Torque vs. Cadence Sensors
What is Pedal Assist?
Pedal Assist automatically turns on the motor when you pedal. With pedal assist you do not need to use a throttle to control the motor.
There are two types of Pedal Assist: Cadence Sensor Type which measures IF you are pedaling and a Torque Sensor Type which measures HOW HARD you are pedaling.
1. Cadence Sensors (Basic)
The basic cadence sensor uses a magnet on the crank, it turns the motor ON when you start pedaling and turns it OFF when you stop pedaling. It works more or less like a switch.
You have to control the boost level and speed by adjusting the assist mode manually up and down. Most basic e-bikes have this.
The advantage it is an inexpensive way to get some sort of pedal assist onto the bike, but the disadvantage is that the pedal assistance can feel jerky, laggy and counterintuitive. Also if you want to pedal faster than the motor is spinning, the motor will actively work against your efforts.
2. Torque Sensors (Advanced)
The torque sensor is a totally different technology that uses a precision strain gauge. It measures your actual force on the pedal, sampling at 1,000 times per second over the entire pedal stroke.
The harder you pedal, the more power it gives to the motor. If you pedal lighter, less power goes to the motor. It makes this adjustment in real time so it is technically amplifying your every input. It feels like you are bionic.
Most all higher-end e-bikes use torque sensors and in some countries, cadence-only sensors are not allowed to be sold. The disadvantage is the cost is significantly higher to implement this technology as the precision component is relatively more expensive.
We have developed the only cadence sensor on the market that can also be upgraded to a torque sensor at a later time.
Is it worth the upgrade?
If you like pedaling, you will have a much more enjoyable experience with the torque sensor setup as it more closely matches the bike-like experience.
If you have a chance to ride the different setups back-to-back you will instantly notice the difference. The torque sensor setup makes the bike feel weightless due to the amplification effect.