Do You Have To Pedal an Electric Bike?

Do You Have To Pedal an Electric Bike?
Owner at - EbikeWizard

I am excited to be able to help people get by with their ebike journey. Here at, I share my expertise and over a decade of experience riding, testing, and troubleshooting ebikes of all kinds.

People are really confused about if you must pedal an electric bike or not? Well, to end this confusion we have come up with this great article on pedaling electric bikes and how it works. To know more, read this article.

Do you have to pedal an electric bike? Well, there are two answers to this question; yes and no. Pedaling or not pedaling an electric bike depends on the mode of e-bike you have. There are 3 classes of e-bikes, one requires pedaling, the other has both the pedaling and the non-pedaling modes while the last is a non-pedaling bike. Read below to know more about these modes.

There is a big confusion regarding if e-bikes actually need pedaling or not. E-bikes are different from conventional bikes because of the modern features and components they have (batter, motor, sensors, etc). But this does not necessarily mean that e-bikes don’t need pedaling. A simple answer to this confusion is that some e-bikes need pedaling while others don’t. This totally depends on the mode of e-bike you are using. Read this article to get a clear idea of how e-bikes work and their different modes.

Do You Have To Pedal An Electric Bike?

Some modes of e-bikes require pedaling while others don’t. Below we have mentioned different modes of e-bikes and their pedaling/non-pedaling details.

Modes of Operation:

As compared to conventional bikes, electric bikes are easier to operate. Riders have three modes of operation which are discussed as follows:

  • Pedal Only:

As the name suggests, this operation mode allows the rider to pedal the electric bike just as the regular bike. In this mode, the motor does not create any resistance so that the e-bike can be used as a conventional bike. This bike usually comes with three or eight gears, depending on the model being purchased. There is also a special model called NuVinci N360™ which provides unlimited gears.

  • Pedal-Assist (Sometimes Called Electric-Assist):

This operational mode is a combination of both electric and conventional modes. After this mode is turned on with the help of the on/off button on the handlebars, the motor runs to provide electric power as the rider pedals. For acquiring greater speed, the gears can be switched as the terrain changes. The pedal-assist mode makes the riding effortless. Three levels of assistance namely: Low (30%), Medium (60%), and High (100%) are provided by pedal-assist mode. This percentage is an indication of the additional power the motor provides to complement pedaling.

  • Electric-Only:

Electric-Only mode is most easy to operate from all three modes. The rider has just to sit back and relax. The rest of the riding work is controlled by a motor. The rider has to twist the throttle present on the left side of the handlebar to use the “electric-only” mode. As the throttle is twisted the motor is kicked and propels the rider forward. In order to continue this mode, the rider has to keep the throttle turned on. In the electric-only mode, the top speed is limited to 20 miles per hour due to federal regulations.


How An Electric Bike Works:

If you have ever ridden a regular bike, you will be well familiar with the basic components of an electric bike. These include brakes, pedals, chain, gear, a pair of tires, a seat, and a frame. When it comes to the skills a person needs to ride an electric bike, no extra efforts are required. Riding an electric bike needs the same skills as required by a simple bike. The issues a person faces while riding a regular bike, the same problems he will face on an e-bike. For instance, if a ride is not able to balance on a regular bike, he will probably have the same issue on an electric bike.

The electric bike has a motor that works on the electricity provided by a power source, most probably a battery that is rechargeable mounted on a frame of an electric bike. On the other hand, models of electric bikes that are more advanced and costly have the batteries integrated so well in the design that people can’t even tell the exact location of the battery. Some of the electric bikes have batteries disguised as water bottles.

The best thing about the way an electric bike works is the choice given to riders for the riding modes. The handlebars on an electric bike have some control modules mounted on them which allow the riders to select their riding mode effectively, i.e., throttle or pedal-assist. Sensors are also the major components in the working of an electric bike and play a significant role. When a rider exerts a greater amount of energy, the sensors detect that energy and adjust the motor and energy boost accordingly.

Components of E-Bikes:

All the components of an e-bike work together to make it operable. The three main components of an e-bike as discussed as follows.

  • The Motor:

An e-bike motor has various placements. Each placement has its own benefits. The placements include a mid-drive motor, a rear hub, and a front hub. We all know that function of a motor is to provide torque while the user pedals. As the motor gets more advanced, more torque will be produced. As a result of greater torque, more power is generated.

  • The Battery:

The location of the battery in an electric bike can vary depending on the different types and sizes of frames. The charging capacity and durability depend on the model and type of each battery. Five to six hours is the average charging time. The battery is charged like as we charge the mobile phone.

  • The Sensor:

A sensor is the most significant component of an electric bike. An e-bike comprises two types of sensors namely torque sensor and speed sensor. Once the user starts to pedal, the speed sensor engages the motor immediately; this mechanism gives the user ride assistance.

The torque sensor, on the other hand, is a bit smarter. It gives a lesser assistance response in order to meet the speed user is moving with. This sensor is more responsive and helps the user with maneuvers and speed.

