Cadence Pedal Assist or Torque Sensor, What’s the big difference?

by

Cadence sensor or torque sensor? Which should you get and does it even matter? Truth be told it does in some cases and doesn’t in others.

To answer this briefly a cadence or torque sensor system signals the pedal assist to engage an e-bike motor essentially helping in propelling the cyclist forward.

Electric bikes either come with a cadence, torque or some cases both. In the long run the type of system you have can affect an e-bikes overall riding experience.

Hence, riders with different needs use them with their preference.

Many people who own electric bikes skim through the details and don’t know much about their sensor. Hence, we are here to share what we can about them.

So, there is no more confusion about how each type of sensor works. Let us look at each sensor in detail.

What’s A Pedal Assist Cadence Sensor?

Electric bikes with cadence pedal assist system engages an ebike motor once the cyclist starts to pedal. The cadence sensor is made to react when someone starts pedaling.

On the bent part of the cycle, there is a magnet. The magnet turns the motor on and off when you start pedaling. Basically, it is like a switch. The sensor consists of an assist mode.

Depending on the type of ebike, these sorts of systems vary in the levels of pedal assist or PAS offered. As you increase or decrease the level of PAS so does the power output.

Reflecting the signal derived from the cadence sensor. Pedaling speed directly influences motor output as well.

If your pedaling fast than the PAS decreases the energy a motor puts out. Essentially controlling the speed of the bike.

Many electric bikes have this boost level to control the motion of the bike. You can manually switch it up or down to control the pace.

As it is with any sensors, the cadence sensor comes with benefits and drawbacks. The main benefit is it is a cost-effective sensor that provides pedal assistance.

On the other hand, while pedaling with the cadence sensor, the ride may feel jerky and uncomfortable.

In addition to that, if you try to pedal faster than the limit on the sensor, the effort is ineffective.

Your speed remains as it is directed by the sensor for your journey. If you want a faster ride, you will have to get off the bike and change the settings again.

What Is A Pedal Assist Torque Sensor?

The torque sensor is quite different from the cadence sensor. It comes with a precision strain gauge. As you pedal the cycle, it measures the force you exert on the pedal.

It then produces force by using electricity. Hence, if you pedal harder, the cycle will go faster. Whereas, if you pedal slower, the cycle moves slower as well.

However, if that is the case, then what is the difference between riding an electric bike and a normal cycle, right?

When you are running an electric bike with a torque sensor, it amplifies your efforts, which makes the ride exciting.

When you are pedaling, the sensor calculates your effort by 1000 timer per second over a complete pedal. These bikes are preferred by most people for a comfortable ride and are hence considered as the higher-end electric bikes in many places.

They are one of the expensive bikes which are hard to get. However, you can easily get a cadence sensor bike at a cheaper price.

So, the advantage of these pedal sensors is the amusing ride. The disadvantage is the price you have to pay to get a torque sensor. Also, one huge issue we heard about with torque sensors is the risk of inadvertent activation.

Some torque sensors will interpret a slight bump in the road as pedal pressure.

Unexpectedly accelerating even if the rider isn’t pedaling. It can be huge problem as it can lead to serious accidents. It’s not typical but something to watch out for.

Difference Between Torque Sensor & Cadence Sensor

So, you know how the sensors function differently. But is there any other difference? Yes, there is, especially when it comes to riding the electric bike.

When you ride two different bikes with the two different sensors, you will notice that. On a torque sensor bike, you will feel the bike is weightless. This is due to the force amplification while riding.

Torque sensor bikes are easier to control. It definitely gives you a more enjoyable ride, hence it is the bike wanted by all.

Let us look at the major differences between both the pedal sensors.

The cadence sensor gives control over the speed of the entire journey. You can set out your speed limit using this sensor. But with torque pedal, you can change your speed any way you want.

Torque sensor for an electric bike is expensive comparing to the cadence pedal. You can adjust the speed in advance with a cadence sensor, but the same cannot be done for torque sensors.

Which Best Suits You For Riding Style?

So, you might have guessed that most e-bike riders will suggest you for a torque sensor bike. After all, the ride is enjoyable. Most bikers who love cycling will surely like a torque sensor.

Although that might not be true for all cases. Some bikers appreciate the cadence sensor electric bike as well.

Cadence pedaling is perfect for keeping a constant motion of the bike. So, you can set up your speed in advance and don’t have to worry about over speeding.

Basically, it is not for those who like to use an electric bike for excitement. A cadence sensor bike is for the people who like to use it for commute purposes.

Additionally, this type of bikes is perfect for people who can’t put too much effort into pedaling. As you know, torque sensors will measure the force of your entire pedal to run the bike. It is not the same for a cadence bike.

There may be elderly people who would like to use a cadence sensor bike for transportation. It is good for him that he does not have to put much effort to start the bike.

On the other hand, people can work out better with a cadence sensor electric bike. Since you can pedal normally without affecting the speed, you can pedal more to get a workout.

Many people choose a cadence sensor electric bike as a workout plan.

electric bike cadence sensor

You Could Try Have Both, But Should You?

Increasingly there are more and more bikes that have both a cadence and torque sensor. Often seen in more expensive electric bikes. Riders can have both torque sensors and pedal assist systems.

Depending on the style you can switch between sensors or there’s no need to switch modes. The control system can recognize the type output your producing and change accordingly.

Electric bikes with both systems are more responsive.  Although it seems like overkill some riders like to have the option. It’s not necessary to have both.

The added cost of having both sensors derives from the torque system. The torque sensors are typically more complicated.

This is the reason why it’s sold as higher quality. That’s why power riders should look for mid-drive electric bikes. Mid-drive e-bikes are composed with torque systems.

At least 1/4 of the effort is used and less battery power is drained. Which means your range will be longer allowing riders to efficiently tear up mountain trails.

Also Torque sensors are much better to have on a big tire electric bike. This is because they are often used on more difficult terrain such as sand & snow.

Not to mentioned it tends to allow you more control and hence leg speed. Overall, you’ll be to produce more speed in the long run.

Final Words

As you can see, both the type of electric bike has some advantages and some disadvantages. What type of pedal sensor a person should choose depends on the person itself.

People should select an electric bike according to their needs. If you like biking, then torque sensor electric bike is, without doubt, the one for you.

On the other hand, for regular carrying things, and movement it is best to use a cadence bike. If you like both the pedal sensors, then those are available as well.

Of course, you will need to pay more if you want more benefits on your electric bike.

However, those bikes are a complex set of both. So, be careful when you adjust them on go out cycling anywhere. Buying an ebike is a big expense and you become dependent on it.

So, the type you consider becomes paramount. Check out our earlier post on the tips for buying an e-bike.

Related Post

How do I calculate my eBike Range? – E-bike range has plenty of importance to the bike owner. A predetermined range can help a rider plan for his time well and calculate the amount of power in the battery cells that will get him to his destination safely.

Knowing your bike’s range will reduce the risk of your batteries dying while on the road, eliminating the stress that would come with that. Read More Here.