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In Praise of E-Bike Throttles and Pedal Assist Systems

Jonno Leonard - Saturday, September 16, 2017

Not much causes more misunderstanding in the operation of ebikes than the presence of a throttle to the uninitiated. Oh the time I have taken patiently explaining to customers that yes, there is a throttle and no, it doesn’t mean you don’t also get assistance with pedalling….!


So what’s the story here, anyway? Well, in a far and distant land (let’s call it ‘Europe’) they wear strange-looking national costumes, and have invented some equally odd rules about ebikes. Their ebikes are not allowed a throttle, (and are also limited to 25km/hr with a 250watt output, but I digress), and they call an ebike a pedalec (pedal-electric, see what they did there?). So euro-market bikes = no throttle. Simple.


In the brave new world of NZ, where silliness is not so tolerated and interpretations are more liberal, we are all very fine with the practice of having a throttle on an ebike. What does it do? Well, it allows you to set off from a standstill without pedalling which is much better for your stability,and to cruise at a speed you set without exertion. It allows you to chug along at a snail’s pace with your feet down for stability without having to push the bike (great in foot-traffic shared areas). It allows you to add a burst of speed without a burst of energy. Ah, the joy!


The SmartMotion twist throttle


Does it affect your pedal-assist system? Not a bit. Your ebike will still supply assistance when you revolve the pedals, using either your cadence (the speed they revolve) or your torque (the pressure you put through them), depending on the type of pedal sensor your bike has, but that’s another topic for another day.


The take-away from this discussion is that throttles are great, they are not illegal (one rumour), they are not about to be banned (another rumour), and they are completely independent of your bikes’ ability to assist with your pedalling (a basic misunderstanding).


The Magnum lever throttle


So whether it’s a lever-push throttle, or a twist-grip style throttle, rest assured that this writer at least will be throttling-up with the best of them, and encouraging you to do likewise!


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Do I really need an ebike?

Jonno Leonard - Thursday, March 30, 2017

This might seem a strange title for a piece on an ebike website, but we do get a constant stream of people in the shop who are in the process of deciding whether or not an ebike is for them (it always is, by the way, they just might not have worked it out for themselves yet!). Read More

Not biking to work yet? Here's 9 good reasons to do it!

Jonno Leonard - Sunday, February 26, 2017

1. It's really fun!

Biking is exhilarating, and allows you to leave your cares behind, at least for the time you are in the saddle! Zooming along is a rush, and reminds you of a simpler time when 'going out to play on your bike' was an activity in itself, rather than a means to an end. Enjoy it!

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Ride Awake, Stay Safe! Be Invisible!

Jonno Leonard - Wednesday, January 25, 2017

So many of us have concerns about our own safety when we are out biking. What steps can we take to keep ourselves upright and intact? Here are some ways I treat the matter (and I mean it about being invisible, read on to find out more...) Read More

Create a 'bike-to-work' culture in your company

Jonno Leonard - Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sounds simple, right? But how to approach it and what are the benefits of a 'bike-to-work' culture? Read on, for answers to your questions, and easy how-to's..... Read More

Helmet hair or no-helmet hair?

Jonno Leonard - Friday, November 04, 2016
Yup, the pic is actually a real thing, the Lego 'hair helmet'. It's so awesome! It did remind me of the debate around helmets though, and how the highest bike use countries have the least helmet use, and also the least head injuries. As someone who grew up in the 70's/80's, before 'safety' was really invented (Bell released the first commercially sucessful bike helmet in 1975), and back when even the Tour de France riders didn't wear helmets (it only became compulsory in 2003, believe it or not!), it is something I had to make myself come around to wearing. And I feel safer. But am I?  Read More

Hard habits to break

Jonno Leonard - Saturday, August 20, 2016

Old habits can be hard to break, and one I am often guilty of is assuming a local commute is further than it is, and that the motorway will be quick, and that I should really take the car. Take this example..... Read More



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