Posted by Dan Radford on 21st May 2020

Do I still have to pedal an electric bike?

Having to pedal an electric bike is what makes it an e-bike and not a moped.

Its the law!

You may have read in previous posts the requirements set by the UK Government, for an electric bike to be legal.

To be legal in the UK, one of the key requirements is that an electric bike must have pedals which are used to propel the bike.

There are a couple of ways this requirement is translated into functionality on the bike.

How does pedal assistance work?

A lot of lower end electric bikes have hub motors and will use a ring of magnets mounted on the crank. These pass a sensor fixed to the frame once you turn the pedals. This pedal sensor then signals to the motor to switch on.

Dis-advantages of a magnetic pedal sensor

  • You need to turn the crank a quarter turn for the motor to kick in. This makes hill starts very difficult.
  • They send a simple on/off signal to the motor, so no variation of power delivery
  • They are exposed and prone to being damaged
  • Un-natural riding experience

Advantages of a magnetic pedal sensor

  • Pretend pedalling… so long as the pedals turn the motor will switch on, essentially overtaking the speed you are pedalling.

On more refined motors like the mid-drive motors produced by Bosch and used through the range of Riese & Müller electric bikes, there are 3 sensors in use.

  1. Speed sensor
  2. Cadence sensor
  3. Torque sensor

Probably the most important difference is the torque sensor. It measures how hard you press on the pedal. A variable amount of assistance is immediately applied through the motor.

This has 2 big benefits over the basic magnetic sensor;

  1. Hill starts are a breeze. As soon as you put pressure on the pedals, the motor knows you require assistance. Power is applied without any delay unlike the magnetic ring alternative.
  2. You can vary the assistance through the pedal. You can comfortably travel at 6-7mph and then push on the pedal and the bike rapidly accelerates. With the magnetic ring alternative the motor is always trying to push you up to 15.5mph.

Riese & Müller electric bikes have Bosch motors

The top end Bosch Performance CX motor used on many of the Riese & Müller electric bikes also has an eMTB mode, which allows the motor to intelligently decided how and when to deliver power based on the sensor feedback. This setting makes riding the bike really natural.

It is like having bionic legs!

The Bosch motors will provide anything up to 340% assistance. This tiny motor punches out more than 3 x times the power you put in! Read more in our edemo Riese & Müller UK Buyer's guide

In summary, you definitely have to pedal, but you can choose how hard you want to be pedal :)

For more information about Riese & Müller electric bikes call me on 01453 834300 or email me dan@edemo.bike