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.
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.
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.
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.
More Recommended Ebikes
Check out these other ebikes I've reviewed:
- Urban Arrow Ebike – Last year, I made one of the largest purchases I’ve ever made – I bought a $9,000 electric cargo bike from Urban Arrow. In my Urban Arrow review, I will discuss what it is and why I decided to buy this bike, as well as discuss how impactful a bike like this can be on your journey to financial independence.
- Troxus Explorer Step-Thru Ebike – The Troxus Explorer Step-Thru is a fat-tire ebike that I’ve had the pleasure of riding for a while now. It has amazing power, great looks, and awesome range. If you’re looking for a great fat-tire ebike that offers a lot for the price, the Troxus Explorer Step-Thru is definitely one for you to consider. Check out my Troxus Explorer Step-Thru Review.
- Hovsco HovBeta Ebike – The HovBeta is a folding ebike with great specs and a lot of interesting features, and importantly, it’s sold at a good price point. I’ve had a blast commuting with it and using it to do deliveries with DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub. Check out my Hovsco HovBeta Ebike Review.
- Vanpowers Manidae Ebike – The Vanpowers Manidae is a fat tire ebike that I’ve been riding as my primary winter commuting bike and have also been using it to do food delivery with apps like DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub. After clocking in a decent number of miles with this ebike, I wanted to write a post sharing what my experience with the Vanpowers Manidae ebike has been like. Check out my Vanpowers Manidae Review.
- Sohamo S3 Step-Thru Folding EBike Review – A Great Value Folding Ebike – The Sohamo S3 Step-Thru Folding Ebike is an entry-level folding ebike that offers a lot of value for the price point. I’ve been riding the Sohamo S3 for a while now, putting the bike through its paces, and I have to say, this bike has exceeded all of my expectations. Check out my Sohamo Review.
- KBO Flip Ebike – The KBO Flip is an excellent bike. I’ve had a great time riding it and think it’s a versatile bike that can be used for a lot of purposes and can fit a variety of lifestyles. It’s worked out great for me as a general commuter bike and as a food delivery bike. Check out my KBO Flip Review.
- Hiboy P7 Commuter Ebike – The Hiboy P7 is an excellent electric commuter bike that’s offered at an affordable price point. The range and speed of this bike are both very good, so you won’t have any trouble getting anywhere you need to go with it. As a food delivery vehicle, this is also good – with how much range it offers, you’ll be able to work all day on a single charge. Check out my Hiboy P7 Commuter Electric Bike Review.
- Himiway Escape Ebike – The Himiway Escape is an interesting bike for anyone looking for a moped-style ebike. If you’re a gig economy worker, the Himiway Escape is particularly interesting and it’s possible to think of it as an investment, especially if you can opt to do deliveries with the Himiway versus using a car. It’s not cheap, but you can definitely make your money back when you compare the mileage you’ll put on your car versus using an ebike. Check out my Himiway Escape Bike Review.
- Espin Sport Ebike – The Espin Sport is a good ebike for someone who is looking for an ebike that feels and rides more like a regular bike. There are many ebikes that are really only bikes in name. In reality, they’re basically electric mopeds. The Espin Sport, by contrast, is a bike you could probably ride without the battery and you’d feel like you’re just riding a regular bike. Check out my Espin Sport Review.
More Recommended Scooters
Check out these other scooters I've reviewed:
- Varla Eagle One Scooter – The Varla Eagle One is an excellent scooter that can make sense for a lot of people. It can work as a primary mode of transportation. You can use it to work on gig economy apps like DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub. And it can also be a recreational vehicle if you’d prefer to use it for that. Check out my Varla Eagle One Review.
- Varla Falcon Scooter – The Varla Falcon is an excellent scooter that offers a good amount of power at a lower price point compared to more powerful scooters. It’s not exactly an entry-level scooter, nor is it a high-powered scooter. I think it fits somewhere in-between those two categories – an intermediate scooter if I had to give it a category. Check out my Varla Falcon Review.
- Hiboy S2 Scooter – The Hiboy S2 is an excellent entry-level commuter scooter that's perfect for someone looking to save some money in transportation costs and improve their commute. Check out my Hiboy S2 Review.
- Hiboy S2R Scooter – The Hiboy S2R is one of the more interesting electric scooters I’ve been able to test out. It’s not a high-powered scooter, but for an everyday transport option, it’s very useful, especially given some of the unique features that it has. Indeed, for the price, the Hiboy S2R might be the best value scooter I’ve used. Check out my Hiboy S2R Review.
- GoTrax G5 Scooter – The GoTrax G5 Electric Scooter is a new commuter scooter from GoTrax that I’ve been riding for a while now. It’s a scooter that’s well-built, has a good top speed, and offers a lot of great features. And with a price point in the $500 range, it’s a scooter that offers a lot of value for the money too. Check out my GoTrax G5 Review.
- Sisigad Arrow Max Scooter – When it comes to scooters, you sometimes just need a solid, well-built, decently fast scooter to get you around. The Sisigad Arrow Max is an entry-level scooter that does exactly that. I’ve been riding it around a bunch lately – and so far – I find it to be a fun, affordable scooter that works well for commuting and getting around the city. Check out my Sisigad Arrow Max Review.
- Fucare H3 Scooter – The Fucare H3 is a fun scooter and I’ve enjoyed testing it out. For a daily commuter or quick trips or errands, the Fucare H3 is probably the scooter I’ll use. It’s portable and easy to maneuver, so it’s just easier to take on the road when I need it. Check out my Fucare H3 Scooter Review.