Torque Vs Cadence Sensors | Macfox Electric Bike
    Learn about torque and cadence sensors for e-bikes, and find out which one matches your riding style and preferences.

    Understanding Torque and Cadence Sensors: Your E-Bike Guide

    • By Macfox Bike
    • Jun 17

    Owning a Macfox e-bike brings numerous advantages. One key benefit is the ability to ride without pedaling thanks to "pedal assistance". While features vary between brands, all aim at making cycling simpler.

    E-bike pedals activate their motor when you pedal, eliminating the need for throttle controls to access electronic power. Sensors on the bike transmit a signal when pedaling begins, turning on the e-bike. E-bikes come equipped with both torque and cadence sensors; understanding their operation will have a dramatic impact on your riding experience.

    Torque measurement and cadence measurement pedal assist systems are two main categories of pedal assist systems, both of which detect rider input and send an activation signal to activate their bike's motor. Timing and method can vary, potentially impacting everything from ride comfort to battery life.

    Understanding e-bikes can be complex and can be daunting for those unfamiliar with industry jargon, making it hard to evaluate different options accurately.

    We will help you understand the differences between torque and cadence sensors, along with their respective advantages and disadvantages, in order to assist in selecting an ideal sensor solution for your needs.

    Differences Between Torque Sensors and Cadence Sensors

    E Bike Cadence Sensor | Macfox Electric Bike

    Torque-sensing pedal assist systems adapt to your pedaling movements for a smoother ride. Sudden changes in cadence may cause sudden stops or starts; on flat terrain this could go undetected if only adjusted periodically.

    The pedal assist system (PAS) of an e-bike also determines its battery capacity. Magnets and sensors measure how much assistance is provided by cadence-based PAS systems that respond to pedaling cadences - however, you may discover that such PAS models don't meet all your needs.

    Torque sensors determine the amount of motor assistance based on pedaling force; their assistance level rises proportionately, making it ideal for uphill or slow-speed riding situations or when needed to brake suddenly. Furthermore, bikes equipped with torque sensing systems typically have improved battery efficiency - which makes riding hilly terrain even easier!

    What is a Torque Sensor?

    A torque sensor measures the force you apply to the pedals and relays this information directly to the motor, which then powers your wheels. This sensor makes your ride more efficient by:

    • Providing more power when you pedal harder.

    • Reducing power when you pedal less, ensuring a balanced contribution from both you and the motor.

    Advantages of Torque Sensors:

    • Torque sensors enhance ride comfort by making power delivery more intuitive and natural.

    • Enhance the range of your e-bike.

    • Torque sensors respond quickly and instantly to changes in pedaling force.

    • Power supplies from these batteries offer reliable and consistent power, allowing for more confident and precise control.

    Disadvantages of Torque Sensors:

    • Riders of electric bicycles typically equipped with torque sensors may find that maintaining higher speeds requires greater effort, as you need to pedal harder in order to achieve them.

    • Although torque sensors are more costly - typically costing around $150 each - they are usually found on models priced between $2,000 and $3,000.

    • Only certain e-bikes come equipped with torque sensors.

    Read more: Fat Bikes vs. Mountain Bikes: What’s the Difference?

    What Is a Cadence Sensor?

    A cadence sensor consists of both a magnet and sensor, typically attached near the bottom bracket of your frame. As soon as pedaling commences, the magnet passes in front of the sensor which detects your cadence rate; once pedaling has stopped again, however, no longer passing by it indicates no movement from pedal to crank and vice versa.

    Advantages of Cadence Sensors:

    • Torque sensors enhance ride comfort by making power delivery more intuitive and natural.

    • Enhance the range of your e-bike.

    • Cadence sensors are cheaper, typically costing around $20. You can buy a commuter ebike for around $900. E-bikes with cadence sensors are now more accessible and affordable than ever.

    • Power supplies from these batteries offer reliable and consistent power, allowing for more confident and precise control.

    Disadvantages of Cadence Sensors:

    • Cadence sensors tend to be less sensitive, which may result in pedal assist that seems abrupt or counterintuitive - something which might displease riders who prefer an integrated riding experience.

    • Heavy use of cadence-based PAS for extended periods at high volumes may significantly diminish its range and reduce battery life with only one charge.

    • The effort required depends on a rider's activity level and preferences; some riders may experience too much or too little assistance depending on how sensitive their cadence sensor is.

    Durability of Pedal Assist Systems

    Pedal assist systems typically last the life span of their respective e-bike, typically up to 10 years depending on make, model and usage patterns. However, this could vary based on factors like make/model/use pattern.

    • Speed with Pedal Assistance

    Class 3 e-bikes can reach speeds of 28 mph when pedal assist is enabled, while Class 1 and 2 models generally stop providing assistance at 20 mph.

    Read more: Everything You Should Know About E-bike Classifications

    • Riding with a Cadence Sensor

    Utilizing a cadence sensor on an e-bike can enhance the experience of riding. As soon as the motor kicks in quickly and provides efficient acceleration, riders often describe it as feeling "alive" when pedaling starts; however, for some this may become annoying or uncomfortable quickly.

    Macfox e-bikes feature an intuitive display that allows drivers to customize the power output for each PAS level and create their ideal ride experience. Cadence sensor-equipped e-bikes provide quick and effortless start up time - ideal for riders who do not wish to pedal hard but wish to start quickly and effortlessly.

    Cadence sensors work best on flat terrain but may also be effective in hilly areas; however, their precision may not compare to that of torque sensors.

    Electric Bike Riding | Macfox Electric Bike

    Riding with a Torque Sensor

    Torque sensors make e-bike riding more intuitive and natural by modulating power according to pedaling force, creating a smoother, more comfortable experience that helps bridge traditional cycling to an e-bike experience. They're especially helpful for riders transitioning seamlessly from traditional cycling onto an e-bike experience.

    Torque sensors can be invaluable when riding in hilly areas, providing additional power on steep climbs while keeping speed steady on flat terrain. E-bikes equipped with torque sensors also offer greater cost efficiency by activating power only when required - providing a cost-efficient yet versatile alternative!


    Discover all your torque and cadence sensor options by exploring "which one is best?" It is much more pertinent to ask: which sensor would work best for me?

    Riders want an e-bike that allows them to utilize as much or as little power as desired without slowing down, which is where PAS Technology cadence sensors shine.

    Torque sensors enhance rider actions to make pedaling feel natural and intuitive, creating battery-powered pedaling assistance for every e-bike rider.

    The key consideration in choosing an e-bike is how much effort you are willing to put in. If you prefer the freedom of high speeds with adjustable pedaling effort, an e-bike with cadence sensor might be ideal.

    If you prefer an e-bike that responds directly to your input by increasing effort levels, a torque sensor e-bike might be your perfect ride.


    What is the main difference between torque and cadence sensors?

    Torque sensors provide a more natural ride by amplifying your pedaling effort, while cadence sensors maintain a consistent power output based on your pedaling speed.

    Which sensor should I choose for less effort but more speed?

    For a ride with less effort but the potential for high speeds, a cadence sensor is recommended.

    Why might someone prefer a torque sensor over a cadence sensor?

    A torque sensor offers a more intuitive and responsive riding experience, aligning closely with the rider's pedaling input.

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