Pedal assist and throttle? Is there such a thing?


Specialized fanboy

My Dad wants to have a go a cycling for fitness, but due to dodgy knees can see himself being in the situation of being out, then having his knee give up on him.

I told him about how electric bikes work now, where they give assistance to your pedalling, but this made hime think he would just be further away should his knees give in.

What he wants (what he really, really wants) is a bike that has the pedal assist to make it easier for him, but also has a throttle, so he can sit back and be powered back should he have to give the knees a rest? He wont be doing long distances, 5 miles along the towpath is all I can see him doing.

Does such a bike or retro fit system exist?

I hope so, as I would really love to go for a ride to the pub with the old fella!

Thanks for any advice.


Über Member


Active Member
If it's any help...I have dodgy knees too (osterarthritis), 55, not crippling (yet) but once or twice on a bad day I've been out and unable to stand. I started cycling 5 miles/day, all weathers, sometimes twice, gentle with no big hills or pushing too hard, and I now find if I stop my daily routine over a few weeks my knees get worse, but when I restart they improve, again over a 3 or 4 week period. Of course your Dad might have some other condition entirely, I'm just relating this story to say it might be beneficial to gentle cycle daily, not just occasionally, but it could take time for the benefits to show. Good excuse to go to the pub every day!
A full speed throttle is not legal, although there are plenty of retro kits that offer this option.

Most legal ebikes may not have enough grunt to 'power your dad back home', particularly if he weighs a bit or if there are any hills.

Buying an appropriate kit is something of a minefield.

The large, 'pancake' direct drive motors have plenty of watts but very little torque - they are fast when wound up but would be useless in your application.

A geared hub motor - with a full throttle controller - would do the job.

Something rated at a slightly naughty 500w running at 48v ought to give enough power for the job.

Phil Fouracre

Über Member
Hi, just seen this post! Don’t know if it’s the right thing to do on this forum, but? I’ve converted a few bikes, and most recently, a couple of Giant Stance full suss mtbs for us. They have Cyclotricity kits, pedal assist and throttle and work very well and sound like one might suit. Now moving on to another bike project and running out of space! Planning on selling both of them, perhaps get in touch for more info if interested.
The law on this was changed recently. Ebikes made or imported before 1 jan 2016 can legally have a throttle and pedal assistance. I have a Powacycle Salisbury that has this - the throttle saved me once when the indexing went weird and jammed the chain up - it is slow to accelerate but it will get you home if you avoid hills!
So, you may be able to get a fully legal ebike if you look for secondhand - but beware of the battery being end-of life. It is OK but if the battyer is old then the range will be limited - but you can get them recelled by this lot - for lower than the cost of a new one - and with more amp hours and better cells!
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