What Are Electric Pedal Assist Bikes?

Everyone is talking about electric pedal assist bikes these days. 

But what exactly are they? 

Pedal-assist bikes are a type of eBike with an integrated electric motor used to assist propulsion. You use the eBike just like a regular bike, but the pedal assist makes it easier to pedal. They’re climate-friendly and great for people who commute by bike, have asthma, or struggle with knee problems. 

An electric pedal assist bike is also excellent for mountain biking or overlanding enthusiasts, allowing you to take longer trips and go faster and further with less effort on the steep inclines. 

Whether you’re going trail riding, or just commuting to work, anyone who wants that extra oomph can benefit from an electric bike. You can use the pedal assist mode for your entire ride and lower effort or go twice as far. Or, turn on the pedal-assist just for those challenging parts of your journey, like when you’re going up uphill.

What Is Pedal Assist On an Electric Bike?

A QuietKas Sherpa pedal assist eBike in blue on a street corner

Pedal-assist is a mode on an electric bike. Depending on the specific model, you may have several levels of pedal assist to choose from. As the name suggests, pedal-assist does not replace manual pedaling; it only helps. The motor will only engage when you are pedaling, so your legs will always have to do some work.

Low-level assistance modes relieve some effort and help you conserve battery for longer rides. Maximum-level assistance can significantly increase speed or help you easily peddle up even steep hills. 

The various pedal assist levels will determine how much effort the rider has to pedal themselves and how much they can rely on the motor. Prolonged use of the higher assist levels will use more battery charge and require more frequent charging of the bike’s integrated battery

What Is the Difference Between Pedal Assist and Throttle?

A rider stands by his QuietKat throttle-controlled JEEP eBike in Eagle, Co.


Pedal-assist is not the same thing as the throttle. The throttle on some electric bikes can do all the work for you. With pedal-assist, the rider is still getting exercise while doing at least some work through peddling. On full throttle eBikes, the motor can be engaged with a twist or thumb throttle. Once engaged, the engine will power the cycle with or without you pedaling. 

There are benefits to both types of eBikes. A full-throttle eBike is preferable if you don’t want to pedal. But pedal-assist bikes can usually reach much higher speeds than you can on a full-throttle bike and maintain longer battery life. 

If you want a leisurely ride, a full-throttle may be perfect, but if you're going to go longer distances, choose an eBike with pedal assist mode. Luckily, many eBikes provide both options to use either pedal assist mode or throttle if you need it.

How Much Do Pedal Assist Bikes Cost?

Electric pedal assist bikes on the market today usually range from $1000 to $8000. There’s a vast range of features available for eBikes, so prices will vary based on the level of sophistication and specific features. It’s unusual to find quality pedal assist eBikes for less than $1000. 

Your usage goals will help determine your budget for an electric pedal-assist bike and the classification you need. If you plan to use the electric bike regularly to commute, you’ll want a reliable model. Or, if you're going to take it into the mountains every weekend, you’ll want to spend more on a durable eBike model with mountain bike features.

If you’re just looking for something fun to use every now and again, you can probably get away with a cheaper model. Cheap eBiikes are usually suitable for only light, street use, while more expensive models can take you from city roads to mountain trails.

What Is the Best Electric Bike for the Money?

Profile shot of a QuietKat RidgeRunner pedal-assist eBike


Our 2021 Ridgerunner eBike and 2020 Ranger eBike are our most popular models. These models provide good value for money with durable designs and plenty of features. Both have the option to use throttle or pedal assist and can stay on the road - or take you on a backcountry adventure.

The 2020 Ranger eBike is an affordable entry e-bike that doesn’t compromise on quality or features. The 2020 model has had some significant upgrades and features QuietKat’s performance build kit; mechanical disc brakes, adjustable coil-suspension, and an 8-speed drivetrain.

The 2021 Ridgerunner eBike is a more expensive model than the Ranger but brings over 1600w of peak power and 160nm of torque. Perfect for advanced off-road riding, this bike can accelerate you up steep inclines in a way your regular mountain bike never could. The motor in this bike is one of the highest quality, longest-lasting motors in the business.

If you’re mostly looking to run errands or ride around the city, then you won’t need a mountain bike style model. You can choose a cargo-ready city bike like the Sherpa Cargo eBike. This model is excellent value and comes with a built-in rear rack to tote your picnic basket or grocery shopping. 

Get on your bike

Pedal assist bicycles offer all of the same great benefits as traditional bikes and are suitable for a range of lifestyles and hobbies. They save you money on transport costs (no licensing, registration, gas, or parking). Electric pedal assist bikes also make commuting by bike more enjoyable and feasible, regardless of the weather. You can get to your destination with less sweat when it’s hot and travel faster when it’s cold. 

E-Bikes are friendly to the environment - even better than an electric car. They allow you to get out and exercise, even if your fitness levels aren’t high. By offering improved health with less pressure on the joints, heart, and lungs, you can still get moving even with lower mobility. E-Bikes are also great for socializing, allowing friends of different fitness levels to cycle together, get fresh air, and enjoy exploring. 

If you’re a mountain biking enthusiast, then an eBike will take your adventures to the next level. Electric pedal assist bikes allow you to go further, faster, making light work of steep inclines and tricky terrain.

Explore the full range of QuietKat eBikes and find the perfect model for your active lifestyle

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