Pedal Assist vs. Throttle

What are the differences and benefits?

Before you buy an electric bike, it’s important to know some basics about how they work so you can find the one that’s right for you. All eBikes have a motor that is engaged through the pedals, a throttle, or a combination of both.

Pedal Assist

Pedal assist engages the motor only while you are pedaling. This provides an experience similar to that of a traditional bike, but with the power to go longer and faster and fly up hills and through headwinds. Pedal assist systems typically provide a longer range than throttle-only, since you and the battery are sharing the work.

You can fine-tune the level of pedal assist on most eBikes by selecting from three or more modes, using a display on the handlebar. This gives you the option of getting in more of a workout when you’re feeling energetic or letting the motor take the load off when you like.

There are different types of pedal assist drive systems: hub and mid drive. Hub drives are built into one of the wheels while mid drives are built into the bike’s frame and sit between the pedals (where the bottom bracket would be on a traditional bike). Learn more about mid drive versus hub motors and the pros and cons of each.


A throttle lets the motor do the work for you,  like what you would experience on a motorcycle or scooter. There are two kinds of eBike throttles: grip twist and thumb. A grip twist works like on a motorcycle—twist it toward you to engage the motor. With a thumb throttle, you push a button or lever with your thumb to engage the motor. Most eBike throttles let you fine-tune the amount of power you are getting by how much you twist or push the throttle, but some give you only an on/off button.


Some eBikes have both pedal assist and a throttle. In some cases you can switch between systems but not use both at the same time. Others give you the option to get an extra boost from the throttle while you are pedaling. This can be nice to have when getting through busy intersections or cresting a hill.

Which is for you?

At IZIP we believe that pedal assist provides an intuitive experience that gives you all the benefits of cycling plus the power to ride longer and stronger. All of our eBikes are pedal assist. If you prefer a throttle, check out the Loma, which gives you a combo pedal assist plus thumb throttle. If a throttle is not a must for you, choose from our commuting, cruising, hauling, and adventuring categories, then use the filter and “sort by” options to zero in on your dream bike.