Can You Ride an Electric Bike Without Pedaling?

man riding an electric bike without pedaling

Although electric bikes are getting more popular every day, the vast majority don’t know how an e-bike really works.

One common question about e-bikes is whether or not it is possible to ride them without pedaling.

The answer is yes, you can ride an electric bike without pedaling if the bike has a throttle installed. If the bike doesn’t have a throttle, the motor provides assistance only when you are pedaling.

In this article, we will look into this topic more thoroughly, discuss the benefits of riding an e-bike without pedaling and share with you a video where we tested the range of an electric bike while not pedaling it at all.

How Electric Bikes Work?

Do electric bikes work without pedaling? To answer it a little more thoroughly, we need to understand how electric bikes work.

Electric bikes have all components that conventional bicycles have. Additionally, e-bikes are equipped with electric motors that provide assistance to the rider.

rear hub motor of electric bike
Often, the motor of an electric bike is hidden in the rear hub.

The electric motor is powered by a battery that is hidden somewhere in the frame of the bike. In addition to that, there are a couple of sensors that detect e-bike speed to figure out how much assistance you need.

And finally, there are two types of e-bikes:

  1. E-bikes with throttle
  2. E-bikes without throttle

Read More: What is an E-Bike and How Does It Work?

Throttle vs Pedal Assistance

All electric bikes have pedal assistance. It means the electric motor assists you while pedaling. The amount of assistance depends on the chosen speed mode, how powerful the motor is, and how hard you pedal.

twist-grip throttle of electric bike
Twist-grip throttle at the right of the handlebar.

In addition to the pedal assistance, some e-bikes have a throttle. The throttle is on the handlebar and can be activated by a thumb or by twisting the grip (like on motorcycles). These bikes are also called full-throttle e-bikes.

Can You Ride an Electric Bike Without Pedaling?

With all the previous knowledge, we can say that whether you can ride your e-bike without pedaling depends on what type of bike you have.

If you have an electric bike that has throttle control, then:

Yes, you can ride an electric bike without pedaling.

With this kind of e-bike, you can accelerate and maintain speed without engaging the pedals at all.

However, if you have an e-bike, that only has pedal assistance, then:

No, you can not ride it without pedaling.

With this kind of e-bike, you can ride without pedaling only downhill. But that you already knew.

Read More: How to Ride an Electric Bike?

Pros of Riding an E-Bike Without Pedaling

There are several advantages to riding an electric bike without pedaling:

  • Hill climbing: If you live in a hilly area, an e-bike with a powerful motor can help you climb hills more easily by using the throttle only.
  • Less fatigue: Pedaling can be quite tiring. By engaging a throttle, you can just sit and relax and still move forward.
  • Fun: For some people, riding an e-bike without pedaling is more fun because it feels like riding a motorcycle.
  • Ease of use: Riding an electric bike without pedaling requires less effort than pedaling. Therefore, it’s a good option for people who are not in good physical shape or who have mobility issues (e-bikes are a good choice for seniors).
woman feeling relaxed while riding an ebike without pedaling
It may be very relaxing to ride home without pedaling after a tiring workday.

Cons of Riding an E-Bike Without Pedaling

While there are many benefits of riding an e-bike without pedaling, there are also several disadvantages:

  • Shorter range: While using only the throttle, the battery drains much faster, which reduced the range a lot.
  • No exercise: Riding a bike has always been a good way to keep our body fit. While riding an e-bike without pedaling, you don’t get the same level of physical activity as you would get by pedaling.
  • Legality: Electric bikes with throttle control are not allowed in some areas. Therefore, you must register your bike as a motor vehicle and you are not allowed to ride on bike lanes.

Related: Does Riding an Electric Bike Help You Lose Weight?

How Far Will Electric Bikes Go Without Pedaling?

The distance that e-bikes can cover without pedaling depends on several factors, including the battery capacity, the power of the motor, the rider’s weight, the type of terrain, how much headwind there is, and even the air temperature.

Related: How Much are Electric Bikes?

As a rough estimate, an average ebike with a 500-watt motor and a 36-volt battery can travel for about 20-30 miles on a single charge. At the same time, the range of the same bike would be about 40-50 miles if the rider pedals.

Here is an example of testing the range of Engwe C20 Pro electric bike:

Engwe C20 Pro has only a 250W motor and the battery has 691 Wh of energy capacity. The terrain was relatively flat throughout the test but there was quite a strong headwind occasionally.

The rider was weighing about 200 lbs (90 kg) and the bike managed to cover almost 36 miles without pedaling.

Later we tested the same bike with pedaling as well. Combining different pedal assistance levels, we managed to cover over 60 miles.

So if you don’t want to pedal at all, you must consider a much shorter range.

Electric Bike No Pedaling FAQs

Do You Have to Pedal an Electric Bike?

If your e-bike has a throttle control, then you don’t have to pedal to ride an electric bike.

However, all e-bikes don’t have a throttle-on-demand and you have to pedal to keep these e-bikes moving.

Is It Hard to Pedal Electric Bike?

Generally, it is not hard to pedal electric bikes. Although e-bikes are usually much heavier than regular bikes, they have a pedal-assistance feature that makes pedaling much easier.

A couple of first pedal strokes might be hard but as soon as the motor comes in to assist, the pedaling will be relatively easy.

Can You Manually Ride an Electric Bike?

Yes, you can manually ride an electric bike. So, if the battery of the bike gets empty, or the motor is turned off, you can still ride the bike.

However, since e-bikes are generally heavier than traditional bikes (due to battery and motor weight), pedaling without motor assistance may be quite tiring.

At the end of this video, you can see how I ride an e-bike with an empty battery.

Can You Go Uphill On an Electric Bike Without Pedaling?

It is possible to go uphill on an electric bike without pedaling. However, the experience may vary depending on the specific e-bike and the steepness of the specific hill.

In general, if the incline is steep, you need an e-bike with a powerful motor and a good battery.

But still, if you are climbing a hill, it’s quite common that the bike will not be able to maintain the same speed as on the flat ground.

Are There E-Bikes With No Pedals?

There are electric bikes without pedals but they are not classified as e-bikes.

In most countries, the law says that e-bikes must have pedals. If they don’t have pedals, they are motor vehicles and different rules apply to them.


To conclude this all, we can say that indeed, it is possible to ride electric bikes without pedaling. However, the experience will vary depending on the specific bike.

We also covered in this article a number of advantages and disadvantages of riding an electric bike without pedaling.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top