Electric Bikes

What is a Torque Sensor on an E-Bike? (Simple Explanation)

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The Short Answer

A torque sensor is a key component of many electric bicycles that determines how much assistance the motor should provide based on the rider’s effort. Essentially, it is a device that measures the force that the cyclist applies to the pedals, translating that into a corresponding level of electric assist.

If you’re been thinking about buying an electric bike, you’ve probably come across the term ‘torque sensor’ numerous times in e-bike descriptions and specifications. But what exactly does it mean, and why is it so often highlighted?

This article will break down the concept of torque, the role of a torque sensor, and whether every e-bike includes one. We’ll also weigh the pros and cons of torque sensors to help you decide if an e-bike with a torque sensor aligns with your cycling needs and expectations.

What is “Torque”?

At its most basic, torque is a measure of the force that can cause an object to rotate around an axis. In the context of e-bikes, torque refers to the force that you apply when you pedal, causing the bike to move forward. The more force you exert on the pedals, the greater the torque, and consequently, the faster the bike moves.

torque sensor adjusts the e-bike motor based on rider effort

What is a “Torque Sensor”?

When a rider pedals on an e-bike equipped with a torque sensor, the sensor measures the amount of force (or torque) applied to the cranks. It then sends a signal to the bike’s controller, which adjusts the level of assistance provided by the electric motor based on the amount of force detected.

So, if you’re pedaling lightly, the motor will provide less assistance. Conversely, if you’re pedaling hard (such as when going uphill or trying to accelerate quickly), the motor will provide more assistance.

This system makes the riding experience feel more natural and intuitive, as the motor’s power output is smoothly integrated with the rider’s own power. This differs from simpler e-bike systems that use a basic on/off or multi-step assist mechanism, where the motor assistance doesn’t necessarily correspond with the rider’s actual effort.

torque sensor pros

Do All E-Bikes Have Torque Sensors?

While torque sensors significantly enhance the e-bike experience, not all e-bikes are equipped with them. Some e-bikes use a simpler system where the motor’s power output is either on or off, or operates at set levels, regardless of the rider’s effort. In contrast, e-bikes with torque sensors provide a more refined, intuitive riding experience by offering assistance in direct proportion to the rider’s effort.

torque sensor cons

E-Bike Torque Sensor Pros + Cons


  • Provides a natural, intuitive riding experience
  • Allows for proportional motor assistance based on rider’s effort
  • Enhances energy efficiency by optimizing motor output
  • Improves ride control and safety


  • More expensive than basic systems
  • Might require more maintenance due to their complexity
  • Learning curve might be slightly steep for absolute beginners

How Important Are Torque Sensors on E-Bikes

The importance of torque sensors in e-bikes cannot be overstated. They are instrumental in delivering a smooth and natural riding experience. By matching the motor’s power output with your pedaling effort, the e-bike behaves more like a traditional bike, just with an added boost when you need it.

torque sensors are crucial for a natural and easy e-bike riding experience

E-bikes with torque sensors are especially user-friendly for beginners. The direct correlation between the rider’s effort and the motor’s assistance makes the riding experience intuitive and easy to grasp. When you pedal lightly, the motor provides a slight boost, and when you pedal hard, the motor gives more assistance.

In conclusion, while not all e-bikes have torque sensors, those that do offer a superior riding experience. Torque sensors help create a seamless blend between human exertion and motor assistance, making the ride more enjoyable and less strenuous. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced cyclist, an e-bike with a torque sensor promises a smooth and intuitive ride.

READ: Best E-Bikes for City Rides

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