If you are shopping around for a brand new personal transportation vehicle, you may be comparing thumb throttle vs twist throttle for electric bikes. The best electric bikes, after all, tend to feature one of these throttle mechanisms. What are the key differences? Keep reading to find out.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Thumb ebike throttles are located away from the edges of handlebars, freeing up space for various accessories and getting out of the way of the brake lever.
  • Twist throttle mechanisms operate in an extremely similar manner to motorcycle throttle mechanisms, so the learning curve could be slightly easier.
  • When it comes to control, they both offer nuanced and gradual acceleration, so it boils down to personal preference when it comes to these throttle types.

Differences Between Thumb Throttle and Twist Throttle

The most obvious difference is how acceleration is handled and whether you throttle by pushing in your thumb or by twisting around a throttle mechanism. Thumb throttles feature a small lever that extends from the handlebar and pushing it causes the bike to accelerate. Twist throttles come in two related categories, half-twist throttles and full-twist throttles, each offering a throttle grip and a decent amount of nuance when it comes to control. When it comes to throttle mode, you want analog control so a bond can be formed between the rider and the throttle mechanism, which is something a sensor cannot provide, in case you are comparing a speed vs torque-sensing electric bike.

The throttle mechanism is a matter of personal choice, as both thumb and twist are good options. Here are some more differences between the two to help you make that decision.

Positioning

An electric bike’s handlebars can become cluttered with various accessories, added features, and control assistance devices. The extremities of these handlebars are especially susceptible to clutter, so the relatively centrally located thumb throttle may be a better fit for some electric bike riders. Twist throttles, on the other hand, could get in the way of some of these accessories, adding to some confusion for new riders.

Insider Tip

If you simply aren’t sure which throttle type to choose, give each a try at your nearly electric bike retail outlet.

Ease-of-Learning

If you are already familiar with motorcycle and motorbike control, a twist throttle will be the way to go, as it will feel extremely familiar to you. If you have never ridden an e-bike or a motorbike, then you will learn at the same pace no matter which you choose.

Control

Again, this will come down to preference. Both types of throttle allow for gradual and nuanced control. Pick the one you feel most comfortable with, though you may want to avoid a third throttle option called push throttle. This throttle is activated by pushing a button and does not allow for any nuance when it comes to acceleration.

F.A.Q.S

Can you convert a thumb throttle to a twist throttle or vice versa?

Swapping the throttle mode should be an option for most e-bike owners, though you should check ahead of time.


What is a half-twist throttle?

A half-twist throttle is a type of throttle with a slightly smaller throttle grip. Half-twist throttle mechanisms feature a dedicated return spring and may be better for smaller hands.


Which ebike is right for you?

Most ebikes offer many features that go above and beyond what is found with a regular bike or traditional bike. In other words, take a look at the features and decide from there.



STAT: American car icon, Lee Iacocca founded EV Global motors in 1997, a company that produced an electric bicycle model named E-bike SX and it was one of the early efforts to popularize e-bikes in the United States. (source)

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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