Based on the name alone, it’s easy to assume that hopping on an electric bike will require absolutely zero effort from the rider. It’s just steering and fun, right? Not exactly. As many potential riders before you have wondered, can you ride an electric bike without pedaling?
The answer is yes—and no. There are some e-bikes that feature a throttle, which will allow you to ride without pedaling. However, that feature does come with some downsides. Other types e-bikes, including both of the Bluejay models, require riders to pedal in order to engage the battery and the motor. But it’s not quite as difficult as it sounds. So, let’s get into the details.
Can You Ride an Electric Bike Without Pedaling?
It is possible to ride an electric bike without pedaling, but it depends on which class of bike you’ve selected. In the U.S., e-bikes are classified as follows:
Class 1: The motor only works when the rider is pedaling; max speed is 20 MPH.
Class 2: Featuring a throttle, the rider doesn’t need to pedal for this bike to go; max speed is 20 MPH.
Class 3: The motor only works when the rider is pedaling; max speed is 28 MPH and the bike must have a speedometer.
Bluejay’s vintage-inspired cruiser, Premiere Edition, is a Class 1 e-bike and Bluejay Sport, built for tougher adventures, is a Class 3 e-bike. Both of these models work using pedal assist, so you do need to keep those pedals moving in order to keep you upright and on-the-go.
What Is Pedal Assist? And How Does It Work?
Pedal assist is an e-bike function that requires the user to pedal in order for the motor to activate. The whole purpose is to make cruising feel nearly effortless, while still giving the rider plenty of control over steering, speed and more. Even if there are hills, turns or slight inclines, pedal assist will still power up your ride—all you have to do is keep your feet moving. The sensation will feel like a welcome push forward and there won’t be much resistance on your pedals at all.
Both Bluejay bikes have a mid-drive torque sensor motor (Premiere Edition has a 350W motor while Bluejay Sport boasts a powerful 500W motor). This type of motor has sensors that measure wheel speed, how hard you’re pedaling and crank speed in order to produce a super smooth ride. With 5 levels of pedal assist on a Bluejay, you’ll be able to adjust your speed with the push of a button, no need to exert a ton of effort, get out of breath or even break a sweat.
What is Throttle? And How Does It Work?
When an e-bike rider turns on throttle, which is usually a button or grip twist on the handlebar, the bike just propels forward using the battery pack and motor. If it sounds similar to how a motorcycle or a scooter works, you’d be correct. With throttle, the power you desire is on demand and is not affected by how fast (or slow) your legs are working. However, using throttle can drain a battery quite quickly, not to mention, these types of bikes aren’t legal everywhere. They can also be potentially dangerous, especially if you apply too much throttle when you’re not yet in motion.
Can You Ride an Electric Bike Like a Traditional Bike?
Those pedals work—with or without battery power behind them—so it’s simple and easy to use your e-bike as you’d like. Even if you’d like to use your e-bike like a traditional bike. For a good workout, turn that pedal assist or throttle off and put those legs to work. For everything else, we think it’s a great idea to let your e-bike motor do the work.