’re in [pedal assist] level zero, which again is just like a regular bike. I’m just pedaling, and you can see as I go into pedal assistance one, we’re going to start to move a little bit faster there on the display panel. Let’s crank it up to three. So the pedal assist is going to provide both speed and power, right? So they do go hand in hand. The higher pedal assist level, the faster you’re going to go, and vice versa.

Next, Alex works his way through the electric bike’s pedal assist levels. The higher the level the more help the motor provides as you pedal.

The Throttle DOES NOT Drive the Pedals

We’ll get another quick pit stop here. I want to show you guys how that throttle incorporates with the pedals because a lot of people think that when you press the throttle, the pedals are going to automatically move. That’s not the case. The pedals aren’t going to move automatically, so let’s take a look at what that looks like as we ride here.

The electric bike’s throttle does not turn the pedals, rather it turns the sprocket.

You guys, we’re rolling along here, and you see when I press this throttle, that front sprocket is going to rotate there, and the pedals do not rotate. So that’s kind of a common misconception that the motor’s going to drive the pedals. It does not. So again, this is throttle only. You can see that sprocket’s rotating and driving the rear wheel there, and I’m going to go ahead, and I’m going to switch into pedal assist mode. Slow down just a little bit.

All righty, and you can see now that I’m pedaling, that motor’s engaging. We don’t really tell … If I stop pedaling, that motor’s going to stop assisting as well. So again throttle, simply pressing that throttle, that’s going to drive our chain. And if I pedal, that pedal assistance is going to kick on as well. I’m just using that throttle and letting the bike do all the work here again on this hill.

All right, guys. Well, I’m going to head back to the shop. It’s getting a little chilly out here. Just wanted to say thanks for checking out the video. Don’t forget to look at our website,, and keep your eyes peeled for some more videos.

Electric Bike Pedal Assist & Throttle Resources

Here are some resources for you to learn more about electric bike pedal assist systems and throttles.

Video: How Electric Bike Throttles and Pedal Assist Work | EVELO