Can you ride an electric bike without pedaling?

Woman riding an electric bike without pedaling.

Fatigue? A difficult hill start? Would you like to ride your electric bike without having to pedal? A dream for some!

But is it really possible? Is it possible to drive an electric bike without pedaling? It would seem so!

Is it possible to drive an electric bike without pedaling?

Let's not prolong the suspense any longer! In some cases, yes it is possible! You can ride an electric bike without having to pedal.

The motor on electric-assist bicycles starts when you pedal. In these cases, if they are not equipped with a throttle, there is literally no way to engage the motor other than by pedaling.

However, some electric bikes are equipped with a throttle. But in Europe, these bikes are (very) uncommon. EABs are preferred, which leaves no choice but to pedal. Another option is to add a throttle. It solicits the engine without the need to pedal. 

How does a gas pedal work?

It's simple! The throttle engages the motor, which helps move the bike forward instantly.

With a pedal-assist bike, there is a lag time between the push on the pedal and the start of the motor. A few meters that can put your cardio to the test (especially when climbing)! Don't forget that an electric bike weighs between 20 and 25 kg on average.

To start the throttle, simply push a button or turn a handle . The response time will be instantaneous! The engine will fire for the first few meters, then the pedal will take over. Unless you like to ride at 6 km/h

Cyclist installing a gas pedal to move forward on his electric bike without pedaling.

The legislation

Note that European and Belgian legislation is strict with gas pedals. On public roads, they must be switched off at speeds above 6 km/h. Why? The gas pedal must only be an aid to starting. After that, the pedal sensor takes over. On a private road, however, there are no constraints.

The sensors

  • The revolving accelerator handle: similar to mopeds.
  • The acceleration trigger: a simple button to press. 

They can be installed on your bikes thanks to electric kits. 

How to move forward without pedaling using electric kits? 

Typically, electric kits consist of an input to connect a throttle and an input to connect the pedal sensor.

Only with a pedal sensor 

You pedal, the motor starts. This method consumes little energy and allows you to have a large autonomy. The consumption of the motor is linear.

Only with a gas pedal

The throttle starts the engine on the first push. No worries! Just like a scooter, it is easy to handle.

However, this practice consumes a lot of energy. Compared to the single use of a pedal sensor, the autonomy can be divided by two.

To make your electric bike last as long as possible, we recommend that you pedal as little as possible. The motor will thank you.

With a throttle and a pedal sensor 

It is the ideal compromise and more and more EVs on the market offer this mode of operation, it is a start-up aid.

If you electrify your bike, you can set your throttle to cut off at speeds over 6 km/h. This way, you can ride on public roads legally.

Once this speed is reached, the pedal sensor will take over. Ideal for a safe start!

Woman on an electric bike where she does not need to pedal to move forward.

Advantages and disadvantages of bikes with gas pedal

The advantages

  • Ease of use: riding an electric bike without pedaling is simple and does not require any special skills or knowledge. Ideal for cyclists looking for a leisurely ride, without too much effort.

  • Gives you more momentum: For hilly areas, rough roads, pedaling can seem difficult and exhausting. An electric bike with a throttle makes it easier. Its boost can get you started on hills quite easily.

  • Simplify daily life: it is the ideal system for those who have medical problems that make pedaling difficult, as well as for people in poor physical condition.

  • The friend of lazy people: you can rest whenever you want.

The disadvantages

  • Battery power: Electric bikes with throttle require a powerful battery.

  • The autonomy: it is limited. You can not travel long distances without recharging your battery regularly.

  • Difficult to control: In traffic, poor quality gas pedals with low modulation can be difficult to control.

  • Stricter laws: for example, respecting the 6 km/h speed limit on public roads.

In short, it is not recommended for cyclists who wish to maintain an active lifestyle.

Man pedaling an electric bike on a private road.

What are the regulations?

Use on public roads

It is no longer a surprise that the use of a throttle is legal as long as it is limited to a maximum of 6 km/h.

After that, the bike will be classified as a moped even if its maximum speed is 25 km/h. Why is this? This means, among other things, the obligation to wear a helmet, insurance, registration,...

Use on private roads

You can step on the gas! On non-traffic roads, there are no restrictions on the use of a throttle, except by local ordinances.

Practical for pedaling in the mountains or in the forest.


As you can see, there are three pedaling options available to you.

You can pedal with the help of the motor, turn off the motor and just pedal, or just press the gas pedal (without pedaling at all). Your electric bike will take you anywhere, with or without effort!

FAQ about electric bikes without pedaling

What is the difference between an electric bike and an electrically assisted bike?

For you, it's probably all the same. But there's one major difference: the type of motor.

Simply put, with a conventional electric bike, the motor moves the bike forward in all circumstances. In contrast, an electrically assisted bike has an intelligent motor, which is triggered only when the rider pedals.