What is the Difference Between Torque and Cadence Sensors on Electric Bikes?

Couple Riding Electric Bikes in the City

Oftentimes people have many questions when looking to purchase their first electric bike or when riding for the first time. Many questions range from the battery size, motor power, total range, or top speed of the bike. Many often tend to overlook the sensor on the bike, which is a critical feature. The sensor measures the rider’s efforts, which provides the appropriate level of assistance from the pedal assist system. 

Electric bikes have two types of sensors: torque and cadence sensors. This leads many riders to ask what is the difference between the two systems? Learn more about the torque and cadence sensors below to ensure you’re purchasing the best e-bike for your riding style. 

Cadence Sensors

A cadence sensor measures the number of revolutions of the pedals per minute. This sensor is typically located in the crank arm or the pedal itself. It provides assistance based on the rider's pedaling speed rather than the force applied. This means that the rider will receive the same level of assistance regardless of the effort they put in. The cadence sensor puts more of an emphasis on the level of pedal assist the rider is in to determine speed.

Cadence Sensor on Himiway Zebra Electric Bike

*Cadence sensor on Himiway Zebra Electric Bike


Torque Sensors 

A torque sensor on the other hand, measures the rider's pedaling effort by measuring the amount of force applied to the pedals. The sensor is typically located in the bottom bracket of the bike and can detect the slightest changes in pedaling force. This allows for a smooth and natural riding experience, as the electric assistance will increase or decrease in proportion to the rider's pedaling effort. 

Torque Sensor on Eunorau Electric Bike

*Torque Sensor on Eunorau D6 Electric Bike

Torque sensor e-bikes are usually more expensive than cadence sensor electric bikes. This is because torque sensors are more complex and require more advanced technology. In terms of maintenance, torque sensors typically require less maintenance than cadence sensors. Torque sensors are more durable and have fewer moving parts, which makes them less likely to malfunction.

Main Difference 

The main difference between the two sensors is the way they measure the rider's effort. Torque sensors measure the force applied to the pedals, while cadence sensors measure the speed of the pedals. This means that torque sensor e-bikes provide a more natural riding experience, as the assistance is directly proportional to the rider's effort. Cadence sensor e-bikes, on the contrary, provide a more consistent level of assistance regardless of the rider's effort.

Overall, the choice between a torque sensor and a cadence sensor will depend on the rider's preferences and riding style. It's important to test ride or consider both types of sensors in order to choose the one that best suits your needs.

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