Type of E-Bike Pedals:

Different types of e-bikes are available in the market, each specified to particular terrain rides. These types include:

  • Platform Bike Pedals:

These are the most familiar and traditional pedals. Your bike comes with platform pedals. They are flat and can be pedaled with any type of shoe. Platform e-bike pedals are good for beginners due to their stability and wide base.

  • Pedal Toe Clips and Straps:

This is more of a metal frame that surrounds the user’s ball of the foot and extends to the toes to the top of the user’s foot. The toe clip holds the user’s foot so that he can pull up and push down the pedal easily. Also, there is a strap provided by pedal toe clip that provides extra support.

  • Clipless Bike Pedals:

A metal cleat is fixed on the stole of the user’s shoe and then the cleat is inserted into a clip mounted to pedal in a clipless bike pedal. The foot is directly attached to the pedals so that the user can pedal by pulling up and pushing down. The other benefit of using clipless pedals is that they offer greater control over bikes at increased speed.

You have to choose the bike pedals according to your needs. Mountain bike pedals, on the other hand, have a 2-hole design, the user places screws through the holes to tighten the cleat to two slots on the bottom. Users can also use mountain bike shoes as the cleat joins to the sole of the shoe.

Buying road bike pedals can also be considered as these pedals use cleats of plastic that spread the force of the pedal over the larger surface area. A demerit of the road pedal is that it is not recessed to the sole of the shoe. Knowing the pedals better for different circumstances will help you choose the perfect e-bike.

Type of E-Bike Pedals

Electric Bike Shoes:

Whatever e-bike pedal you choose directly impacts the choice of biking shoe. We know that mountain bike shoes work with a design of 2-hole pedals. These features make them last longer. Mountain bike shoes can also comprise velcro straps and a lacing system that improves stability. Road bike shoes have 3-hole design pedals. Researching before buying is the key, so firstly research well and then go for a choice.

Shoes that we wear while riding an electric bike are really important and you should choose them wisely and according to the needs you have. You can’t just buy mountain bike ride shoes and go for a simple ride to buy groceries. Every area has its own requirements. It is recommended to buy both road and mountain shoes so that you can alternate between them according to the area you go to. These 2 types of shoes will also match with all kinds of pedals and help you ride comfortably. It’s actually a better decision to invest in good riding shoes and they will enhance your riding experience.

Electric Bike Shoe

Benefits of Owning an Electric Bike

Owning an electric bike can offer certain benefits that a regular bike cannot. Here are just a few to consider.

  • Commuting To Work:

People who live I and work in areas that are congested such as urban centers face many difficulties while riding conventional bikes. At this point, using an electric bike would be a great option as these bikes run smoothly while avoiding bumper-to-bumper traffic gridlock. The throttle and pedal assist can help the rider to exert lesser energy and ride fast to work. It will help to reach the work sweat-free and on time.

  • Free Parking:

When using an electric bike, there is no need to get the parking tickets, feed the parking meter, or pay the exorbitant parking structure fees. However, to secure your e-bike you need to invest in a good-quality lock.

  • Eco Friendly:

Electric bikes are way friendlier to the environment than conventional bikes and even cars. The estimates can vary, but an electric bike gets charged for some pennies in a day, which is way cheaper than the amount of money paid for gallons of gasoline to run conventional bikes and cars. The amount of harmful gases emitted by regular cars and bikes pollutes the environment and leads to global warming. In this regard, electric bikes are really a good option. Moreover, the motors of e-bikes are detachable and these batteries can be charged the same way we charge our smartphones or laptops.

  • Long Distance Rides:

Since electric bikes are dual in nature, which means they can be used as electric as well as regular bikes, they can be used effectively for daily exercises. Both types of people can enjoy this dual nature of electric bikes. Those who love to pedal in the morning and enjoy the sceneries can use the pedal-only mode. Those who want to just sit back and enjoy the ride can use the electric mode for long-distance rides. The electric bikes can make longer distances get shorter and enable you to reach on time.

  • Hills: 

Electric bikes can do wonders. The throttle or pedal-assist features can be used to ride the bike through long inclines or steep areas. Though different models of electric bikes have different power capacities of motors, electric bikes can still make big hills easier to climb. However, it should be noted that as much as we lean on battery, the quicker it will go out. Particularly, when going up the hills.


If you love pedaling, choose mode 1 e-bikes, if you don’t then choose mode 3 e-bikes. But if you want to keep both the options then a mode 2 e-bike is the right fit for you.

kyleOwner at - EbikeWizard

I am excited to be able to help people get by with their ebike journey. Here at, I share my expertise and over a decade of experience riding, testing, and troubleshooting ebikes of all kinds.

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I am excited to be able to help people get by with their ebike journey. Here at, I share my expertise and over a decade of experience riding, testing, and troubleshooting ebikes of all kinds.

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