Sensors And Assistance
The type of sensor installed will affect how smooth your ride is. While budget models have pedal assist that kicks in with a jolt, premium models have pedal assist that operates smoothly. The mileage you get may vary, depending on the efficiency of the sensor.
Cadence sensors are used on budget electric bikes. They have an “on/off” feel to the motor, that can give a sudden jolt when the motor kicks in. Motor assist is set by speed, making it a less efficient design. On hilly roads, you will get less mileage compared to torque sensors.
Torque sensors are used on mid-tier to premium electric bikes. Your ride will feel natural and smooth. Motor assist is set by your pedal effort, making it a more efficient design. On hilly roads, you will get more mileage compared to cadence sensors.
Good electric bikes will have three or more assist levels. Popular modes include standby, economy, normal and high assistance.
Standby Mode – Your electric bike will function like a normal bike but with no pedal assist. Your display should show some basic metrics such as speed and travel distance.
Eco Mode – Optimised for range, assistance is between 25% – 80%. This means that for every pedal stroke, the motor will assist with another 25% - 80% of effort. Best if you want to maximise range and if you ride on flat roads.
Normal Mode – The motor will match your effort by 100% - 150%. Range is approximately halved in this mode. Best used when at traffic lights or junctions, where you need the extra boost to accelerate from standstill.
High Mode – Switch to high and you will understand why electric bikes are exhilarating. Climbing steep hills will be effortless and you will be able to maintain olympic top speeds. The motor will match your effort in excess of 200%. This mode has the least range so use it sparingly.