Pedal assist, also known as pedal-assist or PAS (Pedal Assist System), is a feature commonly found in electric bikes (ebikes). It's a technology that provides electric assistance to the rider's pedaling effort, making it easier to pedal and allowing the rider to cover longer distances or tackle challenging terrains with less physical exertion.
Here's how pedal assist works:
- Sensors: Electric bikes with pedal assist are equipped with sensors that can detect when the rider starts pedaling.
- Motor Activation: When the sensors detect pedaling motion, they send signals to the ebike's motor, prompting it to provide electric assistance.
- Variable Assistance Levels: Most ebikes offer multiple levels of assistance, usually adjustable by the rider. These levels determine how much power the motor contributes to the rider's pedaling effort. Lower levels provide less assistance, requiring more pedaling effort from the rider, while higher levels provide more assistance, requiring less pedaling effort.
- Cutoff Speed: In many regions, there's a cutoff speed (25km/h in Australia) at which the motor stops providing assistance. This is done to comply with regulations and encourage a level of rider effort for safety and legal reasons.
- Responsive Assistance: Pedal assist systems are designed to provide assistance in real-time, responding to the rider's pedaling input. The more force the rider applies to the pedals, the more assistance the motor provides.
- Battery Consumption: The level of assistance chosen affects the consumption of the ebike's battery. Higher levels of assistance will drain the battery more quickly.
Pedal assist is a popular choice among ebike riders because it offers a more natural and interactive riding experience. It allows riders to maintain an active role in pedaling while receiving a boost from the electric motor, making longer rides, hill climbing, and commuting more accessible and enjoyable.
It's important to note that pedal assist is distinct from throttle-based systems, where a rider can control the motor's power directly using a throttle, similar to a motorcycle's throttle. Throttle-based systems provide constant power without necessarily requiring pedaling.